Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Manipulating the Force

Part 3 – Manipulating the Force  

Read Part 1: Star Wars Awakens
Read Part 2: Merchandi$ing the Force
By Gaylene Goodroad

But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces....
Daniel 11:38a
Exhibit: Kylo Ren (the Dark Side) and Rey
(the Light Side) engaged in lightsaber duel[62]
Almost everyone has seen karate demonstrations in which martial artists break boards, cinder blocks, or bricks with chops or kicks. I’ve done it lots of times…. I knew it served a valid purpose by giving people a dramatic and memorable demonstration of the power of ki…. It’s clear that learning a martial art involves coming into possession of a certain amount of powerful force.
~ Chuck Norris, Martial Arts Master*

“The idea of emptying one's mind
is fundamental to all meditative practice.

~Marianne Williamson**
Another aspect of advanced martial arts training connected to the Ki Force, that is prevalent but not overt in the Star Wars saga, is a form of meditation in motion[63] called mushin, “mind of no mind”, or “no mind”. One martial artist simply states it this way: “Mushin no shin is a state into which very highly trained martial artists (e.g. samurai fighters) are said to enter during combat.”[64]

Mushin is an altered state of consciousness that enables the martial artist to harness ki and defeat the opponent. This state of mind is akin to teaching on the Presence or entering the silence in Contemplative Spirituality.[65]

By the time I became a brown belt in Okinawa Kenpo (see Part 1), I came to realize that I had been initiated into a religious pursuit, rather than just a physical sport. By that time, all of the fundamental techniques were conditioned and honed. Thereafter, the focus of my black belt training was replete with mystical mushin drills, such as sparring in the dark and grappling while blind-folded. Further advancement was not possible without deeper meditation and inner intuitive exercises. The focus shifted from seeing my opponent, to sensing him. This ability is a form of occult mysticism called clairsentience.[66]

A Zen Buddhism blog underscores that “mushin is the essence of Zen and Japanese martial arts” and that this “state of no-mindness… cannot be grasped with the intellect” but “must be experienced”—which is the pinnacle of the mystic mindset:

Mushin - Mushin is the essence of Zen and Japanese martial arts. Mushin literally means the "mind without mind", and it is commonly called "the state of no-mindness". Mushin is the essence of Zen and Japanese martial arts. It is a state of mind where mind is not fixed on or occupied by any thought or emotion, and is thus connected to the Cosmos… The concept of Mushin is identical to the Japanese metaphorical expression "mizu no kokoro" or the "mind like water." This mental attitude refers to a mind that is in total harmony with the Cosmos that it resembles a still pond of water without any ripples where the surface reflects a clear and perfectly undistorted image of the surroundings, like a mirror…. Mushin cannot be grasped with the intellect; it must be experienced. A Mushin mind has no Ego and no substance; it is pure Enlightenment and is the perfect realization of the self….[67][bold added] 

An Aikido website concurs with this definition, adding that “mushin is vital to the martial artist”:

Mushin, translated as “no-mind” or “empty mind”, is a state where the mind is not preoccupied by any thought or emotion. It is empty in the sense that it is unbiased, free and adaptable. Mushin is the essence of Zen; and a core principle of Japanese martial arts…. Mushin is the state when what you observe and what you are become one. The watcher and the watched become the same. When you have thoughts in your mind and your heart, everything is distorted. So you can understand everything and sense everything the way it really is, you have to be completely empty. 

Mushin cannot be grasped with the intellect; it must be experienced. In Aikido, the state of Mushin is crucial during a martial situation. The practitioner must “become one” with the attacker for the technique to be effective, efficient, and harmonious…To achieve this state of Mushin, the mind must be free from any conscious thought; free from anger, hesitation, doubt, fear and pride…. Mushin is vital to the martial artist. It is a concept that liberates the mind from the restrictions of the present situation.[68][bold added] 
Exhibit: Luke Skywalker develops the Force with a remote lightsaber[69]
A classic example of mushin is masterfully illustrated in an iconic scene from the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope. Before Skywalker can ultimately use his innate mystical powers to defeat the Dark Side of the Force, he undergoes advanced martial arts training with sage Jedi master Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi, aboard the Millennium Falcon, who coaches Luke to develop his no mind abilities. In this instance, Luke practices lightsaber combat against a remote lightsaber unit. Note that Luke’s success comes only by letting his conscious thoughts go, covering his eyes with a blast shield, and allowing the Ki Force to flow through him, control his actions, and hit his target:

Luke stands in the middle of the small hold area; he seems frozen in place. A humming lightsaber is held high over his head. Ben watches him from the corner, studying his movements. Han watches with a bit of smugness. 

BEN: Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him

LUKE: You mean it controls your actions? 

Exhibit: Luke trying out the Force
BEN: Partially. But it also obeys your commands. 

Suspended at eye level, about ten feet in front of Luke, a "seeker", a chrome baseball-like robot covered with antennae, hovers slowly in a wide arc. The ball floats to one side of the youth then the other. Suddenly it makes a lightning-swift lunge and stops within a few feet of Luke's face. Luke doesn't move and the ball backs off. It slowly moves behind the boy, then makes another quick lunge, this time emitting a blood red laser beam as it attacks. It hits Luke in the leg causing him to tumble over. Han lets loose with a burst of laughter. 

HAN: Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. 

LUKE: You don't believe in the Force, do you? 

HAN: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. 

Ben smiles quietly. 

HAN: It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. 

BEN: I suggest you try it again, Luke. 
Exhibit: Luke adding the helmet

Ben places a large helmet on Luke's head which covers his eyes. 

BEN: This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. 

LUKE: (laughing) With the blast shield down, I can't even see. How am I supposed to fight? 

BEN: Your eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them. 

Han skeptically shakes his head as Ben throws the seeker into the air. The ball shoots straight up in the air, then drops like a rock. Luke swings the lightsaber around blindly missing the seeker, which fires off a laserbolt [sic] which hits Luke square on the seat of the pants. He lets out a painful yell and attempts to hit the seeker. 

BEN: Stretch out with your feelings. 

Luke stands in one place, seemingly frozen. The seeker makes a dive at Luke and, incredibly, he managed to deflect the bolt. The ball ceases fire and moves back to its original position. 

BEN: You see, you can do it. 
Exhibit: Luke "seeing" with the Force

HAN: I call it luck. 

BEN: In my experience, there's no such thing as luck. 

HAN: Look, going good against remotes is one thing. Going good against the living? That's something else. 

Solo notices a small light flashing on the far side of the control panel. 

HAN: Looks like we're coming up on Alderaan. 

Han and Chewbacca head back to the cockpit. 

LUKE: You know, I did feel something. I could almost see the remote. 

BEN: That's good. You have taken your first step into a larger world.[70][bold added] 

Indeed, through Ben and Luke, movie viewers have also “taken their first step into a larger world”; the occult realm of Eastern Mysticism.

Luke Skywalker would later use his advanced mushin (no mind) martial arts techniques to thrust the fatal proton torpedo into the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port—with his X-wing fighter’s targeting computer switched off and his eyes closed.[71]

Throughout the last moments of this perilously impossible mission to destroy the Galactic Empire space station, Skywalker was able to stay his target with Kenobi’s phantom voice echoing through the cockpit of his space craft (the Jedi teacher had been killed by Vader prior to Luke’s combat assignment): “Use the Force, Luke.” “Let go, Luke.” “Luke, trust me.” “Remember, the Force will be with you... always.” Incidentally, this occult phenomenon is called clairaudience: the ability to hear departed spirits.
Exhibit: ‘Mushin’ and The Last Samurai[73]
A most-fitting parallel scene to Luke’s training with the remote lightsaber unit was captured in the 2003 motion picture The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. Cruise plays a thirty-something Civil War veteran who sails across the ocean to train with the Japanese samurai warriors. This particular film clip is recounted and examined in an online essay by a martial arts student in fulfillment of his Aikido black belt exam:

Nathan Algren [Tom Cruise] begins to train with the sword. In one scene where the samurai teach him a lesson, he gets an advice from Nobutada, Katsumoto's son: 

N [Nobutada]: Please forgive. Too many mind

N.A. [Algren]: Too many mind? 

N [Nobutada]: Hai. Mind the sword. Mind the people watch. Mind the enemy. Too many mind. No mind. 

N.A. [Algren]: No mind. (Last Samurai 2003: 54:35) 
Exhibit: No mind
Nobuta [sic] wants to explain the Zen expression of mushin. This is an abbreviation of mushin no shin, which could be translated as "the mind without mind". Mushin is a state of mind which a martial artist tries to reach during a fight…. Algren follows this advice and is able to match his opponent for the first time. In a further scene he also follows this insight. He has trained with the samurai for one winter. There is a fight between him and the samurai Ujio (Last Samurai 2003: 1:02:00). He loses the first two encounters. Before the third one he repeats "no mind"

The fight is shown in slow motion and ends with a draw. Algren has successfully mastered the sword and is now able to completely concentrate on the upcoming battles. After he has returned with Katsumoto to Tokyo, Katsumoto is being arrested and Algren is shadowed by four swordsman [sic]. He faces them at night, concentrates and again repeats silently "no mind" (Last Samurai 2003: 1:27:57). He fights them, wins and in ecstasy the battle is repeated in his mind in slow motion.[74][bold added]

In this case, Captain Algren (Cruise) exercises mushin while fighting with a Japanese sword instead of Skywalker’s lightsaber, but it’s essentially the same replay. Both martial arts warriors—one feudal, one galactic—are empowered to accomplish super-human feats, defeat the opponent, or hit the target by exploiting the universal Ki Force. This power is only accessed through emptying self of rational thought through Eastern meditation (or moving meditation) in a mystical dance between the Serpent Power (kundalini) and an altered state of consciousness.

Where does the power come from to do these magical-appearing feats in the martial arts? The kundalini (serpent power) is the yogic (Hindu) term for the Force. They are synonymous. The late New Age expert Dave Hunt explained the source of this Kundalini spirit power or force in an interview:

Well, to put it bluntly, it’s demonic. There is no way you can explain it physically—it’s a non-physical force. There certainly is nothing coiled at the base of the spine, three and one-half times coiled, like a serpent that’s going to spring up when you get in the proper state of consciousness, supposedly. This is the same occult power that all the occultists are in touch with, or try to be in touch with....

Because the serpent’s lie to Eve was, “You can be like the gods.” The only way he can demonstrate that is to give some kind of power.... Who needs this God of the Bible. who claims to be the Creator? He says I am a sinner, but yoga doesn’t tell me that I am a sinner. In fact, Hinduism says there’s no such thing as a sinner. The only sin is to call yourself a sinner. This is Hinduism, so it’s like the Star Wars Force. When these kids walked out of that theater, one thought remained with them: “May the Force be with you.”... The god Force, this Force, and it’s neutral—it has a dark and a light side. You can play whichever side you want, but it’s amoral.

Seeing is believing for pragmatic witnesses. Most spectators who’ve seen a live martial arts demonstration become awestruck by the unbelievable feats that karate experts are able to do in their midst: bending thick rods of iron with bare hands, breaking piles of bricks with a single hand strike, or even walking on fire or glass without injury.

John Ankerberg and John Weldon have included a chapter on the martial arts in their classic Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs. In their book they examine these mystical power abilities displayed by seasoned martial arts practitioners:

...since chi [or ki] is a mystical force or power that can be generated and controlled by the martial artist through meditation and breathing exercises, the connection between chi development, breath control and the powerful physical feats of martial arts displays is evident….
Most martial arts have feats of incredible power, such as powerbreaking, which is the breaking of thick pieces of wood, layers of tile or bricks, and so on with the hand, foot, elbow, head, or even fingertips…. Other amazing feats are immunity to fire, cuts, severe blows, and the like. The purpose of these feats is to make the student aware of the power within…. [Morihei] Ueshiba often demonstrated his command of ki. He was five feet tall and weighed only 120 pounds, yet by directing his ki down to the ground could remain rooted to the spot and resist the efforts of several men to pick him up. Likewise, he used ki to send several assailants flying, while barely moving himself.[75][bold and color added] 
Exhibit: Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in action (Way/Return of the Dragon)[76]
The contention that “the purpose of these feats is to make the student aware of the power within,” concurs with the teaching of martial arts superstar Chuck Norris who wrote two books with a familiar theme, The Secret of Inner Strength (1989) and The Secret Power Within (1997). Both books reveal that the supposed secret source of power within the martial artist is ki (the Force). In his 1997 book, Norris writes:

Almost everyone has seen karate demonstrations in which martial artists break boards, cinder blocks, or bricks with chops or kicks. I’ve done it lots of times…I knew it served a valid purpose by giving people a dramatic and memorable demonstration of the power of ki…. It’s clear that learning a martial art involves coming into possession of a certain amount of powerful force.[77] [bold added] 
Chuck Norris's book teaching Zen

While it may be true that “learning a martial art involves coming into possession of a certain amount of powerful force,” the frightening reality is that it actually comes from an occult source.

After a careful examination of ki and how it is manipulated and manifested by martial artists, Ankerberg and Weldon draw this conclusion: “…there appears to be little difference between the mystical energy used in the martial arts and the psychic energy used by the occultist, whether shaman, witch doctor, medium, spiritual channeler, or psychic healer….”

The troubling implications of this difficult truth, is that Norris, who is a conservative professing Christian, has taught the same foul gospel to his many adepts as did Obi Wan and Yoda to young Skywalker to millions of Star Wars fans: “a Jedi [or a ki-trained karateka] can feel the Force flowing through him”. “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us.”

It is also a sad fact is that many eager martial arts beginners—including Christians—pursue these abilities and powers and neglect to question the source. All that matters is that it works—whatever “it” is.

Perhaps it was disintegration of the Death Star before his very eyes that changed Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) mind about the Force. The once “hokey religion” and make-believe “mystical energy field” at some point became real to him. In The Force Awakens, Rey asks the now aging smuggler pilot about the reality of the Jedi. “I used to wonder that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo—magical power holding together good, evil, the dark side and the light… 'Crazy thing is, it's true. The Force, the Jedi, all of it. It's all true.”[79]
Exhibit: Star Wars- Return of the Jedi poster[80]
Eyewitness testimonies can be a powerful sales tools to friends and family. Solo’s old pirate friend, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), a tiny, thousand-year-old, four-foot-tall, female alien wearing adjustable goggles, reinforces Solo’s testimony about the Force. Maz comforts Rey, who is destined to eventually take the Jedi baton from Skywalker (now in hiding). Rey has stumbled upon Skywalker’s old lightsaber which has been nestled safely inside an old trunk in Maz’s castle dungeon. “The belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes. Feel it….” In this scene Maz serves as yet another sensei, a charming character like Yoda teaching the occult way of the Force to a new generation of children (see Part 2).
Exhibit: Alien Maz Kanata knows the Force[81]
Appallingly, like Solo and Rey, many Christians—especially those involved in the so-called ‘Christian’ martial arts—have come to falsely believe that the Force (and the powers it holds) is not only real, but biblical. Those who eventually experience the power of the Ki Force for themselves, after their initiation into this magical realm is complete, have been terminally seduced by the “Dark Side”.

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God.”
(Deut. 18:9-13)

Stay tuned for Part 4….

62. Graphic taken from Movieplot.com; see; http://moviepilot.com/posts/3727568
63. Gaylene Goodroad, My Life in ‘the Way’: From the Broad Way of the East to the Narrow Way in Christ, 2009 e-booklet, (revised and expanded 2014), pg. 18; see: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B75yD6e-RzQEeDkwUXA1UEZMeWM/edit
64. Joshua Maggid, “Mind of No Mind,” Metaphilos blog, March 15, 2006; see: http://metaphilos.blogspot.com/2006/03/mind-of-no-mind.html
65. Gaylene Goodroad, “Mainstreaming Mystic Mindedness: Eastern Meditation as the Universal Cure-All,” Herescope, Nov. 23, 2015; see: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2015/11/mainstreaming-mystic-mindedness.html. See also: Sarah Leslie and Pastor Larry DeBruyn, “Altered States: A Different Gate - The sober Christian in a spiritually inebriated age,” Herescope, Apr. 28 2011; see: http://herescope.blogspot.se/2011_04_01_archive.html. Below are articles previously published about the Presence—which also deals with the Eastern Meditation that has infiltrated the Church through Contemplative Spirituality and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR): 
“The PASSION of the PRESENCE - & the Purpose of the Passion Part 1,” Herescope, January 25, 2014;
Presence” Eschatology - Part 2, Herescope, February 25, 2014;
Bridal Eschatology Part 3, Herescope, March 08, 2014;
The Perfectly Obedient Bride Part 4, Herescope, March 26, 2014;
The 2nd Coming of the “Presence” Part 5, Herescope, April 12, 2014;
The Battled Bride: Part 6, Herescope, April 22, 2014. 

Pastor Larry DeBruyn published an article on Herescope on December 31, 2013, titled The Present of “His Presence”. The article has now been posted as a downloadable PDF file at the Discernment Ministries website: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/God's%20Present%20of%20His%20Presence.pdf.  
66. See YourDictionary.com: http://www.yourdictionary.com/clairsentience
67. Zen-Buddhism.net; see; http://zen-buddhism.net/zen-concepts/mushin.html?headerbar=2
68. Aikido-No-Sekai blog, “Mushin: The Mind without Mind,” March 23, 2014; see; https://aikidonosekai.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/aikido-mushin-no-mind/
69. Graphic taken from StarWarsAnonymous website; see: https://starwarsanon.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/luke_lightsaber_training.jpg
70. Online script of STAR WARS (Episode IV) A NEW HOPE, from the JOURNAL OF THE WHILLS by George Lucas (Revised Fourth draft), January 15, 1976 LUCASFILM LTD; see: http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-A-New-Hope.html
71. Ibid. STAR WARS (Episode IV) A NEW HOPE online script. 
72. See Encyclopedia Britannica.com: http://www.britannica.com/topic/clairaudience
73. Graphic taken from Johnlinkmovies website; see: https://johnlinkmovies.com/2011/08/07/johnlink-ranks-the-last-samurai/
74. Norbert Vogelmair, “’Too many mind’”: Last Samurai - Truth or fiction?,” paper for the 1st Dan Aikido, October 2012; see: http://www.bushido-vak.de/Ausarbeit/2012/12Vogelmair_engl.pdf. See also: THE LAST SAMURAI online script, by John Logan (Revisions by Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz); see: http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Last-Samurai,-The.html
75. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, Eugene, OR, 1996, pp. 360-361. 
76. Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris movie poster sold on Amazon.com; see: http://www.amazon.com/Norris-Master-Martial-Decoration-Poster/dp/B00JOJWNDA. The photo still is from the motion picture, Way of the Dragon (released in Hong Kong in 1972) and Return of the Dragon (released in the USA in 1974). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_the_Dragon and http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/return_of_the_dragon/
77. Chuck Norris, The Secret Power Within, Broadway Books, NY, 1996, pp. 127-130; and Chuck Norris and Ken Abram, Against All Odds: My Story, Broadman and Holman Publishing, Nashville, TN, 2004, 2006, pp. 128-129. 
78. Ibid. Quote from Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back script, and quote from Obi Wan Kenobi, A New Hope script. 
79. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS STAR WARS (EPISODE VII) online script, written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams & Michael Arndt. Based on characters created by George Lucas; See: http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens.html
80. RETURN OF THE JEDI online script by Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas (from The Novel by George Lucas (Third Draft). Property of Lucasfilm Ltd.; See: http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-Return-of-the-Jedi.html
81. Graphic taken from StarWars.com; see: http://www.starwars.com/databank/maz-kanata

Several movie images in this post were obtained via Google Images. The two Chuck Norris book covers were obtained via Amazon.com

*Quote from: Chuck Norris, The Secret Power Within, Broadway Books, NY, 1996, pp. 128-129; and Chuck Norris and Ken Abram, Against All Odds: My Story, Broadman and Holman Publishing, Nashville, TN, 2004, 2006, pp. 128-129. Bold and underlining added.

** See http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/11/marianne-williamson-moonbeams-miracles.html where New Age leader Marianne Williamson is quoted from her 2004 book The Gift of Change, p. 78. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Merchandi$ing the Force

Part 2 –  Merchandi$ing the Force

Read Part 1: Star Wars Awakens

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.
~ Jesus, Acts 26:18
Exhibit: Star Wars X-Wing X-mas sleigh 2015.
In the background is the
Death Star moon[41]

The next generation of Star Wars toys, collectibles, books, and apparel is in range.
StarWars.com is thrilled to announce that Star Wars: The Force Awakens products will land in our galaxy on September 4, 2015, at 12:01 a.m. — “Force Friday” — with stores around the world opening their doors at midnight for a special celebration of all things Star Wars.
It will be a day long remembered. “Every lightsaber, every action figure, every LEGO set tells a story for generations of Star Wars fans, and this global event is a celebration of those stories. We’re excited to be part of the countdown to this enormous movie moment…”
~ StarWars.com
[40] [bold added] 

By Gaylene Goodroad
Star Wars merchandise for children, Christmas 2015

Consumers around the globe will note how 2015 became ‘a very Star Wars Christmas’ for retail outlets everywhere, as fans piled in movie theaters in December to watch the latest Star Wars adventure, The Force Awakens, which reunited characters from the original Star Wars Trilogy and introduced new ones to the current generation. Giant Yoda dolls, Stormtrooper action figures, Millennium Falcon toy models, Darth Vader cookie jars, X-wing knife blocks, and even Death Star waffle irons filled the store shelves. “May the Force be with you,” trumped “Merry Christmas” as even greeting card vendors tapped into the Star Wars Force frenzy.
Exhibit: A very Star Wars Christmas card 2015[42]

Forbes online reported that Disney, who purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas for $4 billion in 2012, would generate considerably more money from the licensing of Star Wars merchandise than from box office sales already over $2 billion in just three months since the release of The Force Awakens in December of 2015:

Analysts predict Star Wars merch will generate some $3 billion in sales in 2015, and $5 billion over the next 12 months. Disney kicked up its marketing to a higher level Sept. 4 with Force Friday, an engineered shopping day pegged to the launch of a new line of Star Wars toys. It produced holiday-esque sales that bettered Amazon’s Prime Day and neared Black Friday levels, even without any deals, according to Adobe. There were 15 million visits to websites selling Star Wars products between September and November, Adobe says. It helps that Disney licensees have expanded the range of merchandise to goods traditionally targeted at girls, including cosmetics (a “The Dark Side” mascara by Covergirl) and jewelry (a Stormtrooper necklace at Kay Jewelers). Even fast-fashion mainstay Forever 21 has a line of Star Wars sweatpants and shirts. “… it seems clear that Star Wars merchandise is moving millions.”[43][bold added] 

The most recent estimates, put the Star Wars franchise net worth near $10 billion.[44] While moviegoers and consumers continue to tap into the Force, smart marketers have cashed in on lucrative licensing agreements with Disney.

Exhibit: Darth Vader and Stormtrooper toys[45]
“May the Force be with you”
The now famous greeting, “may the Force be with you,” was first uttered by former Force skeptic Han Solo, (cargo pilot of the Millennium Falcon) to Jedi Luke Skywalker, in the first installment of the Star Wars Trilogy (episode IV, A New Hope) in 1977, as Skywalker prepared to embark on the fated mission to destroy the Death Star in his X-wing fighter jet—utilizing the Force to do it.[46] General Jan Dodonna (Alex McCrindle), military commander of the Rebel base, whose plan it was to penetrate the Death Star's vulnerable defenses with Starfighters, rallied his Rebel Starfighters with the same dark blessing, “Man your ships! And may the Force be with you!”[47] General (formerly Princess) Leia (Carrie Fisher) blesses young Jedi neophyte Rey (Daisy Ridley) with “May the Force be with you” as Rey departs on a mission to find the now elderly Skywalker who is in hiding on a remote rocky island planet (The Force Awakens).
Exhibit: “May the Force be with you” keychain[48]

But what does this greeting mean? What is really being said? First, this replaces a greeting found in Scripture, which serves as a blessing. The best example is found in the story of Ruth when “Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, 'The LORD be with you.' And they answered him, 'The LORD bless thee.'(Ruth 2:4) In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul ends his letter with words such as “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (See: 1 Cor. 16:23; 2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 4:23; 1 Thess 5:28; 2 Thess. 3:18; 2 Tim. 4:22; Rev. 22:21.) The Lord is being replaced with an impersonal Force. How many children are growing up never knowing the blessing found in these Scriptures, but knowing by heart the words from this movie?

The supposed presence of this ubiquitous Force not only serves as the foundation of all martial arts systems, it also glues together the themes, galaxies, and characters of the entire Star Wars enterprise. The two are permanently intertwined financially and spiritually.

For example, Skywalker’s drab tunic is nothing less than a karate gi (martial arts uniform) embellished with knee-high moon boots. His lightsaber; a light-up Japanese kendo stick.[49]
Exhibit: Martial Arts Gi and Luke Skywalker's tunic[50]

Darth Vader’s space uniform and black helmet were actually fashioned after an ancient samurai warrior. Kenobi, Yoda, and Skywalker become martial arts teachers (senseis) to younger adepts, like Rey, who is destined to train with the seasoned Jedi master, Skywalker, in order to further develop her inner power, the Force (ki or chi).
Exhibit: Ancient Samurai Warrior and Darth Vader[51]

Another facet of the Force is a major tenet of Taoism, which forms the core of the martial arts, is the idea of splitting of the Force into light and dark sides. It is also the central thrust of the Star Wars cosmos. The familiar “Yin and Yang” symbol is the graphic depiction of the Tao. Wikipedia defines this religious concept simply and accurately:

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang... describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (t'ai chi), and qigong (Chi Kung), as well as appearing in the pages of the I Ching. 

Duality is found in many belief systems but Yin and Yang are parts of a Oneness that is also equated with the Dao. A term has been coined dualistic-monism or dialectical monism. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts….[52][bold added] 
Selling Star Wars tissues Christmas 2015

This pantheistic or monistic (i.e., “all is One”) belief is at direct odds with the God of the Bible who is above His creation and transcendently separate from them. All is NOT “One” (i.e. God).[53] This unbiblical philosophy cannot be joined to or blended with Christianity in any way; the two belief systems are not compatible.

The Tao is parallel to the concept of the “Way,” which is an Eastern religious path to self-enlightenment (godhood)—a path the Bible refers to as the broad way leading to destruction (Matt. 7:13). Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6). There is no other “Way” than Christ. He alone is the supreme God. The Tao (Dao/Do) is prevalent in every martial art form and is captured in each peculiar style named with the “Do” ending; i.e., Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee), Chun Kuk Do (Chuck Norris), Aikido (Morihei Ueshiba). Karate-do literally means, “the way of the empty hand” (i.e., the Tao/Dao/Do). This is why most martial arts uniform patches feature the yin and yang symbol in some form.
Exhibit: The Tao (Yin & Yang).
Note the white and black, light and dark

The Tao forms a critical thread that is woven throughout the Star Wars universe, as well as being central to the martial arts. Without it, the entire edifice crumbles into ruins. In this bankrupt system, there is no right or wrong; truth or error. This evil relativism utterly destroys the Gospel of Jesus Christ which claims that Christ died to save mankind from sin, which is the unrighteousness nature within every human being. Mankind cannot save itself, nor the cosmos for that matter.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ “were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him… and by Him all things consist… And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself(Col. 1:16-20).”

The Tao (yin and yang) also denies the veracity and sufficiency of the Word of God. God’s Word is truth (Ps. 119:160; Jn. 17:17).

Note these apparent Star Wars opposites (The Tao) that feed into the same universal Ki-Force field:
  • The Galactic Empire – The Rebel Alliance 
  • The First Order – The Resistance 
  • Darth Vader – Anakin Skywalker 
  • Kylo Ren – Ben Solo 
  • Imperial Stormtroopers – Rebel Soldiers 
  • Chancellor Palpatine – Grandmaster Yoda 
  • Grand Moff Tarkin – Princess Leia Organa 
  • Tie Fighter – X-wing Fighter 
  • The Death Star – The Rebel Base (Ice Planet Hoth) 
  • Supreme Leader Snoke – Master Jedi Luke Skywalker 
Selling Star Wars cotton swabs Christmas 2015

Mentoring Moral Relativism
Since everything is supposedly connected to this universal Ki-Force, some characters find themselves on both sides of the Force at various points in their life. Anakin Skywalker (Luke & Leia’s father), is seduced by the Dark Side of the Force and becomes the evil Darth Vader (James Earl Jones).[56] Ben Solo (Han and Leia’s son) is also seduced by the Dark Side and becomes the wicked Kylo Ren (Vader’s grandson). That is why it becomes necessary for a new, empowered Jedi (this time a young woman named Rey) to hone her natural Jedi skills (via the Force) and restore balance to the galaxy—under the advanced training of Master Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who had been in hiding since Ben Solo turned to the Dark Side (The Force Awakens).

In other words, with murky distinctions between good guys and bad guys who vacillate between light and dark, Star Wars conditions children to shifting beliefs, vague values, and mystical ways of thinking. Children are being trained to synthesize beliefs and to trade old absolute beliefs and values for ever-changing compromise positions. According to Berit Kjos's review of the Star Wars The Revenge of the Sith, here is how it works:

the main issue here is not Mr. Lucas' personal beliefs. Far more important are the "take-home" images and suggestions that shape the thoughts of his fans. One such suggestion came from the mouth of Obi-Wan, one of the most honorable Jedis. "Only a Sith deals in absolutes," he told Anakin. The apparent implication? Since absolutes belong on the evil side, those who deal in absolutes must be enemies of the "good" side.[bold in original]
Marketing Star Wars ideology via Christmas gifts for children 2015

Star Wars is a mythological story that has become a culturally significant fictional fantasy based on eastern mysticism. Teaching this myth to a new generation requires spiritual mentors. In Star Wars these teachers of the Force are actually embedded into the film. This highlights another aspect of Taoism, the master teacher: or sensei. The Japanese word sensei literally means “born before”, meaning a special guide who has knowledge or skill to impart to those who come after. The sensei, in this respect, also becomes a spiritual guide for “the way”; an enlightened custodian of the Force. Thus in Star Wars, the Jedi Master Yoda trains Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader). Both Yoda and Obi Wan train the younger Skywalker, who later trains Ben Solo, but Han’s son is seduced by the Dark Side and becomes Kylo Ren, creating a major wrinkle in the balance of the Force.

But Rey, who does not have a last name as of yet, has been safely hidden from nefarious powers on the sandy planet of Jakku. She comes on the scene at just the right time, giving hope that she might restore harmony to the disturbed galaxy. Again, she seeks out the seasoned sensei-sage, Luke Skywalker, who is destined to continue her Jedi training.

Her lineage has been kept a mystery in The Force Awakens, but many movie speculators suggest that she may be Luke’s niece—Kylo Ren’s twin sister (Luke and Leia are also twins). If this turns out to be the case, then she would also be Han Solo and General Leia’s daughter, as well as Darth Vader’s (Anakin Skywalker’s) granddaughter. Viewers will have to wait until the next sequel is released to find out for sure. The plot murkily thickens. By the way, this familial scenario not only fits well within the Tao, but also with elements of Confucianism,[57] which stresses social and ancestral harmony.

Exhibit: Rey with Luke’s lightsaber – The Force Awakens[58]
Every theme, every subplot, and every eccentric character is a plot device that tries to release the pulsating, perpetual tension generated by a disturbance in the Force, attempting to bring the troubled cosmos into balance.

In The Force Awakens, Lor San Tekka (Max Von Sydow), a rugged space explorer—bearing a striking resemblance to the late Obi Wan Kenobi—conveys his reliance in the ancient Tao when he says to Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) on Rey’s home planet, “I've traveled too far, and seen too much, to ignore the despair in the galaxy. Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.[59]

Exhibit: Lor San Tekka and Poe Dameron[60]

This idea of creating a harmonic balance in the cosmos—a ubiquitous energy field connected to and surrounding all things—is a central New Age concept that is also prevalent in Quantum Spirituality. In this occult worldview, the seemingly benevolent blessing, “may the Force be with you”, casts a sinister and ominous shadow. Tragically, the Force sells big. As Berit Kjos concluded in her review of Star Wars The Revenge of the Sith,

Our sovereign, all-wise, all-loving Creator is nothing like the Force. The very suggestion makes a mockery of His holiness and glory! According to Biblical definitions, the Star Wars Force is a different god -- the kind of counterfeit god that the Bible tells us to shun. And like those pagan gods of the past, it comes with an enticing built-in mythology. It may well have the largest group of devotees of any pagan deity throughout history....

The "highest good" God shows us in His Word is His holiness, not the eventual defeat of darkness (a victory which is according to His work and time, not ours). Therefore He calls us to separate ourselves from all the cultural influences that would mar His holy life in His 'born again" children....

Mythical stories that evoke strong feelings distract fans from true realities and bombard them with contrary suggestions that appeal to emotions rather than minds.

In spite of man's unceasing quest for feel-good revelations and mind-blowing thrills, there's only one source of absolute truth: the Bible. 

Exhibit: Countdown to ‘Force Friday’ Christmas sales 2015[61] 
And He [Jesus] was saying to them [the Jewish leaders],
‘You are from below, I am from above;
you are of this world, I am not of this world’” 
(Jn. 8:23)

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” 
(Eph. 4:30)

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this article series…

40. StarWars.com; see; http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-products-to-arrive-on-force-friday-september-4
41. Graphic taken from Tiefighters.com; see: http://www.tiefighters.com/image/37827537093?&cuid=b444395ecbb2b6070e06604f904d86cc
42. “A Star Wars Christmas – Gifts, Decorations and Xmas Jumpers for Star Wars Fans,” Dec. 2015, Alternative Christmas blog; see: http://www.alternativechristmas.co.uk/a-star-wars-christmas-gifts-decorations-and-xmas-jumpers-for-star-wars-fans/
43. Natalie Robehmed, Forbes.com, “For Disney, Biggest Payday On Star Wars Won't Be At The Box Office,” Dec. 16, 2015; see: http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2015/12/16/how-disneys-star-wars-merchandise-is-set-to-make-billions/#3bfd56cc41a4. See also, Chris Agar, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Crosses $2 Billion At Box Office,” Feb. 7, 2016, Screenrant.com; see: http://screenrant.com/star-wars-force-awakens-2-billion-box-office-worldwide/
44. Aswath Damodaran, “Intergalactic Finance: Why The Star Wars Franchise Is Worth Nearly $10 Billion To Disney,” Forbes.com, Jan. 6, 2016; see: http://www.forbes.com/sites/aswathdamodaran/2016/01/06/intergalactic-finance-how-much-is-the-star-wars-franchise-worth-to-disney/#17f633652d79
45. Personal photo taken in a major department store in December 2015. 
46. Ibid. STAR WARS (Episode IV) A NEW HOPE online script. 
47. Ibid. STAR WARS (Episode IV) A NEW HOPE online script. See also: http://www.starwars.com/databank/general-dodonna
48. Graphic taken from Etsy.com: see: https://www.etsy.com/search?q=lightsaber+keychain
49. Kendo-Guide.com; see: http://www.kendo-guide.com/kendo_stick.html. A kendo stick is a practice sword that is make of bamboo or wood. 
50. See: http://www.affordablemartialarts.co.uk/ju-jitsu-gis%20martial%20arts%20equipment%20and%20supplies.html
51. Wikipedia; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai. See also: http://toysrevil.blogspot.com/2014/12/16-darth-vader-from-hot-toys-from-star.html
52. Wikipedia, “Yin and Yang”; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang
53. “As In Heaven, So On Earth,” Herescope, July 9, 2007; see: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2007/07/as-in-heaven-so-on-earth.html; Gaylene Goodroad, “Metaphysical Mysticism Masquerading as Science - The Rise of End-Time Occultism Part 6,” Herescope, Oct. 4, 2013; see: http://herescope.blogspot.ca/2013/10/metaphysical-mysticism-masquerading-as.html; and The Berean Call (TBC) radio interview (Tom McMahon) transcript, “Should Christians Practice Martial Arts? with Gaylene Goodroad (Part 1),” Nov. 21, 2014; see: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/should-christians-practice-martial-arts-gaylene-goodroad-part-1
54. Ibid. Goodroad, My Life in “the Way”, pp. 5-6. 
55. See: http://daoismbb.blogspot.com/.
56. Ibid, RETURN OF THE JEDI online script. 
57. See: http://www.chineseonthego.com/culture/confucius1.html
58. Graphic taken from StarWars.com: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-the-force-awakens-character-posters-revealed
59. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS STAR WARS (EPISODE VII) online script, written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams & Michael Arndt. Based on characters created by George Lucas; See: http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens.html
60. See: http://dorksideoftheforce.com/2015/11/27/jedi-council-which-star-wars-the-force-awakens-character-are-you-most-excited-to-see/ 
61. Graphic taken from StarWars.com: http://www.starwars.com/news/the-force-awakens-around-the-world-star-wars-fans-invited-to-join-global-event-on-youtube

Ed. Note: Photos not otherwise attributed come from the publisher's collection of personal photos taken in stores before Christmas 2015. Shopping for anything related to the Bible story about the birth of Jesus proved to be a totally unfruitful exercise! Even the usually ubiquitous Santa took a back seat to the Star Wars Christmas of 2015.