4 Things to Know about Dune, the Sci-Fi Movie with Religious Themes (Plus extensive video interviews with Dune creator Frank Herbert)

I watched DUNE tonight and enjoyed it a lot.

DUNE “The Royal Houses” Clip & Trailer (2021)

DUNE – THE VOICE (4k) – (2021) Premiere – Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Re…

Frank Herbert Interview on Dune

Dune | Official Main Trailer

Frank Herbert on the origins of Dune (1965)

Frank Herbert speaking at UCLA 4/17/1985 https://youtu.be/5IfgBX1EW00

Frank Herbert interviewed by W. McNelly (1969)


4 Things to Know about Dune, the Sci-Fi Movie with Religious Themes

Paul is a smart, deep-thinking teen boy who was born into a family of nobility and who is trying to find his place in the world.

The year is 10191, and Paul and his parents are living on the nearly uninhabitable planet of Arrakis, which is the political center of the universe despite being covered with sand.

Arrakis is the only planet where melange – a­­ high-priced natural resource – can be harvested. And melange, or “spice” as it is called, is necessary for space travel.

Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreide, was assigned to Arrakis by the emperor to oversee the spice-harvesting operation.

Leto, though, believes the assignment was a trap in order to have his family killed.

Paul, too, believes danger is lurking around the corner. In fact, he has been having a series of dreams he believes could be prophetic – dreams about the future of him and his people.

Not everyone, though, accepts Paul’s dreams as prescient.

“Dreams make for good stories, but everything important happens when we’re awake,” he is told.

Will anyone listen to Paul?

It’s all part of the new science fiction movie Dune (PG-13), which is based on the classic story and stars an all-star cast, including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista.

Here are four things you should know about the film:

1. It’s Based on an Award-Winning Novel

This isn’t the first Dune film, nor will it be the last. (It’s called “Dune: Part One” on the screen.)

A 1984 movie of the same name was a major flop, grossing only $30 million on a $40 million budget. It was directed by David Lynch.

All are based on the 1965 book by Frank Herbert that won a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award for best sci-fi novel. The Nebular Awards website calls it “undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction” and a “stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics.”

The plot of the 1984 movie was criticized for straying too far from the book.

Denis Villeneuve, who directed the 2021 version, is among those who didn’t think the 1984 film was close enough to the book. He also helmed Arrival and Blade Runner 2049.

“When I read the book as a teen … I was mesmerized, and I saw the full potential of it. And I remember being very excited when David Lynch’s Dune came out in the theater,” he toldthe YouTube channel HMV.

Lynch’s movie “had a lot of strength and a lot of beauty in it, but also things that deviated from the novel,” Villeneuve said.

Dune 2021 is “closer to the spirit of the book,” Villeneuve said.

He calls it his “dream project.”

2. It’s not ‘Star Wars’… but Still Fun

Advertisements for Dune have used a quotefrom a Collider reviewer calling it “the next Star Wars, the next Lord of the Rings.” I wouldn’t go that far. The plot in Dune moves slower than every movie in those groundbreaking series. It’s more cerebral. There’s less action. Additionally – in case you know nothing about the film – there are no space battles (although there are battles on land).

Still, it’s entertaining. (When the credits rolled, my 13-year-old son was ready to watch Part Two.) Factions battle over “melange,” a so-called spice that is harvested from Arrakis’ sand and that is necessary to travel the galaxy. That same spice, though, is considered by the native Fremen to be a “sacred hallucinogen, which preserves life and brings enormous health benefits,” we are told. The spice is harvested by giant machines that must avoid sandworms – giant worms that are hundreds of feet long and eat anything in their path. The preferred mode of human flight in Dune is the wing-flapping dragonfly ornithopter, which looks like a cross between an insect and the body of a helicopter.

Star Wars creator George Lucas has said Herbert’s novel influenced his own story, and it doesn’t take much effort to see the parallels: a boy grows up on a sand-covered planet to rescue his people. He learns the way of a mysterious religion. (See below.) His nemesis is the emperor. That sounds like Luke Skywalker, but it’s actually Paul Atreides.

No doubt, many children this Christmas will be playing with ornithopters and Paul Atreides figurines.

3. It’s a Religious ‘Melting Pot’

Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, once called the Dune universe a “spiritual melting pot” in which “religious beliefs have combined.” The religion in the novel, Brain Herbert wrote, includes elements from Buddhism, Sufi mysticism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism.

“Dad drew on a variety of religious influences, without adhering to any one of them,” Brian Herbert wrote.

The movie mirrors that syncretism. Some believe Paul is the “messiah” or “the one” – the boy who will save his people. Characters discuss a belief in “the way.” In one scene, we see a group of people – their faces partially covered – reading small books of a sacred text and holding beads. We hear the phrases “God willing” and “God in heaven.”

