Maybe I’m a little late to the party, since I only just got around to seeing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens given my busy schedule, and given that the films have broken all kinds of records and grossed over three quarters of a billion dollars worldwide as I write this. In looking at a film like this, which obviously comes with a massive and passionate fanbase, there are several ways that one can look at a film like this. On the one hand I would like to talk about the film a bit, and then I would like to talk about one of the fundamental aspects of the storyline that strikes me as problematic, or at least worthy of being considered specifically rather than being taken merely for granted as an aspect of the film’s worldview without being consciously examined and critiqued. On the one level, this film is easy to enjoy and appreciate, and on another level the film has some obvious worldview issues that are worth discussing seriously.
So, let us talk about the fun stuff first. The film is gorgeous, and features great acting, for the most part. The story, while containing a few too many coincidences, including the fact that the ship stolen during the film’s early sequences happens to be the Millennium Falcon among all the YT freighters that could end up in the middle of nowhere on a desert planet, which strains credulity just a little bit. At the core of the story are two sets of concerns. On the one hand, you have returning characters like Hans Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker all playing important parts by their presence or absence. These are familiar characters that bring an existing degree of fan interest, and the fact that they are played by the same actors as originally adds a great deal of built-in support for the new film trilogy, sort of how Star Trek Generations marked a deliberate passing of the baton from the original series to the Next Generation cast, an intelligent move. Likewise, the new characters here are pretty compelling, although admittedly Kylo Ren seems very emo. When he had his dramatic reveal taking off the mask, at least one overly witty person at the theater where I watched commented that he looked very much like Josh Groban, and his deliberately vintage style made the Emo Kylo Ren twitter feed way funnier. Besides that terrifying picture, Daisy Ridley did a great job as brave scavenger Rey and John Boyega did a convincing turn as a PTSD-troubled post-imperial stormtrooper who turns to the good side, and Oscar Isaac’s pilot Poe is similarly excellent and noble and daring as the galaxy’s best resistance pilot, whose lives are all entangled in a quest to find Luke Skywalker before the neo-imperial New Order does. There is an adorable droid and compelling fighting scenes. It’s a movie that ought to appeal to Star Wars fans on nearly every level.
That said, there is something somewhat troublesome about the whole premise of the film concerning the awakening of the force in the first place. Star Wars, along with the Matrix, to give one of the most noted examples, operates from a very New Age/Eastern religion mindset when it comes to good and evil, light and dark. Before the film there was a trailer urging people to “choose their side” of the force based on whether they prefer mercy, kindness, and self-sacrifice , or whether they seek power and enjoy terrifying others. The film itself, and the series as a whole, promotes a dualistic view of Creation, where good and evil, light and dark must be in balance, like the ying and the yang of the Chinese Tao. It is the behavior of the evildoers that prompts an awakening of the force among those who are good. It is the cruelty of the New Order that prompts the rise of those who are humane and compassionate like Rey and Finn. In such a worldview good and evil end up equally powerful and neither is really strong enough to eliminate the other, for an imbalance in either direction would trigger the rise of the opposite to bring them back into balance again.
As appealing as this worldview is from a narrative point of view, it is entirely bogus as a moral perspective when one operates from a biblical worldview. In the biblical worldview, good is pre-existent and evil only exists as a corruption or perversion of what is and was originally good. On the one hand, this means that evil itself does not involve creation, but merely a fall from an originally good creation, because nothing was originally created evil but was only that way out of failing to live up to the standard it was originally created to live by. This is a fundamentally asymmetrical view, in that evil has no legitimacy in any kind of balance, but is merely something to be eliminated altogether at some time, not through a war that goes on and on without end in the natural order, but to be destroyed by the redemption process by which people come to their senses, repent of their sins, and change their behavior and seek to do what is right, similar, in fact, to the way that Finn decides after refusing to fire upon the unarmed villagers of Jakko. The two worldviews are fundamentally incompatible, as the Christian worldview leaves no place for dualism. Satan is neither the equal of God nor is he a creator of evil, nor does the dark side of humanity or any other order of creation have an equal place at the table with those who choose to follow God. That said, the dignity of people consists of their being created in the image of God, no matter how that image has been corrupted by the sins we have committed against others or the sins others have committed against us. Let us therefore think on these things.
 See, for exmaple: