You might have heard there is a new Star Wars movie coming out.
We do not have to cramp the fun but there are some questions that come up. Should you go to see it as a follower of Christ? Should we take our children or grandchildren? Is it a discipleship opportunity in the midst of a fun movie experience...or is it moving away from "renewing our minds" (Rom. 12:1-2)? Good questions.
With some thoughtful critique (some of which we share below), Peter Jones at Ligonier Ministries comes to this conclusion:
I believe there are good reasons for viewing this film. We can certainly respect its artistic and entertainment value. Galactic battle scenes and human drama are entertaining. But also, by seeing this movie, Christians can sharpen their understanding of both contemporary culture and their appreciation of the Christian faith, allowing them to see in antithetical clarity both the Christian message and the message of Star Wars in order to present the gospel in a fresh way for our time.
In doing this, we follow what Christians have done throughout the ages.
What You Can Learn/Talk About
On a description of the worldview of Star Wars, Jones describes it as "oneism" (pagan). Some examples he offers:
- Morality is what you make it. The Force is either good or evil, depending on how you tap into it via your emotions. There is no objective distinction between good or evil.
- Existence creates itself. Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “The Force is an energy field created by all living things.” There is no Creator/creature distinction.
- Spirituality is found within, not revealed from the outside. Luke Skywalker must trust his feelings, empty his mind of questions, and “feel the Force flowing through him” in order to create his own truth.
- In redemption, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader optimistically “saves” the galaxy and destroys the Emperor, though evil cannot ultimately be eliminated, because evil is an integral part of a Oneist world.
- According to Yoda, death is eternal sleep.
Along with some other summaries, Jones makes these observations:
- everything is relative;
- there is no distinction between animals, humans, and machines;
- there are no moral absolutes;
- there is no unique divine/human mediator;
- there is no God, separate from us, who is creator and redeemer.
What will you do?
Each follower of Christ has a responsibility to be aware of their own leanings and where they enter into temptation. Just because someone else does something does not mean it is good for everyone. And it can be easy to deceive ourselves so it is important to be humble, that we may know when the Word or the Holy Spirit are pointing us away from doing something we may greatly desire to do. Galatians 6:3- 5 says" If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."
Along with often enjoying a movie with a good story, I have found such times of faith and culture overlap to be powerful times of reflection as well as discussion. There is a growth in Christ for me that is deepened through thinking, study, and reflection like this. Rather than decreasing my faith, these have been key times of discipleship and I further understand and appreciate God's grace to me, the uniqueness of the gospel and the great joy to be found in Jesus Christ.