1. Paul Lee says:

    What do you think about The Force concept? What may be true about it? What may be wrong about it, but not harmful? What can be harmful about it?

    It is not created by all living things, but by Life Himself. But all things that exist are united in their relationship to the common existence. I’m being really idiotic and pretentious with this sloppy sophistry, but it’s how I think. I think God is both the common existence from which all things are derived, and the great Theme that gives all things meaning, so in a sense He flows through everything. One dangerous thing about the romanticized “life force” concept is its cheap, obviously false sentimentality.

    When Luke has nothing left, he has a “conversion.” He says, “I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.” Any thoughts?

    A few years ago, I might have seen this point in the movie or some other arbitrary “threshold crossing” point as a parallel to becoming a born-again believer. But I no longer think that way. It’s merely a “threshold movement” in a monomythic sense, or even more simply in a plot-development sense. (Though, one teacher I had thought the Cantina was the real threshold seen.)

    Are all thresholds types of Christian conversion? Is there something inherently parallel to the concept of receiving Christ as Savior? No, I think. Because the conversion experience is not universal, and at any rate if we’re going to be interpreting the mythological/plot archetypes in a specifically Christian way we should use Christ’s life as the deeper meaning, rather than our own confused and contradictory experiences.

    What do you think?

    (Of the C.S. Lewis quote.) Somewhat relevant to the worldview in Star Wars, but not especially so. I think a non-dualistic Life Force fits Lewis’s criticism better—the concept that it’s natural for the strong to prey on the weak, because that’s how the life cycle works.

    The Similarly, TVTropes.com calls this an example of an “interfaith smoothie.” How should we be aware of these, and do they post a risk to all Christians?

    It is an “interfaith smoothie” — but I don’t even think the interfaith aspect is really where the bad theology comes from. The “Life Force” can invade bad gnostic Christianity too. Practically everything meaningful in sci-fi is an “interfaith smoothy,” and some of them are very spot-on with the human condition, even more than Star Wars is.

    Though the Force is based on Eastern belief, do its believers have the moral relativism of Eastern religions? How do good and evil appear in the story?

    Arbitrary, but not relative. I think the truth is the opposite. I think morality is sometimes relative to varying degrees (relative to the one Absolute), but never arbitrary. I don’t know much about Eastern religions, but this purported relativity is a non-issue. I’m a socially conservative Christian and I’m more relativistic.

    What are the main differences between Luke and Han Solo?

    Idealism versus cynicism. In this, they make a compelling pair of opposites. I feel these two conflicting forces in myself all the time.

    Does it change the story’s outcome, or is his choice more mysterious?

    Despite the fact that Lucas followed the monomyth template so closely, Obi’s death really did feel surprising, even still does to me. I don’t know if it’s a properly sacrificial death, but it is a fascinating moment.

    Might there be any Biblical truth this scene echoes? Is there any risk if we tried to imitate this action?

    Yeah, this is probably sketchier than the whole Force thing. I think many of us know the experience of being burned by this kind of spiritual platitude, or of wrongly using it to justify being blunt and lazy. But of course there is a ring of truth in it that we shouldn’t overlook.

    Thanks for doing one of these!

What do you think?