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boccelounge
4 November 2005, 06:33 PM
Early in Episode III, during the space battle, Obi-Wan exclaims "In the name of ... "

It seems he's very close to taking god's name in vain... but which god? I've always wanted to know this, and the Ep3 scene came so close to telling me:

Are there "gods" in Star Wars?

That is, are all supernatural phenomena and/or beliefs manifestations of the impersonal, areligious "Force," or are there true deities in the SW universe?

I pose this question to the wisdom of the HoloNet...



[This is "speculation," right? Not RPG-based, not specific to an Era... I've got the right forum, right?]

coldskier0320
4 November 2005, 07:54 PM
Smells like the right forum to me bocce.

There's always Xendor. A few of the EU (Han Solo books I think) have people muttering, "Minions of Xendor!" in amazement. While Xendor could be an ancient military leader such as Ghengis Kahn (idunno...he's the first one I thought of when I thought 'minions'!), I prefer to think of ol' Xen as a diety.

If your looking for diety in the movies...there's always Threepio...:raised: ;)

Uron Teff
5 November 2005, 02:19 AM
If your looking for diety in the movies...there's always Threepio...

Yeah, cold you're absolutly right.
I would like to add some thoughts of mine about deities and gods in the Star Wars Universe.

First of all I think that there are monotheistic and polytheistic denominations. I think that basically every denomination is referring to the Force. It may be obvious, but I think that basically every denomination what worships a single transcendent god or godess can be easy compared to the typical Force User community, IMO. Nonetheless the RCR is referring to the Force Adept class in this way; that these Force Adepts believe in the Force but have given it an other name.
The other group are the cultures naming for each task a new god. I think their worship and deity diversity is somehow compareable to the old Romanic Empire. In these years the Romans even adopted deities from other religious cultures. Furthermore each roman emperor had the same status as a god so technically they were gods, gods sent to rule the Empire...
Anyway, I think that the small society of the Ewoks is counting to the second group of denominations. Actually I cannot recall the exact wording, but I think 3PO says something about beining one of their gods.

To end this post I'd like to reflect and obviously shortening my statement:
Yes, there are deities. But 'No' not every deity is known. And 'Yes' there is a referrance to a god in a Original Trilogy movie (E:VI)... C3PO.


P.S.: I know that I almost repeated cold's 'revelations'.:P

Darth Fierce
5 November 2005, 05:30 AM
Originally posted by coldskier0320
There's always Xendor. A few of the EU (Han Solo books I think) have people muttering, "Minions of Xendor!" in amazement. While Xendor could be an ancient military leader such as Ghengis Kahn (idunno...he's the first one I thought of when I thought 'minions'!), I prefer to think of ol' Xen as a diety.

Old Xendor was as much a man as a powerful Dark Jedi can be, and died just as easily as most of them have.

As far as if there are "true" gods in the SW Universe, each respective species seem to believe in at least one "higher power." And this is a case where "The Completely Unofficial Star Wars Encyclopedia" is definitely your friend. The encyclopedia has an entire section dedicated to different gods and deities, accessed by the following link:

http://www.theforce.net/swenc/categories.asp?category=49

Hope that helps.... :)

Darth Fierce :vader:

Corr Terek
5 November 2005, 08:44 AM
It seems he's very close to taking god's name in vain... but which god? I've always wanted to know this, and the Ep3 scene came so close to telling me:

It's entirely possible Obi-Wan wasn't going to refer to a god or goddess at all. That particular phrase can be finished any number of ways, often referring to a virtue (i.e. "In the name of mercy/justice/peace!"). In this particular case (if I'm remembering the scene right) my favorite intepretation is, "In the name of sanity!", since Obi-Wan clearly thinks that some of the stunts Anakin pulls are insane.

Reverend Strone
6 November 2005, 09:46 AM
In similar fashion, young Anakin in Ep 1 refers to angels (eeven if Iego's angels are called so metaphorically, the metaphor must be in reference to something), while in Ep 5, Han tells a rebel on Hoth, "I'll see you in Hell."

I personally attribute them to nothing more than throw away lines of dialogue. I doubt GL was ever meaning to suggest that they have the same religious iconography in SW as we do. We are probably thinking more about those lines in this thread than he ever did writing them.