Paul’s mother tells him her people have been crossing bloodlines to create a “mind powerful enough to bridge space and time, past and future.” That person is Paul.

Dune is a science fiction movie, but it also is a religious film.

Of course, Star Wars, too, had religious themes. It even had a “chosen one.”

Stories like these are a reminder that all persons, theists and atheists alike, are chasing meaning beyond this natural world. Too often, though, we’re on a dead-end road. As Pascal once wrote, we have a void in our soul – an “infinite abyss” – that can only be filled by “an infinite and immutable object.” That “object” is our Creator: God Himself.

That’s fodder for discussion with your science fiction friends.

4. It Earns Its PG-13 Rating

If language, sex and violence are your only concerns – and they shouldn’t be – then you may find Dune to be a “leaner” movie than many superhero films. The movie contains no sexuality and minimal coarse language (details below). The battle scenes are typical for a superhero and science fiction film, with plenty of bloodless explosions and deaths. (Although, in several scenes, we do see a person’s hand coated with blood.)

Still, Dune has a few scenes that may trouble young viewers (and trouble parents, too). The emperor – a large grotesque man – floats through the air like a witch. A group of soldiers stands in procession as it listens to a low-voiced man chant, similar to what is done in Buddhism. The giant worm eats people. And there are a few off-screen, implied beheadings.

But for older viewers, it can be entertaining.

Villeneuve, the director, said his goal was to make the movie enjoyable to those who had never read the book. For the most part, he succeeds.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material. Language details: A– (1), h-ll (2), d–n (2), s–t (1).

Entertainment rating: 3 out of 5 stars. 

Family-friendly rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Photo courtesy: ©Alon Amir/Warner Brothers

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel

Hinduism tells us good and evil come from the same impersonal force and that is exactly the lesson from STAR WARS:THE FORCE AWAKENS. There is a lot of talk of a “balance needed in the force” but should there be a balance between light and darkness or good and evil?


Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2015) – J.J. Abrams Movie HD


Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2


Wonderfully Familiar AND Fresh with the same false worldview

None Light Moderate Heavy
© Baehr, 2015

Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher,
Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley,
John Boyega, Adam Driver,
Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels,
Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis,
Domnhall Gleeson, Lupita
Nyong’o, Gwendolyn Christie

Genre: Science Fiction

Audience: Teenagers and adults

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 135 minutes

Distributor: Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Company

Director: J.J. Abrams

Executive Producer: Tommy Harper, Jason McGatlin

Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams,
Bryan Burk

Writer: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams,
Michael Arndt

Address Comments To:

Robert Iger, President/CEO, The Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Touchstone Pictures)
Alan Horn, Chairman, Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000; Website: http://www.disney.com


(PaPaPa, FRFR, O, Ro, BB, C, ACAC, L, VV, A, M) Strong pagan, somewhat mixed, worldview with New Age monism regarding the impersonal and all-encompassing Force, (including confusing talk about restoring “balance” to the Force although it’s clear that the “good side” of the Force must overcome and perhaps even destroy the “dark side” of the Force), characters use the occult power of the Force to control minds and move objects and people without physically touching them, some pagan mysticism includes mystical visions, but mitigated by strong moral elements and some redemptive elements including strong anti-totalitarian message, villains try to control people and make them conform, but one character resists, doing the right thing is explicitly extolled, strong pro-family sentiments expressed, and sacrifice and repentance promoted; two “h” obscenities; strong, exciting action violence includes explosions, laser gunfights, lightsaber battles, people killed, spaceships flying about and chasing one another, fighting, character thrown against tree, characters wounded, large monsters attack people, brief images of blood, and character apparently has been beaten up, and villain tries to torture characters to talk; no sexual content, but some implied romance and hugs; no nudity; implied alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, brief lying but exposed and lead villain gets uncontrollably angry when things don’t go his way.


STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS combines some old familiar faces with some new ones in a story about a hunt for Luke Skywalker, who has disappeared but is desperately needed to train some new Jedi warriors to fight a new threat to the peace of the galaxy. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS provides nearly constant, inspiring fun in a new battle of good versus evil, but it’s marred by a little too much New Age paganism and unbiblical monism. Parents please teach your children to be media wise.


First, the good news. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is the best, most exciting, and best written, directed and acted STAR WARS movie since the first trilogy, probably since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. It also has some strong moral content, redemptive moments and pro-family sentiments. However, although it only lags a couple brief moments during its 132 minutes, the movie sometimes could use a little bit better dialogue (especially during the second half) and a stronger, slightly more satisfying redemptive climax, which is always the key to making a really great movie.

