Jediism is of course inspired primarily by the religion of the same name featured in the Star Wars movies. George Lucas based the Jedi philosophy largely on Taoism, although he added other elements as well. Essentially seeing the universe as a duality of dark and light, the Jediist tries to push the balance to the light and keep the dark at bay. This idea of a strong separation of light and dark is closer to the Manicheaism of western Abrahamic religions than it is Taoism, which didn’t really recognize concepts of evil and good.
However, it could be said that the dark side of the Force represents not evil, per se, but rather selfishness and covetousness. Through humility and self-effacing behavior, the Jediist seeks to counter these egotistical impulses and act as an example to those who might be seduced by base instincts for power, destruction, and self-aggrandizement.
Created by George Lucas for his Star Wars film series, Lucas drew heavily on the teachings of Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who’s work proposed a monomyth that could be found in all cultures throughout history. The story of Luke Skywalker was a distillation of this universal story and its broad concepts of good and evil. Given that Western culture at the time had only begun to embrace Eastern philosophy, the Zen-like Jedi characters, with their martial arts power and meditative demeanor proved extremely popular. Jedi churches have appeared in various countries across the globe, and documentaries have even been made about this unique take on religion. One of Jediism’s most famous achievements was when hundreds of thousands of people wrote in “Jedi” as their religion on various censuses around the world, under the mistaken impression that this would cause Jedi to be officially approved as a religion in their country.
While the fictional Jedi of the Star Wars films engaged in budo-like exercises to enhance their psychic and telekinetic powers, real-world Jediists are under no such illusions that such supernatural powers are attainable. Consequently, Jediists focus on the psychological and ethical training, such as meditation and non-aggression, as well as various forms of martial arts and sword fighting.
You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace.
You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
— Obi Wan Kenobi
Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
Get ordained as a Jediist Minister