Jedi: A New Religion?

Jedi: A New Religion?

In Tom de Castella’s article “Have Jedi created a new religion?” BBC news magazine, 24, October 2014 ( http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29753530) people who are following the religion of Jediism, have started to construct a new religious movement that goes even further than the basis of the original Jediism religion. However there is debate over weather or not this can constitute for a legitimate religious movement. The members of the “Jedi Church” choose not to believe in a “holy ghost” but rather to believe in force. The Jedi movement originated from aspects of star wars, however the movement does appear to have a lot of overlap amongst other religions. Jedi is said to be very sure in their ways embracing the concepts of peace, knowledge, serenity and force. The main purpose of joining the Jedi religion is not to have some place to go after you die but to do things that have meaning and importance when you are on the earth. They will often participate in community service and to encourage humanity. They focus on having a strong presence in focusing on the community.

New religious movements have received a large amount of controversy among people today. As identified in the text “New Religious Movements” they have begun to identify new religions using the same criteria that they would use for current movements. There are various overlapping features between the two kinds of religions including leadership qualities and using various elements from other religions (Olav& Rothsten, 2012).

I agree with the author in the way that this could be a new religious movement. They have gained enough followers that are similar to the number of people following scientology. The religious movement seems to have an overall positive energy with a focus towards the community. So far in class we have learned that not all religions need to represented by a central God, as many other religions do not have God as a central being in this case Jedi focus on force. As long as a new religion meets criteria that follow the general aspects of religion then I do agree that there should no reason why people are restricted from following their own beliefs no matter how different they may be. As far as Jedi has developed it does clearly have elements of religion, including, tradition, ritual and a very strong sense of community.

This article helps in demonstrating that there are various ways to express a religion. As this particular belief system may be somewhat off putting and different it does not mean that it should be disregarded completely without prior bias. I believe that it is important to analyze all aspects within the religion, including recruitment, general belief systems and values. The Jedi movement exemplifies how new experiences can be transformed into something that has power and meaning.

-MC

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