What I mainly don’t like is all the insane real world baggage that gets dragged into it. The Jedi are like an ascetic Buddhist FBI that is also a fourth branch of government and also the leaders of the military and also diplomats and also bodyguards. The Republic is the Roman Republic but it’s also the United States during the Civil War and also the United States in modern times. The Senate is the Roman Senate and also the United Nations times a million. The enemies of the Republic are the Confederates from the Civil War and also modern international megacorporations. Anakin has aspects of Christ but is not perfect like Christ and ends up being the Antichrist.
All of the religion and philosophy in Star Wars is both Christian and Buddhist, Western and Eastern, per Lucas. Which means that it has both traditional good and evil, and suggestions of Yin and Yang “balance” stuff, without distinguishing between the two.
This all leads to confusion and really, really, really bad takes from fans about what it all means. Stuff like you should be equally good and evil, or that Anakin committing genocide on the Jedi was good and they deserved it. And then you have a bunch of EU writers, Disney writers, and Dave Filoni encouraging this.
I think this is actually the strength of the prequels as they are IMO.
Lucas challenges preconceptions of The Story with every subsequent movie starting from “I am your father” in ESB; where the PT contradicts the OT is intentionally in conversation. To me, what’d even be the point of these if the story were only the genre tropes and archetypes we could extrapolate from the OT? The “insane” real world baggage is what makes them worth handling in detail at all. It moves the needle from fairy tale to mythology. It’s not meant to be instructive.
Whatever analogues are in that mix shouldn’t be 1:1, otherwise then we would just be talking about Catholicism. Falling in line to real life historical or contemporary example is a hacky commentative form anyway; the only reality that demands consistency in fictional worldbuilding are the sociological and theoretical mechanics. Any philosophy or culture can be made up in that context, and should. That allows space to work with empathy / thought that real world sensitivities make difficult. If you’re looking for specific analogy, of course it’s incoherent. Of course all of this couldn’t really exist. But the exercise is about how something works, not what they are.
Your mileage may vary on what the difference is, but to articulate how I see the difference: Lucas isn’t writing about the United States or Christianity (just as examples). He’d be writing about hegemonic imperialism and the sociology of principled beliefs. From there your personal engagement is your personal engagement. The murkiness of What It All Means™ is a feature not a bug. I like that we can all have different perspectives about it.
That said, pre-PT lore is something I am obsessed with thinking about. As much as I like all the things I like about the prequels, it’s more in an admiration for what it attempts than its execution. I don’t think they are good movies or have even been well served post-ROTS. It’s difficult to parse because the prequels are very formative for me - I like movie and literature the way I do because of them probably. So a more congruent PT / OT might have changed that. But I can’t deny the appeal of just seeing the stuff Obi-Wan talked about in a more straightforward manner. It just wouldn’t have stuck as long I think.