Some questions from a passer-by

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06 Jan 2016 12:55 #219462 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Kitsu Tails wrote: I would most probably fall under number 4. Except that I do not label myself "Light-heartedly" and actually take "Jedi" Very seriously. I simply do not see it as a Religion and instead a Lifestyle.


Ah ok. So what does this lifestyle entail?

Kitsu Tails wrote: Did you try looking on Amazon?

Jedi Compass (Written by several community members) - www.amazon.com/Jedi-Compass-Community/dp...eywords=Jedi+Compass

Jedi Circle by Opie (Among many others he wrote) - www.amazon.com/Jedi-Circle-Philosophy-Ev...keywords=Jedi+Circle


Why should I have to pay for books to learn what self-proclaimed Jedi believe? Christians, Mormons and Muslims among others give out their books for free regularly.

Kitsu Tails wrote: Why must Christians insist on being called Christian? Or Muslims Muslims? Or Buddhists Buddhists?


Because all of those things have genuine meanings relating to the founders/doctrines of their respective faiths. If Jediism has no relation to the actual Jedi/Force of the films, what's its purpose?

Kitsu Tails wrote: Star Wars was an inspiring spring board that started the practice of "Jedi" in real life and has been forever part of our history....Why not?


I'm not suggesting either way. But I was asking merely if Jediism has a foundational religious statement/philosophy unrelated to a series of children's films which is a barrier from anyone outside of it taking it seriously, why keep it?

Kitsu Tails wrote: Speaking only for myself I have invested over 15 years to this path :) It has a purpose and meaning to me and it would be nice to have that recognized rather than discriminated.


May I ask how you have devoted 15 years to it?

Kitsu Tails wrote: However yes. Jedi teach to Conquer Materialism.


I have never read this yet in any Jedi Order writings. Can I get clarification from anyone "official" (if there is such a position) as to whether this is official doctrine? And if so, why?

Thanks for the answers :)
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06 Jan 2016 13:07 #219463 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Jestor wrote: Do you need an authority/someone 'Official' (who decides whos official?) to tell you right from wrong, how to live, what to think?


I'm just curious to know what self-proclaimed religious movement defines what they actually believe.

Jestor wrote: I write, quite often, that: "we (TOTJO, the members) dont care WHAT you think, we only as THAT you think"...


So, again, the entire basis is critical thinking? If so, why does it present itself as a religion with religious titles (e.g. you are apparently a "bishop")

Jestor wrote: Could you describe yourself in a few sentences, could you describe yourself in a paragraph? Chapter, or complete book?


I understand what you're saying but all religions can claim what they believe, often in a few sentences. Why can't Jediism?

Jestor wrote: Because we question authority...


Ok, but why?

Jestor wrote: However, as we understand more, and the more seasoned members you talk to, you will find that we really dont care, we will do our thing, DESPITE what others think/say... ;)


What is "your thing" though except for critical thinking (which is really all people seem to be saying)?

Jestor wrote: People like yourself, will only have the minimalist of understanding,


I'm not a very smart person but there's really no need to say such things.

Jestor wrote: becasue aswe grow to be jedi, we really only barely answer, as I am not a subject to be studied, and if I spend all my time answering you, how is that helping my personal development?


Why did you respond to my post message then?

Jestor wrote: You wanna know what it is like to be a Jedi, be a Jedi... Just like if you wanted to know what it is like to be a fireman, be a fireman...


While I know what it is to be a fireman, I still don't know what it is to be a Jedi.

Jestor wrote: New people want to be taken serious, 'older' people want to be left alone from questions and justification, lol... kiunda funny, lol...


Evidently, people wish to be taken with some sort of seriousness taking titles generally reserved for religious groups such as "bishop." At least it seems this way.

Jestor wrote: This shows how you, like the rest of the world, seems to see everything in the 'black/white' dichotomy, and, have trouble seeing the 'forest through the trees'... lol...


Not really. I suggested that this was what "The Force" is in the films so what else can I say it is? I have never said what I believe or disbelieve in this forum.

Jestor wrote: Its not "dark OR light" its "dark AND light"... the force is a coin, flipping through the air, and sometimes something appears dark, sometimes light, but, in the end, it is a coin....


What does this actually mean?
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06 Jan 2016 13:55 #219468 by Loudzoo
Hey Reneza! I've summarised your questions below - do let me know if I've missed any:

1. Is anti-theism official doctrine?
1a) Why do we only promote new age writers and why no Jediism books?
2. Are we seeking official recognition?
3. How do atheists here reconcile disbelief in the metaphysical with metaphysical concepts such as Chi, or The Force?
4. Why is it necessary to maintain Star Wars terminology?
5. Why do some people practice sword arts and meditation? Are we more focused on image or substance?
6. What is the light side and what is the dark side?
7. Is there objectivity in Jediism? Is the Force a dualistic principle?

As with V's answers - these are just my opinions. Jediism isn't about "telling people what to do" or "telling people what to think".

1. No, neither theism nor anti-theism are dwelt on here. As long as neither side of that debate force the other side "to agree" with them or castigate them for holding different ideas, people are free to adhere to whichever system works for them.

1a. If you look in our library you will find sources that are modern, ancient and everything in between. There are also quite a few Jedi books in there too - for free :)

2. I don't think many people here are looking for public recognition of anything. There are however some practical benefits to charitable status. TOTJO is a registered charity in the US so in that sense we already have some recognition from government authorities.

3. I can't answer that as I'm not an atheist. However I wonder in what way you are using the word "metaphysics". It can be used as an almost derogatory term in the sense of "an abstract theory with no basis in reality" but I would argue that the primary meaning is "the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles in things including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time and space". On the basis of the second definition I see no conflict between atheism and metaphysics.

4. I agree with V, but I think there is a strong benefit too. Spiritual pride can become a major problem, particularly in well-established and prestigious institutions. There isn't much chance of that here given our terminology is derived from a bunch of "children's movies", as you say! Incidentally - the terminology used in our clergy has nothing to do with the films.

5. They practice them because they enjoy them, and perhaps find them useful in developing physical, mental and spiritual 'fitness'. Most people here seem to like the substance and many find the image more uncomfortable. In fact a question that crops up quite frequently is how (and whether to) tell family and friends you are involved in Jediism, for concern of being misunderstood? Precisely as you seem to be misunderstanding :)

6. Others have answered this already but another take might be that light side is charitable, dark side is selfish.

7. I don't know definitively - because everything a human can experience is subjective and relative. The Force is not dualistic per se - any more than a coin (to borrow Jestor's metaphor) is.

You seem quite intent on proving that Jediism isn't a religion. For what its worth, many members here would agree that it isn't a religion for them (as Kitsu says). Would you agree that "A religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, ethics, and social organisation that relate humanity to an order of existence"? If so, what is it here (as a "passer-by") that disqualifies Jediism as a religion?

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06 Jan 2016 14:28 - 06 Jan 2016 14:32 #219480 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Loudzoo wrote: Hey Reneza!


Hi there, nice to meet you :)

Loudzoo wrote: As with V's answers - these are just my opinions. Jediism isn't about "telling people what to do" or "telling people what to think".


This is rather curious because I've never suggested that it was. I only asked whether Jediism has any sort of real doctrine. There is quite a big difference in the two and it's apparent to me that it seems to be a common line of thinking among people here that it is different "from other paths" because it doesn't tell people what to do or think but to be defined by this is meaningless in and of itself. For example, if to claim one is a Jedi means "not to tell people what to do or think" it most certainly isn't either a holistic religion or a philosophy in any form, but at best a platform for discussion of such things.

Loudzoo wrote: 1a. If you look in our library you will find sources that are modern, ancient and everything in between. There are also quite a few Jedi books in there too - for free :)


I must state though that I wasn't judging quality or anything (except for that one particular book), but I was wondering why I didn't see any works from Jedi themselves. Regarding Jedi books, I've only ever seen many books being sold and no free ones, so if you can direct me to any such things, I'd be grateful.

Loudzoo wrote: 2. I don't think many people here are looking for public recognition of anything. There are however some practical benefits to charitable status. TOTJO is a registered charity in the US so in that sense we already have some recognition from government authorities.


All evidence seems to be on the contrary. I would say over half of all writing on the Jedi phenomenon is in regards to the issue of recognition of Jediism as a recognized religion. Regarding being a registered charity, that sounds pretty nice but how does it function as a charity?

Loudzoo wrote: 3. I can't answer that as I'm not an atheist. However I wonder in what way you are using the word "metaphysics". It can be used as an almost derogatory term in the sense of "an abstract theory with no basis in reality" but I would argue that the primary meaning is "the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles in things including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time and space". On the basis of the second definition I see no conflict between atheism and metaphysics.


