- Posts: 4394
Some questions from a passer-by
Jediism is many things to many people. There are many types of Jedi as you have seen. Some love Star Wars, some actually very much dislike it. Some view it as a religion, some say philosophy, others say life style, and some (myself included) say what's the difference really? :laugh: I tend to say religion because it works for me.
One thing that Jediism seems to be, overall, is fluid. Some people can't handle fluidity, they require rigidity. They need told things, what to believe, what to do, things like that. There's nothing wrong with that (I'm marrying a woman very much like that). It's my opinion that Jediism may not be right for those people, but then again, that is only my opinion which I will not Force ( ) upon others. Jediism is very fluid which does not appeal to everyone, which is one of the reasons we don't actively recruit like you see some other religions do. We know that our path is not the path for everyone.
As for the Initiate program, you asked why it's not more about doctrine. Well, from my understanding it is more meant to inspire thought as opposed to us saying "Believe this" or "Act like that." The IP is pretty much just asking for each novices thoughts on the presented material, almost a Get To Know You thing. I can tell you from experience that you get to know more about yourself just as much as the others get to know you from it too. Many times I see people ask "what if I don't agree with parts of it?" I always tell them to say just that and to put in why.
You also must remember that while Jediism holds a lot of it's roots in Star Wars, George Lucas didn't invent all of his ideas. He borrowed them from diverse sources and put them together in a way that spoke to people. One of the things we do is try to look at the inspiration behind our own inspiration.
I hope that helps. It is, by no means, a complete overview, but it's a start.
wow a lot of answers since i started my response - probably there will be some overlap here
i think the IP is not very good - campbell, yes, definitely
watts maybe (but also, MAYBE NOT)
the points made about the "world religions" area are totally valid - the literature in that area, frankly, sucks
i think an update would not hurt
"religion" is a difficult word to define
one of the criteria for coming to a definition of the word is that the definition cant be so narrow that it excludes existing religions
if people consider jediism a religion, then it is a religion
is it a well developed religion?
from what i have seen, no
is it a sincere religion?
from what i have seen, yes, absolutely
and by "sincere" i mean that the core of totjo are dedicated individuals, willing to put in real work, and sincere about growing and maturing as people, and building a community which fosters that same dedication
why all this "if you want to talk then we should PM"?
this is a valuable discussion
despite the fact that it makes people uncomfortable, the whole community can benefit from having it
the points being raised are not going to go away, and its best to get your responses and answers ready
the next wave of SW movies and franchising is going result in a lot of new people coming here - this one movie just beginning lol - the first of GOD (Force?) KNOWS how many more films and games and cartoons and comics - disney is an empire and theyre not letting go of S.W. EVER
i hope there wont be any legal issues with totjo
the Jedi ideal or Jedi archetype attracts a wide variety of people
some are just harry potter aspirants who want to have superpowers
some are basically cos players who want something that offers a sense of adventure and fun
and many dont really kn ow what they want - they just feel like what they have isnt cutting it or could be better and they admire the image and mood of the jedi in the movies, then when they find there are people who are apparently really living that way, they come check it out to see what it has to offer
when you build a community, especially in the early stages, you accept that the people within it are not all the same - they each have their own desires and demands and ideas, and so you work with what youve got
i remember that somehwere in my christian upbringing, i was told that the word speaks to each of us according to our ability to understand - that ten people may all read the same verses and each one wil recieve a personal revelation, which is appropriate to their own life and their own temperament, and that each of these revelations are valid for the people involved
well, each of us understands and can identify with the idea of THE FORCE in a way that is valid for us, and relevant to our own temperament
imo, the concept is big enough for "all" of our personal definitions, though i do admit that some people are going to put a higher degree of scrutiny and discipline of thought towards the concept than others
i think you bring up some valid points, and i dont think the community will be better off for disregarding what you say or trying to stifle the conversation
but id like to express that there are some very serious minded people around, and that this community is a valuable resource for personal growth for anyone who is able to recognize it as such
maybe there has been the interpretation of hostility on both sides - it certainly is easy to understand how a group of people might interpret hostility from someone who shows up and says "your religion is apparently B.S. and not a religion at all"
even if thats not the intent you are speaking from, its one that is easy to gather from some of the things youve said
maybe now would be a good time for us to set some guidelines for the discussion, in terms of etiquette?