Above all, though, the movie’s biggest problem has nothing to do with bad storytelling or bad filmmaking, or even a better climax. Far from it! The biggest problem is that the movie has a very strong New Age pagan worldview promoting impersonal Eastern monism, a worldview that, ultimately, is irrational and warrants strong caution.

The setup for the story is that a new threat to the new republic has arisen. A group of really bad guys calling themselves the First Order (and still using the old empire’s cloned storm troopers) is trying to destroy the republic. Meanwhile, General Leia Organa has sent her best pilot, Poe Dameron, to find her brother, Luke Skywalker, who disappeared years ago. Poe is headed to see a man who might have a map to Luke’s whereabouts. If the republic’s resistance fighters can find Luke, perhaps he can raise up a new Jedi order to defeat the First Order.

Eventually, everything depends on a repentant storm trooper whom Poe names Finn and a feisty female scavenger named Rey. Will the ambivalent Force be with them?

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is, in many ways, the STAR WARS movie that fans and moviegoers have been longing to see. With STAR WARS screenwriting veteran Lawrence Kasdan (SILVERADO) and Director J.J. Abrams (STAR TREK) on board, THE FORCE AWAKENS has a tight script with lots of exciting action and great characterizations. The movie makes excellent use of veteran STAR WARS performers Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. After all, the story’s premise involves the hunt for the missing Luke Skywalker, Hamill’s iconic hero. That said, the movie relies the most on Harrison Ford’s lovable rogue, Han Solo, and his trusty companion, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Their appearance early in the movie will get a big cheer not only from STAR WARS fans but also from movie lovers everywhere.

Also holding the film together are newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, who play Rey and Finn. Daisy Ridley in particular is a real find. Her appearance is one of the most striking first appearances in a major movie role since . . . well, since Harrison Ford first donned the persona of Han Solo in the original STAR WARS in 1977. As for Boyega, he easily fits in well with whoever is onscreen, whether it’s Daisy Ridley, Harrison Ford, Oscar Isaac as Poe, or even Chewbacca. To top it all, Adam Driver makes an imposing antagonist as the lead villain, even when he takes off his mask.

Director J.J. Abrams is one of the best action directors around. THE FORCE AWAKENS is his best movie since MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III. He also does very well with all the actors. A few lines of expository dialogue occasionally let him down, John Williams’ newer music is sometimes a little repetitive, and the script should have developed Oscar Isaac’s character a bit better. Still, THE FORCE AWAKENS has plenty of nifty twists, exhilarating action, nostalgic moments, clever one-liners, and emotional scenes to help Abrams keep things moving and keep viewers engaged.

All in all, therefore, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is clearly one of the better popcorn movies of the year. However, despite its strong moral elements and lightly conservative, but strong, opposition to totalitarian bullies, THE FORCE AWAKENS has a strong New Age pagan worldview overall.

For instance, the movie has a couple mystical moments where characters establish an emotional connection to the Force or through it. In regard to the infamous Force, the movie also promotes modern monism, a New Age theology claiming that there’s a universal, but impersonal, energy or “Force” that is part of everything and surrounds everyone. This is typical STAR WARS mythology. However, in THE FORCE AWAKENS, it’s suggested a couple times that there must be a “balance” not only in the Force but also between the “good side” and the “dark side” of the Force. This is Non-Christian Eastern monism and moral dualism.

In this light, it’s interesting to note that these lines in the movie logically contradict the rest of the story, which clearly and strongly says the good must defeat and overcome, if not destroy, the dark side. The movie also suggests, in a redemptive way, that characters who succumb to the dark side can actually redeem themselves by rejecting the dark side and coming into the light. That’s not really “balance.” It also reflects an ethical monotheistic theology, not a monistic, pantheistic one where morality is “maya,” or an illusion.

Thus, Christians, and especially Christian parents and grandparents, should teach their children and other people about the logical contradictions and irrational mysticism of the STAR WARS movies, including THE FORCE AWAKENS. They should also note how such New Age thinking differs from the ethical monotheism and redemption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the enlightenment and divine fellowship or communion that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus and from the power of the Holy Spirit.

MOVIEGUIDE® recommends people focus on the positive moral and redemptive content or messages in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. Strong or extreme caution is warranted when it comes to the movie’s confused, impersonal, pagan monism. Christians have a better, more personal “Force” – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who created everything and redeems us and comes to us through the personal, divine power of the Holy Spirit.

