I Notice That Sometimes You Allude to Science Fiction, Including Star Trek and Star Wars. Do You Recommend That Christian Young People Get into the Star Wars Movies and Books?
I enjoy science fiction and I do like Star Wars, especially the original three movies. However, Star Wars is a very poor place to get a theology, and that’s my biggest problem with its influence on the young, who don’t yet have the filters in place to screen out the heresy. If kids and parents can sit down, like we did with our daughters, and discuss the theological errors with “the Force,” that can be very good for them (and us). Some things are better not to get exposed to, but some our kids will inevitably be exposed to, so better for us to help them think it through properly.
The theology of Star Wars is dualism (which historically has manifested itself most in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism). When we teach our kids about the world and the course of events, we need to say it is not fate, randomness or nothingness which control these things, nor is it a whimsical pagan god with limited powers, duking it out with competing gods, and only time will tell who wins.
We have a sort of evangelical dualism that surfaces, motivated by our desire for God not to look bad, but it’s dead wrong. E.g. in John 9, the disciples wanted to attribute the man’s blindness to human sin, either his or his father’s. Jesus corrected them: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” We sometimes back away from thinking God actually makes someone handicapped. We attribute deformity and imperfection to human sin and to Satan, and there’s a half truth in that, but only a half truth (and all heresies are half truths). God said to Moses, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11). Notice God doesn’t merely say “Who allows man to be deaf or mute or blind” but “who makes him that way.”
A few times when I’ve spoken I’ve given a little quiz. I tell them, “say the first thing that comes to your mind in answer to each question.”
1. What’s the opposite of good? (Say it aloud.)
2. What’s the opposite of black? (Say it aloud.)
3. What’s the opposite of God? (Say it aloud.)
Then I tell them, if you answered “evil” to one and “white” to two, you were correct. But if we answer “Satan” or the devil to number 3, we’re dead wrong. (Yet in my experience that’s exactly what most Christians answer.)
Here’s the truth and it’s what breaks the back of Zoroastrianism, dualism and the whole Star Wars theology:
Satan is not the opposite of God. He is the opposite of Michael, the unfallen archangel. This is not a semantic trick—this is the truth. God has no opposite. To make a created being the opposite of the Creator results in many other heresies, not the least of which is thinking that Satan and God are battling to see who can pilot the ship, with the results in question. This is Star Wars theology, not the Bible. Who will win, the dark side or the light side of the force? Dualism is a heresy many Christians buy into without realizing it. We make Satan too big—but far worse, we make God too small.
Yes, Satan is called the “god of this world,” but this is set in an overall context with God being absolutely sovereign. Satan isn’t anywhere close to being all-powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, or anything else that God is. He is capable of great evil influence, but he is ultimately a dog on a leash. (That doesn’t mean God is responsible or accountable for Satan’s actions—indeed, God is accountable to no one.)
God says “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness. I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). Our tendency is to try to be God’s PR people by absolving Him of all disasters. Sure, we can link them to the curse on the earth due to the sin of man, and yes demons do seek to bring disasters on us, but by distancing God from disasters (in a misguided attempt to defend his goodness—which needs no help from us) we end up with a deistic God who just lets the universe go wherever it will, run amok because of our sin. That kind of God isn’t vitally involved in our lives. He does not work all things together for good, like the true God of the Bible.
Anyway, if you know your theology and have discernment, you can watch and read Star Wars, appreciate its portrayal of good fighting evil, and not buy into its dualistic belief systems. But we need to be careful with what our children feed their minds on, since their discernment may not be well developed yet. If we as their parents don’t carefully point out to them the areas in which these stories are not true to Scripture, and should not be embraced, who will?