The Jedi church has no official doctrine or scripture. The Jedi church recognizes that all living things share a living force and that all people have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, and the Jedi Church celebrates this like no other religion.
Basic concepts of the Jedi faith that we at the Jedi Church would like to promote are the following:
The Basic Concepts
There is one all powerful force that binds the entire universe together. It is "an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together". This is a concept that most religions of the world concur with. Some refer to it as their deity, some refer to it as a life force, but the one thing nearly all religions agree with, is that there exists a single unifying force.
There are 2 sides to the force, the dark side and the light side. "Beware of the dark side... The dark side leads to fear. Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering". Good versus Evil is a common element through most religions. The issues of good versus evil, right versus wrong permeate through the doctrines of all religions. Most religions attempt to state what is right and wrong, to establish their moral code. Sometimes religions make codes that don't reach a great consensus. Outsiders, and sometime insiders, begin to judge their religious code by something more powerful, something more innate, an innate ability to know what is right and wrong. This is the Jedi's belief, that morality, good and evil, are all axioms of the force, and that we must listen to the force so that we will know the right thing to do.
Can good exist without evil? The Jedi believe that good and evil are only axioms of the all powerful and unifying force. The force contains all that is good and all that is bad. We all are free and sentient beings who have the capability to do good or evil. It is our choice of direction that determines if we do good or evil. The existence of good and evil is necessary for freewill.
So in summary, listen to the force, and beware the dark side!
Do we believe in an afterlife?
The original starwars trilogy was the best visualisation of what we believe, as it is what binds us all together in this faith. There are repeatitive references to an afterlife, in which people in the afterlife can talk to us. I think it is fair to say that many Jedi probably to believe in an afterlife of some sort or another, however, this is really left up to each of us to make a judgement call.
Is there a Deity?
Perhaps it is the force, "an energy field created by all living things". But this is a good question for Jedi to meditate on, do we believe their exists a deity(s) who has/have their own conscious, and who can act on their own free will?
History of Our Religion
The force has always existed and always will.
Our faith in the force existed well before the fictional Star Wars movies brought popular recognition to the terminology and concepts that our members always innately held, but had difficultly describing in a shared forum.
When the movement to answer Jedi to the religion question in the NZ census began, it was incredible to see how quickly word spread, and just how many people embraced the new popular name of their shared innate religion. With such immediacy, people from all around the world followed suit, now having an obvious and common name for their deeply held religious and moral convictions. It is the speed and numbers of people involved in the census movement, that show just how powerful the concepts of the Jedi Faith are.
The terminology used by the Jedi Church were introduced by the fictional Star Wars movies, and often references are made to the movies by our members, as a conceptual demonstration of how some might ascribe to the higher levels of a Jedi faith, in a far away land, a long time ago. The fact remains, that these concepts merely reflect a deep held innate morality, that we all have inside us, and now we have some common terminology and place to share our thoughts with each other. This morality existed prior to the movies. The movies do not in any way legitimise nor negate the legitimacy of the Jedi Church. They are merely a discussion point.
The Jedi Church neither confirm nor deny that George Lucas is a member of the Jedi Church. We do not mind if our members deny their involvement in our church should they seek to avoid persecution.
The Jedi Church movement is now progressing to gain legal status as a separate legal entity just like any other corner Church congregation. We have already received confirmation that Jedi themed marriages may be conducted by registered celebrants (registered cellebrants with the Department of Internal Affairs in NZ), in a manor no different, nor less recognised in law than any Christian marriage or marriage of any other religion or denomination.
Is the Jedi Religion Fiction?
Is the Jedi religion fiction? Many religions claim to be the one and only true religion, thus necessitating that all other religions are fictitious. In addition, although many religions claim to speak the word of God, but the truth is they are only the written word of prophets or followers of the religion. There is no way to prove or deny that what was written was the word of God. Several other religions openly admit that their text is not the word of God, and that it is only a prescribed behavior or a philosophy of life (e.g. Buddhism, Scientology). Most non fiction is a discussion of science and life, of things that can be observed, quantified and readily challenged for its truth and authenticity. But not religion. Any religion put to scrutiny is merely words on paper, with no ability to confirm its authenticity. The Jedi church makes no denial that its name and terminology originates from a fictitious past, but the concepts and ideals that are identified by Jedi followers are known for their innate truth. The sun existed before it was given a name, and it could be revered as a God, however, when the sun finally had a human name, it could be written about and communicated with others. The Jedi religion is just like the Sun, it existed before a popular movie gave it a name, and now that it has a name, people all over the world can share their experiences of the Jedi religion, here in the Jedi Church.
So in summary, no religion is truth. It is all just a matter of faith.
What Right Do We Have to Start a Jedi Church?
What right does anyone have to start a church? If a group of like minded people wish to organise a place and a structure to practise and discuss their religious thoughts, then that is the right of anyone who lives in a free and fair society. As soon as enough people are involved, they experience administrative issues that create costs too much for any single member to bear on their own. At that stage it is necessary that the organisation may create its own legitimate status to operate bank accounts and manage its own set of financial accounts, which are not to the betterment of any individual, and are long lasting should any founding members pass on.
Lets consider the Church of Scientology. About 60 years ago, a fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard wrote a body of beliefs and related practices. Hubbard chose only later to characterize his writings as an "applied religious philosophy" and since it has gained legal recognition as an official religion in many western countries. Unlike the Church of Scientology, we will not harass members of the public, nor ex members of our Church. We welcome all those who wish to join, and we farewell all those who wish to leave. We only request that the Jedi Church is given every legal right and recognition that is given to other legal and recognised churches in our society, and that our members be free to practise their religion free from persecution.
Should a Jedi carry a weapon?
This question has sparked much debate in our discussion groups, with strong views on each side. Like with all matters Jedi, we won't tell you the right answer. However, we will raise some questions for you to meditate on and consider for yourself.
- Are weapons permitted to be carried by the law of the land in which you live? There is considerable difference in opinon between countries. On one hand, some citizens of the USA would point to a legal right to carry a weapon, and may legally carry a weapon into public spaces. In contrast, in other developed countries, it would be considered unsafe and undesireable to allow weapons in public spaces.
- Do people carry weapons in civialised society? Is my society civilised if they permit the carrying of personal weapons? Am i civilised if i carry personal weapons in public?
- What is the purpose you carry your weapon? Do you carry a weapon to induce fear in others. Or do you fear the weapons others carry, and want to have your own weapon in defense? When might you use your weapon?
- Do you posess a weapon because you believe this provides protection from a tyranical government? Is that a realistic reason to posess a weapon? In what circumstances would you use a weapong against your government, or others in your society that held different views to you? Would you require a majority or unanimous view? Or is it sufficient that enough people hold the same view as you?
- Do i have a realistic fear of being hurt in public? Does carrying a weapon prevent a reasonable deternent to others attacking me? If i carry a weapon, is there a chance i might end up in more danger if the weapon is presented?