How the Bible Influenced Star Wars

Since today is Palm Sunday and we are entering into Passion Week leading up to Good Friday and Easter, I wanted to share a small snippet of that story, which may have influenced Star Wars. But even if you don’t care about Star Wars, it’s still a really cool story that shows God’s power.

The “Jedi Force Push”

In this story, Jesus has triumphantly entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, met with his 12 Disciples for the Passover, and is now about to be betrayed by Judas, on of his disciples. He has just spent the night praying and is really stressed about what is about to happen next.

So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I Am He.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I Am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. -John 18:3-6 ESV

Jedi Force Push

Although not exactly a Jedi Force Push, it does seem as if the very act of Jesus saying, “I AM” forced the “band of soldiers and some officers” to fall to the ground. To give you a little back story, a long time ago Moses met with God on a mountain in Exodus 3 and in verses 13-14 Moses asks God his name.

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.'”

God’s name is divine and has power. When Jesus, the Son of Man, said “I Am He,” there was power in that and the group of men fell down. This could have influenced George Lucas in the development of the Force and it’s capabilities.

The “The Rebels”

Immediately after this scene, Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples tries to defend Jesus with a sword by cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave. To fully understand the significance of this action, you have to understand that part of Jesus’ plan during his time on Earth was to fulfill prophecy. One of the most blatant preparations for this happens in Luke 22 where Jesus makes sure his disciples have a sword to fulfill prophesy from Isaiah 53:12.

He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” -Luke 22:36-38 ESV

Isaiah 53:11-12 (NET) says, “Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. ‘My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins. So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, because he willingly submitted to death and was numbered with the rebels, when he lifted up the sin of many and intervened on behalf of the rebels.” And in Luke 22:52, “Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Could this use of the term “rebels” have influenced George Lucas when he was writing Star Wars? Could the reference to the “power of darkness” have influenced Star Wars’ “dark side of the Force”?

The “Hero’s Journey”

George Lucas, the writer and director of Star Wars, is known to have been influenced by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which identifies the “Hero’s Journey”, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. While I believe the Bible to be true, much of Campbell’s “mythic traditions” are taken from the Bible. According to Wikipedia, “George Lucas was the first Hollywood filmmaker to credit Campbell’s influence. Lucas stated following the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977 that its story was shaped, in part, by ideas described in The Hero with a Thousand Faces and other works of Campbell’s…Lucas discusses this influence at great length in the authorized biography of Joseph Campbell, A Fire in the Mind:

I [Lucas] came to the conclusion after American Graffiti that what’s valuable for me is to set standards, not to show people the world the way it is…around the period of this realization…it came to me that there really was no modern use of mythology…The Western was possibly the last generically American fairy tale, telling us about our values. And once the Western disappeared, nothing has ever taken its place. In literature we were going off into science fiction…so that’s when I started doing more strenuous research on fairy tales, folklore, and mythology, and I started reading Joe’s books. Before that I hadn’t read any of Joe’s books…It was very eerie because in reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces I began to realize that my first draft of Star Wars was following classic motifs…so I modified my next draft [of Star Wars] according to what I’d been learning about classical motifs and made it a little bit more consistent…I went on to read ‘The Masks of God’ and many other books.

Wikipedia continues, “It was not until after the completion of the original Star Wars trilogy in 1983, however, that Lucas met Campbell or heard any of his lectures. The 1988 documentary The Power of Myth was filmed at Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch. During his interviews with Bill Moyers, Campbell discusses the way in which Lucas used The Hero’s Journey in the Star Wars films (IV, V, and VI) to re-invent the mythology for the contemporary viewer. Moyers and Lucas filmed an interview 12 years later in 1999 called the Mythology of Star Wars with George Lucas & Bill Moyers to further discuss the impact of Campbell’s work on Lucas’ films.”