Not really. Metaphysics is physics which is beyond the scientific method, or at least currently out of its reach at the moment and is based on either conjecture or logical deduction. The Force is most certainly a metaphysical thing and according to its fictional definition it is absolutely contrary to atheism as it relies on faith.

Loudzoo wrote: 4. I agree with V, but I think there is a strong benefit too. Spiritual pride can become a major problem, particularly in well-established and prestigious institutions. There isn't much chance of that here given our terminology is derived from a bunch of "children's movies", as you say! Incidentally - the terminology used in our clergy has nothing to do with the films.


George Lucas himself originally defined his films as children's films. I hyperlinked the original statement so people could see for themselves. What does spiritual pride have to do with anything though, may I ask? I'm not sure I see the connection.

Loudzoo wrote: 5. They practice them because they enjoy them, and perhaps find them useful in developing physical, mental and spiritual 'fitness'. Most people here seem to like the substance and many find the image more uncomfortable. In fact a question that crops up quite frequently is how (and whether to) tell family and friends you are involved in Jediism, for concern of being misunderstood? Precisely as you seem to be misunderstanding :)


I never asked the first question but moreso if people enjoy doing these things in a religious fashion and want others to see them as so, what was the point in labeling it after a series of space opera films? Regarding your response though, these was my thoughts. The idea of "coming out" to people as a Jedi will always be ludicrous to others. The problem is with language in that people associate Jedi with the Star Wars film series yet according to people here it means something entirely different so I'm sure you can understand the cognitive dissonance people may experience when confronted with this.

Loudzoo wrote: 6. Others have answered this already but another take might be that light side is charitable, dark side is selfish.


Why is the light side charitable and dark side selfish?

Loudzoo wrote: 7. I don't know definitively - because everything a human can experience is subjective and relative. The Force is not dualistic per se - any more than a coin (to borrow Jestor's metaphor) is.


It clearly is in the films.

Loudzoo wrote: You seem quite intent on proving that Jediism isn't a religion.


This is your presumption. I'm merely curious as to what a Jedi actually is and so far it definitely seems not to be a religion in the slightest or by any definition. I like to understand others and when I read about this particular phenomenon/movement and that it was based on certain historical systems/ I was curious. But now the more I read the more it does seem to be an inconsistent and intentionally vague collection of secular concepts with trappings of historical theology/philosophy.

Loudzoo wrote: YFor what its worth, many members here would agree that it isn't a religion for them (as Kitsu says). Would you agree that "A religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, ethics, and social organisation that relate humanity to an order of existence"? If so, what is it here (as a "passer-by") that disqualifies Jediism as a religion?


Where did you get this definition? This means that nations among many other things never defined as religions are also religions and is a bizarre way of defining a word consistently associated through its history with faith/worship/deities/metaphysics and traditions/practices relating to them.
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06 Jan 2016 15:54 #219504 by Connor L.
Replied by Connor L. on topic Some questions from a passer-by
Why am I a Jedi and call myself that?

Because why do fun and serious have to be separated?
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06 Jan 2016 16:08 #219506 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Connor L. wrote: Why am I a Jedi and call myself that?

Because why do fun and serious have to be separated?


Where did I suggest that they were mutually exclusive?
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06 Jan 2016 16:15 - 06 Jan 2016 16:26 #219509 by Lightstrider
Replied by Lightstrider on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Regarding books, why is the selection of books a sporadic collection of writings from new age people and 60s orientalists such as Alan Watts and not any official works written by actual Jedi faith people (I haven't found any other than posts on these forums and elsewhere)? The whole initiate program seems mostly filled by asking people for their opinions and to conduct independent research on concepts like etiquette/ethics/etc. rather than instructing them on it with any sort of actual doctrine.


I don't think this particular Jedi organization has reached it's status of development for members to really start writing out concrete ideas and beliefs that we as a group are in complete agreeance with or believe to be the true way of Jediism.

A lot of people, but definitely not all, who come here may have only been exposed to the spiritual and philosophical concepts in the religions or forms of spirituality they were born into or found themselves interested in after. As much as I somewhat despise the New Age religious movements today, as they are nothing new, I think while a lot of it is simple wishful thinking nonsense there is still a lot of interesting and positive ideas about religion, philosophy, psychology, etc., and for one who has never been exposed to this it could get them thinking about these overall topics with more interest and enthusiasm.