In the SW Universe, I'd rationalize it by saying that with a galaxy of mythology and spiritality to draw reference from, someone, somewhere believes in Gods or Hell or angels, without it necessarily being a singular belief to which all the galaxy suscribes. These terms and references make their way into common usage, even if the entire context of the belief system doesn't. That's my take on it anyways. For the most part, mainstream SW society seems fairly secular to me.

Rostek
6 November 2005, 11:41 AM
Rev's correct, IMO. It is like if one of us were to say "By Jove".
"Hammer of Thor" or "Great Odin's Raven" (Anchorman= teh funny ;)). It's force of cultural habit (at least with the first one :D).

Jedi_Shadow
6 November 2005, 09:47 PM
I see it this way... In our world there are countless stories, myths, and belief systems. Many of them point to common threads and underlying truths, but each has it's own unique features, tailored to each culture's daily attitudes and outlooks.

Okay, now imagine not one planet of cultures and beliefs, but millions. So many views, experiences and beliefs that, according to all references I've seen, refer at least indirectly to the Force. According to the Star Wars mythos, the Jedi were an order who were the pinnacle of Force understanding. Essentially, if understanding of the Force was compared to the keys of a piano, most Force Using religions have a handful of keys, playing a limited range of notes and harmonies. Another order, due to species, environmental, or personal factors, has in its repertoir an entirely different set of keys. The Jedi, according to my view of their role in the Star Wars galaxy, play on all 88 keys.

Concerning quotes from movies or books, I refer you to the possibility of many different religions and belief structures in a galaxy of millions of planets. Han Solo refers to Hell. It's very ethnocentric (xenocentric?) of us to assume that he's referring to our own personal religious views of Hell. It can be assumed that he's referring to a place or state of being of "afterlife," and many of us assume it's an unpleasant place. I agree with Reverend Strone that GL jus wrote some dialogue to present Solo's attitude at the moment. If he wanted to portray Han's personal religious beliefs, he probably would have scripted something like "May the Seven Sons of Corellia protect me." or even the general "May the Force be with me!"

Same goes for Anakin and his "Angels." GL puts these words in here not so much to define and delineate the hierarchy of deities in his universe, but more to provied the audience with identifiable words and symbols. Imagine if Padme had walked in and Anakin had said, "Are you a Diathim?" (Incidentally, "Diathim" is the official name of the Angels of Iego, according to Geonosis and the OuterRim Worlds.) A Diathim? What the heck is that? Is it beautiful? Ugly? Nosy? Blue? Long haired? A galactic patrol squad of young women who travel around peeking into junk shops? No, he says "Are you an angel?" We instantly identify. Then he goes a step further to define exactly what he's referring to by the word "angel."

Any way, to get back to boccelounge's original question. I think to answer it I'd want to know what your definition of "deity" is, because there could be some people who could even see the Jedi as deities. And Obi-Wan's "In the name of..." could have been anything. "...goodness!" "...the Force!" "...Yoda!" why are we assuming he's taking the Lord's name in vain? Or maybe he is. The point is, we don't know. That's called subtext. It means the viewer is free to insert their own appropriate weight or meaning to a line or dialogue, thereby enriching the whole experience. So stick in what you will. Heck, maybe Obi-Wan is secretly studying under a unique branch of Force Adepts, whose hierarchy of gods he now worships. It's out there, but it's not more out there than some of the theories postulated by super-fans.

Marty-Wan
14 November 2005, 06:15 AM
Okay Ö Iím just tossing this out there and Iím not trying to offend any one. If the Force is the God of the Star Wars Universe, then following that line of thinking wouldnít that make Anakin Jesus? But then the only son ever created by the sheer power of the Force, turns to darkness Ö what does that say about the Force itself? Also on planets where they know nothing of the Jedi or the Force and the force takes action in the peoples favor is that solely the midi-chlorians at work and if so then by definition isnít the midi-chlorians a sort of living God? Itís all so confusing Ö but is every miracle-ish event in Star Wars to be explained as the work of the Force or are there other powers at work?

