Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Believe it or don’t, a screwy little oddball religion based on a sci-fi action movie first released thirty years ago is closer to describing how our universe actually is than almost any other religion on earth. This religion is The Jedi Church (I don’t know about all the religions so I can’t say that with absolute certainty.) By centering this religion around “The Force” the founders have made an enormous jump in religious thinking. In examining their sites, it is clear that the founders are not really aware of what they’ve stumbled into.
First of all, the ramifications of a religion based on the Force are enormous. In this religion, there is no god. There are no lesser deities and there is nothing and no one to worship, no higher power, or, and perhaps this is most important of all, nothing to be afraid of. Think about this for a moment, ponder the idea fully, because a religion with no fear of higher forces is a religion without any way of controlling its members. There is no bogey man that will punish you if you stray from “the path.” That, in and of itself is a totally revolutionary way way of imagining a religion. Even the religions with a totally loving and accepting god cannot match that.
Unlike Wicca or other nature religions, there are no spells or formulas and most important of all, no real dogma. (At least not yet. ) The Force is so amorphous that there can be no set way of accomplishing your goals. The Force cannot be dissected nor pigeonholed. It encompasses everything, so there is no one and nothing left out.
All those accouterments are of course, superfluous to what’s really going on. This religion has stripped down the extras and gotten to what’s real. The Force, if you understand this subject, is just another name for consciousness. And consciousness, if you follow the trail of scientific evidence, is no mere magic trick of evolution and is not the sole domain of animals with higher brain functions. It has been known to be part of physics for at least 80 years and there is substantial evidence that consciousness occurs in plants and even insects. Further, this religion has an actual physics theory to go along with it. The Holographic Universe theory fits in nicely with this religion.
No other church can come even close in claiming scientific evidence for the reality of their beliefs. The work of physicists and parapsychologists basically agrees with the premise of “The Force.” The Jedi do not need to rely on beliefs and faith, they have science on their side. So this obscure little religion based on fictional movie characters who still have 70 years of copyright ahead of them, can lay rightful claim to the title of: The One True Religion. Who woulda thunk it?
I’m fairly certain that many people involved in this religion are legitimately experiencing the Force. That’s fairly easy to do and it’s a mainstay of religions everywhere. But now that they have embraced the Force it’s fairly clear that they don’t understand the full ramifications of it.
First, if you are going to embrace the Force, you are also embracing the ultimate in personal responsibility. If your thoughts can determine your destiny (and bring your lightsaber back to you after Darth Vader has knocked it away), then your thoughts are determining your destiny. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you understand what is going on in your head, and for this, you have to understand the Dark Side, which is really the role of fear in our lives.
The only logical conclusion we can reach is that everything bad that we do, and that happens to us, is the result of our own fears, which dampen our ability to sense the Force have good outcomes in the events of our lives. This also applies to everyone else. The stumbling block here for most people is that this automatically means that there are no tragedies in the world. Everything happens for a reason which has nothing to due with bad luck. Our goal is to understand that reason. For instance, some people who use positive thinking to help them overcome cancer survive against all odds and others die anyways. Why? What was different with them? You have to understand fear and the beliefs surrounding it to get that answer.
My brief overview of this religion tells me that they are slowly falling into the same traps as other religions. They don’t have the big picture yet of what they’re really about and are floundering around trying to explain something they don’t really understand. The course of activities to become a Jedi have the feel of something that has been slapped together out of the necessarily sketchy patchwork that a fictional religion in a movie must be. It does not appear to be drawn from personal experience. Perhaps because I have been living this for almost thirty years, my opinion is that their religious framework leaves a lot to be desired. I could do better, much better.
But this is a newbie religion and it is still not fully formed. It clearly lacks strong leadership and a cohesive plan and as they grow they will have to sort all this out and find their true voice. If they do, who knows? Maybe I’ll join.