Another thing is that while in many of the religious institutes or spiritual schools of thought it sometimes becomes unpopular at the very least to question them, to study ideas and read authors who offer material that contradicts them or opposes them which for many people can limit their understanding of where some people in the world come from with their ideas and perceptions. There's definitely a lot of nonsense on both sides, which I think isn't necessarily bad to study as well so that you can learn to discriminate between the nonsense and ideas that may have merit, and also relate to more people.

The IP is exactly what you said, asking people for their opinions and to conduct independent research based on their own interpretations and/or their own experience and knowledge with the topics. The Doctrine is the Doctrine as you read it, which is more of a conscious lifestyle having a positive mental attitude that makes you a lifelong student and teacher so you can apply wisdom and discernment in everyday situations that are better handled through a mature reaction or cognitive solution. The IP is just an introductory phase for new members who are very interested in joining and being part of this community. It allows them to learn, share, reflect on the concepts presented and relate them to their own ideas so that we as a community can grow and learn from each other. From there it also aids in the process of selection for apprenticeship.

There's nothing I think to learn about the Doctrine, maybe more about how you can apply it. They say Jesus never intended for his movement to develop into a full blown religion, and there are some questionable aspects about how and why it actually did when you look at how the Roman's basically took it over and applied their own ideas to it (so much conspiracy surrounding the Vatican). My point is that it was just "a way" of living, or seeing things in it's original form and for some reason religious and political figures at the time were out burning Christians alive for it before it was "taken over" and then many were burned alive who didn't conform to it once the power structure was in full swing.

If it is true that people who call themselves Jedi seek legitimate state religious recognition and from what I read, regularly complain that governments are not taking it seriously as a religion, why then are you promoting anti-theism (and simultaneously promoting a metaphysical concept)?


Maybe with my response to your first question this has been clarified from my perpsective. To be honest I don't think many of us care for official state recognition. This particular organization is recognized by the US government as an international ministry and public charity, just like every other church is. Any more form of recognition seems to be getting political which most of us are definitely not interested in this becoming.

As for promoting anti-theism, well I think it goes back to what I said about seeing what's on each side of the fence with each religion and spiritual movement. Not that we are die hard anti-theists or atheists, rather we just explore all the contradicting ideas related to all of this religious and philosophical stuff. As you are aware Joseph Campbell has had a major influence on not only Star Wars but many people here including myself. He has explained from his persepective that theists see metaphors as facts, and atheists see the metaphors as lies and we're all aware of the conflict between different religions and philosophies that have led to some of the most extreme violence we've seen in history.

I think Jedi are in the middle, trying to actually understand what can be seen as the same metaphors concurrent in all the religions, and also the unique metaphors that still make each religion unique. The purpose is to actually see the similarities between them all, and to understand where the real differences are in order for us to relate to them and eachother in a way that allows no room for violent misunderstandings but only room for comprehensive edification.

Furthermore, to the self-proclaimed atheists on this forum: how do you reconcile your own firm disbelief in the metaphysical and at the same time believe in a metaphysical concept like the qi/ki/élan vital/vril/etc. (i.e. the Force)? Considering you have to believe in this concept as it's the fundamental foundation for this faith. Even if you claim that the Force is not "God", you'd still have to grapple with the fact that it is metaphysical and has not been scientifically proven by any measure as of yet, so I'm rather curious.


While I'm not an atheist I think that any atheist still has the basic understanding that we are all human, we are connected physically, mentally, socially, and so for them there could be some wiggle room to embrace the simple idea of connectedness and interdependence.

In my opinion though the concept of the Force is totally scientific when you consider electromagnetism. Think about how everything that exists in life from light, sound, physical forms, thoughts, emotions, chemical reactions, electromagnetism is always present at the very basic level and in a way is part responsible for everything's existence. We live and are created though an electromagnetic frequency matrix with positive, neutral and negative polarities with nearly unlimited variations of frequencies for each as they relate to each polarity and with each other. So for me it's actually quite simple why an atheist could hold this metaphysical Force as a foundation for having faith and it also gives evidence for the existence of those other forces you've mentioned.

