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Monday, December 19, 2011
'Star Wars' Chosen As Religion In Czech Republic On New Census
The Jedi Temple may have been destroyed in the Great Jedi Purge, but that hasn't deterred some people from worshipping The Force.
According to CzechPosition.com, the results of the Czech Republic's new census that were unveiled this month reveal that 15,070 citizens of the country listed their religion as Knights of the Jedi. While that may pale in comparison to the 1.08 million people who self-identified as Catholics and over four million who declined to list their faith, it's still a sizable portion of people who believe -- or jokingly claim to, in reaction to an intrusive census -- in the intangible energy made famous by the "Star Wars" films.
Though the Czech Knights of the Jedi wrote in their choice, other nations, such as New Zealand and Great Britain, already list the Jedi Church amongst the formal religion options. According to Time Magazine, over 390,000 Britons said that they practiced the religion in 2001.
The Church of the Jedi's website pitches their faith as less bizarre than it may seem. The Force, they say, is "an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together," and "is a concept that most religions of the world concur with. Some refer to it as their deity, some refer to it as a life force, but the one thing nearly all religions agree with, is that there exists a single unifying force."
"Star Wars," the Church says, helped create the religion's terminology, but it did not create the faith itself.
"The force has always existed and always will," their website reads. "Often references are made to the movies by our members, as a conceptual demonstration of how some might ascribe to the higher levels of a Jedi faith, in a far away land, a long time ago. The fact remains, that these concepts merely reflect a deep held innate morality, that we all have inside us... This morality existed prior to the movies. The movies do not in any way legitimize nor negate the legitimacy of the Jedi Church. They are merely a discussion point."
Given the sustained phenomenon of the "Star Wars" films, it would figure that millions of other people are having those conversations, as well.