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Force For Good? How Star Wars Explores Big Questions About Faith, Power, and Morality

By: john weirick

The moment “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” flashed on the screen, I was completely immersed.

Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI captivated my childhood wonder. My mind locked into the sci-fi adventure, the dashing heroes, and the high stakes battles between good and evil. I saw the struggle for survival, the pursuit of purpose, and the values of faith and friendship—all while defying impossible odds to escape evil and restore peace to the galaxy.

Star Wars became massively popular, not just because it’s entertaining science fiction, but because it resonates with the fundamental questions of humanity: What is our place in the universe? Do we choose our destiny? Where do morality and spirituality fit into our lives, if at all? Will we finally learn the truth about dad during an epic lightsaber battle?

I hope the pursuit of these questions continues into Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which hits theaters this month. While we understand it as a mythology complete with its own fictional spirituality and belief systems, we can be entertained by it without subscribing to its worldview. However, there are a few lessons the story offers us about what’s true in reality.

4 Themes in Star Wars That Matter For Your Faith

1. You are not limited by the circumstances or relationships of your past.

Luke Skywalker grew up without knowing his parents and wondering what his life would amount to, and was thrust into a mission with his newfound mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to rescue Princess Leia. Luke came to a moment of decision: leave home and risk his life, or stay comfortable and safe, never to discover who he really is or what life is like beyond his predictable existence.

That’s not so different from the Bible’s account of Abram, whom God called not with a fully formed plan or even a destination, but with the simple invitation to leave all he had ever known and He would provide something beyond his imagination (Genesis 12:1-4).

There’s also Joseph, who demonstrated we don’t have to succumb to bitterness or resentment because of our past or the people who’ve hurt us. In the end, it is God who can redeem anyone and anything in our past (Genesis 50:20). We can take what we’ve experienced in the past and use it to shape our character and direction for the future (Philippians 3:12-14).

2. Everything is spiritual.

In the Star Wars universe, spirituality is central while religion is less overt. Conveyed as a mystical concoction of themes taken from Buddhism, Christianity, and various beliefs, the Force is the fictional unseen yet powerful energy that connects all living beings. The Force has expressions in both good and evil, which “balance” each other.

The most praiseworthy Jedi embody themes of selflessness, the gravity of sacrifice, a bigger power and purpose everyone can become a part of, and valuing the unseen as something that affects change in tangible ways—which sound suspiciously like the insights Jesus shared.

There is spiritual power at work in us and around us, and there are forces working for the good of humanity and others against it (Ephesians 6:12). Everything is spiritual because all things and all beings derive value from God, who created everything. Every choice we make has spiritual implications: moving toward or further from God. Christianity is not pantheism—a belief that the universe is all divine—but about God making a personal connection with us through Jesus.

In connection with Jesus, we have access to power far bigger than ourselves (Acts 1:8, 1 Corinthians 4:20). Through His strength, we walk a path of increasing growth in our relationships, in our hopes, and in our work for the good of people across the street and around the world.

We have access to power far bigger than ourselves.

3. The best way to challenge a skeptic is to keep living in faith.

When Luke and Han Solo first met, they were far from friendly. Han mocked Luke’s belief in the Force as an illogical fascination with a fairy tale. Throughout the story, Luke kept learning the Jedi ways and practicing what he believed in, regardless of what the people around him thought of it. By the end of Episode IV, Han showed signs of trust in Luke’s power to use the Force when the Rebel Alliance took on the Death Star.

In the same way, Jesus kept demonstrating His relationship with God regardless of the skepticism and opposition around Him. Jesus invited Nathanael, who assumed He wouldn’t amount to much, to see amazing things (John 1:43-51). He invited Simon, Andrew, James, and John to a purpose larger than themselves, even though it took them a while to believe His teachings (Mark 1:16-20, John 7:5).

God invites us all into something bigger and more beautiful than we could imagine. He doesn’t shun us when we doubt, but meets us where we are so He can take us further than we’ve been.

4. Good and evil are always at war.

If you’ve watched Star Wars Episodes I, II, or III, you know [spoiler alert!] Anakin Skywalker didn’t become Darth Vader overnight. His childish passions and selfishness twisted into hatred and he became the very evil he once fought against.

In Return of the Jedi, Luke and Vader showdown over a powerful exchange of the truth about their relationship [spoiler alert! Vader is Luke’s father]. Luke is tempted by the invitation to become a powerful ruler over the galaxy if he joins the Dark Side. He almost succumbs to evil when it seems like retaliation is the only way to save his friends.

Selfishness turns good intentions into destructive hatred. We are each complex humans, driven by both a desire to do good and to do evil—sin—in any moment (Romans 7:19-25).

Rather than retaliate with violence when He was arrested, Jesus Himself set aside His right to fight back and willingly faced suffering (John 18:1-10). It was that willingness to give Himself for our good that led to our redemption through His death and resurrection (Titus 2:11-14). Evil cannot be overcome by more evil, but with good (Romans 12:17-21). That kind of radical forgiveness and love changes the world, one person at a time.

What new lessons and timeless themes will Episode VII: The Force Awakens offer? You’ll find me in the theater on opening weekend, eager to see if the force is still strong with this one.

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