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Is the force with me?

By Tatarigami in Culture
Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:42:52 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

It's coming up on time for New Zealand's five-yearly census, in which our government asks us questions like where we live (nervous gulp), what we do for a living, how well-educated we are, what is our marital status, religion, etc.

That last question is the only optional one. We have the opportunity to tick a box abstaining from answering on the grounds that we object to the question. I was considering ticking that one, but then someone circulated an email message to me urging me to choose 'Jedi'.

At first it seemed like a bit of a laugh at the country's expense. If this email can get 8,000 people to put down their religion as Jedi, then Jedi will become an officially-recognised faith in New Zealand.

But then I thought: is it really a stupid idea? Look at the factors belief in the Force has with other official religions:

An all-pervading force of creation

The Jedi Knights have 'the Force', Christianity, Islam and Judaism all support the existance of an omnipresent creative power, and followers of religions like Animism and Shinto believe that every item in nature has its own living spirit.

Belief in an afterlife

Obi-Wan Kenobi proved the existance of an afterlife in Episode 4 by guiding Luke from beyond the grave. Christianity and Islam support the idea of either a paradise or hell after death, Buddhism supports a cycle of death and rebirth, Shinto claims that we become spirits like the ones found in nature.

Belief in mystical powers to be gained through rigorous physical and spiritual discipline

Luke goes through a tough training regimen at Yoda's hands, Islam encourages fasts, Buddhism encourages meditation and contemplation. Judaism requires circumcision (and if that isn't rigorous, I don't know what is!), the Hindu religion has ascetism and practices like castration and self-flagellation have been part of some branches of Christianity in the past. Wicca encourages belief in ritual magic.

Martial training

Jedi Knights train with light sabres, Shaolin Buddhism has taught kung fu for centuries.

Belief in a malevolent adversarial force

To the Jedi, it's the Sith/Dark Side. To Christians, Moslems and Jews, the devil.

Heretical ideas adopted by splinter factions

Christianity has dozens of factions which can't agree, Islam has several different schools which co-exist uneasily, and the Jedi -- medichlorians, anyone?

Taking all that into account, why shouldn't 'Jedi' be a valid religion? Maybe because George Lucas invented it off the top of his head -- but can anyone say 'scientology'?


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What's your religion?
o One of the big ones -- Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc 15%
o One of the small ones -- Animism, Shinto, etc 3%
o One of the odd ones -- Satanism, Wicca, Pagan, etc 10%
o My own 26%
o None 29%
o Beer 14%

Votes: 202
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Tatarigami

Display: Sort:
Is the force with me? | 60 comments (58 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
etc. (3.00 / 6) (#1)
by ucblockhead on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 08:43:02 PM EST

I'm confused...three options list "etc." and my religion isn't mentioned. How in the heck do I tell if it is big, small, or odd?
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
etc. (4.27 / 11) (#3)
by Tatarigami on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 08:52:39 PM EST

If if involves knocking on doors with leaflets and having your sense of humour surgically excised, it's big.

If four out of five people have never heard of it, it's small.

If it involves dancing naked, it's odd.


[ Parent ]
Odd Religions: (1.50 / 2) (#42)
by GenericJoe on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 02:46:30 PM EST

If it involves dancing naked, it's odd. Thank goodness I'm in an "odd" religion. GenericJoe who has been known to dance around a fire naked.

[ Parent ]
Problem - overlap (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by scruffyMark on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:01:18 AM EST

A good, concise, controversial, difinition. Problem is, what to do about overlapping categories?

  • Small and odd are probably a pretty common combination.
  • Big and odd, much less likely. It would be pretty hard not to have a sense of humour about things when you dance naked on a regular basis.
  • Big and small, might actually work. There are some pretty obscure, pretty dour people go about handing out leaflets. I suppose that if you count Christianity as a single religion you'd get most of them though...

[ Parent ]
If it involves dancing naked, it's odd. (1.00 / 1) (#54)
by AzTex on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 01:39:17 PM EST

Tatarigami wrote:
If it involves dancing naked, it's odd.