Parents please teach your children to be media wise. A great way to learn how to teach them to keep the faith and be media-wise is by reading THE CULTURE-WISE FAMILY®.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Official)

In Brief:

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS combines old familiar faces with new ones. A new group of bad guys called the First Order is threatening the new republic. General Leia Organa has sent her best pilot to obtain a map revealing the whereabouts of her brother, Luke Skywalker, who disappeared years ago. The republic needs Luke to train new Jedi knights to save the galaxy. Han Solo and Chewbacca team up with a repentant storm trooper and a female scavenger to get the map to Leia and her resistance fighters.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is the STAR WARS movie that fans and moviegoers have been longing to see. It’s exciting, emotional and well made, with standout performances by Harrison Ford and newcomer Daisy Ridley. It also has some strong moral content, redemptive moments and pro-family sentiments. However, the movie’s pagan, somewhat mixed worldview contains some New Age mysticism and a renewed, rather contradictory, monistic take on the Force and the morality behind it. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution for THE FORCE AWAKENS. Parents please teach your children to be media wise.

(HD 1080p) Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi


Obi-Wan Kenobi: Let her go, Anakin!

Padmé: [struggling to breathe] Anakin…

Obi-Wan: Let… her… go.[Vader releases Padmé; she collapses into unconsciousness]

Vader: You turned her against me!

Obi-Wan: You have done that yourself!


Obi-Wan: Your anger and your lust for power have already done that. You have allowed this Dark Lord to twist your mind, until now…until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.

Vader: Don’t lecture me, Obi-Wan! I see through the lies of the Jedi! I do not fear the Dark Side as you do! I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new Empire!

Obi-Wan: [incredulously] Your new Empire?

Vader: Don’t make me kill you.

Obi-Wan: Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic! To democracy!!

Vader: If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy!

Obi-Wan: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.

Vader: You will try.[They duel]


Philosopher and Theologian, Francis A. Schaeffer has argued, “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.” Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live? (Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H Revell Company, 1976), p. 224.

Star Culture Wars

While tweaking the original Star Wars movie for re-release, director George Lucas decided that he needed to clarify the status of pilot Han Solo’s soul.

In the old version, Solo shot first in his cantina showdown with a bounty hunter. But in the new one, Lucas addressed this moral dilemma with a slick edit that showed Greedo firing first. Thus, Solo was not a murderer, but a mere scoundrel on the way to redemption.

“Lucas wanted to make sure that people knew that Han didn’t shoot someone in cold blood,” said broadcaster Dick Staub. “That would raise serious questions about his character, because we all know that murder if absolutely wrong.”

The Star Wars films do, at times, have a strong sense of good and evil.

Yet in the climactic scene of the new “Revenge of the Sith,” the evil Darth Vader warns his former master: “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.” Obi-Wan Kenobi replies, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

Say what? If that is true, how did Lucas decide it was wrong for Solo to gun down a bounty hunter? Isn’t that a moral absolute? If so, why are absolutes absolutely wrong in the saga’s latest film? Good questions, according to Staub.

While we’re at it, the Jedi knights keep saying they must resist the “dark side” of the mysterious, deistic Force. But they also yearn for a “chosen one” who will “bring balance” to the Force, a balance between good and evil.

“There is this amazing internal inconsistency in Lucas that shows how much conflict there is between the Eastern religious beliefs that he wants to embrace and all those Judeo-Christian beliefs that he grew up with,” said Staub, author of a book for young people entitled “Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters.”

“I mean, you’re supposed balance the light and the dark? How does that work?”

The key is that Lucas — who calls himself a “Buddhist Methodist” — believes all kinds of things, even when the beliefs clash. This approach allows the digital visionary to take chunks of the world’s major religions and swirl them in the blender of his imagination. Thus, the Force contains elements of Judaism, Christianity, Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and even Islam.

Is Jesus a Sith?

OK, it’s finally over. My childhood movie fascination is now complete—I’ve seen “Episode Three.” I have in many ways “grown-up” with Star Wars. I was six when the first (I mean the fourth) movie came out, and I saw all of the original three (Episodes 4, 5, and 6) in the theater when they first came out. I had all the Star Wars figures, the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon, the Land Speeder—you name it, I had it. All of my friends had them too…we were the Star Wars generation.

Incredibly though, the new trilogy of movies (Episodes 1, 2, and 3) has captured the imagination of a whole new generation. My son was more excited to see the movie than I was. He wore his Darth Vader tee shirt and sat in patient anticipation through the obligatory “coming attractions.” And it was interesting to observe the reactions of people as they were walking out of the theater two and a half hours later. For the fathers and mothers, it was sort of like a sigh of relief, a moment of closure. They weren’t so much energized by the movie as they were contemplating it. You could see wheels turning and brains buzzing putting all of the Star Wars pieces together. The kids on the other hand were all ablaze with what they just witnessed, they were talking about their favorite parts and “Anakin this” and “Yoda that.” One movie—two very different reactions.

