Friday, April 27, 2018

Roman Catholic school chaplain mixes Star Wars into his messages

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8

This may be regarded as a companion to the post immediately preceding. What passes for evangelicalism in the second decade of the 21st century isn't alone in mixing truth and error--which always produces error. Submitted for your approval, the following item about a Roman Catholic school chaplain in Alberta who thinks he can build a bridge between Christianity and Hinduism. As reported by Janet French in the Edmonton Journal, March 12, 2018 (bold, link in original):

A school chaplain’s penchant for pop culture has become a mainstay in his religion lessons to Catholic students near Edmonton.

Mike Landry, a Spruce Grove-based chaplain in Evergreen Catholic Schools, turns to the Jedi, the First Order and the Resistance to teach about the Bible and talk to students about their problems.

“When you’re sitting in a religion class, you’ve got people from all these backgrounds who come from all these different perspectives, and you’re trying to see how you can meet all of them where they are without them feel pushed, or judged, or forced, but inviting them into something that I believe will help them,” Landry said in an interview last week.

The chaplain made his case to teachers for drawing meaningful parallels between the Star Wars movies and Christianity at the Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention last week.

Not the first Edmonton chaplain to take advantage of these corollaries, Landry said he’s continuing the work of the late Father Michael Mireau, a beloved Edmonton Catholic Schools chaplain who died of cancer at age 42 in 2014. Mireau was known to wave a light sabre around from the pulpit and weave Star Wars references into his homilies.

Landry, who is based at St. Peter the Apostle School and visits the other nine schools in the division, said he works in collaboration with counsellors, a social worker and other support staff to help students with personal or family problems.

Some students come from devout families and others know little of Catholicism, he said.

Trust the Force
Star Wars creator George Lucas borrowed generously from Christianity when creating the first two movie trilogies, Landry said.

The Jedi Council is like popes and bishops making decisions for the collective good, and the Jedi Academy is a bit like seminary school, he said.

The Force — an energy that binds the galaxy together and that both Jedi and their foes, the Sith, wield in the movies — is somewhat like the Holy Spirit in Christianity, Landry said.

In the more recent movies, characters implore one another to “trust The Force.” Students, like some characters, can be skeptical of religion. Discussing that doubt is a way to begin teaching about the historical evidence documenting Jesus’ existence, Landry said.

Star Wars characters who turn to the “dark side” out of fear and anger, like Darth Vader, can stimulate discussion about how power can be abused for evil, he said.

When kids make choices that make teachers “want to pull our hair out,” they can discuss the character Kylo Ren, the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo, whose conscience nags at him while he works for the dark side.

Said Landry: “I don’t think they have trouble understanding (religious teachings). I think they have trouble wanting to understand. They want to see that it’s relevant to them. A Jewish carpenter from 20 centuries ago, what does he have to do with what I’m doing in Spruce Grove today? And sometimes these stories become a nice bridge.”
Rabi Maharaj, who grew up as a Hindu guru in Trinidad before coming to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, was interviewed by Dr. Emil Gaverluk for a series of broadcasts of Southwest Radio Church, airing in January 1982. Mr. Maharaj's comments show that Mr. Landry is very wrong when he tries to point out the similarities between Star Wars and Christianity, especially when it comes to the Force:

Christians told me how very much they enjoyed these movies, and how great they were. I really get worried when Christians tell me how much they are excited about these films, seeing them several times, without realizing how much antichrist philosophy these films are propagating. Quite honestly, the most powerful presentation of Hindu philosophy I have seen anywhere in the West is the film The Empire Strikes Back!

I am not a cinema fan. I do not have time to go to the cinema, because I work especially among students on the campuses. I do go maybe once a year to see an appropriate film, one that the students are seeing and that I think is fit to view. So I went to see The Empire Strikes Back. I was astonished at how much Hinduism was propagated in that film from start to finish. I have not seen a more powerful presentation of Hinduism. It was an impressive film, beautiful photography, sensational and all of that, but the philosophy that the film was plugging was Hinduism. People were accepting this philosophy of life. People want to know what I have against Star Wars. In this movie a person comes away forgetting all about the science fiction elements in the film, but comes away with that one thing in mind, the nucleus of the film, the Force--"May the Force be with you!" Just weeks after the film was released there were bumper stickers, buttons and T-shirts with this statement on them. Weeks after it was released, I went to see it in Colorado, and I discovered that there were hundreds of young people in the mountains worshiping the Force. Some of them were saying the Force was the Holy Spirit. I had to say to them very clearly, I even said it on television, that it was an insult to God to call Him a Force! God is not a force. God is a person! A force is impersonal, but God is personal. Satan wants modern man, western man to have a wrong concept of God--for man to think of God in terms of a force. That is what Satan really wants.
Emil Gaverluk and Rabindranath R. Maharaj, Hinduism and Other Satanic Deceptions, 1982, pp. 19-20

Here's what the Lord Jesus Christ had to say about the Holy Spirit (it should be noted that the word "of" in the Kings James Version often means, as it does in this passage, "from"):

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
John 16:7-13

A force doesn't convict anyone "of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment," and no one is morally accountable to a force.

For further reading, I recommend Death of a Guru by Rabi Maharaj with Dave Hunt (1977, 1984); Hinduism and Other Satanic Deceptions by Emil Gaverluk and Rabi Maharaj (1982); and Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust by Dave Hunt (1983). I have tapes of the six broadcasts that Mr. Maharaj and Dr. Gaverluk recorded, as well as the four broadcasts (in April or May 1983) of conversations between Messrs. Maharaj and Hunt, followed by four broadcasts of Mr. Hunt speaking alone, on the occasion of the publication of Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust. Southwest Radio Ministries probably doesn't make them available anymore, but the reader is encouraged to get them anywhere they can be found. Despite being 35-37 years old, the material covered in those broadcasts remains relevant--maybe more now than ever.

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