Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s a special time of the year to reflect on not only your friends, loved ones, and the things you are thankful for this year, but to meditate on our own personal beliefs and values. No matter what God/deity/belief structure you hold dear, it’s a time to reassess all that you identify with and renew yourself as a person for the new year.
However, I may officially be considering a change in personal doctrine this year because, according to a recent census in the Czech Republic, 15,070 people now officially list their religion as “Knights of the Jedi”. The “Jedi”, for the folks not in the know like my Grandma and people who live in Brazilian rain forests, are a fictitious order of galactic peace keepers and followers of “The Force” from the Star Wars movies.
It turns out that this is not a new thing either. In countries like New Zealand and Great Britain, “Knight of the Jedi” is one of the official boxes to check on their census forms. Back in 2001, 390,000 Britons officially listed themselves as Jedi Knights. If I was a Presbyterian in Great Britain, I’d be nervous since, as far as I’m aware, you don’t get issued a lightsaber from your personal Lord and Savior.
Now whether or not a large portion of these people were listing themselves as Jedi for a lark remains to be seen, but for those that were serious, the Church of the Jedi is an actual thing. Those interested in conversion can head on over to www.jedichurch.org and find out if The Force is really what’s missing in their lives. The official guidelines of the Church of the Jedi all point to the Force, an energy that runs through all things, binding them together. Within the Force there is a light side and a dark side and it’s up to us to trust our feelings and strive to always do the right thing. Beware the dark side, trust your feelings, and always carry the Force with you. It’s very Buddhism-y.
Now, I’m the last person in the world to get preachy on anyone about their choice of religion. If you ask me, EVERY religion (and the lack thereof) has the golden rule in common at its core, so as long as you are kind to others and do no harm, I don’t care if you worship the giant sandworm from Beetlejuice. Religion is a personal choice and it’s supposed to be there to guide you to make the proper choices in your life. As long as you are happy and a good person, I can’t think of any deity that would have a problem with you. So, who are we to say that actively practicing the Jedi faith in the real world is nonsense? Jedi Knights are supposed to protect the weak. They try to avoid the temptations of fear, anger, and hatred. Sure, they’re constantly getting their hands cut off and are usually actively pursing relationships with ladies that turn out to be their sister, but they’re also obsessed with doing what’s right, always.
So I don’t know, take away all of the sci-fi theatrics and lightsabers, living life like a Jedi may not be such a bad thing. There is no controlling force or implied distrust of other religions, only right and wrong and the decisions we make that point us to one side or the other. Heck, it’s a lot less silly than Scientology, which was also based on a work of fiction, right?
Since it’s the holiday season, I guess the Jedi Knights would have to celebrate Life Day. Life Day is to the Star Wars Universe as Christmas is to us. Unfamiliar? Let Carrie Fisher and a bunch of incomprehensible Wookies tell you all about it.
I take it back. Looking to Star Wars for spiritual messages is a bad idea.
So, in passing, I’d like to start compiling a list of other movies we can look to for spiritual guidance as we are about to enter into a new year:
- The Blues Brothers - For I say unto you, forever be on a mission from God.
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension - An angel informed me that for wherever I go, there I am.
- Star Trek - Live long, prosper, and may you never find yourself in a red shirt.
- The Big Lebowski - Abide or believe in nothing.
- The Matrix – And yea, we saw that there was no spoon and from then we were free.
I’m still trying to figure out what spiritual path lies hidden in the film Condorman, but I haven’t found it yet.
This is what made Oliver Reed drink.
So what do you think, citizens of North Internetlandia? Can religion be found in a sci-fi movie? Are people just kidding themselves? Or is it OK if the end result is people finding a happier way to live their lives? What movies do you look to for spiritual guidance?
Happy Life Day, Everyone!