Date of Award
Doctor of Theology (ThD)
Reverend Francis Berna, Ph.D., La Salle University
Dennis Feltwell, Ph.D., Pasco-Hernando State College
Father John Celia, O.F.M., J.C.D., Sacred Heart Seminary
In the modern era there appears to be a growing exodus of individuals leaving organized religion. The introduction of the internet, and the near instantaneous access of information that it provides, has deluded many to believe that they can acquire any answers they seek and no longer need guidance or directions from anyone other than, “Google”. This prideful notion causes many concerns, particular when it comes to the development and flourishing of one’s spiritual growth, as they journeys towards authenticity. In order to combat this ever growing mentality one must be able to breakthrough these prideful barriers to recognize the dangers of exploring one’s spirituality on their own.
As emphasized by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell myth can be a manner in which truth is revealed and relayed. By utilizing the modern Star Wars mythos, particularly surrounding the training and development of the Jedi, one is able to relay the importance of having proper spiritual guidance, as well as the dangers when one’s spiritual exploration goes unchecked. Exploring modern myths like Star Wars allows one to not only further grasp these truths, but also relay them in a manner that can be understood by those with little, or no, religious upbringing. While this ability to relay truths through story telling is something that has been done since the beginning of time the importance of having individuals to help one disseminate the meaning and interpretation of these truths is a tradition that is also founded in reality.
The great Christian sages of the past like, Augustine, Benedict, Francis and Ignatius all understood the dangers of taking this journey alone. As revealed through an analysis of the rules they developed for their communities, alongside Ignatius’ development of the spiritual exercises, we discover not only the importance of seeking guidance from others, but the necessity of being obedient to the direction they provide. For if one is without proper guidance, one will be in danger of misunderstanding already revealed truths and traveling down the path of relativism, or as the Jedi would say down the path of the dark side.
Through an understanding of the spiritual training of the Jedi one is able to recognize the value and necessity of not only having a trained spiritual guide, but also see the pitfalls when one is not properly spiritually educated and directed. Utilizing this pop culture imagery not only relays this message, but also has the possibility to encourage one to seek out spiritual guidance. This helps prevent one from traveling down the dark path of ignorance where they only receive a distortion of the truth. A reality that many in the 21st century have begun to disregard.
Thompson, Kyle William, "The Necessity of Obedience in One's Spiritual Journey Towards Authenticity: A Conscious and Unconscious Truth as Revealed Through Psychology, History and Myth" (2021). Th.D. Dissertations. 16.