Jedi church says new Star Wars film leading to boom in followers - More than a thousand people a day are signing up as members of the Church of Jediism, leading figures in the organisation said
The Apocalyptic Cosmology of Star WarsHow to be a Jedi
- Joining the Church of Jediism involves signing up to the group’s online newsletter and completing a ten-part training course
- Jedis believe in the Force, “a unifying energy, which everything exists within, around and always returns to.”
- They do not believe the Star Wars films to be real. The church says: “Although Jediism was inspired by the beliefs of the fictional Jedi, we do not believe the Star Wars films – they are entirely fictional.“
- Meditation is a key tenet of Jediism. The church says: “Our minds are like sponges, which soak up information daily. In order to keep our minds 'clean', we must 'rinse' them of negative Force.”
- A belief in God is optional. The group says: “There are no strict rules in Jediism, as we believe in freedom and so joining the Church of Jediism would not pose any restrictions on your life. “
It is well-known, for example, that George Lucas self-consciously constructed the screenplay for the first film under the influence of popular mythologist Joseph Campbell. In an address to the National Arts Club in 1985, Lucas noted that he was entirely without direction until he stumbled upon Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces
...To understand Campbell's view of Star Wars, one must have some sense of his overall philosophy of religion. Campbell had very little formal education in religious studies. He studied Medieval European literature, Romance philology, and modem literature, especially the works of James Joyce and Thomas Mann. His main encounter with religion began through editing the posthumous writings of Indologist Heinrich Zimmer and through working with Swami Nikhilananda translating and editing the Upanishads. On the subject of mythology, he was an autodidact without formal training. When one looks at Campbell's assessment of religions in his published writings, this background is evident. Many of his examples come from modem or medieval literature with little explicit reference to religion. When he does speak of religions, he shows a decided preference for Hinduism's conception of the divine and salvation, and in particular, the traditions of monistic Vedanta. He degrades the western religions, Judaism in particular, for sharply distinguishing God from the world. "The Biblical image of the universe simply won't do any more,4 writes Campbell, and he also claims that in eastern religions the ultimate divine mystery is sought beyond all human categories of thought and feeling, beyond names and forms
Anthropomorphic attributions of human sentiments and thoughts to a mystery beyond thought is--from the point of view of Indian thought--a style of religion for children." One may note that this judgment even preferences non-dualistic Vedanta over the devotional forms of theistic bhakti practiced by most Hindus. In any case, the "proper" religious teaching of identity with the Godhead is not taught in the West, according to Campbell, because it is viewed as heresy or blasphemy; Campbell even claims Jesus was crucified for claiming identity with God. This is the sort of oversimplification of historical and theological matters in which Campbell revels. He generalizes about religions, concluding all that do not preach monism are superstitious and parochial. He reserves particular venom for the Jewish claim to be the chosen people who have received a unique revelation from God. That this denigration of Judaism is tied to Campbell's own anti-Semitism has been well documentedComment: The "church" site (UK)
What is Monism?
Monism (from the Greek word monos, meaning “single” or “alone”) is the view that everything is ultimately one. Nothing that exists is really distinct from anything else that exists— which is just to say that, in the final analysis, only one thing exists. And that one thing— call it “the universe,” “reality,” “the One,” or whatever you like— cannot be divided or decomposed into more fundamental parts or constituents. If it could, then reality would not be ultimately one. It would be ultimately many.
So the Monist has to say that the apparent diversity we experience in the world is an illusion. The distinctions we make between things are only in our minds, because if those things were really distinct from one another, there would be more than one thing in existence.
Monism is a very radical philosophy. It has generally proven more popular in Eastern philosophies and religions than in Western ones. While it has enjoyed some sophisticated defenders over the course of history, it faces some quite formidable objections.
In the first place, Monism is highly counterintuitive and flies in the face of our immediate sense experience. It asks us to disregard as illusory one of the most basic features of the world as it appears to us. It implies that our experiences of the world are thoroughly unreliable. After all, those experiences present us with a plurality of things: people, cats, dogs, trees, cars, doughnuts, cell phones, and the like.
For the Monist, all these diverse things are either ultimately identical or ultimately unreal. Neither of these options is easy to swallow or to defend. What’s more, it’s tough to live as a consistent Monist. Our everyday thoughts and decisions presuppose real distinctions between things: between your body and my body, between your spouse and my spouse, between your car and my car, between your credit card and my credit card, and so on.
And what goes for physical things such as our bodies must go for non-physical things such as our minds, as well. If Monism is true, your mind must be ultimately identical to my mind; your thoughts must be ultimately identical to my thoughts. But in that case, how could we disagree about anything? For example, how could we have different thoughts about whether or not Monism is true?
Anderson, James N. (2014-01-31). What's Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life's Big Questions (Kindle Locations 966-980). Crossway. Kindle Edition.Final comments:
- I am not trying to be some sort of killjoy. I enjoyed the first three of the Star Wars films and admire the quality of the film-making
- Enjoy the film - reject the worldview presented!