Cabur Senaar wrote: Many things seem unclear from the outside.
Yes and you also "you need to feel the holy spirit/Allah/individualism in your life in order to truly understand Christianity/Islam/individualist secular humanism."
I'm "inside" by being in this forum and discussing with people who proclaim to be Jedi.
Cabur Senaar wrote: If you knew nothing of the theology of Christianity, that might seem a perfectly valid question.
Yes, but I'm not doing so. I'm asking what you people believe, yet I'm receiving very vague and inconsistent responses from everybody.
Cabur Senaar wrote: With regard to theism, we have members that are adherents of major faiths, many that are spiritual without being otherwise affiliated, and members that are strict materialists. What might otherwise be regarded as inconsistency, we regard as a strength. This endeavor of ours benefits from many perspective sand many ideas.
It seems that it really means being devoid of any real doctrine at all because even the fundamental aspect of the very first teaching cannot be objectively defined which makes it essentially meaningless:
" Jedi are in touch with the Force. We are open to spiritual awareness and keep our minds in tune with the beauty of the world. We are forever learning and open our minds to experiences and knowledge of ourselves and others."
What is the Force according to this document?
Cabur Senaar wrote: That might be part of the crux, here. We do not, at least in this Temple, embrace a specific revelation.
I never said that it did, nor did I suggest that it was a per-requisite of being a religion.
Cabur Senaar wrote: Again, where others see flimsy theology, we regard that as a strength.
How is it strength?
Cabur Senaar wrote: I suspect that most of us could agree that the central idea is Connection. Things are connected. Whether we discuss that in spiritual, theistic, chemical, psychological, etc. terms, it is unavoidable for us. But the question remains open.
This is a redundant statement though. What does it mean to be connected? Are there good connections and bad connections? If so, what is "good" and "bad"? What is the aim of connection? How does it relate to human beings? Even disregarding all these questions, others seem to have entirely different opinions on what it is, proving further that its inclusion in the 16 teachings is meaningless.
Cabur Senaar wrote: We have not. Instead, we are involved in a spiritual and philosophical endeavor to cultivate ourselves.
This is not a religious thing though. People have been doing this for thousands of years. Some people just call it "talking about stuff"
Cabur Senaar wrote: In practical terms, we aspire to become Knights, to conduct our lives in a certain way.
What is a "knight"?
Cabur Senaar wrote: Another part of this endeavor is a relationship (sometimes, even that word is problematic) with the Force. That relationship, and the nature of the Force, is left to each of us to discover. Leaving the question without a final answer leaves room for that inquiry. From my perspective, to not give a Jedi the room to determine his or her own relationship with whatever we hold sacred would be something of a crime.
Or in your terminology, the relationship with "connection" whatever that means?
Cabur Senaar wrote: It requires tremendous discipline and rigor to sit with unanswered questions and search the heart over the course of years. But, for some of us, that is the work we chose.
This is self-aggrandizing. Most who come to ask fundamental questions about the nature of this world and their existence in it, come to be that way via experience in their own live (usually youth). These questions never die in many people and they live their entire lives until death wondering and searching and cannot live any other way. It requires literally no discipline whatsoever.
Cabur Senaar wrote: Let go of needing the Force to be metaphysical. A more apt term might be sacred.
My own views on the metaphysical have not been made at all on this forum so whether it is relevant is not the topic, but in regards to your statement, what does "sacred" mean?
Cabur Senaar wrote: She said the Force is simply the Force.
A = A, it's a meaningless statement to make.
Cabur Senaar wrote: This is only because you lack context.
