A “Jedi” Religion

I’m intrigued by websites like www.jedichurch.org and https://www.templeofthejediorder.org/ claiming to venerate the force yet call themselves ‘jedi’.

Why?  If there is any real understanding of The Force, and if one truly venerated it, then one would have to appropriately name one’s church to allow both Jedi and Sith to ‘adhere’ to it. Indeed if ever there were any kind of ‘secular vs. religious’ distinction it would be between ‘worshippers’ and ‘non-worshippers’ of the Force, because it is rightly that said the force ‘moves through’ all of us, so technically a ‘Force Church’ shouldn’t make a distinction between wielders and non-wielder of the Force…

Because what is a religion, really? It is a set of beliefs, yes, but it is inseparable from a system of values and motivations which are seen as being a logical derivative of that belief system.

So while members of a Jedi Church believe in the existence of The Force, they do not venerate it, only the Light Side of the Force.  And that means that there will also be a Sith Church which venerates the Dark Side of the Force.  But I cannot believe that a group of genuinely loving people, as the real world Jedi claim to be, would gather together and identify their ‘religion’ in full conscience that doing so is an enablement of their ‘nemeses’, the Sith.  It is like saying “You’re welcome to join us in the Light but also know that there’s this other club where you can be as evil and selfish as your childish little heart desires!”  So the Jedi are in a bit of a quandary… unless both Jedi and Sith recognize each other as siblings, and that they are each on a different path which has the same destination: being One with the Force.

I feel a religion should avoid having explicit mention of Jedi or Sith in its name if it is to properly represent a group which venerates The Force, in just the same way as one hears of Taoism and not Yinism or Yangism.  I think this is one of the many difficulties that real people are having to face with getting their ‘Jedi Religion’ recognized as an ‘official’ religion – aside from a rare set of exceptions  (the Temple above, being one of them) – most ‘Jedi churches’ feel too poorly thought-out.

It’s tricky. Sure, there may rightly be two “churches” or schools of thought with regards to The Force, and probably many more depending on all the variations of possible motivations different people can have, but there would then be one overarching belief: belief in the existence and reality of The Force – with all that that entails.  But then one might expect a Jedi to appreciate the deeds of the Sith, seeing them as an exercise in preserving the Force by being the very contrast by which the Jedi can exist: without the Sith, there can be no Jedi, and no Force (and idem vice versa of course).

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