Another question is that if you actually expect to be treated seriously as a religion, why is it necessary to maintain Star Wars terminology such as "Jedi" and "the Force"? If you really believe in these ideas/concepts/etc. you could easily just continue to use the superficial image of it (robes, colored swords, etc.) while using different terminology as not to be seen simply as people who are playing games from a series of children's flicks. For example I notice that many people practice sword arts and meditation which is all rather nice, but why is it necessary to act as if you are role playing rather than breaking off and create something new inspired by it? Or is it that you are really focused on the image rather than the substance as is somewhat common in this world today? I don't mean to sound demeaning or come across as hostile, and I do understand that this was born from Star Wars, but George Lucas himself has said that it's a children's film so most adults without much of an interest in it see it as such.


Unfortuately the archetype and concept of the Jedi and the Force fit perfectly. To be honest I don't even necessarily like the use of Jedi for the exact reason you mention. Most people would not take it seriously at face value, that's totally true and somewhat goes against us - at the face value point of view. There are a lot of people here who you could consider to roleplay, but just as with any other religion some also use it purely for symbolism with the lightsabers and robes because you just can't escape the foundation we have grown from. A lot of new people who come definitely are stuck to the image of Jedi from the Star Wars viewpoint, but I'll tell you that after answering some basic questions with new people in chat they were truly amazed and caught by what we actually are doing. I don't think you are coming across as hostile, in fact I like it when people come questioning what happens here and who we are. It gives everyone here a chance to think about it themselves, and answer accordingly which in turn helps all of us understand who stands where, what this is for them, and even gives you an opportunity to see how diverse this place can be.

Lucas said it is a children film, but what else did he say about it? He said without Campbell he would have probably never written Star Wars, he said he wanted to tell old stories in a new way that was definitely targeted toward children. It was because as he says in an interview we have in the IP in the Campbell series, it's all about having a sense and appreciation of the mystery that is life even if you don't believe in God or follow a particular religion. To go through life without at least being conscious of the fact that so many things are just totally unexplainable and mysterious, to just live your life in a materialistic way imposed on most of us at birth from the religious, political, corporate power structures of society is quite disappointing considering the near infinite amounts of wonderful thoughts and ideas people have had about life and the universe, allowing for one to express themselves in so many ways other than the cookie cutter lifestyle choices. It's like in the move the Time Machine where the guy doesn't want everyone to grow up and wear bowl hats. Too many people are trained to let go of their imaginative processes at an early age as they are forced into our modern day caste system or class structure.

I don't think that I'm extra special compared to anyone else, I don't think that I know more and think better or do things more right that anyone else. I don't think anyone else here feels that way either. The ideas and lifestyle illustrated by the Doctrine is an ideal that we can all agree is worth trying to practice (many here have their own ideas and even disagreements with the Doctrine too) but everyone here will admit we are not perfect. I think a lot of us feel that this a place we can come to and learn without being harshly judged or ridiculed (though this happens sometimes too) an just share our knowledge and experience in hopes to help, be helped, and grow as community that accepts and respects each other. Again it's not perfect, in my own circumstance sometimes I have reacted to things quite harshly or emotionally, have been disrepectful and provocative.

In regards to what I can only call "theology," what is the definition of the dark side and the light side of the force? As these concepts are part of its dualistic nature, you need to define that certain things are objectively "dark" (i.e. evil) and certain things "light" (i.e. good). If you can define them, this presents a problem to atheist members "objective morality" is non-existent within the atheist material paradigm. There are plenty of Taoist writings on this topic which define certain boundries as naturally objective, but I wonder if the people here can help me to understand whether there is an objectivity or not? And if not, how does the idea of the force as a dualist principle hold up? To jump the gun and assume that one might say "darkness is the absence of light" this is a fundamentally Christian theological concept and suggests that evil does really exist and therefore isn't a dualist concept (i.e. suggesting that there is no "dark side", negating the entire concept of the Force as it exists in its fictional representation).


