..of the Force that is.
In case you have been living in a cave...on the moon...of Pluto...there is this little movie coming out this weekend. It is called
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
For some people it is a religious experience. No, really. An actual religious experiance.
People like the members of the Temple of the Jedi Order. An organization that is, at least in the eyes of the IRS, a church. Go to the site to check out Sermons, Doctrine, and all of the things one might expect of a religion.
In England and Wales 390,127 people (almost 0.8%) stated their religion as Jedi on their 2001 Census forms, surpassing Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism, and making it the fourth largest reported religion in the country. In the 2001 Census, 2.6% of the population of Brighton claimed to be Jedi. Although personally I think
some the vast majority of those people are just giving the middle finger to organized religion.
But, that doesn't mean its easy to dismiss it as a phenomenon. We see other non-theistic and somewhat invented "faiths" flourishing in the Western world and have reported on both Satanism and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on this very blog.
What I think we are seeing is the desire for both the social and metaphysical functions of organized religion coupled with a rejection of those faiths due, primarily, to all the baggage the traditional faiths bring with them. I attribute this same desire for the rise of neo-pagan faiths (although an entirely different animal in many respects.) The question posed to people of faith in the 21st Century is this: Given a seemingly acknowledged need for religion in the lives of so many and out understanding of their needs, what do we do to reach those people? What do they want that we have to give?
Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not point out that if you want a Christian response to, and an excellent explanation of, Jedism you should go read Joshua Hays' A true Hope: Jedi Perils and the Way of Jesus.
And may the Force be with you.
Especially if you spoil the movie for me, you will need all the help you can get.