Friday, January 15, 2010

Dark Side of the Force ...

Yes the next installment of the Star Wars saga was released today albeit in animated format. Critics will muse this may not be George Lucas’ best work, fans may see it regardless. But I was wondering if perhaps in no small way, George has captured the imagination of believers and non-believers alike in his saga related to the all powerful Force. The story (again only fiction) claims a sort of kinetic invisible living force binds all creatures together, working both in cooperation with and sometimes in control of our motions, thoughts and actions. Those that deny any form of deity are merely entertained by this superstitious notion. Those that believe in a creator God, are they entertained, or do they perhaps believe in some way this may even be true?

An older comedian Flip Wilson’s famous line was … “the Devil made me do it”. Always used in satirical presentations and for humorous effect, his audience understood the message. There are times when people take actions in the real world, that they blame on influence that comes from the supernatural world – both for positive and negative results. Killers have sometimes claimed possession for their actions. Healers sometimes say they “feel” the power moving through them. There are documented cases of exorcisms that the Catholic church has done over the years, though skepticism by the mainstream masses remains high. To admit there is a Devil, is to acknowledge there is a God. Mediums have long claimed to have ‘spirits’ inhabit their physical bodies. Is this what Lucas may be referring to in his fictional tales? Could he be trying to define an outside-of-body force that somewhat controls our destiny?

On a very profound level even the plan of Salvation we have discussed in this book seems to indicate you have no real control over your life. You have but to choose your master – either evil or good – either Satan or Christ. Once your choice is made, your destiny seems to be laid out in front of you. Your biggest worry even then, merely changing your mind about who you choose to serve. When you choose Christ, you seem to be yielding up control to Him. In order to effect real change in your behavior He must have the ability to change how you think. To impact your basic desires, likes and dislikes, becomes a prerequisite to meaningful change in your character. When you yield your decisions, your thinking, and even your likes and dislikes to Christ, He makes real progress transforming your character. The core of who you are is molded into His image. This is part of the gift He offers you, and quite necessary if you are to escape the bondage of sin, and get past the addictions you suffer from.

When you do not choose Christ, you make a default decision to choose evil. There is but one escape from evil, that is to choose the protection of Christ. A non-choice then, is a toleration of the conditions you find yourself in – a denial that evil is in charge of your life – and therefore a tacit acceptance of evil as your current master. Non believers do not accept this premise. As always they believe there are no outside influences in life that you must choose between. And frankly evil wishes for this myth to continue. Were the true nature of evil to be put in the spotlight, no-one would consciously choose it. The biggest myth put forward to the human race has always been one of self-reliance and self-destiny. But the truth remains, as evil remains in the world – you have only to look around you and you can find it everywhere. If man (un-influenced by any external evil force) were truly in control of his own thinking and choices, why would evil continue to remain in the world?

And once under the influence of evil, is it ever really possible to make right choices? Knowing the truth and turning away from it, or perhaps denying the truth altogether – what basis is that for performing good actions, making good decisions, or ever serving others? While there may not be an all powerful kinetic invisible force that controls our lives and destinies, the truth of the influence of evil is unmistakable.

Look at it another way. Would Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dalhmer ever have made the series of decisions and actions they made without any evil influence in the world? It is easy to dismiss them as crazy but think about the depravity of what they did. The level of pain they inflicted on others in a one-on-one setting; killing sometimes without guns but with sharp instruments; torture – this kind of sickness is beyond the scope of most ‘normal’ people. To actually take another human life is traumatic enough, but to systemically or randomly continue this action is pure evil. This is the sort of behavior that defines evil. Do we truly believe these men were free of outside influence?

One characteristic of evil is the nature of its insatiability. It is never satisfied, always hungry. While good dwells on emotions like contentment, fulfillment, meaning, and service – evil dwells on greed, hunger, excess, and a preoccupation with self. Lest you believe only murder defines the influence of evil, look at Enron. Greed in the cases of corporate fraud of recent years seems to have no limit as well. No matter how many millions these executives had, no matter how many homes, or cars, or goods – the quest for more could not be stopped. The lives they crushed along the way were mere collateral damage. After all, it is war to make money, all is fair in war, right?

Lest you think an outside force could not control your physical being, you need only to read the stories of the demoniacs in the Bible. They were ‘compelled’ to take actions no one could understand. Unseen influences can interact with the real world. So could George Lucas be on to something here, even if only by accident? The biggest problem with his vision of the Force is its lack of character. In his movies, the Force is painted as fairly benign, with good or evil capabilities. He puts control in the hands of the human (or intelligent being), to decide which avenue of the Force to explore. He does talk about the domination of one’s destiny, but seems to have the small choices waiver back and forth from good to evil (at least in the character of the main hero/villain). Is this the story of us?

Do we treat the outside influences of the universe, beyond our sight, as something to be trifled with? Do we make God or Satan mere playthings to explore when we have interest? I hope not. While I do not believe in a singular all powerful invisible Force, I do believe in two beings of powerful opposing natures. One being is my creator God, who sacrificed Himself to save me from the other unseen being, the father of all evil. While I may be unable to defeat evil, my creator is more than capable. I willingly choose to follow my God. I gladly accept the gift He offers. I rejoice in the fact that He saved me, from myself, from evil, from death itself. In His plan for my salvation, I take great comfort. While I may find some momentary entertainment value in watching a Star Wars saga movie, I am also cognizant of the constant attacks and ever looming presence of a truly Dark Force – and I am comforted that my God, has already defeated it for me.

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