Being a parent and well on the “contemplative” side of the age gap, I found myself mulling over what I had just seen as we walked to the car. With my son talking a mile a minute about his favorite parts, I kept replaying a certain scene in my mind. If you’ve seen the movie you’ll remember the scene, if not, let me try to paint the picture. Anakin (Darth Vader) and Obi-Wan are fighting. They stop fighting to discuss why they’re fighting (in typical Hollywood style). After voicing his displeasure with the Jedi (the “good” side), Anakin turns his back to the audience and tells Obi-Wan, “Whoever is not with me is my enemy.” Obi-Wan looks at Anakin unbelievingly and states emphatically, “Only the Sith deal in absolutes.” The Sith are the Dark Side’s equivalent of the Jedi. Obi-Wan is saying that Anakin is now a full-fledged “bad guy.” This scene took the magic of the whole Star Wars series that has been building ever since I was six and instantly deflated it. The whole “good vs. evil” story that had been the staple of all of the Star Wars episodes was a sham. I had been had.

I realized at this point in the movie that Darth Vader wasn’t the “bad guy” because he was on the bad side of the force, it was because he was so sure he was right. Obi-Wan and Yoda constantly lament Anakin’s association with the Chancellor of the Senate, Palpatine (who becomes the Emperor). They begin to fear that Palpatine is a Sith. About this they are right, Palpatine is a Sith and he is slowly turning Anakin against his former mentors. The turning point for Anakin comes when a member of the Jedi council, Mace Windu, is ready to kill Palpatine because he is “too dangerous” to leave alive. Anakin tells Windu that this is not the Jedi way (which it’s not), but situational ethics are the name of the game for Windu. Anakin sees the hypocrisy in this and his view of the Jedi instantly changes, and he does nothing as Palpatine (now the Emperor) proceeds to kill Windu. Anakin becomes Palpatine’s disciple—and consequently, Darth Vader—on the spot.

The troubling part about all of this for me was the post-modern double standard that we are faced with in our own day and galaxy. You see, Anakin is constantly counseled in all of the first three episodes that the Dark Side of the force is bad and the Jedi are good. But we get to the real deal in Episode Three when Obi-Wan makes this revealing statement about only the Sith dealing in absolutes. What does the Jedi deal in then? Feelings, emotions, hopes? On what basis does Obi-Wan make his assessment that the Dark Side and the Emperor are “evil?” This is exactly the same dilemma that the court at the Nuremberg Trial found itself in. The Nazis argued that they acted in accord with the laws of Germany and were simply following orders, yet were on trial for crimes against humanity. The “sovereign nation” ideal had its limits. Obi-Wan wants the same thing here. It’s easy enough to proclaim that the Dark Side is evil, but it’s really another thing to prove it when the Jedi are also out trying to eliminate those that they deem “dangerous.” It all becomes relative; the only true “bad guy” is one who “deals in absolutes.”

What would Obi-Wan have said to Jesus, who said much the same thing as Anakin in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Jesus makes an emphatic statement here. He is declaring for all who read and hear that there is no middle-ground, there is no neutrality. As much as our post-modern world would like to have each viewpoint as valid as the next, they can’t live this way. Obi-Wan couldn’t live this way either. If Anakin’s absolutist worldview was just another valid viewpoint (presumably Obi-Wan doesn’t deal in absolutes), then why bother fighting him. Why not shake hands and wish him well in his future galaxy-conquesting endeavors? Why not? Because Obi-Wan is an absolutist too, he just doesn’t want to admit it.

As I said, this scene revealed the whole Star Wars series for what it really was. George Lucas showed his true colors here. He was not making a grand good vs. evil epic. He was making a modern commentary, complete with double-standards and non-sequiturs. Lucas was simply toeing the line of modern politics. The only real enemy in today’s world is the one who thinks in terms of black and white—the fundamentalist. Whether they are Christian, Muslim, Democrat or Republican, the only one who is wrong, is the one who thinks he’s right. But we, as Christians, must remember Jesus’ (and Anakin’s) words. There is a war of ideas going on, and you must fall on one side or the other. Neutrality is not an option…as much as we would like it to be.

All Seven Star Wars Teaser Trailers

In the article, “Star Wars: The Religion,” from the August 1999  Trumpet  Print Edition » by DENNIS LEAP we read:

In the second produced film, The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda, the little green 900-year-old Jedi master, describes the Force to a troubled, weak-in-faith Luke Skywalker. He explains, “For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it and makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. You—between you and me—the tree—the rock—everywhere. Yes, even between the land and the ship.” If the Force represents God, then the Star Wars God is very impersonal!