Ronin
14 November 2005, 07:31 AM
I remember when I was researching Ansion I found references to Ansionian gods.
There's my 2 yen. :)

Jedi_Shadow
14 November 2005, 09:29 AM
Marty-Wan, that's a good point. In fact, I've also often seen Anakin as a "Messiah" character. By the same token, so is Neo from the Matrix, and also many heroes of various mythologies. The idea of a "chosen one" is a powerful and ancient one. Where do you think GL got it? Even the concept of miraculous conception is not unique to Christianity (and now Star Wars). The greek hero Heracles (or Hercules) was the son of the God Zeus and born of an earthly mother, thus giving him extraordinary power. I won't list any other examples, because the list is far too long.

But Marty-Wan, be careful of reading too much into this comparison, or jumping to any conclusions. Despite their similar origins and destinies, Anakin Skywalker is not Jesus Christ, nor is he Hercules. The prophecy of the Chosen One never indicated how that being would bring the prophecy into being, or the path they would take to arrive at that outcome. Keep in mind that Anakin indeed defeated the Sith and brought balance to the Force.

So does the rise and fall of Darth Vader mean that the Force is in some way evil? By no means. To me, that only indicates if we were to put a face on the Force, we would see a person whose only desire is for balance. Yes, Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side and brought death, destruction, corruption, and fear to the Galaxy for a generation. If I were a Star Wars person living after the time of Episode III, based on current events my views of the Force may be somewhat shaken. (Say, that's a snazzy idea for a character, but we'll save that for another topic.)

But let's step back and look at the bigger picture, Episodes I through VI in their entirety. Now assume that we are the Force itself. Would we, as an omniscient and balanced being, consent to allow for the dark side's most devoted cult to reign for 30 years, if it meant that their millenia of existence would be eradicated at the end of it?

At least, that's how I see it.

Now concerning your second topic, Marty-Wan, about other forces being at work outside of the Force. To me, it seems you're trying to justify or come to terms with the possibility of the powers of deity beyond what even the Force could do, or perhaps looking to add another power for gameplay purposes. If that's not what you're saying please correct me, but for now I'm going to continue based on that assumption.

Han Solo once said "I call it 'luck,'" to which an elderly Ben Kenobi replied, "In my experience, there's no such thing as 'luck.'" Now imagine you have a planet of Han Solos, with no belief in the Force or its abilities. Day in, day out the Force bestows upon them increased and unexpected success, to the point where they begin to worship this 'God of Luck.' They can't necessarily explain this god's intentions, nor the criteria by which he gives these 'blessings' to his people, but they sure are glad when those blessings come.

Now imagine a society of Obi Wans. Through their experience and growth as a society, they have come to understand that this 'God of Luck' is not arbitrary or one-sided, but has a will to bring balance and harmony to all it encompasses. This people has even learned to harness and channel this 'luck' (as the Han Solo people call it) for themselves, and they even vow to use this power to serve the will of this Force.

So what happens if the Followers of Luck meet the Force-followers? According to the example of Han Solo given by GL, it is an example of eventual understanding and acceptance, when he tells Luke "May the Force be with you."

So can all miraculous events lead back to a single, unifying power, namely the Force? You betcha. Are there powers and abilities beyond the Force by which supreme beings control and manipulate the Star Wars galaxy? I doubt it, and if so, why call it the Force at all? Why not refer to is as "The Great God's Law" rather than believe in an all encompassing, non-denominational Force? Can there be some power in gameplay besides the traditional Force skills that is valid and practical? Many have tried to incorporate one, but in my experience nothing is as well-rounded and thorough as the good old Control/Sense/Alter of the Force.

In the end, Star Wars is a work of fiction, and is not intended to shake beliefs or to state any truth beyond the obvious ones: Evil and corruption can emerge from even the noblest of intentions, and sometimes it takes the power of love (in this case, a son for his father) to redeem someone from that dark path. So take the story for what it is, but don't read too much into the comparison, or as you said, it will all get very, very confusing.

