While calling the film “wonderfully familiar and fresh”, the Christian-based Movieguide is warning parents to beware of a very strong New Age worldview which permeates the movie which could provide a valuable teaching moment for children.
The good news is that the movie does contain strong moral content which somewhat mitigates the New Age and occult elements. It’s a fast-moving film with a few redemptive moments and pro-family sentiment expressed by the good characters.
“Above all, though, the movie’s biggest problem has nothing to do with bad storytelling or bad filmmaking, or even a better climax. Far from it! The biggest problem is that the movie has a very strong New Age pagan worldview promoting impersonal Eastern monism, a worldview that, ultimately, is irrational and warrants strong caution,” Movieguide reports.
“In regard to the infamous Force, the movie also promotes modern monism, a New Age theology claiming that there’s a universal, but impersonal, energy or ‘Force’ that is part of everything and surrounds everyone. This is typical Star Wars mythology. However, in The Force Awakens, it’s suggested a couple times that there must be a ‘balance’ not only in the Force but also between the ‘good side’ and the ‘dark side’ of the Force. This is Non-Christian Eastern monism and moral dualism.”
The review found this dualism to be confusing in light of the fact that the story strongly suggests that the good must defeat and overcome or destroy evil – not co-exist with it – which clearly contradicts those calls for balance.
The movie also suggests that characters who succumb to the dark side can redeem themselves by rejecting it and coming into the light – which is also not about “balance” but about the good side winning over the bad.
Movieguide suggests parents and grandparents should take the time to explain these contradictions to their youngsters and not miss this opportunity to teach the Truth to their children.
“They should also note how such New Age thinking differs from the ethical monotheism and redemption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the enlightenment and divine fellowship or communion that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus and from the power of the Holy Spirit,” Movieguide advises.
It’s also a good time to explain why we don’t believe God is a universal life force – because He revealed Himself to us as a Person, not a thing. For example, when Moses askedHim to describe Himself, He responded with “I am who am” rather than “I am what is.”
They may also benefit from knowing that this universal life force, called the Force in Star Wars, is known as chi, qi, and prana which supposedly involve energy centers and pathways known as chakras and meridians by other religions. Although scientists have been looking for proof of the existence of this energy since the time of Sir Isaac Newton, none has ever been found.
In summary, Movieguide calls for “Strong or extreme caution . . . when it comes to the movie’s confused, impersonal, pagan monism. Christians have a better, more personal ‘Force’ – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who created everything and redeems us and comes to us through the personal, divine power of the Holy Spirit.”