Well, if "it involves dancing naked", I'm interested!

solipsism: I'm always here. But you sometimes go away.
** AzTex **

[ Parent ]
I agree! (1.50 / 2) (#5)
by mystic on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 09:10:17 PM EST

According to this site, my religion is in the first 3 but not in the poll options! Not that I am over reacting here. Just to set the records straight.

[ Parent ]
I screwed up (2.66 / 3) (#6)
by Tatarigami on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 09:35:23 PM EST

That poll was probably a bad idea. I was a little bit worried that I might offend people by lumping their religions together but thought "Nah, Kuro5hin readers have a sense of humour."

What I forgot is how much Kuro5hin readers prize accurate figures.

I'm gonna tattoo the phrase 'check the numbers' backwards on my forehead and mount a mirror on top of my monitor so I'll be able to see it next time I submit a story...

[ Parent ]
Humor (1.00 / 1) (#20)
by ucblockhead on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 10:16:24 AM EST

Hey, I was just teasing anyway.

This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Humour? (2.50 / 4) (#27)
by Tatarigami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:46:41 PM EST

But if I'd been a bit more careful, I could have escaped teasing over my lack of research skills, forcing you to fall back on more conventional topics of ridicule -- like my grotesquely misshapen features.


[ Parent ]
Contentional.. (2.50 / 4) (#29)
by ucblockhead on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:24:43 PM EST

Geez, you got a big nose. And where'd you learn to spell? Don't you know it's "humor"!?

This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Spelling (3.25 / 4) (#30)
by Tatarigami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:09:48 PM EST

where'd you learn to spell? Don't you know it's "humor"!?

[clutches desk]

No -- mustn't reply...! Must restrain... contempt for... American educational standards...

(phew, did it)


[ Parent ]
From your use of the term 'fnord' (1.50 / 2) (#39)
by weirdling on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:36:58 AM EST

You are probably a member of a little-known religion that spends most of its time laughing at itself and creating all kinds of evil conspiracies to be afraid of. Well, I'm not afraid of Bob, and I have never buried $3k in my backyard.
I am, however, a member of the Church of Skip and Dave. We, also, were not listed, but I guess since we are nominally a christian church... (Forgive me, was one of my earlier web efforts...)
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Scientology. . . (3.25 / 4) (#2)
by tiamat on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 08:44:58 PM EST

It seems to me that I read in alt.religion.scientology recently that The Church of Scientology lost its lawsuit against the US government over whether or not it could be tax exempt for being a religion. (They wanted to be, the IRS had other ideas.)

Whether you like Scientology or not, you have to admit it would be a funny slap in the face for them if Jedi was a religion and they weren't. [Yes, I do realize it's too different countries in question, with different laws etc. But the humour value remains.]

Disclaimer: This comment was not meant to inspire a discussion on the issue of the Church of Scientology in any way. I know a lot of people have issues with that Church and I don't want to start a fight about it here. As for me, I don't feel informed enough on the issue to have a valid opnion.

The 'Closeness to God Report' by Three dead trolls (1.50 / 2) (#37)
by weirdling on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:30:04 AM EST

And, for the sixth straight week, satanists were closer to God than scientologists...
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Couple More examples (3.33 / 3) (#8)
by Skippy on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 10:12:21 PM EST

Belief in mystical powers
You didn't cover a whole lot of mystical powers in that section. The mystics of most religions (Zen buddhists, Sufi Islams, Taoist ascetics etc) usually consider extreme insight to be one of the side effects of enlightenment. Asian religions in particular also often suggest more extreme powers such as foresight, telekineses and others after many years of training.

Martial training
While they aren't any longer, the Jesuits of the Catholic church were originally a martial order. Some of the more strict factions of Islam teach the necessity of Jihad and provide military training to those willing to forward Islam through warfare.

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Damn (2.66 / 3) (#10)
by Tatarigami on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 10:58:21 PM EST

Argh, I did mean to include visions, etc. I forgot that category when I was making my list. Which sucks, because it means I've turned down a chance to quote Alec Guinness: "I sense a disturbance in the force..."

Opportunities to say that without looking like a twit are few and far between.