The Easter Story

Jesus was the ultimate hero because, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16 KJV. But have you heard the good news? Jesus has risen. He overcame death. I don’t know anyone else who has ever done that. It’s pretty unique. And people were so shaken by it that they spent the rest of their lives telling other people about it and even gave up their own lives to continue telling the story. It’s easy to get caught up in the “fun” stories in the Bible about Jedi-like pushes and prophecy being fulfilled, but Paul warns in Collosians 2:18-19 to focus on “the Head” (Jesus), “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”

How to watch Star Wars in Telnet

Star Wars Telnet1. Click on the start button (lower left-hand corner of the screen)
2. Click on to Run, type “Telnet”, then click OK
3. In the command prompt that comes up type “o” (without the quotes), then press enter
4. You should get another prompt that says <to>, then type “towel.blinkenlights.nl” (again, without the quotes), the press enter

There will be a couple screens of text that load and then a movie will start: the entire Star Wars: A New Hope in special text characters.

Someone has way too much time on their hands but it*s amazing to see what they’ve done.

In Case You Were Born Yesterday

As I sit here drinking Yogi green tea I can’t help but think of all the people who don’t know anything yet. These are the people who were born yesterday, the ones who still haven’t heard about Reddit or still believe in Santa Claus. This isn’t a completely exhaustive list, but it’s the stuff that people kind of forget to tell you growing up because they expect you to know it. Take it all with a grain of salt*.

  1. Air Force TunnelerMoss grows on the north side of trees because the sun rises in the south. This creates shade, which moss prefers. Consequently, a rolling stone gathers no moss because it’s constantly moving and it all falls off.
  2. There are lots of things buried under the ground and it gets weirder the deeper you go. Besides the normal gas, water, and electrical lines, there are sewers, subways, secret CIA tunnels, aquifers, and molten lava.
  3. Gravestones face east and west and cows eat north and south. This is so people can rise and set with the sun and because of their magnetic compass, respectively.
  4. Fire takes three things to burn: fuel, heat, and oxygen. If you take any one of these three things away, the fire goes out. That’s why a fire goes out when it’s out of fuel, get’s dowsed with water, or gets smothered, respectively.
  5. 100 years from now no one will know who you are. This used to be more true, but with the Internet’s uncanny ability to make history flat, your great, great, great grandchildren may be watching your Youtube videos.
  6. A tree’s age can be determined after cutting across it’s trunk. The trunk of the tree grows a new layer of bark each year and years with more rain and/or sunlight make the rings larger or smaller which gives us indications of the weather.
  7. You dream you can fly because your sheets make you think air is thick like water. When you’re asleep, you forget you’re under the covers and when you jump in your dreams, you feel resistance against the ‘air’ and think you can fly.
  8. We have been to the Moon and to Mars. Once we found out there really wasn’t anything to do there, we didn’t persue it much. If you think you’d like to go, there’s nothing stopping you going nowadays as long as you’ve got the cash and aren’t too worried about coming back.
  9. Banks lend out 10 times what they have on hand. While it is illegal to print money, it is not apparently illegal to lend out money you don’t have. This is how banks make money from money they don’t have. A new bank is called a “de novo”, which means “from the beginning”.
  10. Community does more for your health than food, education, money, or DNA. The more plugged into a community of people who care about you and depend on you, the longer you will live regardless of how much fat you eat, what school you went to, how much money you make, or who your parents are.
  11. The ‘secret’ ingredient that makes food products most successful is not sugar, but *salt. In a comparison of all major cereals, the ingredient most correlated with commercial success was not sugar, but salt. Coca Cola has more sodium than Pepsi, but not by much. Pepsi does however have more sugar than Coca Cola.
  12. Amazon.com started out as an online book store with over 1 million titles. While they now have server farms that power a large portion of the Internet and are the online equivalent of Wal-Mart, they started small in a niche where they could add value – books.
  13. Everybody used to talk the same language, lived a lot longer, and were a lot smarter than you. There was a time when we all used to ‘get along’ and live hundreds of years, but that didn’t last too long. And every generation thereafter has a little less of the core DNA and more mutations, which makes us slightly less smart every year.
  14. The 14th floor of many buildings is really the 13th floor renamed as the 13th floor. This is because people are superstitious and think that the number 13 is unlucky. This is because there are about 13 full moons a year, but only 12 months! Whoa! Watch out!
  15. Numbers and time aren’t real. We made them up. I’m serious. They only mean something because we say they do. You can count in apples and bananas just the same as 1s and 0s. Numbers only serve as variables to denote measurement. They give us a standard language to communicate with. Kind of like they used to have when we lived longer.
  16. The universe is more than meets the eye. I’m not talking just talking about spectrums of light and what we can see with our eyes versus what can be detected in infrared, radio, and x-rays. I’m talking about the other 95% of the mass out there that we have no idea what it is. We call it Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
  17. Intentions set direction. Look at your toes. Are they pointing towards the door? That means you want to leave. Whatever your intentions, it sets your direction. So spend some time figuring out your purpose in life and what you want out of it before you start to work towards it and your intentions will set your direction.
  18. Weddings and babies are both rare and common events at the same time. The amount of things that have to happen just perfectly over time for someone to meet and agree to marry or for a sperm to reach an egg is almost astronomical, yet it happens everyday – several times a day in fact.
  19. College probably won’t help you in the way you think. It’s a key – a gateway past an interview process, but most hiring managers don’t actually believe you know much right out of college. It shows you can complete a program and that’s about it. Know this and spend some time learning a skill outside of school.
  20. There is more to this life than this life. You probably won’t live in this simulation for over 100 years, but if you do, you’ll probably realize that our solar system is pretty small compared to the whole universe, and there are mysteries you won’t uncover until you figure out what all that dark matter is. But by then it will be too late. I’d encourage you to find the oldest book you can find, one that has the most wisdom, and read it. There is a clue that will help guide you. Let me know when you find it.

