Whatever our creed, at this time of year it is vitally important to have hope - so let’s be positive as we go into 2017 says Jim Duffy
Who can forget those immortal words “Use the Force, Luke”?
Whether you are Gen X, Gen Y or Gen Z, Star Wars and the Jedi Knights are still cutting it on the big screen. I’m Gen X, so the original trilogy resonates deeply with me. I’m not sure which one was my favourite though – The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. Regardless, there is just something magical surrounding the Jedi Knights and all they stand for. So much so, I’m thinking of joining their religion.
Yes, there is indeed a church of the Jedi. It’s big and getting bigger throughout the world. But, unlike some other religions, it does not have omnipotent single beings who are its primary Gods. It also does not have saints or creeds that people must recite. The Jedi religion is pretty straightforward. There is no worship of Luke Skywalker. No sacred pictures or shrines to Yoda. There is no Holy Water and no Holy books that people can hang their hat on to justify violence against other human beings.
Sounds great doesn’t it? But it gets even better. You will not have to go a church service on any day of the week or confess your sins. And despite being a religion, there are no hierarchical structures, so everyone is equal. And wait for it – there is an afterlife! Woohoo! I always wondered how Obe Wan Kenobi – or Old Ben to you and me - was able to talk to Luke after Darth Vader kicked his ass. Good to know I can keep rocking it once I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.
All you have to do is join online. It’s that simple. No initiations. Then make a conscious decision not to follow the dark side of The Force. Like all religions there is a good side and a bad side mantra.
Luke Skywalker, Yoda and that guy from Trainspotting were all good Jedi Knights. Whereas Darth Vader, the best example of a devotee to the Dark Side was indeed a baddie. So what is it all about? Well, the Jedi Church believes that there is one all-powerful force that binds all things in the universe together. All living things create an energy field that surrounds us. It becomes part of us and we become part of it. That’s pretty straightforward. No books of wisdom or epistles or ministries here to educate or indoctrinate. Nothing like an ‘eye for an eye’ or ‘vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord’. The Jedi Church believes and is founded upon the principle that there is something innate within us all. That something is a sense of morality. In short, we all instinctively know when something is right or wrong.
But, alas this means the dark side is still out there and we are free to jump on board Darth Vader’s Death Star. There is still good versus evil. But, whereas other religions usually tell us what is right or wrong – like sex before marriage – the Church of the Jedi does not go there. It will not pontificate or preach, but instead leaves it up to us – as human beings – to listen to the force so that we will know the right course of action to take and hence the right thing to do. It just gets better and better… And unlike Tom Cruise’s religion – the Church of Scientology – you don’t have to get hooked into an “audit” process or give away lots of your hard earned wonga.
So, what would this mean for our world right now if we were all Jedi Knights or at least active members of the Church of the Jedi? I’m guessing we would see fewer atrocities like that we just seen in Berlin. I’m guessing we may not have an Islamic State with all the hatred and bitterness it causes. I’m guessing we may be free to live our lives and make our own decisions on good and bad as they innately come to pass inside us. But hold on - is this not Nirvana?
As Emile Durkheim believed – even in a perfect world with only saints cutting about and no sin as we know it today, there would still be some form of sin. Even the saints would invent some rule to stop others eating too loudly for example. Then punish those who munched as deviants. So, as human beings, if we do not believe in the dark side as it pertains to the Church of the Jedi, then we will have a bloody good go at inventing some form of dark side and getting involved. It’s in our nature unfortunately. We cannot help ourselves.
So, whether or not becoming a Jedi Knight is for you or you still want to potter along with your own religion and hope for the best, we each have to struggle with our own version of the dark side. I don’t believe any religion can get it 100 per cent right and hit the sweet spot. Albeit, many of them give hope to many of us. And at this time of year as we get ready to give presents to each other and celebrate Christmas, I think hope is vitally important.
I’m most certainly going to use The Force in 2017, in any positive way I can. I hope others do the same.
May The Force be with you my fellow Jedi.