May the Fourth be with You

Think about that…

Jedi religion belongs in the star systems of George Lucas’s mind

It may be Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you), but how seriously should we take the growing church of Jediism?

Jedi Master Yoda in a scene from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

 

Today is Star Wars Day, being May the Fourth. (Say the date slowly, several times.) Around the world, film buffs, storm troopers and Jedi are gathering to celebrate one of the greatest science fiction romps of all time. It would be easy to let the fan boys enjoy their day and be done with it. However, Jediism is a growing religion in the UK. Although the results of the 2001 census, in which 390,000 recipients stated their religion as Jedi, have been widely interpreted as a pop at the government, the UK does actually have serious Jedi.

For those of you who, like BBC producer Bill Dare, have never seen Star Wars, the Jedi are “good” characters from the films. They draw from a mystical entity binding the universe, called “the Force”. Sporting hoodies, the Jedi are generally altruistic, swift-footed and handy with a light sabre. Their enemies, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader and other cohorts use the dark side of the Force. By tapping into its powers, the dark side command armies of demented droids, kill Jedi and are capable of wiping out entire planets.

JediJediism is a growing force. Photograph: Church of Jediism

This week, Chi-Pa Amshe from the Church of Jediism in Anglesey, Wales, emailed me with some responses to questions. He said Jediism was growing and that they were gaining hundreds of members each month. The church made the news three years ago, after its founder, Daniel Jones, had a widely reported run-in with Tesco.

Chi-Pa Amshe, speaking as a spokesperson for the Jedi council (Falkna Kar, Anzai Kooji Cutpa and Daqian Xiong), believes that Jediism can merge with other belief systems, rather like a bolt-on accessory.

“Many of our members are in fact both Christian and Jedi,” he says. “We can no more understand the Force and our place within it than a gear in a clock could comprehend its function in moving the hands across the face. I’d like to point out that each of our members interprets their beliefs through the prison of their own lives and although we offer guidance and support, ultimately like with the Qur’an, it is up to them to find what they need and choose their own path.”

Meeting up as a church is hard, the council explained, and members rely heavily on Skype and Facebook. They have an annual physical meeting, “where the church council is available for face-to-face questions and guidance”. They also support charity events and attend computer gaming conventions.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, a web-based group called the Jedi Church believes that Jediism has always been around.

Source: The Guardian Read more

An interesting concept, and as valid as any other religion on Earth. They’re all story books.

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