Jedi, and the force referred to as a religion?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by FloridaFilmGuy, Nov 8, 2004.

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  1. FloridaFilmGuy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2000
    star 2
    Are the Jedi a religious body? Is the force considered a religion in the GFFA, or was that ignorance in the part of the military?

    Does Sideous represent a satanic element in the GFFA, and the Jedi a <good> religion?

    "Your sad devotion to that ancient religion..."

    And it's not that ancient when Episode 4 comes along... the Jedi were extinct only 18 years before...

    Jedi's were common knowledge in the galaxy during Palpatine's run as Chancellor.

    Anakin: "Jedi business...." in the bar in AOTC.

    Inconsistency?
  2. Super_Secret_Mario Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 1
    When he said "ancient" I don't think he was referring to the amount of time since the purge but to the amount of time the Jedi were around before the purge (tens of thousands of years).
  3. Ogmios22188 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 2004
    star 4
    Where'd my message go? lol. Anyway, I referred to the fact that the religion has been around for thousands of years, like many of our religions.
  4. Spike_Spiegel Former FF Administrator Former Saga Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    The only references we have in the movies are Han and the Imp officer calling it a religion in ANH, yet the Rebels use the phrase "May the Force be with you" almost like "God bless us" or something similar. It had always been my impression that, at least in the movies, the belief in the Force is a religion, as demonstrated by the Rebels. There seems to be no indication of a "God" or another religion in the movies.
  5. BescinPrix Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2004
    star 1
    FloridaFilmGuy, you are right, there are no other mentions of a God-like entity anywhere, except for threepios' constant referring to "The Maker" (which makes it look as though droids are religious?)

    Anyways, I supposse it could be considered a religion, since the Jedi pretty much praise the Force, and the Sith could be considered a "cult".

    I see a lot of parallels between the Jedi and "oriental" religions, like the Zen or Shaolin Monks. Granted, GL based the Jedi on these cultures, and that would explain it, but they are a religion of sorts (the Shaolin Monks), so I would say that Jedis are definitelly a religious group.
  6. Sanctuary_Moon Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2004
    star 3
    I thought that Threepio talking about "The Maker" was a reference to his maker (who we now know to be Anakin), in the same way as humans say "Thank God" or similar.
  7. BescinPrix Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2004
    star 1
    Moon, That is exactly what I meant, the 3PO thanks "the maker" the same way we thank God. That's why I said he seems a little religious about his "thanks".

  8. Sanctuary_Moon Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2004
    star 3
    Ahh - Sorry! :oops: We're both saying exactly the same thing.
  9. Vongchild Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2004
    star 5
    The Jedi are both a military group and a religion, as well as a people. If you think back to ancient greece, egypt, and the other cultures of that time, each group practiced its own religion as well as had their own militaries, leaders, and land. The Jedi are similar.
  10. xIntoxicationx Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 2003
    star 3
    The force is an actual real religion, i forgot which groups/contries but theres places where on their census...an option is Jedi or the Force or something to that effect. i remember reading it a few years ago on the os forums
  11. sith_rising Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2004
    star 4
    We tend to lump things in categories of being either religious or secular, with little grey area between them. The Jedi are a monastic order, but I don't consider them to be a religion, although it is understandable how Tarkin and others might refer to them in such a way (they are secretive, elite, powerful, mysterious, wise, etc). I consider them to be more like the academy in Harry Potter, a university for children gifted with the Force. However, due to their gift they also carry the burden of maintaining the peace and dispensing justice when the state needs them. I would consider the Sith to be a cabalistic, very esoteric cult, but still secular, as they don't appear to be concerned with an afterlife, and only seek the rewards of power and control over others.
  12. Dionysus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2001
    star 1

    The question seems to be: were the Jedi a religious/monastic order first, who only later agreed to be a police force; or were they originally organized as a police force because of their special powers, and over time developed amongst themselves a quasi-religious culture?

    I've always assumed it was the former, and I think Lucas may have suggested that as well. If that's the case, then one of the lessons from the prequels seems to be the danger that any religious order runs when it associates itself with a political order. For instance, the Jedi in AOTC are forced to fight a war that has been orchestrated by the Lord of the Sith because they accepted a spot in the Republican government.

    It reminds me a bit of Japanese Zen priests who willingly cooperated with their government's military and ultra-nationalistic policies during World War II. This involvement hurt Zen monastics in Japan (and around the world) afterwards, and I think, had the Jedi not been destroyed during the Clone Wars, they would have been similarly hurt afterwards.

