Forced Out: People Chose ‘Jedi’ Most as Alternative Religion

12 Dec

Many, many people have heard the phrase, “May the Force be with you.” There are generations of men, women, boys and girls who have seen the Jedi battle against evil on the big and small screens. The Star Wars brand is, ironically, an empire in its own right. There are even those who have taken their devotion to the fictional world so seriously they are followers of the Jedi “religion”.

According to the telegraph, “census figures show that 176,632 people in England and Wales identify themselves as Jedi Knights.”[1] The number of Jedi in England out numbers those of no faith (atheists) which were counted to be 29,267. There were 13.8 million who chose not to answer the question of faith, so there could be even more Jedi out there we just don’t know about. Even another “religion” made up by a science-fiction writer can’t get close to the Jedi faithful. There are only 2,418 people who responded as being Scientologists.

What is so appealing to people to become ‘Jedi’? According to About.com[2] there is a code most Jedi adhere to in their faith:

Most Jedi embrace the Jedi Code, also sometimes referred to as the Four Jedi Truths:

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.

Interestingly enough there is a website which claims to be the Jedi Church. According to the beliefs page on the site:

“The Jedi church has no official doctrine or scripture. The Jedi church recognizes that all living things share a living force and that all people have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, and the Jedi Church celebrates this like no other religion.”

Sounds very universalist in nature with Jedi/Star Wars added in for “flavor”. George Lucas created Star Wars, the Jedi and their faith. In an article in Wired back in 2005, the origins of the Jedi faith appear to be explained [3]:

One of the audio sources Lipsett sampled for 21-87 was a conversation between artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch and Roman Kroitor, a cinematographer who went on to develop Imax. In the face of McCulloch’s arguments that living beings are nothing but highly complex machines, Kroitor insists that there is something more: “Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God.”

When asked if this was the source of “the Force,” Lucas confirms that his use of the term in Star Wars was “an echo of that phrase in 21-87.” The idea behind it, however, was universal: “Similar phrases have been used extensively by many different people for the last 13,000 years to describe the ‘life force,'” he says.

So the Jedi faith is pretty much a universal belief system with ones self being the rudder to navigating it. It is not a belief system in one one or many deities but in the energy of universe itself. The idea of being a Jedi is using that energy for good and peace. While I personally may not believe in the Jedi faith, the idea of being personally responsible for using one’s life and energy for the good of those around us is one we should all aspire.

References –

  1. ‘Jedi’ religion most popular alternative faith – The Telegraph
  2. The Jedi Code – About.com
  3. Life After Darth – Wired
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