Many will cite the Star Wars definitions which I think have value but it's all about perspective. It could be acting with conscious or without, selfishness or selflessness, but as long as I've been here and the topic has been beat to death I think that as a theology we just embrace the Force as a whole and the light and dark characteristics within ourselves and everything else. We can identify certain behavior and emotions as being dark or light as a way of identifying which is constructive or destructive in a certain context which does make the entire concept subjective. I think it goes beyond just good and evil, I've been told by people there is no such thing as malevolent evil but I've seen it - I know people who have told me they really do just want to hurt this person, or do something to cause harm just to do it due to hatred or to have fun. On some level I think there is an objective morality that everyone agrees with that could be tied to the dark and light side of the Force.
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06 Jan 2016 16:47 #219512 by Kit
Replied by Kit on topic Some questions from a passer-by
I can’t speak for all Jedi or even TotJO, but here’s my views if they’ll help :)

From my understanding, the population of Jedi across the world seem to be split into 4 demographics (though there may be grey areas so forgive me if I seem to be making generalizations):

1) Star Wars fans who seek a more holistic and communal expression of their interest


Star Wars is what inspired me when I was a child and had no other role models. The Jedi were one of the fictional role models I had to look up to. NOW though, they have little to do with my personal spiritual faith.

2) "Somethingists" - English-language surveys often list people who "believe in something/a sort of life force but are not sure what it is". Jediism offers an expression of this in proclaiming the concept of a metaphysical life force (e.g. qi/ki/élan vital) while also providing a sense of belonging/community and also not enforcing boundaries on the lives of its adherents which seems to be important, especially in the Western world.


The “somethingists” is what brought me here. But I’ve since furthered my personal belief system into something I can practice. It’s a bit of this and a bit of that. Concepts of shamanism, Jediism, and various other beliefs or experiences. The community is also why I came here, and part of why I stay. I grew up in a Christian church and one of the few things I look back fondly on is the community. My path is mine alone, but it sure is nice to be friends with other explorers too :D

3) Self-proclaimed atheists who use Jediism as a means of communal belonging but occasionally to mock religion by presenting theistic systems as absurd (more on this below)

I'm not an atheist and don't mock religions. I will chuckle sometimes or shake my head at the people who practice the extremes of them sometimes.

4) People who don't take questions of religion in a serious manner and so have labelled themselves light-heartedly as "Jedi" on census forms (this seems to be the vast majority). These people have no true affiliation to Jediism.


I don't have a census that I've seen that asks my religion. My job requires me to announce my religion. It was Jedi for a while (Well "other" then the forms I could specify said "Jedi") but a little over a year ago I decided to change it to shamanism because that more accurately describes my religious views. Jediism has become a philosophy for me that works very well with my faith.

Regarding the 3rd point, I have noticed in the Initiate Program section "Lesson 6: World Religions" there exists a pdf book (S. Hastings, P. Rosenberg - God Wants You Dead) ... I don't ever want to sound like I'm telling your particular organization what to teach and what not to teach but I'm just wondering whether it (anti-monotheism/organized theism in general) is official doctrine? There are plenty of wonderful (and even free!) informative and historical books/writings for any beginner to read on the subject of world religions or Abrahamic faiths in particular which aren't so snide.


I didn't read it so I can't say anything on the subject of the book. What I can say is that when I'm studying a subject, I do like to reach out multiple sources to collect enough information so I could make my own decision or understanding about things. I've heard some people do enjoy that book but I probably won't read it haha.

Regarding books, why is the selection of books a sporadic collection of writings from new age people and 60s orientalists such as Alan Watts and not any official works written by actual Jedi faith people (I haven't found any other than posts on these forums and elsewhere)? The whole initiate program seems mostly filled by asking people for their opinions and to conduct independent research on concepts like etiquette/ethics/etc. rather than instructing them on it with any sort of actual doctrine.


Honestly I haven't gone through the library much. I have my own studies I've been doing. I thought I did remember there being a few books on Jediism in there. I could be wrong though :D I think the IP was built to give people a foundation of critical thinking, ethics, other viewpoints and the like. It's just a starting point and the apprenticeship is meant to go into further details and more specific studies.

If it is true that people who call themselves Jedi seek legitimate state religious recognition and from what I read, regularly complain that governments are not taking it seriously as a religion, why then are you promoting anti-theism (and simultaneously promoting a metaphysical concept)?


I'm not looking for anything officialized. The only thing I ask is not to have other religions shoved down my throat. Shoot, even when I tell friends I always do it with amusement held ready. I know how they're going to react. ;)

Furthermore, to the self-proclaimed atheists on this forum: how do you reconcile your own firm disbelief in the metaphysical and at the same time believe in a metaphysical concept like the qi/ki/élan vital/vril/etc. (i.e. the Force)? Considering you have to believe in this concept as it's the fundamental foundation for this faith. Even if you claim that the Force is not "God", you'd still have to grapple with the fact that it is metaphysical and has not been scientifically proven by any measure as of yet, so I'm rather curious.


