Question: "What is the Jedi religion / Jediism?"
Answer: The Star Wars saga is a cultural phenomenon. Since the release of the first film, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in 1977, Star Wars has gained an enormous global following. The science fiction movies (and books and comic books) relate the account of the inhabitants of an ancient galaxy and their struggle against an oppressive government. There is a quasi-religion in the Star Wars universe, too, and that religion has adherents in the real world. It’s called Jediism or “the Jedi religion.”
In the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are the main keepers of the peace and the “good guys.” The Jedi are also a monastic religious order, of sorts. They follow ancient traditions and use an unseen, mystical power called “the Force,” which supposedly binds and flows through the entire universe. The idea that the Force is real and not fantasy has led to a Jedi religion. Real-life followers of Jediism treat the fiction of Star Wars as a blueprint for a religious or philosophic belief system. A number of organizations have created everything from doctrinal creeds to training programs to take a person from Padawan (an initiate) to Jedi Master. One group, the Temple of the Jedi Order, is a registered 501c3 tax-exempt religious organization.
The Jedi religion has no centralized structure to create official beliefs. However, Jediism is always nontheistic and focused on doing good for humanity—although what is “good” is defined by the individual, since there is no absolute moral standard for a Jedi to follow. Depending on the website or organization, practitioners of Jediism may hold to the “13 Keys of the Code of the Jedi,” the “16 Teachings,” the “21 Maxims,” or any combination thereof. The teachings of the Jedi religion are based on a combination of Taoism and Buddhism and instruct Jedis in meditation, self-actualization, visualization, quieting the mind, and connecting with the Force. The Jedi religion tends to be syncretic, as most Jedi groups accept or even encourage their followers to maintain their original religious affiliation, citing tolerance and the belief that wisdom can come in many forms.
Many people take the Jedi religion seriously. Not that they believe in Darth Vader, Jawas, or a planet called Tatooine, but they see value in the idea of the Force as a religious or philosophical guide to life. Although many of the maxims of the Jedi religion are simple calls to honesty, loyalty, and integrity, the core teaching of the Force is directly contrary to the Christian worldview. Jediism’s understanding of the Force as an impersonal power that binds the universe conflicts with the Bible’s teaching of a personal Creator who actively upholds all things (Colossians 1:17). Also, the Star Wars franchise presents the Force as amoral—a power that can be harnessed and manipulated for one’s own purposes, good or evil. This concept, akin to the yin yang of Taoism, is contrary to the Bible’s clear presentation of absolute moral standards and the sovereignty of God. The Taoist and Buddhist beliefs from which the idea of the Force is drawn, the Jedi religion’s humanistic emphasis on our ability to tap into mystical power, and its denial of moral absolutes make the Jedi religion incompatible with biblical Christianity.