If I'd spent a bit more thought on the martial training issue, I probably would have mentioned the Christendom's church knights -- the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaler. Not quite so certain of the second group, but I know the first were an order of fighting monks who took vows of poverty and chastity.

[ Parent ]
Fighting Monks (2.00 / 2) (#11)
by Miniluv on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 11:28:58 PM EST

Don't forget the quasi-religious martial monks so prevalent in Asia.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
Knights Templar (2.00 / 2) (#32)
by Paradocis on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:21:23 PM EST

The Knights Templar were also interesting because many of the higher ups in the order often engaged in ritual magick (often with a satanic bent). Ironic fellows, neh?

"El sueño de la razon produce monstruos." -Goya

[ Parent ]
You are the victim of a rather popular myth (2.00 / 2) (#43)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 03:40:24 PM EST

As the Templar order of monks rose to power in medeival Europe, nobles who felt threatened by their presence bribed the Pope into burning them as heretics and witches. The temporal power of the Templars was so strong at the time that such a maneuver was the only practical way of disposing of the order.

For a good (but brief) objective overview of the events surrounding the Templars, pick up Justo L. Gonzalez' The Story of Christianity Vol. I.

[ Parent ]

re: the Jesuit order (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 03:43:36 PM EST

One little known fact about the Jesuits is that during the European conquest of South America, the Jesuits armed and trained the natives of Peru to fight back against the Jesuits' own countrymen.

Shakes up the common perception of the subjugation of the natives as a Church-blessed enterprise a bit, don't it?

[ Parent ]

Cult of Elvis (4.00 / 5) (#9)
by Blarney on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 10:48:15 PM EST

Elvis is worshipped by many here in the Midwest. He is thought to reappear in humble settings - supermarkets, gas stations, movie theaters. Never died, kind of a cross between Jesus and Joe Hill - the evil drug pushers and record companies didn't really manage to destroy him, though unbelievers often think so. He started as a simple country singer and ended up fabulously wealthy, and you can do so too if you believe in him - upward mobility. Pilgrimages are made to his shrine in Graceland. Idols and icons of him may be purchased at any Meijer's.

I'm pretty sure that the cult of Elvis is far more numerous and devoted than any self-labeled Jedis. Maybe not in New Zealand, though.

Maybe Lucas Made Up the "Force" BUT... (1.00 / 3) (#12)
by HotChickOnAcid on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 12:01:26 AM EST

he knows what the meaning of life is!

look at all of those pretty colors!
For the record / minor religions (3.60 / 5) (#13)
by jesterzog on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 01:23:36 AM EST

This email was mentioned on the evening news (here in New Zealand) tonight. They interviewed someone from the census bureau, who said that the thing in the email about needing 8000 people for it to be an official religion was fictional. Not a big surprise, I guess.

It made me think a bit though. Being legally required to fill the form in (and my annoyance at this is another story), I'm still not sure what to put down as my religion.

I've been brought up in a Christian family and that's what I said in the past, but I've drifed away from that a lot more recently. By default I'd probably just tick the object box, but the other thing I'm wondering about is Scientific Pantheism, which (in a very simple sense) is based around a very abstract "live in the Universe and appreciate it in your own way" type of philosophy.

It might be a story on it's own, but to many people here categorise themselves in minor groups as far as some type of religious belief is concerned?

jesterzog Fight the light

A worthwhile alternative... (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by curious on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 06:37:12 AM EST

> I'm still not sure what to put down as my religion.

'Church of the SubGenius'

Reverend B Davies, DFS, CotSGE.

"Got History?" -- The Prelinger Archive of Ephemeral Movies.
[ Parent ]

What about Church of All Worlds? (2.60 / 5) (#14)
by warpeightbot on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 02:11:02 AM EST

The way I heard it, ElRon and Heinlein made a bet, that neither could write a novel and create a new religion. Herr Hubbard wrote Dianetics. Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land.

I don't know about y'all, but I'd say Heinlein won.

Peace, love, and Linux -- IBM
p.s. anybody thinking about Dead Agenting me can STICK IT

I read this wasn't true (2.50 / 2) (#23)
by Luke Francl on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 02:38:36 PM EST

...I read this is an urban ledgend.