I'm not atheist :) can't answer for ya

Another question is that if you actually expect to be treated seriously as a religion, why is it necessary to maintain Star Wars terminology such as "Jedi" and "the Force"? If you really believe in these ideas/concepts/etc. you could easily just continue to use the superficial image of it (robes, colored swords, etc.) while using different terminology as not to be seen simply as people who are playing games from a series of children's flicks. For example I notice that many people practice sword arts and meditation which is all rather nice, but why is it necessary to act as if you are role playing rather than breaking off and create something new inspired by it? Or is it that you are really focused on the image rather than the substance as is somewhat common in this world today? I don't mean to sound demeaning or come across as hostile, and I do understand that this was born from Star Wars, but George Lucas himself has said that it's a children's film so most adults without much of an interest in it see it as such.


I don't use robes or colored swords in my practice. I use the terms of "Jedi" and "The Force" partly because I am here. I will describe my beliefs with different terminology to different people depending on their understanding (half the time I will start out with Jedi and Force because it amuses me). I honestly don't really care too terribly much what people think. Using these terms also helps me from taking myself too seriously :) I like the title of Jedi because it reminds me of how I felt when I was a child, looking up to these beings who struggled against the darkness. Who defended the people who needed it. I needed it. I wanted to become the people who inspired me. My views are so different than what the fictional Jedi believed in, but the residual feel-goods are still there haha. I am not those fictional people, I am me and I still uphold the spirit of title I think.

In regards to what I can only call "theology," what is the definition of the dark side and the light side of the force? As these concepts are part of its dualistic nature, you need to define that certain things are objectively "dark" (i.e. evil) and certain things "light" (i.e. good). If you can define them, this presents a problem to atheist members "objective morality" is non-existent within the atheist material paradigm. There are plenty of Taoist writings on this topic which define certain boundries as naturally objective, but I wonder if the people here can help me to understand whether there is an objectivity or not? And if not, how does the idea of the force as a dualist principle hold up? To jump the gun and assume that one might say "darkness is the absence of light" this is a fundamentally Christian theological concept and suggests that evil does really exist and therefore isn't a dualist concept (i.e. suggesting that there is no "dark side", negating the entire concept of the Force as it exists in its fictional representation).


*I* don't see a difference between the light side and the dark side. Little too black-and-white for me. The Force is the spirit of all of everything. The 'good' and the 'bad' (since those terms are subjective). There is duality and balance in life, but the Force itself just is.

Hope my ramblings made some sense :) Let me know if not!
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06 Jan 2016 16:51 #219513 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Lightstrider wrote: I don't think this particular Jedi organization has reached it's status of development for members to really start writing out concrete ideas and beliefs that we as a group are in complete agreeance with or believe to be the true way of Jediism.


I think I'm coming to a pretty solid conclusion that the Jedi faith really is based on communal sentiment rather than any solid concepts.

Lightstrider wrote: Another thing is that while in many of the religious institutes or spiritual schools of thought it sometimes becomes unpopular at the very least to question them, to study ideas and read authors who offer material that contradicts them or opposes them which for many people can limit their understanding of where some people in the world come from with their ideas and perceptions.


So the preferable alternative in your opinion is perhaps no official doctrine?

Lightstrider wrote: The IP is exactly what you said, asking people for their opinions and to conduct independent research based on their own interpretations and/or their own experience and knowledge with the topics.


Then this is hardly anything more than telling people to go research something which they could have done on their own without such an institution. But if someone is aiding them, who is? And what is the standard for aiding/teaching "initiates"? Logically there must be some sort of standard in an institution that claims to be religious as this one does on the homepage.

Lightstrider wrote: The Doctrine is the Doctrine as you read it, which is more of a conscious lifestyle having a positive mental attitude that makes you a lifelong student and teacher so you can apply wisdom and discernment in everyday situations that are better handled through a mature reaction or cognitive solution.


It's hardly genuine doctrine if it uses terms that nobody can seem to define in any collectively agreed and objective way. You could equally put a nonsense word like "shperlg" in place of "The Force" and it would make no difference.

Lightstrider wrote: They say Jesus never intended for his movement to develop into a full blown religion, and there are some questionable aspects about how and why it actually did when you look at how the Roman's basically took it over and applied their own ideas to it (so much conspiracy surrounding the Vatican).


Pure conjecture and even if you take the discredited argument that Jesus was fictional, he was not a children's film series.

Lightstrider wrote: My point is that it was just "a way" of living, or seeing things in it's original form and for some reason religious and political figures at the time were out burning Christians alive for it before it was "taken over" and then many were burned alive who didn't conform to it once the power structure was in full swing.


Can you explain to me what that "way" is? I'm still quite unsure.

Lightstrider wrote: To be honest I don't think many of us care for official state recognition.


A vast majority of websites, articles, facebook groups, and other pages online would say otherwise.

Lightstrider wrote: This particular organization is recognized by the US government as an international ministry


What definition did it use to gain this national recognition?

Lightstrider wrote: He has explained from his persepective that theists see metaphors as facts


By making this statement you are making a making a rather hubristic statement about religions and adherents of certain religious groups. Is this what was intended by including that particular book by Campbell?

Lightstrider wrote: I think Jedi are in the middle, trying to actually understand what can be seen as the same metaphors concurrent in all the religions, and also the unique metaphors that still make each religion unique. The purpose is to actually see the similarities between them all, and to understand where the real differences are in order for us to relate to them and eachother in a way that allows no room for violent misunderstandings but only room for comprehensive edification.


So am I to make of this that Jediism is some sort of syncretic faith?

Lightstrider wrote: we are connected physically, mentally, socially,


Can you explain what you mean by this?

Lightstrider wrote: We live and are created though an electromagnetic frequency matrix with positive, neutral and negative polarities with nearly unlimited variations of frequencies for each as they relate to each polarity and with each other


Did you just read this in a Deepak Chopra book? What is a polarity to you? What is a "frequency matrix" to you or a frequency in general? I'd really like to know what you mean by these things.

Lightstrider wrote: I don't think you are coming across as hostile, in fact I like it when people come questioning what happens here and who we are.


Thanks! I might come off as pretty full-on but only because I'm curious. I wouldn't waste my time just being pejorative or whatever.

Lightstrider wrote: It gives everyone here a chance to think about it themselves, and answer accordingly which in turn helps all of us understand who stands where, what this is for them, and even gives you an opportunity to see how diverse this place can be.


Glad I can be of service :laugh:

Lightstrider wrote: I think a lot of feel that this a place we can come to and learn without being harshly judged or ridiculed


But to me if that's the purpose of a lot of people here, doesn't it just seem like an adult playing dress-up games if they call themselves a "Jedi" too?

Lightstrider wrote: Many will cite the Star Wars definitions which I think have value but it's all about perspective.


While there is very often there are schools of interpretation/personal opinion in religions (midrashim in Judaism, ijtihad in Islam, and various scholastic/apologetic schools in the Christian faith, etc.), they still function from a foundational definition about what their religions actually are which cannot be changed (Nicene Creed in Christianity, Shahada/5 pillars in Islam/13 principles of faith in Judaism, etc.). If the entire religion is just about people exploring ideas with no base whatsoever, then it isn't a religion in the slightest.

Lightstrider wrote: I think that as a theology we just embrace the Force as a whole and the light and dark characteristics within ourselves and everything else.


What is the Force? What does it mean to "embrace it"?

Lightstrider wrote: We can identify certain behavior and emotions as being dark or light as a way of identifying which is constructive or destructive in a certain context which does make the entire concept subjective.


Which makes things destructive or constructive? Which one is better and why?


Thanks so much for your long reply! :)
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06 Jan 2016 16:52 #219514 by Firewolf
Replied by Firewolf on topic Some questions from a passer-by
What I am about to say may be absolutely of no use to you. (person asking questions) I have not had enough coffee to answer all of your questions just yet. I want to tell you how i came here to this Temple it's not really what you asked but that matters not for the moment. :)

I found the temple because i was looking for Online Role playing games after watching star wars films. When I came here i thought "Oh my god what nerds" then I began to look around read and examine this place. and i found that there was something to be gained here so i stayed. I find Jediism fits into my existing beliefs very well and have always been a deeply spiritual person.

All of us could define and dissect all that you have asked us. I for one am not going to because i found that if you try to explain it to much you can miss it. and I am one who likes the direct experience. It is my mystics way.


I hope that you will stay around and experience your questions for yourself
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