Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Christianity in Star Wars

John McDowell published The Gospel According to Star Wars, Faith, Hope and the Force in March 2007. This promises to be an interesting read.

John writes,

Instead, it is important to hear Lucas’ efforts to tell the story of the good life and signs of its fragility, disruptability and corruptibility for what they are (although here one needs to be careful lest the communicative act of Star Wars’ production be limited to a single voice, that of the auteur).

What is revealing about Lucas’ own efforts is that he has claimed that Christianity was not up to the job, being distorted by an ultimate self-seeking – a being godly for the sake of self-gain. In this process of listening, critical listening I might add, the way in which this set of movies is both culturally produced (a product of its time and place) and culturally productive (generative of cultural imaginations) is revealing.

It is expressive of: the ways in which the sources for the enrichment and fulfilment of spiritual desires have shifted in post-Christian societies, the style of pluralist ethos (Lucas’ Force is largely a Western liberal creation), the manner of the reduction of all artefacts to entertainment value by many in Western cultures (the fact, for instance, that Star Wars has become associated purely with ‘popcorn entertainment’), popularly located forms of resistance to dominant cultural values (Lucas’ resistance to neo-conservative politics), the ways in which various modes of Christian thinking receive popular cultural texts, and so on.

But something that is frequently missed in the rush to associate Lucas’ mythological borrowings with various Eastern philosophies is the sets of values that remain broadly Christian in a cinematic text composed on Western soil. read more

I find it fascinating to note that John have linked the philosophy of Star Wars with Christianity, and commented "Lucas'Force is largely a Western liberal creation." I have not heard what George Lucas had said about his "Force", so I am speaking from an Asian perspective. The force to me, is the tao, which is everywhere and nowhere. The whole movie series is a continuous cycle of human sufferings due to their attachments, betrayal and redemption.

Yes, it could be Christian. But it could also be Buddhist, Taoism or even Zen. Is it a commentary of socio-political-economic situations or about an intergenerational human pilgrimage? Are we reading too much into it? Would John have a different perspective if he is writing from an Asian country where religious pluralism, multiculturalism, and political dominance by society that is post colonialism but with no Christian cultural legacy.

Are we talking about contextual theology here? It will be interesting to continue the conversation.

More thots....
John has shared his perspective of the Star Wars saga from his point of view. I have shared my perspective. Who is correct? Is it an either/or situation? Is it possible for both of us are correct. What would George Lucas do?

Labels: , ,


Blogger doc said...

i've been waiting for a book like this, but it doesn't sound from your review that it's a simple straightforward read. will post my opinion, if i can find a copy at the bookstore (or do i have to order online??)

11:57 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi doc,

I know it is available on but I did not know whether it have arrived at the bookstores yet.

Yes, I will be glad to know your opinion.

12:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home