Star Wars Theology

August 28, 2005 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Movies | Leave a comment

“Go, and may the Force be with you.”

That line throughout the years has become one of the milestones of a time era. Not only does it mark a time period, it also stands as a beacon to the spiritual climate that the USA finds itself in. What am I talking about? Heh…Star Wars.

The way this post will be organized is this: first of all, I will make some claims; next, I will back them up(underneath each claim); and then thirdly, I will bring it all back to a Christian perspective.

Now, to get to those claims.

1.) Star Wars is a religious movie.

The theology has been called New Age, Eastern Mythology, Eastern Mysticism, among others. Call it what you will, but there are definite fundamental beliefs. I’ll get to those in a minute.

First let’s back up this outrageous claim. In an interview in TIME magazine George Lucas said, “With Star Wars I consciously set about to re-create myths and the classic mythological motifs.” And also, “I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people—more a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system.” Sound good? Let’s find out.

2.) Fundamental Beliefs in Star Wars.

Belief A.) God is not a personal God. God is merely some mysterious cosmic “Force”. To back this up, one only needs to watch the movies. Or the old ones, where Obi Won Kenobi introduces us to the Force. Everything in the universe, combined, is god. Look at it this way, God is the ocean, we’re all drops of water in that ocean. All of us together are God. The Jedi are those who have mastered the use of the Force, it flows through them. The Bible does not teach that there is a cosmic energy that flows through objects and individuals. Throughout their training, Jedi are taught to let go of the conscious mind and reach out with their feelings. (sounds a little bit like channeling to me…) Christians are taught to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). (As a side note: Some Christians have mistakenly equated the Force with the Holy Spirit, however there are a couple major differences. First, the Force is an impersonal being, whereas the Holy Spirit is not, he is a personal being, part of the Trinity, with a personality, intelligence and a will. Second, the Force is contained in the universe, or is made up of all living things in the universe. The Holy Spirit is not contained in the universe, but rather, played an active part in creating the universe out of nothing, and exists apart from all living things. And third, the Force can be manipulated by the Jedi to do their will. The Holy Spirit however does only the Father’s will, he cannot, and will not be manipulated.)

Belief B.) Emotions are more important than reason. To win life’s battles one must not think, one must only feel. And good will not win in the end, because good and evil are locked into an eternal battle of balance, or a perpetual war. However much good there is, there must be an equal amount of evil, to balance the good out. That’s not what my Bible tells me. Jesus said, “It is finished!” It’s over. Then He rose from the dead, conquering the grave and evil once and for all. My Bible says God is all powerful, that he created everything, even Satan, and can, and has, defeated him. The battles rage, but the war is over.

So now I’m left with a question: Should we as Christians spend our time, thinking on, being caught up in the Star Wars craze? Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch it, although you might think about what you’re supporting, but mainly, should we spend too much time thinking about something that is completely opposed to Christianity?

Until Christ returns, all glory and honor are His, now and into everlasting,

Marshall

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Blog Commenting Protocol

August 28, 2005 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Random | Leave a comment

Commenting for “Newbies”
(A “Reminder” for the Rest of Us)You Have Entered “The Comment Zone”
It is crucial to a vibrant and healthy comment section for participants to understand the purpose of discussion, and to possess a proper respect for their fellow contributors. Whether you maintain your own blog, comment on other blogger’s posts, or both, you have most likely been frustrated by the lack of proper argumentation and the seeming epidemic of disrespect, primarily among your opponents (Insight #1: They feel the same way towards you).

The truth is that we all can use a helpful reminder every so often as to how we should conduct ourselves in the high-intensity role of “the commentator’s commenter.”

For that reason we present, “Commenting For ‘Newbies’ (A ‘Reminder’ For The Rest of Us),” as an invaluable resource for bloggers and their readers; an aide-mémoire, if you will. Yes, logic, evidence, and respect still exist and can be realized—even in your comment section.

The Purpose of Argumentation
Critical to proper argumentation is an understanding of why we argue; we argue in hopes of persuading dissenting opinions to conform to our own. If we disagree, it is because we think we are right and others are wrong. We take the time to discuss our disagreements in hopes of proving the validity of our views. It is frustrating, therefore, when we find ourselves perpetually clashing with our opponents, while making seemingly no headway towards our goal of changing their minds.

In fact, at times it can feel as if, were we to publicly claim that rabbits exist, our opponents would deny it; even if one hopped up, said, “What’s up, Doc?” and starting burrowing into their heads. How do we get past these confounding doldrums and arrive at a place from which the discussion can progress in an intelligent manner?

Here are three steps to improve your skills of argumentation:

Step One: Remember that your opponents have come to their conclusions using more or less the same rational process you have. The difference is not necessarily their intellect, but rather the information they had at their disposal and the values they hold.

Step Two: Understand that this means your opponent feels just as confident about the accuracy of his or her position as you do about yours, and will only be persuaded otherwise if you prove that their information or values are out of line.

Step Three: Realize that successful argumentation will only take place when you make it your goal to inform and persuade, by supplying additional bits (or chunks) of information and by addressing the values behind your opponent’s conclusions.

8 Principles For Logical & Respectful Discussion

The key to respectful, profitable argumentation is to respect others and to be respected. You respect others by acting civilly and arguing reasonably. You cause others to respect you by not acting like a fool in your manner or in your argumentation. Here are eight principles that allow you to do both:

NUMBER ONE: Understand the ‘classical’ view of tolerance.
The classical view of tolerance lends itself much more readily to intelligent argumentation than does the modern view. It teaches that, while we may strongly disagree with dissenting opinions, we still treat the person behind those opinions with respect.