However, I have also heard it, but the version I heard said that they bet who *could* create a religion. Hubbard's go at it was "Dianetics", and Heinlein responded with "Stranger in a Strange Land". In this version, Hubbard won.

[ Parent ]
The version I heard (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by a humble lich on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:23:56 PM EST

The version I heard is that a friend claims to have overheard Hubbard talking to Heilein and others at a Science Fiction convention in the 60s or so (before "Dianetics"). Hubbard said something to the effect of they way to really make a lot of money would be to start a religion.

Urbanlegends.com semi verifies this here where they say that at least 5 other credible people claim to have heard Hubbard say something similar. However they also say the Church of Scientology has won a lawsuit against a publish who said this so the truth still seems questionable.

[ Parent ]

Probably not (2.00 / 1) (#53)
by Rainy on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 03:14:32 AM EST

I read that there were a bunch of mystics who showed up to Heinlein's place to 'share water' etc. and Heinlein evidently didn't appreciate that as he chose to erect a wire fence around his place after that event. Another interesting note: scientologists are mentioned in at least one of heinlein's works (Friday) where they look rather good. In that scene, they and hare krishna people are attacked by some fanatics and while hare krishna people don't fare well, scientologists fight back in an organized manner because 'they are accustomed to being attacked throughout the history of their order'. On the other hand, LRon mentions somewhere that it's silly to write books and make a few cents for each word when you can create a religion and become rich easily - and later he did. I'm not entirely sure about this one, it might be a myth. How do I know all this? Well, Heinlein is my favorite author :-).
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Beer is my religion (3.57 / 7) (#15)
by FeersumAsura on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:32:58 AM EST

An interesting Poll and an opportunity for me to get something off my chest.
As we Europeans invented beer I feel qualified as an home brewing European to correct some common mistakes.
Budweiser != Beer
Budweiser == Lager
Lager is made with malt/barley only, beer is bitter and is made with hops and dark malts. Bitterness is measured in EBU (European Bitterness Units) where a brew like smiths is about 20 and a dark brew like Black Cat is 40 ish.
Guiness != Beer
Guiness == Stout
Stouts are darker brews made with a mix of burnt malts, light malts and strong hops.
I know this might sound obvious but I've met enough Americans who go to an English pub and order a pint of beer and get the shock of their lives.
Top learn more about beer you could look at CAMRA and these are some of the best Breweries

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
What? You some sort of Northerner? (2.75 / 4) (#22)
by leviathan on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 12:30:42 PM EST

If you're down south and you ask for a beer you'll most likely get a lager IME (I don't ask for Beer on that basis).

My definitions (C is the subset symbol):

lager C beer

ale C beer

stout C ale C beer

bitter C ale C beer

pale ale C ale C beer (and is what lager should taste like)

barley wine C ale C beer

mild C ale C beer

I'm sure there are loads more. So, asking for Beer in the UK is a pretty ambiguous thing to do and you tend to get what tends to get drunk locally.

What is a Black Cat, by the way? Personally, I'm rather partial to some of Youngs' output, or a bottle of Timothy Taylor's Landlord (never seen it on tap down here).

I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert
[ Parent ]

Guiness (1.50 / 2) (#33)
by Tatarigami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:29:19 PM EST

The story I've heard is that technically, Guiness isn't any sort of beer, because the brewing process skips secondary fermentation. Is that not the case?

Quite partial to a dark ale, myself...

[ Parent ]
I couldn't say (1.50 / 2) (#47)
by leviathan on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 05:14:43 AM EST

I'm afraid the whole issue of what makes a beer, and whether it's real or not is an entire other country to me. All I know is that I'd rather not drink Caffreys, given the choice.

The best I can do is to fall back on a dictionary definition, but that has to be broad enough to include things such as 'Ginger beer' - so I'll bow to your superior knowledge on exactly what Guinness is.

I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert
[ Parent ]

Black Cat (one more try) (1.50 / 2) (#38)
by Yer Mom on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:30:55 AM EST

Let's see if this will post this time...