Let’s be honest. The Force represents evolution and nature worship far better than the worship of a personal God. Did you realize that people who practice witchcraft love the concept of the Force? Why? They believe it represents nature worship!

‘Star Wars’ SPOILER: Watch a Major Scene From the Movie

This entire post is one big spoiler, so if you don’t want to hear about a major moment in Star Wars history, stop reading. Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings about the end of an era with the sad, yet heroic death of Han Solo. Harrison Ford returns to the franchise, reprising his role as Han Solo, and we are introduced to his son Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo), played by actor Adam Driver. Han Solo’s son Kylo is actually the one who kills him, as Kylo needs to cut off his last emotional tie in order to fully join the Dark Side. This may sound familiar as it is the same kind of idea that Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader battled with years ago.

The death scene occurs in the third act of the movie with Kylo stabbing Han Solo with his lightsaber before Solo falls off of a bridge. Here is a Twit pic of the scene below.

Han Solo, Han Solo Dies, Han Solo Death Scene, Han Solo Dead, Han Solo Star Wars The Force Awakens, Han Solo Dies In Force Awakens, Star Wars The Force Awakens Spoilers, Force Awakens Ending


Solo confronts his son and tries to convince him that Snoke is just using him for his power, but Kylo stands firm. Solo tells Kylo that when Snoke gets what he wants, he’ll crush him. Both men’s eyes well up with tears as Solo pleads with his son to return home. Kylo tells him that it’s too late and that he wants to be “free of this pain.” Kylo says he knows what he has to do but he doesn’t know if he has the strength to do it. He then asks his father to help him and Solo says he’ll do anything for him. Kylo pulls out the lightsaber and the two share a long last look at each other. Kylo suddenly stabs his father with tears in his eyes and tells him, “Thank you.” Solo then reaches out to lovingly touch his son’s face before he falls limply off the bridge. As Solo is stabbed to death, Chewbacca and main character Rey cry out in upset. It is a truly heartbreaking scene.

Top 15 Star Wars The Force Awakens Facts You Should Know

Take a look at this excellent article by Steven J. Rosen on Hinduism and Star Wars:

Yoda and Yoga

The Bhagavad-Gita may well have been Yoda’s manual for teaching Luke Skywalker the way of the Jedi.

BY: Steven J. Rosen

At first glance, it might seem that “Star Wars” and Hinduism have little in common. The “Star Wars” films are modern science-fiction classics, created as entertainment. They make use of futuristic spaceships and imaginative weapons that the real world has not yet seen. Hinduism, for its part, is an ancient religious tradition-or, more explicitly, a family of religious traditions, such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism–meant for spiritual enhancement and personal fulfillment. What, if anything, do the films have to do with the religion?

My thesis is simple. Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars,” was heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell, the famed mythologist. Campbell’s preferred stock of philosophical stories comes from India. This is well known. Campbell explained the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the principal epics of contemporary Hinduism, to Lucas, who digested their many stories and gave them back to us as “Star Wars.” Lucas himself says that he was “influenced by Eastern myths.” Here’s one example I use in my forthcoming book, drawing on the first film of the series, which was released in 1977:

A beautiful princess is kidnapped by a powerful but evil warlord. With determined urgency, a mysterious non-human entity delivers a distress call to a budding young hero. The youthful hero, a prince, comes to the princess’s rescue, aided by a noble creature that is half-man and half-animal. In the end, after a war that epitomizes the perennial battle between good and evil, the beautiful maiden returns home. The valiant efforts of the prince and his comrade, who were assisted by an army of anthropomorphic bears in the fight to return the princess to safety, are duly rewarded, and peace and righteousness once again engulf the kingdom.

In the Eastern part of the world, the story evokes memories of the Ramayana, an ancient epic from which many of India’s myths and religious traditions originate: The princess is Sita, kidnapped by the power-mad Ravana. Her loving husband Rama, the archetypal hero who, as the story goes, is Vishnu (God) in human form, soon becomes aware of her plight and anxiously pursues her.

How did he learn of Ravana’s nefarious deed? The good-hearted Jatayu, a talking vulture-like creature, sworn to protect the princess, sees the demon-king abduct Sita. He attempts to rescue her on his own, but Ravana mercilessly cuts him down. Luckily, Rama happens upon the dying Jatayu, who manages to recount all that has taken place before he expires.

After a period of intense grieving, Rama engages his devoted half-human/half monkey companion, Hanuman, in a lengthy search for the princess and, after a complex series of events, they wage war to get Sita back. Aided by an army of Vanaras (bears and monkeys who have anthropomorphic characteristics), Rama rescues Sita from Ravana. The forces of the underworld defeated, Rama-raja (the kingdom of truth and righteousness) reigns supreme.