    The irony, as I see it, is that the "purest" Jedi Knight was Luke, whose only allegiance was to the Force, and not to a government that could be manipulating and manipulated.
  13. sith_rising Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2004
    star 4
    That's true too. I am always reminded of the Shaolin Monastery. They were secluded, esoteric, ascetic, and dedicated to their studies. The Imperial government called upon them to quell a rebellion in the north, due to their reputation. They did such a fantastic job that they were labeled a threat to the government. The monastery was razed to the ground. Same thing happened to the warrior monks in Japan, Persia, and Eastern Europe. In other words, warrior monks and the government are ultimately incompatible (except for a radical theocracy, like in some parts of the Middle East, where radical fundamentalist clerics are encouraged to participate in a struggle).
  14. Dionysus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2001
    star 1
    ^^

    Good points. It would be very interesting to learn just what made the Jedi agree to their governmental duties. Were they forced into it, somehow? Or perhaps they were beginning to die out, and needed government sponsorship to survive. I hope that at least some of this backstory is addressed in ROTS.
  15. johnthejedi24 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 2004
    star 3
    So the jedi are both a religion/philosophy and a military force, cool, sounds like Alan Dean Fosters United Church; if you know what I am talking abouy. If you don't look up Alan dean foster,united church, or humanx commonwealth on a search engine.
  16. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    "Your sad devotion to that ancient religion..."

    And it's not that ancient when Episode 4 comes along... the Jedi were extinct only 18 years before...


    The Emperor made an attempt to reduce the Jedi to charlatans and magicians who manipulated the Galactic Republic for their own ends. It was a campaign intended to ruin the name of the Jedi Order and discredit them.

    Admiral Motti believes that the Jedi are a decrepit and powerless order. Han Solo beliefs that they play magic tricks. Jabba the Hutt seems to not take Luke Skywalker's claim to be a Jedi very seriously.

    The Jedi were destroyed both spiritually and physically, and their religion was nearly extinct by the time of the Rebellion.
  17. Nikknots Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2003
    star 1
    Well Han did say Hell as did uncle Owen.
  18. Sentry_Boy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2004
    I just wanna say, that I always thought that the rebels saying "May the force be with you" in ANH was a custom that started from the Jedi saying it to each other during the Clone Wars. Perhaps it just became the custom to say it before every battle or attack after the Clone Wars.
  19. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
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    It's similar to "May God Bless you". The Jedi revere and study the Force the same way as people on Earth worship God(s).

    There's the Jedi Temple, after all. There's a religious devotion to the Force and a focus on higher ideals, ordained by the Force. There's the mysterious "will" of the Force.

    There are even religious wars between rival sects of Force-based religions, the Jedi and the Sith.
  20. Zar_Valen Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2004
    star 1
    The "Jedi business" thing was said on Coruscant where the Jedi HQ was located and a good chance that most inhabitants had either seen it or actually met a Jedi. If you lived further out into the Galaxy there is a chance that most had never seen a Jedi but only heard of them.

    If you killed all the Jedi, took over the galaxy, and then told everyone that they never existed then chances are that the 97% of the galactic populace that had zero empirical evidence of the Jedi's existence would start to believe it. And to associate it as a religion means that it can be further discredited as religions are based on beliefs and not facts. Talk of midichlorians and the "science" of the Jedi then it's hard to dispute, but tell everyone that they were a bunch of kooks that liked wearing robes and believed they could see into the future then it starts to become easy to disregard.
  21. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Two of the steps of genocide, Dehumanization and Denial, are key to this discussion.

    First of all, the Emperor was able to convince the general public that the Jedi were inhuman, different, to be feared, etc. This is a necessary step to being able to wipe out an entire group without having severe uprisings from the public. In the case of the Jedi, this was most likely pretty easy. People already seem to view the Jedi as outsiders in the PT. Because of their powers and secluded way of life, the 'us/them' feelings were probably easy to play on.

    Then there's the denial. The Emperor's personal involvement in the killing of the Jedi could have been covered up. Or the historical records simply could have been destroyed or altered. In any case, by the time the OT rolls around, Palpatine's Stalin-like control on the GFFA ensures that the true nature of the Jedi Order, their significance, and their downfall isn't known; in the least, it isn't talked about by those who do know...

    except the Rebels, who still envoke the Force blessing. The Jedi were a religious order that has since been targetted and eliminated by the Empire. However, elements of their religious beliefs obviously remain. Luke is able to revive the Order.

    But as to non-Jedi and if any of them practice the belief in the Force... we don't really know. The light side of the Force, anyway.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
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