I am currently doing research on the science fiction writings of C.S. Lewis in comparison to those of Samuel I. Brooks of the Harlem Renaissance. One of the books I picked up as a resource on Lewis is Martha C. Sammons’ “A Better Country”: The Worlds of Religious Fantasy and Science Fiction. Do not let the sub-title deceive you. The only religion that is discussed is Christianity, and of the conservative evangelical variety at that, which would have been nice to know up front. While I have found this book helpful in aiding me to understand C.S. Lewis’ purposes for writing his space trilogy, the author’s understanding of allegory as it pertains to science fiction and fantasy, that of “re-telling” the Gospel to non-believers falls exactly into the superficial understanding of allegory that many Christians have.
Take for example Sammons’ re-interpretation of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Luke’s destiny to save the galaxy is understood in religious terms, Darth Vader is “The Dark Father,” and since Ben Kenobi dies so that the rebel forces may live, and then resides with the rebels as the Spirit speaking to Luke. Obviously, there is also an afterlife in Star Wars, since Luke hopes to join Yoda and Ben in the ‘ethereal oneness of the force’ (page 100).
Not only does this go beyond the boundaries set up the Star Wars world, it also borders on heresy, Trinitarian , I speak, terms. The Son is the Spirit and the Spirit is not the Son. Also, Darth Vader is not a “pure” villain, a huge oversight for Sammons’ black & white vision of morality. In terms of the creator’s intent (George Lucas, not g*d, well at least for me), Darth Vader represents more of a Buddhist ethic, unable to let things go, haunted by a fear of loss.
Given all of this, I have to say, this was one of the worst interpretations of Star Wars I have ever come across. What’s next? Jaga from ThunderCats as the Holy Spirit, and Lion-O as Jesus?
Gimme a break!