Saying that I lack something is unnecessarily pejorative. Just explain yourself.
Cabur Senaar wrote: Again, immerse yourself in these ideas, perhaps only to the knee
literally what I am doing right now.
Cabur Senaar wrote: From the subtext of your post, one might assume that you find what we do here upsetting or offensive.
No, just curious as always.
Cabur Senaar wrote: A Christian friend of mine here at the Temple told me once how her pastor admonished his church to be less about the religion and more about the relationship (in this case, with Jesus Christ). I thought it was a valuable piece of wisdom then and I still give it frequent thought.
What do you mean by "religion" here?
Cabur Senaar wrote: Those of us who practice this Path as a religion identify it as such because it is our encounter with the sacred.
What is "the sacred"?
Cabur Senaar wrote: We took on the modern myth of the Jedi to provide a framework for how we think. It is where we elected to start. If it’s a child’s movie, it is the movie that moved me as a child. This was the myth that touched me and I chose to run with it. Other people will choose other myths, and they are free to.
This is an interesting trend I'm noticing: that people here seem to encroach upon other faiths by referring to what they believe as "myth" so it seems, at least from here, that many of you are not simply allowing others to believe what they wish but instead are practicing a strange form of religious defamation whereby you define what other faiths are (in this sense "myth").
Cabur Senaar wrote: We often think that if we can argue against something in a way that makes sense to us, we must understand it.
Yes, this is generally how we come to understanding in the world: by discussing and defining what we mean.
Cabur Senaar wrote: Take this Temple on its own terms for a day.
Cabur Senaar wrote: In the mean time, please bear in mind that none of us came to your spiritual home and dismissed everything. While you explore, please be polite. Thank you.
I'm not dismissing anything. I'm asking what people here believe. Yet strangely it seems some react rather strangely to such a thing.
Senan wrote: Not every Christian believes every part of the Bible because the Bible in it's entirety contains contradictions.
They are required to by definition otherwise they are not defined as Christians. The definition of Christian was made with the Nicene Creed and it has been agreed upon ever since that anything contrary to this is not defined as "Christian." If you just allow everyone to define words, there is no meaning to anything and dialog goes out the window.
Senan wrote: We are an officially recognized 501-(c) (3) in order to operate as a tax exempt charity and this Temple is legally recognized allowing for our clergy to perform certain legal functions, hence the titles.
How did it register? I mean, what definition did it use when registering?
Senan wrote: The Force does not have to be metaphysical. Some would say the quest of theoretical physicist is to finally define a unifying force. Currently, Quantum Mechanics could explain the Force just as well as someone calling it "god". That is why we are here. We are exploring these questions together. A Jedi is not expected to believe any one thing over another. We are expected to do our due diligence to find the answers for ourselves.
The Jedi simple oath asks you to uphold the "Jedi teachings" which include in the very first clause: belief in "the Force." What is the definition?
Senan wrote: Why do Christians maintain the traditions and mythology shared with Jews?
Again, this is a really interesting trend I'm noticing here among many people: imposing the idea of myth onto other religions who do not see their faith as myth but reality. This organization definitely does not seem to be neutral on the matter of other faiths.
Senan wrote: The Star Wars mythology was inspired by many ancient philosophies and religious texts including the Tao Te Ching and Bushido Code along with some newer ideas from Campbell and Watts among many others.
So is the metaphysics of the Tao Te Ching actually binding with this organization, or if not all of it, which parts?
Senan wrote: Jediism is the name we use now because it allows us to identify with much of the ancient mythology in a way that can be understood in our current society.
This goes back to what I said before: to make the statement with a hidden clause that other religions are not "relevant" to the world today but this one is. Very interesting stuff.
Senan wrote: 5. Our Creed begins with "I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace".
What is "peace"?
Senan wrote: Jediism represents a collection of individuals seeking ways to better understand the universe and our place in it.
Then it's not a religion according to you, I suppose.