Moorhouse's Black Cat dark mild, current Champion Beer of Britain. Worth finding!
Smoke crack. Worship Satan. Admin Unix.
[ Parent ]

Aah, Moorhouse's (1.00 / 2) (#48)
by leviathan on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 05:18:13 AM EST

I've had their Pendle Witches Brew before, but it's a devil to find in the south (no pun intended). The only time I've had it, it was sent down specially from Lancashire.

I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert
[ Parent ]
The Egyptians and Sumerians... (3.00 / 3) (#31)
by Paradocis on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:16:14 PM EST

...were both brewing beer as early as 3000 BCE. If beer is going to be your religion, do a little more research.

"El sueño de la razon produce monstruos." -Goya

[ Parent ]
Egyptian beer was different (2.00 / 2) (#36)
by FeersumAsura on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 04:00:26 AM EST

The early beers were quite different to mdoern beers. Mainly due to the fact that Hops wasn't found in Egypt and South America. Hops based brews origionated in the Northern european countries such as Germany, England and the Netherlands.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
That's not how Lager works (3.00 / 4) (#40)
by error 404 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 12:04:43 PM EST

First, lager is hopped. Granted, it would appear that the Bud idea of how to do that is to have a truckload of hopps driven past the brewery twice a week, but hopps appear on the recipe list for lager.

Lager is brewed with special varieties of yeast at a low temperature. Ale is brewed with other yeasts, at higher temperatures. By "low temperature" I mean refrigerator temperatures above freezing. By "high temperature" I mean room temperature, preferably a little on the cool side.

Beer is a generic term for alcohol beverages made mostly from grain. There are lots and lots of kinds of beer. Some are made with odd things - American Lager (aka Budmilloors) contains rice and corn. Even zima is technicaly a beer.

Hail Ninkasi!
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Close..... (1.00 / 1) (#50)
by Mr Tom on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 10:24:53 AM EST

Disclaimer: IANAB (BIUTB) (I am not a brewer, but I used to be)

> Lager is brewed with special varieties of yeast
> at a low temperature. Ale is brewed with other
> yeasts, at higher temperatures.

Sort of right. Lagers are made with bottom-fermenting yeasts that respire anaerobically at the bottom of the fermentation tank. Bitters/Stouts/Porters/Pale Ales and all the rest are made with top-fermenting yeast, which sit on top of the beer.

The upshot is that lagers tend to brew more quickly, and strongly than bitters, which are slower and less alcoholic, although more strongly-flavoured.

..Besides, it's all academic. If it's not Sam Smith's Taddy porter, then I don't give a rat's ass! ;-)

-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

Jedi can't be a religion... (3.00 / 4) (#16)
by gridwerk on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:18:41 AM EST

Just as you can't say I practice Priest or Rabbi. Jedi is the the person who trains in the way of the force. If anything "The Force" would be your religion Since the Sith also train with the same religion, just the darkside of it.

Wording on Census (3.50 / 2) (#44)
by hengist on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 03:43:12 PM EST

I'm a Kiwi, and filled my census form out last night

The answer section of the question on religion is in the form of a list of checkboxes next to names like "Christian", "Jewish", "Muslim" etc, as opposed to "Christianity", "Judaism" and "Islam". Therefore, a response of "Jedi" is in keeping with the wording of the form.

I did list my religion as Jedi, in case anyone is wondering ;) Next census, I think I'll be Sith.

There can be no Pax Americana
[ Parent ]
Isn't the category "weird" offensive (2.50 / 4) (#18)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 06:47:27 AM EST

I really object to your poll. Is Santería a "weird" religion, according to you?

Oh, yeah, I'm a Santero (Santería priest), if anybody wants to know.


Offensive? (2.50 / 2) (#26)
by Tatarigami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:42:03 PM EST

I really object to your poll. Is Santería a "weird" religion, according to you?

I don't recall mentioning Santeria at all. Why do you ask? Is Santeria a "weird" religion according to you?


I don't see any reason to object to my calling a religion weird. All I mean is that it's uncommon where I come from, a parochial little country at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

I checked www.dictionary.com, and the first definition I found for weird is "Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural." Isn't that what we're discussing?

