WELCOME TO MODULE 3: TRANSCENDENCE AND IMMANENCE INCORPORATING STAR WARS
SYLLABUS REQUIREMENTS Students Learn About:Religion as a worldview that:– acknowledges the supernaturaldimension– has a belief in a divine being or powersbeyond the human and/or dwelling withinthe individualStudents Learn To:– discuss a transcendent religiousworldview which has a belief in a divinepower and/or powers beyond the human– discuss an immanent religious worldviewwhich has a belief in a divine being orpowers dwelling within the individual
SYLLABUS OUTCOMES P3 investigates religious traditions and belief systemsP4 examines significant aspects of religious traditionsP6 selects and uses relevant information aboutreligion from a variety of sourcesP8 uses appropriate terminology related to religionand belief systems
PROBLEM STATEMENT MODULE 3Use STAR WARS to demonstrate the concepts of Transcendence and Immanence
The Goal of this 6P is to answer the problemStatement, via the following Plan:What is Transcendence? What is Immanence? If and where do the two cross over inbelief?Demonstrating the above in STAR WARS...Where is Transcendence demonstrated?Where is immanence demonstrated? If and where do these two concepts ‘crosspollinate’?Viewing how Transcendence Immanence and the crossover of two are revealedwithin a Semitic Religion. In this case ChristianityViewing how Transcendence, Immanence and a possible cross over are shown withinan Indus Faith Tradition. In this scenario the Hindu Faith.
Glossary and DEFINITION: What is Immanent? What is Transcendent?TRANSCENDENT RELIGION1. A religion that holds that there are beings that exist beyond the knownuniverse that are not subject to the laws of nature; polytheism and monotheismare the two principal types of transcendent religion. (Oxford Studies of Religion Text)2.The belief in a divine being or powers whose existence’goes beyond’ humanlimitations. It is opposed to the term ‘immanent’ (Living Religion 4th Edition)IMMANENT RELIGION1. A religion that holds that gods, goddesses or divine spirits live within natureand that the universe was created by these spirits and is maintained by theirpower.(Oxford Studies of ReligionText)2. A world view that recognises a divine being or powers as a constant reality-anactive and continuing presence among believers and in this world (Living Religion 4th
In the movie A NEW HOPE the scene Use The Force potrays evidence that there areforces and expression of both Transcendence and ImmanenceWhen we hear “Use The Force” and “Let Go Luke” it is as though a great beingbeyond the surrounding realm of existence is guiding Luke in his gallactic battleagainst evil forces. It is interesting to hear the evil representation: Darth Vadercomment: The force is strong” This would relate to a being beyond the knownuniverse (see deﬁnition)Where is immanence linked in this scene? Could it be in the action of Luke switchingoff his contact “ You’ve switched off your targeting Computer, what’s wrong?” Lukeresponds determined “ Nothing I’m allright” Here we move to an angle of crosspollination. Is the God within Luke the master of his destiny here ?or, is it that thesuperior Universal force has saved him from pending death?
Han Solo applauds the action as though it was a reference to both the transcendencean immanence of God, “Great shot Kid, that was one in a million...remember, theForce will be with You Always” Here we tend to see how in Star Wars the conceptsof Transcendence an Immmanence are demonstrated in the form of a hybrid,manifested not as a distinct deliniation as previously hoped for.Earlier on in Episode IV A New Hope Obi-wan Kenobi enlightens Luke on the ways ofa Jedi Pilot. He initiates Luke’s spiritual calling by stating “ You must learn the ways ofthe Force”What is this FORCE? Obi teaches: “It is what gives a Jedhi his power, It’s an energyﬁeld created by all living things, it surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxytogether.” Is this the vital link that sways STAR WARS towards immanence ratherthan transcendence? ( See Syllabus Deﬁnition Slide 2)
Below is one academic summation relating to the quest in understanding HowTranscendence and Immanence are placed within STAR WARSThe Force is Lucas’s distillation of religious thought andfeeling throughout human history. In his understanding ofthis history, and at the core of Star Wars, the divine is noseparate deity controlling events from the outside, butthe inner God-force that impels the hearts and minds ofall of us to seek to fulﬁll our inner truth (James Lawler in STAR WARSand Philosophy)
CHRISTIANITYPope Paul VI wrote in Credo of the People of God: “We believe in only one God, Father,Son and Spirit, creator...”(The Trinity, Neil Ormerod) This shift from thinking that God the Fatherwas THE creator, to creation as being the role of all three persons in the Trinity issigniﬁcant in dispelling the simplistic notion that Christianity is only delivered within aTranscendent worldview.Christianity, although a Semitic based religion, can be experienced as a “marriage”between both Transcendence and Immanence.HOW? It is believed that in the theology and practice of the Christian Faith Tradition,Transcendence and Immanence interpenetrate in a most exceptional manner. As Godis the three persons of the Trinity, it is within the second person of the Godhead thatthe answer lies. It is the mysterious and paradoxical nature of The Christ where alink, a bridge is built between inﬁnite deity and ﬁnite man. Thus, the God of Abraham(Transcendent) dwelt amongst us (Immanent) as Man (Incarnate and Divine)
HINDUISMAn Indus based religion, Hinduism is not a monolithic(single and uniform) religion.Rather it embraces a wide diversity of religious belief. Transcendently, Hindus deﬁnethe God-spirit as being universal, eternal and the creator of the universe. God iswithout form and name.Immanently, (emphasises the presence of God or gods within human existence) sothat God can be understood by common people, God is given human form andattributes.Generally, it can be said that Hindus have One divinity which is worshipped in manyappearances under different names. Contrary to the above understandings, a sense oftranscendence and immanence cross pollinating may be difﬁcult to ascertain becausethere are forms of Hindu philosophy that did not assume the existence of God.
CONCLUSIONSTAR WARS demonstrated Transcendence, Immanence and the cross referencing ofboth concepts in Luke Skywalker’s spiritual quest as a Jedi Knight trusting that theFORCE was beyond and within him.Christianity, more than any other Faith tradition, through the incarnation of Jesus TheChrist, reveals an inter-penetrable experience of Transcendence and Immanence.Hinduism presents aspects of both, leaning towards a divine being or beings dwellingwithin the individual adherent, hence Immanent in fundamental direction.
SOURCESExcel Studies of Religion; Fleming, Louise; 1998Living Religion; Morrisey et al 4th edn; 2010NSW Board of Studies websiteOxford Studies of Religion; King et al; 2010PMonline Module 3 resourcesSTAR WARS and Philosophy; Decker et al; 2005The Trinity; Ormerod , Neil; 2006