Senan wrote: To be "objective" suggests that one can remove themselves from the process of analysis
Sounds like the opposite.
Senan wrote: What I believe the Force to be works on a fundamental level,
How does it work?
Thanks for the responses
Do all Christians agree on every part of Christian thought? No. Could you sum up the major, agreed-upon principles of Christianity in a page about the size of our Doctrine page? I believe so, yes. You yourself say what it means to be Christian is defined in the Nicene Creed, which is rather shorter than our doctrine. Why does a Doctrine's concision or the fact a core element of it is personal interpretation make its definition as a religion problematic? All religious adherents are also "personal", in that they are persons. As such, all religious people express their faith in (at least subtly, often wildly) different ways. Suggesting otherwise doesn't strike me as sensible or desirable, and as such it's one of Jediism's strengths that it doesn't seek for a single "true" definition of the Force or become overly prescriptive in how one should express their faith in it, just some central ideas which we as Jedi agree make sense.
The latitude of Jediism is not so wide that it lacks this general "sense" of what it means to be Jedi. In terms of this Temple's expression of that, the wellspring from which all of the ideas and discussions flow is all there in our Doctrine.
The other element I'd like to respond to... does a course on Poetry have less meaning because the professor didn't write all the poems? The Initiate Programme is not our doctrine, nor is it spoken of as such. It's a training course in ideas of comparative mythology, meditation, some core critical thinking principles etc etc... I don't find any issue in our use of third-party materials in an optional study programme which is there to elucidate upon some of the central ideas and principles we believe may be useful to newcomers to our faith. The core ideas and principles of Jediism (reflection, service, compassion, harmony, unity) are not new; we could try and write our equivalent of Alan Watts' lecture on Meditation, for instance, but why should we when he already speaks perfectly well of the same wisdom? And so we seek sources which resonate now, have broad appeal, are easily understood by those who arrive, but get to the same points. It's one of the joys of establishing a religion in the digital age that we can get these things from existing experts, rather than wait for new experts in these ideas to rise up, declare themselves Jedi and write something on Temple-headed notepaper - or worse still, allow less gifted orators to regurgitate their ideas second-hand.
As Senan mentioned, we also have reams and reams of community-generated, free sermons available at the site, and as yet others have stated there are many community-authored, free materials available in our library and elsewhere online. But for me those are not additions to our doctrine. I don't find any need for such additions; I walk my own path quite well enough by using what we already have here.
OB1Shinobi wrote: "your religion is apparently B.S."
I never said this
OB1Shinobi wrote: and not a religion at all
But I did imply this because nobody will give me any definition that actually defines it as such.
tzb wrote: Ask a group of Taoists to define the Tao.
They can define it quite well while simultaneously not doing so, actually. Go to any local Taoist sect-house/temple and they'll tell you exactly what it means to be a Taoist. The Tao is defined in almost exactly the same way as God is in Abrahamic faiths: unknowable but the origin of the entire universe and everything in it. Taoism as a religious tradition is quite clearly defined and has been for longer than most religions existing today.
tzb wrote: What if the Force? That which by being true, all of the things on our Doctrine page would follow. See also the Tao Te Ching (agreed, theirs is better; ours is a start). Other religions (Sithism for example) have different interpretations of what the Force means, practically.
Yes, but at least Taoists give you a general idea of its definition rather than vague completely inconsistent individual ones.
tzb wrote: Why does a Doctrine's concision or the fact a core element of it is personal interpretation make its definition as a religion problematic?
Many men worked on that particular document so it wasn't up to interpretation and so that it wouldn't be problematic. Groups that deviated from it were labelled as "not Christian" because words have meanings.
tzb wrote: does a course on Poetry have less meaning because the professor didn't write all the poems?
If the professor claims that he's a poet and then proceeds to draw a crayon picture of a goose, then yes.
tzb wrote: The core ideas and principles of Jediism (reflection, service, compassion, harmony, unity)
Why are these your core principles?