[ Parent ]
offensive? (1.00 / 1) (#55)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 01:43:12 PM EST

Only if you equate "weird" with "bad." In which case "mediocre" would conversely be a term of praise.

Yours WD "median" K - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.
[ Parent ]

I feel the need to point out... (3.33 / 3) (#19)
by boxed on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 06:54:16 AM EST

...that Judaism hardly is one of the "big ones", as is demonstrated clearly in the statistics

The number of adherents a relgion has... (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by SIGFPE on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:48:37 PM EST

...is a pretty poor metric for measuring how 'big' it is. People typically use 'big', when talking of a social group, to include things like how far reaching its influence is, how much economic power it has, how major a role it has played in history and so on.

Judaism is pretty 'big'.
[ Parent ]

pov (1.66 / 3) (#49)
by alprazolam on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:00:35 PM EST

all these things you mention don't really make them 'big' on a worldwide scale, just on a 'western' scale. i myself would classify them with sikhs as 'odd'

[ Parent ]
disagree (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by Rainy on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 03:03:07 AM EST

Perhaps but isn't this site predominantly western? We post in english, and our stories tend to focus on west. Similarly you could say that in the context of our galaxy, none of world's religions are 'major'. Besides, you could say that judaism is fairly well known by several billions of world's population (most of christians know it and most of muslims know about it), while sikh religion is probably known well by a few tens of millions if not less. Thirdly, xianity itself has deep connection with judaism. Now a disclaimer: I'm neither jewish nor religious. I was raised in a mildly anti-religious and anti-semitic climate in USSR. I think I'm as neutral about this matter as anyone.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
That was the point (4.00 / 3) (#21)
by hardburn on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 10:27:54 AM EST

One of the ideas George Lucas was exploring in Star Wars was that of religion. He has stated in many interviews that he has studied many diffrent religions and orginized various beleifs into the Star Wars mythos.

The one I remeber off the top of my head is the horns on Darth Maul's head. There are six of them, the devil's number (actualy, now that I think about it, there might have been seven, which totaly blows away my point :).

In the first draft of Star Wars, he had this old man-like creature who saw everything. Eventualy, he turned this character into the Force.

It is no accident that the Jedi appear to be a relgion. It was a very delibrite attempt to explore relgion, espcialy as it relates to the other theme of Star Wars. That is, redemption of one person (Anikin Skywalker) through his son.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

The point (2.50 / 2) (#25)
by Tatarigami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:30:38 PM EST

Yeah, the idea I was mulling over at the time was that even though it's a completely invented sect created as light entertainment, it shares enough common traits with recognised 'official' religions that if someone did claim to believe in the force and the tenets of the Jedi Knights, it would be very difficult to debunk.

Come to think of it, if you set aside most of the ritual trappings and differences of dogma, there's a lot of common ground between different religions, even the ones that didn't originate from the same source like Christianity and Islam. If they can get over the obvious sticking point of zealots trying to kill each other, maybe they'd have something to talk about...

[ Parent ]
They did (1.50 / 2) (#34)
by Kyobu on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 09:27:38 PM EST

But Christianity and Islam did originate fromt eh same source. I'm not Muslim, but I have the distinct impression that Muslims hodl the Torah sacred, as well as the Quran. And maybe the New Testament, too, but I'm not sure about that. Anyway, the two religions (and Judaism, too, obviously) are related.

[ Parent ]
Christianity/Islam (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by Tatarigami on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 03:39:49 AM EST

But Christianity and Islam did originate fromt eh same source. I'm not Muslim, but I have the distinct impression that Muslims hodl the Torah sacred, as well as the Quran. And maybe the New Testament, too, but I'm not sure about that. Anyway, the two religions (and Judaism, too, obviously) are related.

IIRC, Moslems venerate Jesus as a prophet, but not as the saviour. And Jerusalem is one of their holy cities, the other being Mecca.

The story I've heard is that Mohammed considered the Moslems and the Jews brothers, but the Jewish temple wasn't interested in being friends because the Moslems were descendants of the wrong Israelite from the OT... so one day while everyone was praying, Mohammed shifted himself a few degrees and faced Mecca instead of Jerusalem.

