Saturday, April 25, 2009

Is the Jedi Religion Atheist?

There are 390,000 people in England & Wales who claim to be followers of the Jedi religion, and another 14,000 in Scotland.  But Britain's Office of National statistics groups them as atheists. Should believers in the Jedi religion, whether fictional, or real life individuals who claim to believe, be classed as atheists?

If you ask Jedi believer if he believes in God, what is his answer? It would probably be: "I believe in the force," or possibly, "no, but I believe in the force." If he says no, then it would seem he is an atheist. But what is the force? Here is the definition from Wookiepedia,

The Force was a metaphysical, binding, and ubiquitous power that held great importance for the Jedi and Sith monastic orders. 

Described by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as "an energy field created by all living things," some societies and organizations thought of the Force as a non-corporeal sentient entity that might be capable of intelligent thought, while others simply considered it something that could be manipulated and used as though it were a tool.

In the Star Wars universe, there is actual hard evidence of the existence of the force. Belief in it does not require the same type of faith as does belief in God. So it might be reasonable to call the Jedi & the Sith atheist religious orders, as they have no actual God and merely work with what appears to be a type of natural force -- regardless of its metaphysical nature -- that exists in their universe.

But what about people in our universe who believe in the Jedi religion? Since no hard evidence of the force exists here in our world, people claiming that a fictional force has actual reality appear to be using faith to create their own sort of deity. A religion based on faith in the unseen sounds quite a bit like other religions, even though the force is not a typical deity.  In my opinion they are not atheists and have been wrongly classified. 

Why hasn't more attention been focused on this critical question for our times?

1 comment:

  1. Jedi are atheist. They believe in science, knowledge. In the of the interdepence (cause and effect) of the univerise. Not a god with a mind. Jedi are religious in the same way buddhist are. Non deist.