[Note: This is an evaluation of spiritual perspectives in the movie, not a summary of the plot or a critique of the acting. Further evaluation of spiritual views in previous Star Wars movies can be found in CANA article on Star Wars movies,  “Attack of the Clones,” “Revenge of the Sith,” and in articles “The Tao,” “Chi:  The Universal Energy” (which the Force is based on), and “Yin and Yang: Going With the Flow.”]


At very beginning of the film we have these words:


“Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.”
(Said to Luke Skywalker by Lor San Tekka)



People should wonder what this balance in the quote above is about. The philosophy from the previous six movies is still present, which I wrote about in articles on Episodes 2 and 3. It is no secret that George Lucas is a follower of Eastern spirituality and was heavily influenced by the ideas of Joseph Campbell, who had incorporated Jungian thinking in his own philosophy. The view of good and evil in Eastern beliefs parallel those in the occult, as well as with the outlooks of Carl Jung and Campbell.


From one of my articles on Star Wars:


The Jedi and the Sith are similar, we are told, except that the Jedi use the light side of the Force while the Sith use the dark side. Still, they are both using the Force, just different sides of it. At one point about 45 minutes into the movie, Obi-Wan says, “Isn’t Anakin the Chosen One? Is he not the one who will bring balance to the Force?” This balancing of the Force is mentioned several times in the movie.

Balancing the Force means that both the dark and light sides remain intact; it’s just that they are balanced. It is never a question of the light side vanquishing the dark side – that is impossible, since, in order to exist, the Force must have both a dark and light side. This view is an occult dualistic view that holds that good and evil must co-exist in order for each to exist at all, and is becoming a more commonly accepted view in our culture. The Force, like power in the occult and like the Tao in Taoism, is neutral. Keep in mind that George Lucas has studied and admires Eastern religions. In this view, there is no ultimate good, just the Force, or power, or the Tao.


I saw the first three Star Wars movies when I was in the New Age and loved them because they clearly expressed the New Age-Eastern beliefs I was following at the time (and for many years after that). Taoism is strong in the Star Wars story in the example of the Force with its dark and light sides (the Tao and Yin and Yang), along with covert and overt ideas from Zen Buddhism and the occult expressed in the films.


If the dark and light are two sides of the Force, the Force is not about good and evil since they must be part of the same thing. So to talk about good vs. evil in light of the Force is contradictory and illogical. This good and evil view is a parallel of the concept of the Yin and Yang which come from the same source, the impersonal Tao. The goal is to find balance between Yin and Yang in order to have harmony, which is why there are so many references to balancing the Force in these films.


Not only is the occult idea of balancing the Force expressed, but also the occult view that “the dark side” is from the same source as “the light side” and is merely going “deeper” with it.



I am not making any statement about whether people should see the Star Wars movies or not. In order to inform, I am pointing out some of the prominent spiritual philosophies in this film and the others. It is also not my contention that individuals watching these movies would necessarily be influenced by them. However, the ideas certainly confirm the beliefs of those who already hold to them, as they did for me.


What I do believe is that “Star Wars” and other movies and books that promote spiritual and ethical ideas contrary to the absolute truths as revealed by the true God do influence the culture. It is important to recognize these views in order to be discerning, as well as to understand that some of the ideas in the films are similar to or are the same as those in Eastern and occult spiritualities. These concepts have already infiltrated the culture via many venues beyond entertainment, such as alternative therapies; Eastern spiritual teachings, Yoga, martial arts, and meditation; and some self-help philosophies. Therefore, exposure is certain although likely to be subtle.



Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), author of books such as The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth, was a mythologist and anthropologist, whose books and famed interviews with Bill Moyers made him a popular figure with many followers and fans. George Lucas admitted Campbell had a major influence on his “Star Wars” series. Some of Campbell’s ideas are used by astrologers.


Campbell often takes religious stories and forces them to fit his pantheistic world view. He even does this with the Bible.

For example, in The Power of Myth he compares the serpent in the Garden of Eden with “immortal energy and consciousness engaged in the field of time, constantly throwing off death and being born again.” It may be what the snake represents in Campbell’s theology, but the biblical text makes no such comparison.

