For: strong promotion of pantheism, and borderline necromancy
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’s spiritual premises and Christianity are mutually exclusive, and mutually hostile. And Star Wars’ spirituality isn’t merely pervasive and heavy-handed; it’s central to the plot. Borrowing from several eastern mystic religions, and adding a few of his own spiritual inventions, creator/director George Lucas pulled together a galactic experiment in paganism, with the hope that it would get the audience thinking that God might be more like a dualistic energy force.1 Given that God is not a dualistic energy force, the best response to Lucas’ twisted experiment is to avoid it.
Strong Promotion of Pantheism
In Star Wars: Episode IV, the dominant religion practiced by both the protagonists and the antagonists is dualistic pantheism. The religion, which is a major theme in all of the Star Wars movies, focuses almost exclusively on the discipline of manipulating an impersonal deity that simultaneously “binds the galaxy together” and depends on the galaxy for its very existence.
This pantheistic power, known as the Force, is also simultaneously good and evil. Throughout the movie, the main character’s positively-portrayed mentor Obi-Wan encourages and teaches him to “use the Force” for good. On the other hand, Obi-Wan also says that the main villain (also a devotee of the religion) “was seduced by the dark side of the Force.”
The protagonists use the Force to control people’s minds. The antagonist uses it to strangle people from across the room by merely thinking it. Through the Force they can sense a specific individual’s presence afar off, the destruction of an inhabited planet in another solar system, and the best maneuvers to make at any given time - so much so, that new recruits are instructed to fight the enemy with their eyes closed to block out the deceitful physical senses and tune in better to the Force.
Antagonist Darth Vader claims that “the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” Unsatisfied with that level of esteem for the Force, Obi-Wan says that if he himself dies, the Force will make him “more powerful than [Vader] could possibly imagine.”
Devotion to the Force is called a “religion” multiple times. Those who do not “believe in the Force” are portrayed as foolish atheists.
Obi-Wan’s parting words are “Remember, the Force will be with you, always.”
Obi-Wan dies part way through the movie, returning as a disembodied spirit to communicate with the living. Obi-Wan’s protege Luke Skywalker welcomes these messages from the dead.
1 Bill Moyer, "Of Myth and Men," Time Magazine, (26 April, 1999), 93