"I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer".
Sam - The Two Towers.
I have a good friend who is, to put it mildly, an avid Star Wars fan. He even goes 'trooping' (full Storm-trooper gear) with like-minded folks to raise money for good causes, but none of that bothers me - it's all good fun, and it's all just part of his wider passion for good Science Fiction and meaningful stories in general.
I've watched (the original) Star Wars trilogy of movies several times, and I clearly recall the impact of the opening of 'A New Hope' when I saw this for the first time on the big screen in London in 1977. George Lucas clearly set out to make a mark (as well as a small fortune in franchising), and much of this is due to the employment of 'monomyth' with the classic hero/quest tales of the family of characters employed in the unfolding of the Skywalker story. Many engaging fictional adventures source from that particular stream, and certainly, there are things we can all both enjoy and reflect upon about the nature of existence by viewing such material.
My particular favorite movie was 'The Empire Strikes Back', which provides some truly chilling moments regarding the nature of evil and it's impact upon us.
All of this then, is reasonable, so long as we place such material within the realm of story-telling with the purpose of entertainment that certainly makes us think.
Back in 2001, just over 390,000 people in the UK stated 'Jedi' as their religious view on their census form. There is currently a campaign asking these people to state they have 'no religion' this time around to bolster the secular return for 2011, but something new has come to the fore - an actual religion of Jedism.
I guess I should have not been surprised to find that there is now a 'church', a 'temple', a religious society and a general organization for this idea. It is also not surprising to discover what lies at the heart of this phenomenon - a belief in the 'force' - an intelligent (?) form of energy responsible for life and the universe, which pervades all things and enlightens us to be good, kind, respectful, etc - pretty much the way you'd find in several Eastern and some Gnostic belief systems. Things, then, are just 'there', including evil, so we just have to do our best with it all and hopefully improve ourselves and life in general along the way.
If there is actually no better ultimate reality than Thermodynamics reducing the universe to a constant state of entropy and decay, why would what you, me, and humanity in its entirety matter a hill of beans before the great forces of futility and decay? Why, in fact, bother "believing" in anything - why not follow the philosophy of someone like Alister Crowley, who taught 'whatever you think to be good, you should do...that is the whole law"?
The frustration, collapse, pain, coldness of life and the universe we inhabit is all to real to adopt a 'just so' philosophy to it all. Like the force in Star Wars, it's something which not only surrounds and penetrates us, but so often originates from within us, however caring and noble our best intentions may be. Evil is real, and Christianity teaches that there are clear, historical reasons why such malignancy has corrupted the created order and benighted our brief time here before we succumb to the consequences of such darkness and die.
We have not actually been left in a world deafened and blinded to our true origins and purpose.
The Apostle Paul tells us that when we begin to see 'with better eyes', that creation argues with us regarding the presence and reality of our Creator, but we willfully bury that sermon and prefer to listen to beliefs of our own devising which allow us to furnish our own poverty in our self-assertion. What is even more shocking is that the God who is there has not merely spoken 'from a distance' regarding the truth of our origins and our rebellion, but has actually come amongst us and spoken to the world face to face in the person of Jesus Christ, and yet, like so many of the philosophers Paul addressed in Athens, we still hobble back to our philosophical hovels, to content ourselves with myths rather than substance of what really matters.
Yes, we can enjoy all the fun of good movies, social activities that express our delight in such fun, and both think and converse deeply about the ramifications that moments from such entertainments place before us, but faith must spring from the deepest source of all, and that - in its most healthy and genuine form - does not reside in some abstract force or our crippled souls, but in the one who truly loves us enough to come and deliver us in our time of greatest need. Not only is that the greatest story ever told, it's the most important, because it is true.