This is a post from a few years ago, but since The Last Jedi has been released I thought to revisit it.
First, let me say that it’s just a movie. We shouldn’t take our entertainment too seriously. But entertainment does teach us things and it can reinforce our values or oppose our values. Who can deny that most of American entertainment opposes biblical values?
That being said, I enjoy the Star Wars movies. The Star Wars saga is epic in nature and presents a morality play that we can use if properly understood. But that doesn’t mean we should just accept the quasi-good/evil scenario that is portrayed in Star Wars. In fact, if you examine the good/evil scenario drawn in the movies and compare it with a biblical view of morality, you can only come away with one conclusion.
The Jedi are bad.
The Jedi aren’t as bad as the Sith. And the empire in Star Wars isn’t good. But that doesn’t mean that the Jedi are good either. They are simply a different form of evil than the Sith. It’s like the war in Syria. ISIS is bad, really bad. But in terms of the whole conflict, with the exception of the victims, there are no good guys on any side. Thus it is with Star Wars. The Sith are bad. The empire is bad. But so are the Jedi. From a biblical perspective, they’re just a different kind of bad.
Here are several reasons, from George Lucas’ epic series and the scripture, why the Jedi, as heroes, are not all they’re cracked up to be.
In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda tells Anakin to shun attachments. Anakin was getting counsel with Yoda because of his secret fear of Padme’s death in childbirth. Essentially, Yoda was telling Anakin to shun his love for Padme. If he feels no attachment for Padme, then his feelings won’t be hurt if something bad happens to her. From a biblical perspective, this is immoral. The Bible encourages attachments in its statements on love. In fact, taken to its natural conclusion, the whole philosophy of no attachments (which is Buddhist in origin), is actually quite selfish. You can avoid feeling bad if you just renounce loving attachments. The Jedi way is loveless. Yet, Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, and the second greatest is to love one another (Matthew 22:35-40).
Obi-Wan Is A Lair, A Big Fat Liar
Obi-wan is central to the Star Wars universe of heroes. But what kind of guy is he? Obi-wan lies to Luke about his father, what his father wanted, who trained Obi-wan, etc. Obi-wan’s whole recruitment of Luke as a Jedi is based on a pack of lies. How is this good? (Exodus 20:16)
I’m More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine, But I Can’t Help You
Remember these lines from A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back? Obi-wan tells Darth Vader that, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Yet, what does Obi-wan do with his great power? He tells Luke, “I cannot help you” when Luke runs off to confront Vader. Seriously? Obi-wan won’t help him? He helped him blow up the Death Star that blows up planets, but he won’t help him confront the number two man in the empire that built the Death Star? How is Obi-wan moral? “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Obi-wan And Yoda Want Luke To Kill His Father
Seriously. Okay, Darth Vader is a really bad dude. But if Obi-wan and Yoda are so powerful, why not do it themselves? Especially the “More powerful than you can possibly imagine” Obi-wan. Instead, they want Luke to kill his daddy. That’s cold. That’s wrong.
Nowhere in the Bible does being a bad or evil parent give a child a right to harm him or her. In fact the Bible condemns this (Exodus 21:15, I Timothy 1:9). King Saul was a bad dude. But Jonathan was loyal to him. We laud Jonathan for his character.
Obi-wan Tells Luke That Morality Is A Matter Of Perspective
What? You missed this in the movies? Remember what Obi-wan tells Luke in Empire Strikes Back. “Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” This is situational ethics, which the Bible condemns (It’s also very Buddhist). Now, if you don’t buy this, then remember Obi-wan’s words to Anakin just before their big duel in Revenge Of The Sith…
Only The Sith Deal In Absolutes
The Bible deals in absolutes. In fact, the Gospel of Jesus Christ CANNOT be expressed apart from absolutes. Sin is always sin and right is always right. The Bible defines these in the Old Testament Law (Exodus 20) and in Paul’s writings (Galatians 5:19-21). Take away moral absolutes and you remove the whole reason for Jesus’ coming—to die for our sin. So, in the Star Wars universe, right and wrong are a matter of perspective. Why then, if right and wrong is a matter of perspective, do the Jedi fight the Sith?
The Jedi Commune With The Dead
Condemned in scripture (Deuteronomy 18:11). Period.
The Jedi Control And Manipulate Other People’s Thoughts
Even the Sith don’t do that. Consider what these “good” Jedi used their power for. Obi-wan controls the thoughts of the Storm troopers, “These are not the droids you’re looking for.” Okay, we can give that one a pass because he was trying to save the galaxy. But how about his mentor, Gui-gon? Qui-Gon tries to swindle Watto into accepting money that isn’t good on his planet. He waves his hand at Watto and says, “Credits will be fine.” How is that moral? If you tried to swindle a business on Earth with bad money you’d go to jail. But wait, it get’s better.
