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The Force vs. faith: Most Americans say their spiritual views align with those of “Star Wars”

More than half of Americans say their views of spirituality align with those of the Force in “Star Wars,” according to a survey by Skylight, a nonprofit organization that promotes spiritual wellness.

The survey question read as follows: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. How much do your own views of spirituality align with this?”

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The survey was released on the National Day of Prayer, which this year fell on May 4. That date each year also is celebrated by many as Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you,” a comical take on “May the Force be with you”).

Timothy Paul Jones, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said: “Eastern religious ideas are woven through `Star Wars.’” Those beliefs, he said, contrast with Christianity.

“There’s the pantheistic idea of an impersonal Force that binds the universe together, the presence of a dark side and a light side in the spiritual realm, the emphasis on finding truth through mindfulness and concentration,” said Jones, author of “Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: A Spiritual Exploration of the Star Wars Saga.”

“That provides us with a good opportunity to help our children to see the contrast between the personal God of scripture and the false gods of pantheism and do-it-yourself spirituality.”

Although the pantheism elements in “Star Wars” contrast with Christianity, the themes in the story have a biblical foundation, he said.

“Some of the most powerful aspects of the `Star Wars’ storyline are more Judeo-Christian than Eastern. Good triumphs through Luke Skywalker’s willingness to sacrifice his own life to redeem his father, and Darth Vader turns from darkness and experiences reconciliation,” Jones said.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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