Of course, it sounds a bit like a religious urban legend to me.

[ Parent ]
actually, it *is* an urban legend (2.00 / 1) (#59)
by yannick on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 07:19:59 AM EST

Of course, it sounds a bit like a religious urban legend to me.

And you're right. Mecca is considered a holy place by Muslims around the world for two main reasons, neither of which have anything to do with random rotation. The first is that it houses the Ka'bah, the big black rock you see them circumambulating, which was supposedly given to Adam following his expulsion from Paradise. The Ka'bah also has something to do with Abraham (I forget what, precisely, the connection was, though).

Anyway... Mecca is also Muhammad's place of birth, and was named as the Point of Adoration and place of pilgrimage for all Muslims by Muhammad.

Don't quote me on any of this stuff, because I'm not Muslim. I did consult a Muslim friend, though...

"Myself when young did eagerly frequent / Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument / About it and about: but evermore / Came out by the same Door as in I went." -- Omar Khayyam
[ Parent ]

Consider the explanation of force in episode 1 (2.00 / 1) (#51)
by Rainy on Fri Mar 09, 2001 at 02:54:07 AM EST

As you surely remember, SW mysticism was dealt a huge blow as force was explained by some kind of molecules in young brat's blood in episode 1. Maul's horns are probably also caused by some hormones or something. Or a mutation.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Corrections (none / 0) (#58)
by spaceghoti on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:53:49 PM EST

Mitochondrions were the "molecules" you refer to. Their presence didn't empower the brat of low acting ability, they were just a measure of how much power he had. And Darth Maul's horns are a racial trait, not a defect. Lucas originally envisioned a race of humanoid beings who engaged in ritual tattooing and mutilation and the like, but it got converted into our favorite bad guy.

I really need to get out more.

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
I used to be from Venus (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by error 404 on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 12:13:46 PM EST

On those occasions where I was asked to specify my race, I used to write down "venusian".

Unfortunately, it turns out that the correct form of "Venus" would be "Venerial" and I prefer not to use that. Oh, well.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

someone to take it seriously (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Mar 10, 2001 at 02:05:51 PM EST

Do you think a body of beliefs and doctrines can be considered a "religion" if there's no one in all the world who takes it seriously? I don't, and by that criterion, while the Church of the Sub-genius is not a religion (and the way I'd prefer to use that word, I think it isn't) Dianetics/Scientology is a religion. That's kind of a repulsive thought I guess, but judicially that is the case, just ask the tax man, at least here in the U.S.A. as opposed to Germany.

The cool part is, at least if we assume that L. Ron Hubbard was not a pure lunatic but instead he was, as it appears on the surface, a sane con man, Scientology was not a religion at that point in time when LRH typed up his rubbish - it only became one at that moment when that first wide-eyed sucker signed up.

(Yeah, yeah, I know this "Jedi" thing is only a joke!)

Yours WD "'God' is no joke" K - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.

Ha ha only SERIOUS (none / 0) (#57)
by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 12:16:41 PM EST

Who are you to say what "serious beliefs" means to any one individual? Some people seriously think that flaming bushes talk; others think that some people should die because the flaming bush told them to; still others make sacreligous jokes, inviting the wrath of whatever gods there may be while simultaneously slavishly following the gods' every prompting. Do you believe in something for non-rational reasons? Bingo, you believe in a religion then, because the best definition for "religion" has nothing to do with the veracity of the preachers, the piety of the followers, or the existence of gods and demons, but instead has to do with things about which we cannot reason, such as "why am I here?" or "who put all that chaos there, anyway?".

And you can just keep your elitest "we're the ones who are right because of the purity of our belief" crap to yourself.

And if it's a joke, by God, YOU'LL NEVER get the punch-line.

Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
[ Parent ]
if I understand your argument correctly... (none / 0) (#60)
by Ceebs on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 07:21:18 AM EST

What you are saying is that Scientology is a valid religion because no-one happened to mention they'd made it up to its first few believers?

to quote the crowd from the life of brian 'He's making it up as he goes along'

[ Parent ]
Is the force with me? | 60 comments (58 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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