Qui-Gon rigs a bet. Even the flying scumbag Watto didn’t try to do that. Just before the pod race Qui-gon uses his Jedi powers to turn the die in his favor. Is that moral? Try that in Vegas and see where it gets you.
“Search Your Feelings, You Know It To Be True.”
Used by both the Sith and the Jedi. But truth isn’t based on feelings. If Jedi are supposed to discourage attachments, then feelings can’t tell you the truth. It’s at least inconsistent.
The Jedi Forbid Marriage
Jedi aren’t allowed to marry. That’s wrong (I Timothy 4:3). It’s also a requirement for Buddhist monks. The morality of Star Wars is predicated upon Buddhism. To deny marriage is also to deny love, which is a great evil.
The Jedi Permit/Endorse Slavery
In the Star Wars universe droids are sentient. Yet they are regulated to servitude. If droids are alive then this amounts to slavery. Don’t buy it? Okay. How about Attack Of the Clones?
When Master Sifo-dyas orders a horde of clones to be made, the Jedi discover it and what does Yoda do? He uses them. The clones were made as an army; bought and paid for. That’s human trafficking. They had no rights. In other words, the became slaves. Who commanded those slaves? The Jedi.
By the way, in The Phantom Menace, what prevented Gui-gon from sneaking Anakin’s mother away with him to the ship? Nothing! What’s Watto going to do, file a protest?
Some might argue that the Bible endorsed slavery. On the contrary, the Bible recognized it as a reality in the time it was written, that men would continue with slavery, so the Law tried to regulate it to be far less inhumane. In fact, the Mosaic Law required the slaves be treated as family. Human trafficking was forbidden and anyone who kidnapped another for slavery was punishable by death. Even the apostle Paul encouraged freedom from slavery, urging a slave holder in one of his letters to release his slave (Philemon 1:8-20).
Padme Comforts The Mass Murderer
Now, my next three points aren’t exactly about the Jedi. They are about Padme. But she’s in league with the Jedi, married a Jedi, and relied on the Jedi. She believed in the Jedi. She’s fair game. So here we go.
In Attack Of The Clones, Anakin runs off to save his mother from the Sand People. But after she dies Anakin returns and confesses to Padme that, “I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children too.” What is Padme’s response? She coddles and comforts the mass murderer! In fact, no where in Padme’s response is she shocked or appalled or horrified by what he’s done. Is this the morality of the side of light?
Padme Refuses To Give Up The Murderer Of Children
In Revenge Of The Sith when Obi-wan asks Padme for Anakin’s whereabouts, after he tells her that Anakin killed children at the Jedi Temple, her response is to refuse to give him up. And this is one of the heroes of the movies?
Padme Wants To Run Off With The Mass Murderer
When Padme confronts Anakin on Mustafar, knowing what he’s done, what is her response? “Come away with me. Help me raise our child.” Come away with me? Is this the man you want raising your child? This chick was Queen of a planet and her morals are so confused she wants to coddle and run away with a mass murderer of children. How is Padme noble? (By the way, were the people of Naboo stupid? Was there no one better on the entire planet to elect as queen than a 14-year old? Hello?)
The Jedi Train Little Children For War. The Jedi Give Them Deadly Weapons
Or did you miss this scene in Attack Of The Clones with little kids practicing with their light sabers at Yoda’s instruction?
The Jedi Facilitated Anakin’s Tragedy
Actually, the saga of Anakin Skywalker really is a tremendous literary tragedy. Consider the terrible struggle he faces. Anakin wants somebody to love. He finds that love in Padme. He rejoices to learn he will have a child. That’s all noble and honorable stuff. But he’s trapped in a movement that shuns love, forbids marriage, encourages emotional detachment, and gives him no other options. Meanwhile, the bad guy in the prequels, Palpatine, is busy manipulating Anakin to the dark side by using Anakin’s own noble desires against him. He reinforces Anakin’s right feelings, but twists them. At some point Anakin knows what he’s doing is wrong, but he’s trapped. I surmise this from a single scene in Revenge Of The Sith. After going to Mustafar and killing everyone in the situation room, he stands on the ledge, looking out at the landscape, weeping. He knows he’s done wrong, but he wants to save his wife, but the Jedi won’t support family ambitions and Palpatine has successfully manipulated him. He’s stuck. But since he has no real moral underpinning because of his Jedi training, he doesn’t know what else to do. So he falls further into the evil of the dark side, admittedly worse than the Jedi. But the Jedi must share the blame. They set him up for failure.
The galaxy might have been better off it Anakin had remained a slave on tatooine with his mommy. After all, the Jedi are cool with slavery.