In Western countries, the story would remind most readers of the first “Star Wars” movie. Here, too, the princess–this time, Princess Leia–is kidnapped. In the “Star Wars” universe, evil incarnates as Darth Vader, who holds Leia against her will. Artoo-Deetoo (R2-D2), an android, carries a desperate cry for help. The princess, just before being captured, managed to conceal a holographic message in the droid’s memory banks. Thus, through this futuristic robot, she asks for the assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a master among the mystical Jedi knights, hoping he would come to her aid.

Luke Skywalker, a farm boy from the planet Tatooine, is the one who first receives this message, however, and it is he who turns to the retired Obi-Wan to alert him to the princess’s plight. Luke himself is reluctant to travel into unknown territory, into a world of action and intrigue. But Obi-Wan convinces him to go, telling him that “the Force” will protect him.

The two team up with Han Solo, a renegade space cowboy, and Chewbacca, a “half-man/ half-monkey” creature who devotedly assists them. By the end of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, in the company of legions of bear soldiers, they wage a war to end all wars–Darth Vader and his evil empire are defeated and the princess is returned to safety.

Is it a stretch to say that Lucas was directly and/ or indirectly influenced by the Ramayana? This author, obviously, thinks not. And there are many other parallels between Star Wars and Hindu tradition as well. Consider the example of the relationship between Yoda and Luke–a dead-ringer for the traditional Guru/ disciple relationship, especially as depicted in the ancient Hindu text, the Bhagavad-gita.

Yoda teaches Luke self-control, the importance of restraining the senses. Every Jedi, he says, must overcome desire and anger. The Gita must have been Yoda’s sourcebook: “A faithful man who is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge–and who subdues his senses–is eligible to achieve such knowledge, and having achieved it he quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.” (4.39) Again, “By the time death arrives, one must be able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and overcome the force of desire and anger. If one does so, he will be well situated and able to leave his body without regret.” (5.23)

It is interesting, too, that Yoda locates the source of the Jedis’ strength as flowing from “the Force,” which he essentially defines as the ground of all being. Indeed, Yoda tells Luke that all ability comes from the Force, but that this is especially true of the Jedis’ supernatural powers. The Gita also says that all power flows from the “Force,” i.e., the metaphysical source of all that is: “Of all that is material and all that is spiritual, know for certain that I am both the origin and dissolution. . . .Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread. . . . I am the ability in man.” (7.6-8)

Yoda’s name is closely linked to the Sanskrit “yuddha,” which means “war.” Accordingly, he teaches a chivalrous form of warfare, imbued with ethics and spirituality, to the Jedi knights. The non-aggressive but valiant ways of these knights are exactly like those of Kshatriyas, ancient Indian warriors who emphasized yogic codes and the art of protective combat. In this, Yoda resembles Dronacharya from the Mahabharata, who, in the forest (again like Yoda), trains the Pandava heroes to be righteous protectors of the innocent.

In the Ramayana, Vishvamitra Muni, as Rama’s spiritual master, teaches the great avatar (incarnation of God) to be adept in the art of war, but he also teaches him that fighting must always be based on yogic principles–he teaches Rama while they are living in the forest as well. Both Dronacharya and Vishvamitra seem like earlier incarnations of Yoda.

In this sense, and in many others, the Hindu scriptures may be the ultimate guidebooks for aspiring Jedis: Consider the Bhagavad-gita yet again: Lust, anger, and greed, the Gita tells us, are deeply embedded in our consciousness. Just ask Anakin. And deep-rooted habits are not always easy to overcome. Nonetheless, in the Gita, Krishna helps us through the darkest of battles by explaining the source of our dilemma, the gradual steps by which we delude ourselves, and by putting us in touch with the spiritual element lying dormant within our hearts. He tells us that those who are enamored by materialistic life begin simply by contemplating the objects of the senses.

Again, just ask Anakin. Such contemplation naturally leads to self-interested action and, finally, attachment. This, in turn, gives rise to anger. Why anger? Because everything in the world is temporary, and so we eventually lose the objects of our attachment. Anger, Krishna says, leads to bewilderment, and bewilderment to loss of memory. At this point, intelligence is lost. We can watch this happening to Anakin in “Attack of the Clones” and, further, in the latest film, “Revenge of the Sith.”

