How Science Fiction Found Religion by Benjamin A. Plotinsky, City Journal Winter 2009

Popular art both reflects and forges popular culture. Science is the ultimate authority for so many in the West, so it shows up in movies.

“The Force” is one detail in which the new [Star Wars] films are actually less spiritual than the old. In the 1977 movie, Obi-Wan described this mysterious entity as “what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things; it surrounds us, penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” In the 1980 sequel, Yoda . . . instructed Luke to “feel the Force around you: here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere!” Such language, smacking of the period’s flirtation with natural mysticism, gave way in the new movies to an explanation more in keeping with our current fascination with molecular biology: the Force, we learned in The Phantom Menace [1999], was actually the product of microorganisms in the blood. It’s as though Lucas, instinctively realizing the intellectual poverty of the New Age, gave it up, exchanged it for something resembling science.

[From How Science Fiction Found Religion by Benjamin A. Plotinsky, City Journal Winter 2009]

The above comes from an interesting article about popular works of science fiction and their clear parallels to (or pilferings from?) the Christian Message. I don’t recommend watching all the movies it mentions. Those who watch the culture must maintain a healthy fear of their fallenness. But that’s another post.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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