DO feel free to disagree, even strongly, with other people, and say so!
DO feel free to permanently demolish opposing viewpoints. (Good luck!)
DO NOT attempt to demolish opposing “people.”

NUMBER TWO: “No ‘ad hominem’ attacks, you moron!”
Nothing more quickly degenerates a discussion than when people start attacking those making the arguments rather than refuting the arguments themselves. Remember that the character, circumstances, or political ideology of the person has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of the proposition being defended.

DO NOT stoop to name-calling (moron, idiot, etc.)
DO NOT imply negative monikers onto people simply because they disagree. (i.e. “Anyone who’s even slightly intelligent will believe that cows are people too.”)

NUMBER THREE: Eschew Obscenity & Prohibit Profanity
The use of inappropriate language and shocking statements is a sure sign that the author lacks the ability to communicate their position in a calm and reasonable manner. It shows tremendous disdain for others and will not be allowed on respectable blogs.

DO NOT be upset when your comment is deleted for inappropriate language.
DO NOT be upset when you IP address is banned for multiple offenses.

NUMBER FOUR: He who asserts must prove.
This is one of the most critical aspects of proper argumentation and requires that you carefully guard yourself from making groundless statements. Every proposition should be supported by either logic or evidence.

Logic includes everything from complex syllogisms to plain ol’ cause-and-effect. Evidence can take the form of examples, statistics, and/or quotations from authorities in the field. Supported arguments stand until refuted. Unsupported arguments do not deserve a response and might as well not exist.

DO feel free to confirm other people’s points without providing additional support.
DO NOT make additional arguments or publicize your disagreement with someone else’s position without providing adequate support.

NUMBER FIVE: Respond to the argument, not to the spelling.
There is no surer sign of inadequacy on the part of a debater than when they take issue with some small “error” on the part of their opponent, while ignoring the main point/s their adversary is trying to make.

If you are unable to refute your opponent’s position, don’t insult his or her spelling, grammar, or insignificant deviations from fact. Your opponent is most likely correct, and their small errors have nothing to do with the overall truth or falsity of the proposition they defend. Don’t make a fool of yourself by being a sore loser.

DO feel free to point out significant errors that impact the validity of a claim.
DO NOT point out errors solely for the purpose of embarrassing your opponent.

NUMBER SIX: Debating When Less Is More.
A common tactic adopted by inexperienced debaters is to ask a long series of questions that place an enormous burden on their opposition, without actually making any particular point. Such an approach is not only unfair to your opponent, but it really isn’t argumentation at all. These kinds of “question avalanches” can hardly be responded to in the confines of a comment section, but will often foster animosity.

The same is true of those with too much time on their hands (or a gift for speed writing) who present far too many arguments at one time in hopes of “burying” their opponent under the supposed “empirical” weight. Both of these abuses inhibit true argumentation and inevitably degrade the quality of a discussion. Respect yourself and your opponents at all times by using moderation in your argumentation and questioning.

DO feel free to ask pertinent and probing questions about your opponent’s position.
DO NOT expect answers for loaded questions.
DO NOT ask loaded questions.
DO feel free to make powerful and relevant arguments against your opponent’s position.
DO NOT expect answers to your 5 page tome.
DO NOT write 5 page tomes.

NUMBER SEVEN: Do your own research.
Remember that your opponents are busy people who are taking time out of their day to discuss relevant issues with you. Do not place an excessive burden on them by requiring them to go “off-site” to read lengthy articles or study ancient philosophers, scientists, etc. If Aristotle makes “your” point then “you” should be able to make the argument. Your opponent certainly will not (and shouldn’t have to) make it for you.

DO feel free to provide links to outside sources for your opponent’s consideration.
DO NOT expect your opponent to read them unless you make them want to. (i.e. “If you go read Maxwell’s five-foot bookshelf, then you’d agree with me!” never works)
DO feel free to support your arguments with outside resources. Just make sure you summarize what the resource says. Otherwise your opponents will consider your argument unsupported until they go read/see the support. Which they most likely never will.

NUMBER EIGHT: The fallacy of the majority.
When the majority of participants in a discussion hold your position, it is common to start acting as if the last seven principles no longer apply to you. You feel you can destroy the dissenter, along with their position, since you have so many like-minded chums. However, the majority has no more right to silence the opinion of a minority through disrespectful, improper argumentation, than the minority would have, if it were able, to silence the opinion of the majority using the same methods. Victory by means of respectful, logical argumentation is true victory. Victory by any other means is no victory at all.

DO feel free to destroy dissenting opinions using respectful, logical argumentation.
DO NOT silence dissenting opinions by majority “piranha attacks.”


About the Authors:
Alex & Brett Harris have competed for four years in high school speech & debate, including policy and value debate, persuasive platform speaking, limited preparation categories, and even interpretative events. Over the past two years they have combined for 5 national titles, making it into final rounds over 18 times. They have been contributing authors to several debate sourcebooks and have coached high school speech and debate clubs in Oregon, Washington, and Maryland. They currently co-author the blog ‘The Rebelution’.

Thanks Alex and Brett for coming up with such awesome commenting guidelines!

Marshall

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Coming Soon!

August 17, 2005 at 10:24 pm | Posted in News, Random | Leave a comment

A Post is coming soon!

I working on the writing, right now….

To see what this is all about, visit The Rebelution (Brett’s Blog) and Conscientious Contemplation (Alex’s Blog)

All glory and honor unto the Lamb, now and forever more….

Marshall

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