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Dark-Side-light-saber

Back in college, I took an ancient religion course. We studied Samaritans, the Babylonians, and more. By looking at these practices that we no longer practiced we were able to look objectively at what makes a religion, what practices and beliefs hold these systems together. Were their gods benevolent and malevolent? What did worshippers celebrate? This look at religion surfaced again when more and more people from multiple countries claimed “Jedi” as their faith in national census forms. With all this notoriety, the Sith religion, or the religion of the Dark Side seems to be ignored here on Earth.  

Rise of Jedi on Earth

Okay so back in 1999, Episode 1 The Phantom Menace comes into theaters. Whether you liked Episode 1 or not, Anakin Skywalker renewed interested in the franchise. Again huge chunks of the population delved deep into Star Wars lore and backstories of characters. People rekindled their love of The Force. 

This ends up happening before the 2001 census. Apparently, many countries around the world take a census every ten years. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t know that. That fact never lodged itself in my brain.) Suddenly, the world is seized by a Jedi census phenomenon.” 

  • England – 390,127 counted themselves as Jedi
  • Australia – 70,000 claim to be members of the Jedi order
  • New Zealand – 53,000 marked themselves as Jedi
  • Canada – 21,000  respond Jedi Knight

Zeroing in on England’s high number of Jedi, it’s important to note according to the never wrong source, Wikipedia. In 2001, Jedi was the UK’s fourth-largest affiliation, outnumbering Judaism and Buddhism.   

Without any surprise to anyone, I cannot locate a Jedi temple on Earth, despite all the self-reported acolytes. Googling this, however, did pull up protests in 2015 by Turkish students lobbying for the Istanbul Technical University to build a Jedi temple on campus

Cursory research indicates students as a whole appreciated the nation’s stance as a secular body. When a Turkish university builds a mosque on campus to support Islamic students, members of the student body responded by protesting for a Buddhist temple. Their ultimate desire points to wanting to keep religion and education separate. Not wanting to be overlooked, students of ITU created a petition for a Jedi house of worship.

Jedi Code of Conduct

So why Jedi? The code of conduct seems like a vague ideology: 

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

There is a more robust code with a litany of rules and regulations, however. This simple paragraph doesn’t get into the fact Jedi knights took a vow of celibacy. Looking through fandom forums it appears Jedi weren’t sworn to celibacy. To avoid creating attachments, or creating dynasties within the Force they didn’t marry with notable exceptions. The Jedi order appears to have forbidden marriage just in time for Anakin to come along and spiral out of control.

As an avid binger of period dramas, I can’t help compare the Jedi code of conduct to the Knights Templar code of conduct. The Templars, however, did swear an oath of chastity. Also, their code is so long even dictating the fact they were required to eat two to a bowl to encourage communal living and prohibited them from wearing pointy shoes.  

So, perhaps the Jedi code of conduct was (very) loosely inspired by the Templars. This loose code seems like something most can meditate on. 

Sith Code of Conduct

With all this Jedi love, it is interesting that few appreciate the Dark Side. When I vocalized this in Orange Nebula Head Quarters, I was informed that members of the Sith Order are fiercely under-reported for fear of discrimination… which was albeit, a more passionate response than I ever thought to receive, and more than likely true. 

Studying the Sith’s code of conduct it is interesting that it’s the mirrored version of the Jedi. It’s not completely different in the way monotheistic or polytheistic religions on Earth appear.  

Peace is a lie. There is only Passion.
Through Passion, I gain Strength.
Through Strength, I gain Power.
Through Power, I gain Victory.
Through Victory my chains are Broken.
The Force shall free me.

Admittedly, the Sith creed feels more in line with my passionate nature, even though this quiz aligns my nature with the Jedi order. 

When you look through both creeds and suspend the notion that the Sith are “the baddies,” which would you subscribe to? Are we all Jedi because we identify as wanting to train under Yoda? Do we believe we have innate powers flowing within us, but were relegated to the sidelines helping our aunt and uncle in a desolate corner of the galaxy?  

If Sith devotees are under-reported, living in the shadows, apparently there is a sub-Reddit for you. Who knows. Maybe seeing others talk about the Sith faith so freely will encourage you to announce your religion on the census. It is, after all, coming up next year for the United States, and the year after for the other countries referenced. 

Showing 2 comments
  • Ryan Smith
    Reply

    my hand forced, I would say Jedi. I do believe in the non-aggression principle, which holds that the initiation of force and coercion against peaceful people is immoral. This is the practical solution as well. Let’s take a look at a scenario with 2 people: a butcher and a baker.

    Both people believe that their lives would be enriched if they could consume what the other produces. So there are 2 ways to do this: by force or voluntarily.

    By force would require violence. Say the butcher is OK with this, He could go kill the baker and take all of his bread. The problem is the butcher has no way of making more bread, and once consumed he will be back where he started.

    He could dominate the baker into slavery, which would yield bread, but the quality of the bread would likely be poor and the butcher would have to take great effort to keep the baker imprisoned as well as healthy enough to supply him with bread. He may also run the risk of being poisoned.

    Both of these violent options rob the baker of agency and livelihood. I would venture to say most everyone would find both of these options barbaric and immoral.

    The voluntary path yields 2 paths, one where the Baker freely gives the butcher bread of his own choice. This option is largely out of the control of the Butcher and is least likely to happen.

    The other path is the most common amongst peaceful people: Trade. The butcher can offer the baker meat for the baker’s bread. Both sides value the product of the others labor more than their own, or else they would not make the trade.

    This not only fits the moral paradigm that I believe most people believe in, it’s also the most practical.

    Through this analysis, the violent nature of the Sith tend to be both immoral and impractical. The Sith Wars and the subsequent Rule of Two is an acknowledgment of the practicality of the belief.

    Live Long and Prosper.

    • Theresa Potratz
      Reply

      I totally see your point and agree with your conclusion. My initial argument is more about the practicality of the Jedi code vs. the Sith code. The Jedi seem to deny many core elements of humanity (not attempting to isolate other races within the SW universe). Looking at your logic, I would argue extremism in any form is negative. You assume the butcher uses violence against the baker. In a less extreme variation, the butcher applies himself to slaughter the pigs. Without his skillset is unable to produce quality meat to barter with the baker. He could – some can argue – wait for animals to die of natural causes. This would, however, result in stringy, gamey, or otherwise unedible meats. So, violence in my example is only executed when needed for vocation and not in a way to damage relationships within communities.

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