Icy Sky – a Short, Cold Story

The temperature dropped so fast my ears popped. I first felt the cold in my groin as my gonads retreated up into my body. I too would have to find shelter and fast. I looked around, but all I could see were sticks and trees. There was no cover, no bushes, no overpass, no cave. I would have settled for a cleft in the rock to give me some reprieve from the rising wind and the stifling cold.

My fingers began to stiffen as I walked even as I clenched them inside my pant pockets. I remembered the Jack London story, To Build a Fire, which was a perfect example of a Man vs. Nature story. It was one that I did not wish to be a part of particularly due to the ending. I remember the biscuits and the bacon grease he kept tucked against his chest and how his dog had abandoned him. “Maybe I should light a fire,” I thought.

Icy SkyThere was still no shade from the wind and all the wood was slightly damp. I remembered a story they told in Boy Scout camp about a challenge set forth to all the boys one night on a camping trip. Snow had befallen their camp and each boy was given the task of building their own fire. No one could do it because all of the wood they found was too wet – all but one boy.

He was older than the other boys in his troop and also more experienced. You learn a lot of things in Boy Scouts such as how to tie knots or build fires, but what you’re really learning is troubleshooting skills and self-reliance all while leaning how to interact with others and respect your environment. The boy’s solution was simple. While other boys we’re frantically burning through matches and adjusting their “tee-pee”, “log cabins”, and other fire-building designs. He was patiently chipping away at the side of a large log with his hand ax. By the time he was done he had cut through the wet, outer wood into the dry center. While they were out looking for dry tinder, he had created a pile of dry kindling by which he was easily able to start a fire – which he did – right there atop that log.

I had no axe. I had no cover. And I had no time. The thing about troubleshooting is that you’re not always looking for the solution. It’s just as valuable to figure out what doesn’t work. If one way doesn’t work, the opposite must be right. I like to think there are two types of problem solvers. There are those who when faced with a problem take flight, climb up stairs, or jump. And there are those who stick their head in the sand, hide in the cellar, or bury their head in their pillows. I brought a shovel.

I began to dig. It was a small, fold-able shovel, meant for digging small fire pits or latrines, but it was all I had. I immediately ran into roots and rock. This was not going to work. I was going to die. I prayed to God to rescue me! “Why had I not done this before?” I thought. What made me think I didn’t need him everyday of my life?

Just then the sun came out and just as soon as the cold came, the heat returned. It was a freak storm, but one that reminded me of just how out of control we really are. We need Jesus in our lives because he is our rock and our only path to eternal life. The God who made us sent his Son to die for us because that’s ho much he loves us. We are commanded to love and obey Him. This is a choice we all make.