Marty-Wan
14 November 2005, 10:06 AM
Wow, very insightful and well thought out.
Just to toss my two cents back at ya.
I do think the force is the one underlying balance to the Star Wars Universe and that even though Anakin was born of the Force, the Force had no clue what path the boyís life would take. I donít view the Force as having any ďpersonalityĒ that makes decisions, the Force just is. The prophecy that Anakin would bring balance was a Force vision that some Jedi had, and as Mace Windu said it could be interrupted differently, but it was what it was.
I donít know if you have read the Jedi Appreciate books but at one point Ob-Wan had a chilling Force vision of knights in white armor laying waste to a planet, clearly we know what the vision means, but Ob-Wan didnít. We canít say that the Force gave him this vision to do something about it because we all know he didnít, it was simply his midi- chlorians speaking to him of the future.
As to the films, the prequels to me are the story of promise and hope destroyed by human frailty and corruption and the original trilogy is the forces of good putting down a tyrant and through it all a boy becomes a man and a father finds redemption. I donít see where Lucas was making any religious statement either.

Jedi_Shadow
14 November 2005, 10:19 AM
Good point, Marty-Wan.

I guess my anthropomorphizing of the Force was more to prove a point than anything else. I also agree that the Force is a, well, force, with no distinction of species, gender, social background, etc. If it is to be said a 'will,' as Qui-gon Jinn asserts, I say it's one that only wishes for balance, like I said before. I apologize for not clarifying that.

And I also agree that the movies have many meanings, and many different thoughts are proposed throughout them. I only wish I could state them as succinctly as you do. :)

Lucas Carr
14 November 2005, 12:12 PM
I guess it all comes down to the defenition of balance. Anakin is supposed to bring balance to the Force, so what is balance? If it was a balance between good and evil, Anakin didn't achieve that at the end of RotJ. If it is a balance in individual lives, imbalance being that the person spends too much time doing one thing and not enough time doing another, I'm not sure I can say that he achieved that either. Someone else on this board said that Anakin brought balance to the Force by removing evil (represented by the Sith). And there may be other ways to define balance too.

And perhaps this balance isn't a one dimensional comparision between two opposits (e.g. good and evil), perhaps it is two, three, or even a four dimentional comparison that has to be balanced and none of them are the good and evil comparison.

But what do I know? I don't know what went through GL's mind when he decided to make Anakin the Chosen One prophesied to bring balance to the Force. Just a few of my thoughts on the matter.

Garan
15 November 2005, 01:52 AM
My chars have a trend for calling on mog, a hutt criminal deity, from one of the old jabba comics. Which was I think the only good thing that came form that comic, beside the measurement of korg for spice. ;) Of course swearing on the black bones of the emperor always comes very well or of course the nine hells of corellia, which han was properly revering to in ep5. :)

Marty-Wan
15 November 2005, 03:52 AM
Nine hells of Corellia???
Where did that come from???

Garan
15 November 2005, 05:05 AM
NJO Novel Traitor

coldskier0320
17 November 2005, 07:40 PM
Also, FWIW, Uncle Owen comments in ANH, that "There'll be hell to pay."

Not a very helpful bit, but a bit nontheless. :)

Marty-Wan
18 November 2005, 04:08 AM
Thatís true.
If itís commonly understood within the Star Wars Universe that when one dies they become one with the Fore, then where did all these ideas about hell come from? I guess the question should be what waits in the afterlife? Beyond the occasional Jedi talking from the grave, the afterlife remains a mystery in the SWU and the EU.

Garan
18 November 2005, 04:15 AM
Considering how many species and cultures there are in the sw galaxy most of them will propely have a different view of the afterlife, just like on earth. ;) Some trandoshanes for example believe that there is a great scorekeeper in the after-life which adds up all the hunting kills the lizard made in his life and the better his hunts were the better his afterlife gets. :)

wolverine
18 November 2005, 08:44 PM
Which brings up an interesting thought. What if there WAS a 'place' where souls traveled to, and it was those souls that were then 'reborn into midiclorians'??

coldskier0320
18 November 2005, 08:52 PM
Originally posted by wolverine
Which brings up an interesting thought. What if there WAS a 'place' where souls traveled to, and it was those souls that were then 'reborn into midiclorians'??

What a crappy deal! :P

Thanks, but no thanks, I'll take the 'Force Spirit' option on my afterlife.

:P:)

Neat idea, though, in all honesty.

Jedi_Shadow
19 November 2005, 12:13 AM
Okay, so since when has it been "Midi-chlorians = The Force"? From what I recall they were lifeforms that lived inside the cells of all living things, without which we would have no knowledge of the Force? To equate them with the Force is kind of like saying that you just had a conversation with the phone, and not the person on the other end of the line.

