Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Beware the Dark Side
By Dr Alex Tang
George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is one of the most awaited summer releases for this year. The Star Wars movies represent a significant milestone in movie making as the computer becomes as important as the actors and cameras. This futuristic science fiction intergalactic war epic started in the middle of the story with Episode 4: A New Hope. It is like reading a book from the middle and knowing the ending and then reading it from the beginning. The present movie will tie the beginning to the end which is known. The underlying philosophy of power in Star Wars is the Force, an energy that sounds suspiciously like the Tao of Taoism. The Force inside the Jedi Knights sounds like the Chi in Chinese religions. We knew Anakin Skywalker will be seduced to the dark side of the Force. This movie will reveal what made him make that choice. When he chose the dark side, he became Darth Vader. Darth Vader was powerful in many ways, yet he was in bondage and a slave to the Emperor.
There are certain similarities in the Star Wars series and another movie, The Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven, a movie about the Crusades, one of Saladin’s (a famous Muslin general) deputies said, “In Islam, God said ‘submit’. In Christianity, Jesus said ‘choose’”. Both stories are about choices people make. Choices that destroyed a fictional intergalactic empire or a historical Jerusalem. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of conscience as the narration in the movie so eloquently put it. “We choose with our mind and our heart to do what is good and we do it.” Choices were made that seduced a soul to the Dark Side or redeem it to goodness and integrity. While the violence may not be edifying, the basic tenet of these movies have much resonance with our Christian life.
In our Christian life, we are asked to choose daily. To choose to walk with Christ or to walk for ourselves and away from Christ. Our God is a God who gives His people the freedom to choose. We are not puppets on a string, manipulated by a master Puppeteer. We are given the freedom to choose, even to say ‘no’ to God. Joshua, the military general of the Israelites declared at the beginning of the conquest of Canaan that he chose Yahweh and fought his battles following the Lord’s strategy. Jeremiah chose to follow the Lord even though he was asked to do some funny things to illustrate His message. Jesus chose to drink from the cup of suffering in Gethsemane and died a humiliating death on the cross. There are also those in biblical records who chose badly. Lot chose the rich plain where Sodom and Gomorrah were. His home was destroyed and he committed incest with his daughters. David chose to lust after Bathsheba leading to adultery and murder. Judas chose to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
We are asked daily to choose. We must learn to choose wisely. That is why a knowledge of the word of God is important. It is a manual for decision making. It helps us to be in the light rather than darkness. So choose wisely. Beware the dark side.
Soli Deo Gloria
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