Other connections to Hinduism are also apparent in the prequels. For example, the idea of midi-chlorians, or living cells found in high concentration in Jedi blood, resonates with the idea of Paramatma, or the Lord in the Heart. Vaishnava Hinduism uses this concept to explain how God (the Force?) exists inside our bodies as a symbiont, as it were, allowing living entities to commune with Him. Also, young Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi priest, wears a shikha, or a tuft of hair, on the back of his head. While this religious symbolism is found in several ancient monastic traditions, it is nowhere as pronounced as in the Vaishnava Hindu tradition. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna teaches that intelligence means good memory and fine discretion–both of which fall away when we adopt a materialistic and self-centered approach to life. This vicious cycle puts us in a non-spiritual frame of mind, in which we forget who we are and what life is really all about. Krishna refers to this as “a material whirlpool” that drags people ever lower; it is a complex downward spiral that begins, as He says in the Gita, simply by one’s contemplating the objects of the senses. (2.61-64) Krishna thus tells Arjuna not to be fooled by sensual stimulation and, instead, to control his senses for a higher purpose. This, indeed, is the teaching of the Jedi and a lesson that is valuable to each and every one of us.

Can people learn this Hindu wisdom from watching “Star Wars”? Most likely not. They’ll have to go to established religious texts and the paths traversed by the sages. But something is definitely afoot here. More than 70,000 people in Australia, in a census poll, declared that they are followers of the Jedi faith, the “religion” engendered by the “Star Wars” films. Despite the extremism and absurdity of this statistic-of people adhering to a faith concocted in a fictional film series-experts see in it a manifestation of the movies’ spiritual dimension.

In light of this enthusiasm, it’s not surprising that the “Star Wars” universe continues to grow. Lucas is now re-mastering the entire series into special 3-D versions, updated for modern times. New TV shows based on “Star Wars” are planned for upcoming seasons. And you now learn of parallels between this consequential film epic and one of the earliest religious traditions known to humankind. What’s next?! Only the Force is likely to know!

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

At the 20:15 mark in the above video Francis Schaeffer discusses how Eastern Religions unsuccessfully attempt to relieve the tension.

Relieving the Tension in the East
Within Eastern thinking, attempts to relieve the tension have been made by introducing “personal gods.” To the uninitiated these gods seem to be real persons; they are said to appear to human beings and even have sexual intercourse with them. But they are not really personal. Behind them their source is the “impersonal everything” of which they are simply emanations. We find a multitude of gods and goddesses with their attendant mythologies, like the Ramayana, which then give the simple person a “feeling” of personality in the universe. People need this, because it is hard to live as if there is nothing out there in or beyond the universe to which they can relate personally. The initiated, however, understand. They know that ultimate reality is impersonal. So they submit themselves to the various techniques of the Eastern religions to eliminate their “personness.” Their goal is to achieve a state of consciousness not bounded by the body and the senses or even by such ideals as “love” or “good.”
Probably the most sophisticated Eastern attempt to deal with the tension we are considering is the Bhagavad-Gita. This is a religious writing probably produced around 200 B.C. in India. It has been the inspiration for multitudes of Hindus through the centuries and most notably for Indian spiritual and political leader Mahatma Gandhi. In it the individual is urged to participate in acts of charity. At the same time, however, the individual is urged to enter into these acts in “a spirit of detachment.” Why? Because the proper attitude is to understand that none of these experiences really matter. It is the state of consciousness that rises above personality which is important, for personality is, after all, an abnormality within the impersonal universe.
Alternatively, the East proposes a system of “endless cycles” to try to give some explanation for things which exist about us. This has sometimes been likened to the ocean. The ocean casts up waves for a time, but the waves are still a part of the ocean, and then the waves pull back into the ocean and disappear. Interestingly enough, the Western materialist also tries to explain the form of the universe by a theory of endless cycles. He says that impersonal material or energy always exists, but that this goes through endless cycles, taking different forms – the latest of which began with the “big bang” which spawned the present expanding universe. Previously, billions and billions of years ago, this eternal material or energy had a different form and had contracted into the heavy mass from which came the present cycle of our universe. Both the Eastern thought and the Western put forth this unproven idea of endless cycles because their answers finally answer nothing.
We have emphasized the problems involved in these two alternatives because they are real. It is helpful to see that the only serious intellectual alternatives to the Christian position have such endless difficulties that they actually are non-answers. We do it, too, because we find people in the West who imagine that Christianity has nothing to say on these big issues and who discard the Bible without ever considering it. This superior attitude, as we said earlier, is quite unfounded. The real situation is very different. The humanists of the Enlightenment acted as if they would conquer all before them, but two centuries have changed that.
One would have imagined at this point that Western man would have been glad for a solution to the various dilemmas facing him and would have welcomed answers to the big questions. But people are not as eager to find the truth as is sometimes made out. The history of Western thought during the past century confirms this.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens [All 3 trailers.]

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