So for that reason, wolverine, I don't think your idea of being reborn as midi-chlorians. Becoming one with the Force does not mean reconstituting as microbes, in my book.

Jaggard
25 November 2005, 08:03 PM
I have decided that my triumphant return to the boards shall begin with a reply to this thread :P

Ha ha, sorry couldn't resist.

But here is my thought on this one.

Trying to figure out what OB1 would have said if he finished his statment is like trying to say what General Custer said after breakfast a few weeks before he set out to his death.

What he might have said is impossible to know. The question it lead you to contemplate is great.

As suggested there are a number of referances to religious belief systems in the movies. And if you've seen the Vis Dics they have a few referances to preisthoods and such.

Now, we all know that GL based many parts of the saga off asian history and concepts. The yin and yang of the light and darkside are good example. As a side note Annakin did restore balance because the Jedi outshined the balancing sith and then the sith eclipsed the Jedi and when all was said and done one person stood alone heir to both sides and not fully tainted by either. Luke always seems to be walking the razors edge and slips both ways many times. For him to have that chance he had to have come into a world devoid of most of the stories and knowledge of both side being unavailable to him.

Now as for the religious beliefs part goes, it's clear that the ewok worship something or things. Han believes in a place called hell where scoundrel (who shoot first) and cowards go (as he assumes he's going there and the man who is worried about his life over others will be there). And the Jedi believe in a force.

Some question wether the ideas of the force are classified as religion. I'd suggest they are.
Many Neopagan (don't get jumpy, it just mean non-abraham related religions most not with a monthiastic belief system) and shinto (japan based religion) beliefs both start with the idea of a universal energy system that is the core of all things and it has polar tendancies. That is; it has light and dark, male and female, and soforth. They both continue to see all aspects of the world to be aspects of the greater whole and as such children or personalitys of the universal force. In some of the branches of shinto (and now I admit to not being an expert) there is ancetsral worship and the belief that all things have a spirit and spirits are children of the greater energy ( I believe that's refered to as Kamisama, and individual spirits are kami). With this being the case it allows for great people and awe inspiring locations to be Kami and therefore objects of worship. Now the translation of the terms kind of break down here because as near as I can tell Kami means spirit, god and something like an angel and each is simply the same as the other.

That's great Jaggard but what does that mean to me? you ask. Well if you you take these concept and look at the jedi you can see some similarities.

The Jedi see the force as the universal energy or in some ways almost like a spirit. That spirit has a darkside and a light side and between the two lies the balance. Now some aspects of the force may be especially represented by certain figures. Annakin is reveared as the bringer of balance for example. So it is entirely likely that while fooling themselves into thinking that they are not religious and their way is just the way it is, they 'honor' past jedi who represent aspects of the force (light side of course) and 'demonise' those who represent darkside force triats. A Mother Teraisa (sp?) type figure could be invoked like a force spirit of careing and compassion. These would be old noteworthy jedi (and sith) worthy of a comment like "Great Ceasars ghost." :D

Now that may be something like what OB1 might have said. It also leave the possability for other religions to be 'right' too. If the ewoks have a glowing golden god of ettiquette and protocol he might exist and Jedi might decide he's not real, a myth , or a force spirit of an ancient ewok who represented those qualities and has since joined with the force.

As for things like Hell and angels, do you really think people on other planets speak english? What happens when you translate Kami to spirit, god, angel or even saint?
The same could happen here. Hell is meerly the closest equivalent concept we have to the one we are trying to translate. Angels where creatures by a certain name that got stuck with a label that many cultures recognised as a symbol of things they embodied, and that label when translated to english finds the closest example to be Angel.

That's my thoughts on the whole idea.

Jaggard
2 December 2005, 07:15 PM
well I just looked at the length of my last post and had the urge to say.
"Chewy, take the professor into the back and plug him in..."

has this thread answered the question for you, or any of us for that matter? I'd persoanlly like to hear a few more viewpoints on it.

gmjabreson
9 December 2005, 10:54 AM
and don't forget the priests on tatooine that worshipped banthas.

Darth Fierce
9 December 2005, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by gmjabreson
and don't forget the priests on tatooine that worshipped banthas.

Ah, yes...the Dim U faithful. Good folk, those guys.

Darth Fierce :vader: