Know what I like best about the “religion” of the force in Star Wars? It doesn’t take sides.
I mean, let’s be honest, the Force is religion. This guy or that girl or some other dude or your long-lost father is strong in the force for reasons never stated and certainly not comprehensible (and you can GTFO with that midichlorians sharknado). If the Force is on your side, you can perform straight-up miracles, like levitating your Orange Crush across the room because you’re too lazy to go get it during the commercial break in Coruscant’s Next Top Jedi, or force-choking your idiot friend who won’t shut up about how Han shot first.
The miracles are cool and awesome and super. But what I actually like best is that the Force is an equal-opportunity personal savior. The Force is perfectly happy serving Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker or Kylo Ren or Rey WhoTheHellKnows. Everybody and anybody can call on the Force to bless themselves or anybody else.
“May the Force be with you.”
Ben Kenobi says it. Anakin Skywalker says it. Emperor Palpatine says it. Princess Leia says it. Yoda says it. Darth Vader says it. Even Han Solo says it, and he is an explicit non-believer on the subject.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a tree-hugging freedom fighter, a power-crazed space slumlord, a half-insane cave monkey or a floppy-haired debonair space ace, you can call on the Force to help you out, and if you’re lucky, it just might save your ass.
What does this mean?
Well, if the Force is an explicit metaphor for religion, I think it shows that religion, faith, belief, are much like a lightsaber. Be it red, yellow, green or fantastic purple, it’s just a tool. It isn’t intrinsically good or bad. It just is, and whether it’s a symbol of good or bad depends entirely upon the person wielding it.
And if the Force isn’t religion, well, that’s okay too, because it’s still just a tool. Like the hammer collecting dust in your garage, it doesn’t have a stake in whether your house stays in good repair or if it crumbles to dust. It’s there to bang on some nails if you want to, or to go smashing up some drywall if that’s your thing, or, hell, it’s even happy just hanging there watching dust motes swirl in the stale air.
*makes the jump to lightspeed without plotting coordinates first because that’s the way we do it in the new era of Star Wars*