….During the interviews, Campbell and Moyers turn the Judeo-Christian concept of “love thy neighbor” into a pantheistic view of morality where we are supposed to “love thy neighbor as thyself because thy neighbor is thyself.” Not only am I and my neighbor one, but God and I are also one in Campbell’s religion. Man is not made in the image of God, according to Campbell, — man is God.

It is common for Campbell to make the idea of God into a kind of pantheistic dualism whereby God becomes an impersonal, transcendent principle with a good side and an evil side. Although Campbell often preaches compassion for one’s fellow human beings, he also says, “Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything.”  From article by Tom Snyder, “Myth Perceptions, Joseph Campbell’s Power of Deceit”


Joseph Campbell stated: “Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world of time and place. Their real universe is the spiritual realm of the inner life. The Kingdom of God is within you.”


The above quotes reveal a man who distorts Scriptures and gives them another meaning. He interprets the Bible and reality through a Gnostic based filter and not on context or objective data. On what basis can Campbell claim that the “real universe” is the spiritual one? And if the “real universe” is the spiritual one, what standard is being used to determine its meaning or worth?


Campbell seems to have been a relativist and perhaps somewhat of an existentialist. For example, he stated:


“You really can’t follow a guru. You can’t ask somebody to give The Reason, but you can find one for yourself; you decide what the meaning of your life is to be. People talk about the meaning of life; there is no meaning of life–there are lots of meanings of different lives, and you must decide what you want your own to be.” — Joseph Campbell, An Open Life (Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms), p.110


If there is no meaning to life, but only many meanings of different lives, that is self-refuting. If there is no meaning, there can’t be many meanings!


Relativism as reality cannot exist because if all is relative, that in itself is a claim to absolute truth (the claim that all is relative). Moreover, if all is relative, the claim that all is relative is relative as well and is therefore rendered meaningless. Campbell’s statement reveals very fuzzy and illogical thinking, yet this passes for a potent and admired philosophy for many.


Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:20-25




“Star Wars and the Ancient Religion” by Dr. Peter Jones


“Not Everything is a Hero’s Journey”


Campbell adhered still to the ideas of James Frazer (The Golden Bough), whose work has long been rejected (see comments by a classical scholar of our acquaintance here), and it is also clear by reading his texts that he tried very hard to force a mystical template on Judeo-Christian religious concepts, and did so by way of illicit generalizing….[….]….Citing later Christian syncretism of pagan ideas and symbols without regard for whether such importation was in any sense alien to the first-century apostolic faith. (Though nowhere does Campbell lay out what he thinks is the significance of the parallels, practically speaking.) From Tekton Apologetics


This was an interesting reply to a question about criticism of Joseph Campbell on Quora (a sentence in this is bolded by me for emphasis as it can be applied to many things dealt with by CANA):

“His ideas were popular for a while in literature, and then abandoned because they only work for a small subset of stories….<snip>

There is a particular seam of ‘heroic journey’ writing which Campbell was able to identify. However, those stories tend to be quite basic, and essentially mythical or fairy-tale. However, even most fairy-tales don’t actually fit his paradigm.

In their desperation to find plots that work, many writers have been reading Campbell or his imitators over the last thirty or so years. One of the characteristics of the way we think is that if someone shows you a pattern and tells you that it is the secret pattern underlying everything else, you will start to fit other things around it.

So, Star Wars is clearly a Campbell-type narrative, but it should be, because Lucas was influenced by Campbell. The Lord of the Rings isn’t, unless you reinterpret it. Christopher Booker was accused of doing this.

Actually, Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings and pretty much every other book do follow a pattern, but it’s a much simpler one, and it was identified by Aristotle. It is that stories proceed by discoveries and reversals. Since the middle ages, we properly have double reversals rather than single reversals, where, to make a win look greater, we first start to lose, and to make a loss more bitter, we first start to win. That’s the basic ‘plot behind all plots’, but if you try to get more elaborate than that, then you start excluding some of the greatest stories, or else saying they are about a different character than the protagonist. It’s a brave man who says that Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Eliot, Conan Doyle and Tolkien all mistook their characters.” – Martin Turner


The Religion of the Force by Norm Geisler and Richard Howe


Myth Conceptions: Joseph Campbell and the New Age by Tom Snyder


CANA Articles

Yin and Yang


Chi: The Universal Energy


Overview of Taoism


Star Wars: Attack of the Clones


Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith



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