Jediism : in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Light Saber

Geoffrey Saint-Joanis, translated by Camille Grange
25 Mai 2013

At the present time, when religions do not manage to find their place in our society anymore, a surprising community exists for more than ten years ago. Their faith ? The Force, this cult arrived straight ahead from the Star Wars universe, which found its disciples in our not so distant galaxy. Le Journal International collected the testimony of Michael James Kitchen, subject of the British Crown and member of the Temple of the Jedi Order

Jediism : in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Light Saber
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, existed an order of knights, guardians of order and justice. For Georges Lucas' masterpiece fans, the dream became true. 
The Temple of the Jedi Order, created by John Henry Phelan, came to life in 2005. As in the fiction, a council of seven masters of the Force rules the Temple. Within this religious organisation, we can find knights, initiated and apprentices, all of them are disciples of the Force. The right side.

Real religion or nerds’ story?

During a census in England and Wales, in 2001, Jedis caused surprise by outstripping 56,620 heathens, or almost 29,267 atheists, with not less than 330 000 persons claiming themselves as Jedis. However, the 2011 census only counted 176,632 of them. Would have the dark side been through? 

Established in numerous countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Poland, New Zealand or even Australia, most of the average people see in this religious organization, incorporated in Texas, the delirium of a group of fans meeting on every Saturday evening in front of Star Wars movies.

In order to struggle against this image, the most sceptical can perceive on their website "We are not fictional Jedi from the wonderful Star Wars movies, neither are we role playing. Jediism is not the same as that which is portrayed in the Star Wars Saga directed by George Lucas and Lucasfilm LTD. George Lucas' Jedi are fictional characters that exist within a literary and cinematic universe."

An image, which almost lost its seriousness. According to the BBC, "shortly before the census, an e-mail that circulated in the United Kingdom asserted that if 10,000 persons put "Jedi" on their form, it would become "a legal and completely recognized religion"". But, according to The Register, "the census does not bring legitimacy to the religions in the official statistics and does not either try to define the religion".

A seriousness all the more amputated by a lack of real means, no temple have been built for the moment, "As we are spread out around the world, there is no place that could suit as a place of worship. We communicate on the Internet, through the chatroom of our website, for example, we use it for ceremonies" confided Michael Kitchen, director of the Public Relations, Marketing and Communication of the Temple.

Thus, how to manage to take them apart the science fiction universe? "Star Wars is a myth inspired by a story, in which we found our inspiration. Some ideas were taken from the movies, others from the real life. Within a religion, the believers do not necessarily have the same vision of their God(s). Each of us has his or her personal vision of the Force." 

A vision that can take a common sense and a real legitimacy: Georges Lucas admitted he had been inspired by the studies of the mythologist Joseph Campbell, master of the compared mythology and the monomyth, but also of the religions and the Asian philosophies such as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, but also Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism. So, convinced?

A disturbing religion

Consequently to the law legalizing gay marriage in United Kingdom, the Presbyterian Church recently worried about the potential next step, such as allowing people from non-conventional faith to get married, and particularly Jedi: a sign of their growing integration in the society.

Jediism Church’ spokesman in United Kingdom, admits that Jedi had demanded for a real recognition, but that the Free Church should not worry about this: “We are opened to any form of marriage, to the union of two persons who love each other, no matter their sexual orientation”, he adds.

As for Reverend Iver Martin, spokesman of the Free Church, "I do not say that we should forbid this kind of faith, but when we authorize certain form of marriage, this is open to abuse".

A fact, which illustrates the existing, differences between fiction and reality. For the young Padawans of the legend, it is important to specify that George Lucas’ Jedi, as monks-soldiers, are not allowed to fall in love. To understand the whys and wherefores, please refer to the episode III of the trilogy.

Religion or nerds' story, meditate you will. About these disciples’ future, wait and see. In the meantime, let’s pray for an only fight: that Disney does not make a commitment for a 7th movie.

For this day dedicated to Star Wars universe, the Jedis are far from playing it “Solo”.

May the force be with you.