Jim Monsonis Society and Religion
19 November 1996
So far this semester, we have studied several different sociological
theories of religion. These theories are built on both the known history of
religions in the world and the cultures in which they originated, as well as,
appropriately enough, theoretical suggestions of how those religions, and indeed
any religion at all, will survive in the future. The theory I find the most true
is Stark and Bainbridge's in The Future of Religion, although I like some
elements from others, like Berger's concepts of reification and secularization.
George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy, apart from being incredibly
entertaining and extremely well-made, gives us a complete portrait of a society
(The Empire) and a religion (Jediism, for lack of a better term). Although the
movies are mostly devoted to the growth of the characters, throughout the
trilogy we see the society change in a drastic manner. This paper will examine
the history of Jediism, the current (as of the end of the last movie) status of
the religion, and offer some suggestions as to what we can expect from Jediism
in the future.
I. The Religion
To examine the future of religion as it relates to society, one must
first have an idea of the tenets and beliefs on which the religion is based.
Jediism is based solely on belief in the "force", a "Universal energy field that
surrounds us and permeates us". (O. Kenobi, SW) Stark and Bainbridge make the
point that any religion based on magic or magic-like rituals is fated to die out
unless the magic can work constantly and consistently. This, they argue, is why
many religions change from promising magic, which is quite verifiable (Did he,
in fact, levitate?) to promising compensators, a sort of unverifiable magic. A
good example of this is the Christian Heaven. Stark and Bainbridge take it as a
given, however, that magic, or abilities that parallel magic, do not, in fact,
exist. This... [continues]
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(1999, 10). The Return of the Jedi. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Return-Jedi-3563.html
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