When Star Wars first came out, I was enthralled. It was a great movie.
Star Trek meets Buck Rogers. It had all the action of those old movie
serials and with better special effects. Good vs. evil was clearly defined.
Imagine my surprise when I was talking about it with a friend. "Did you see
Star Wars?" I asked? "Yes, it was great. Such deep theological insights."
"WHAT!!!!!!!" "It's an action movie!!!! Not a theological piece!" No one reads
JRR Tolkien thinking he's giving an authentic history of the earth or the
social lives of hobbits!
I can see how various things in our life can prompt thoughts of God and
our relationshp with Him. I remember talking to my mother how the movie "The
Seventh Sign" got me thinking if I would die for Him. But I sure didn't
think it was a treatise on Revelations or anything. Now, with the opening of
"Star Wars, Episode One - The Phantom Menace" (Which I have not seen yet) I'm not too surprised
to read and hear about all these theological discussions being bantered
about. Recently in my local paper, someone wrote in the Religious news
section that the theology (of the movie) was wrong. Their contention, that
First Episode promotes thinking with your heart and not your head. An
Obe-Wan vs. Mr. Spock argument. Thing is, it's neither.
For one faction, faith is what we 'feel', a 'warm fuzzy' theology. If
it's right for you, then it's right. The Obe-Wan Kanobe idea of faith. We
see them in the Church. We have to redo the Mass (for example) to liven it
up, make it more fun to draw people back. As if devotion to God isn't reason
enough to attend Mass. We've also seen serious moral errors pushed by this
mentality. "God wants me happy, this makes me happy, ergo…." They either
forget, ignore, or were never taught Christ's teaching, " And He said, 'What
comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart
of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting,
wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All
these evil things come from within, and they defile a man'" (Mark 7:20-23). So
we cannot rely on our heart, our conscience without the help and guidance of
the Church. Yet, our 'heart' does draw us to God, to seek God. However,
often, our wants and desires get in the way of a true search for God. As
Christ said, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. So they weaken
and kill their conscience (their heart) and rationalize their way further and
further from God.
So is the answer the Mr. Spock slant? Reason and logic? Not at all.
Again, errors, mistakes, and heresies have been put forward with logical,
reasoned responses. "I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who
create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you
have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ,
but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the
hearts of the simple-minded" (Romans 16:17-18).
Faith is attached to reason but goes beyond it. "God, Who through the
Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men
an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20).
Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation," (Dogmatic Constitution
on Divine Revelation [DEI VERBUM] Vatican Council II; Ch 1, #3)
This is the 'force' that Star Wars alludes to. It's this 'knowledge' of
God that led those who did not 'know' God to assign names to Him. After all,
Aristotle wrote that if we go back to the origin of the world and all
creation, we come to the 'unmoved mover', i.e. God. So by logic, we can know
that there is a God. But God didn't want us to merely know 'of' Him, but to
"Planning to make known the way of Heavenly salvation, He went further and
from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall
His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Genesis
3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care,
to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of
salvation (see Romans 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called
Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Genesis 12:2). Through the
patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this
people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident Father
and just Judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this
manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries." (Ibid)
So faith is not devoid of reason. But faith goes beyond reason and
logic. Logically, according to the wisdom of the world, Christ's birth, life
and death was not according to the way one becomes a leader. Born poor and
in obscurity is hardly a way to become great. (Sidhartha [Buddha] was born
of royalty). He spoke to relatively few people (hardly the way to get your
message known to the maximum number of people). And He was accused of a
terrible crimes and executed with known criminals (not the kind of symbol one
wants as the leader of a movement). "For the word of the cross is folly to
those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of
God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the
cleverness of the clever I will thwart.' Where is the wise man? Where is the
scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom
of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:18-20).
Conscience vs. logic?
"For Jews demand signs (feelings) and Greeks seek wisdom (logic), but we
preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but
to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and
the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the
weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:22-25).
G. K. Chesterton once wrote that it isn't that those who have lost their
faith believe in nothing, rather it is that they will believe anything. Even
a theology according to Lucas.
So, next time someone (maybe even a Catholic) comes to you talking about
the profound spiritual meaning of Star Wars, just smile and think "May the
farce be with you."