THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO STAR TREK
by David Sisler
I admit it. I am a Star Trek fan and have been since the first television episode, "Man Trap," aired on NBC on September 8, 1966.
I've watched the original episodes so many times they are burned into my memory, and remain my favorites.
I have first editions of I Am Not Spock (published by Celestial Arts), Shatner: Where No Man, The Authorized Biography and a well-read copy of Spock Must Die with a 60 cent cover price.
I own all of the collectors plates, one of them autographed by James Doohan, and all twelve of the Foto Novels. Twenty-eight years of buying Star Trek memorabilia has filled boxes, drawers and walls with almost 1000 different pieces.
I wrote to President Gerald R. Ford (along with a million other fans) and asked him to name the first space shuttle, "The Enterprise." He did.
We regularly hold Star Trek marathons at our house. The day starts with "Space Seed" and follows the story line through "The Wrath of Khan" and ending with "The Undiscovered Country."
Now all of that plus a buck will get you a cup off coffee most places. I mention that so you will know I am a certified (or certifiable) Trekker (please not trekkie!!).
Star Trek works for me for one simple reason: it is fun! The interplay of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, along with Scotty's "bairns," Sulu's driving skills, Uhura's hailing frequencies, Chekov's screams (and take it from someone who has lived in Russia--it's one of the worst Russian accents you've ever heard) are immensely entertaining.
These people are family. We cried when Spock died and again when the resurrected Spock remembered, "Jim. Your name is Jim!" We all want a piece of the action.
Some things about Star Trek disturb me, however.
One of the things that troubles me the most, is the way Star Trek searches for God--in all the wrong places.
On Planet 892-IV, a modern society which resembled ancient Rome, they found slaves who were sun worshippers. Lieutenant Uhura pointed out that it was not the sun up in the sky, but "the Son of God." She gave me cold chills, but Captain Kirk quickly dispelled them when he said, "Caesar and Christ, they had them both." A landing party wonders if it would have been such a bad idea to have given a few laurel leaves to a being who claimed to be the Greek god Apollo. When they first ventured "Where No Man Has Gone Before," two of the crew were transformed into gods. In "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," James Kirk spouts New Age philosophy (evidently that heresy also "will survive into the 23rd Century and beyond"): "God's not out there, Bones. He's right here (touch chest). Inside the human heart."
The Bible is discarded or discounted in Star Trek. I know. I know. It's science fiction, not a Sunday school lesson, but some of the attacks on Christianity need to be answered.
Dr. McCoy describes the Genesis version of creation as a "myth." Interestingly, Captain Spock, the Vulcan, acknowledges "the Biblical reference" without any editoral content.
On planet Holberg 917G, they discover a Mr. Flint who claims to have been da Vinci, Brahms, Socrates as well as Solomon, Moses and Methuselah. Evidently, our man Flint also helped Jesus fake a miracle of resurrection because Flint also professed to have lived as Lazarus.
God did get one point when Kirk responded to an alien culture's many deities, "We find the one sufficient!"
Any casual observer knows that Star Trek struggles to find immortality. McCoy was killed on "Shore Leave," but the fancy computers gave him new life. When the Nomad probe killed Scotty, it easily "repaired" him because it only involved simple cellular reconstruction. And that message devalues the marvel of human life.
Star Trek did show considerable concern for the unborn Horta eggs. More so than some Earthers show for unborn humans.
Man needs his evil side, Star Trek teaches. Witness Kirk's inability to cope when a transporter accident splits him into two people--one good but as weak as a twinkie, the other despicably evil. Without "The Enemy Within," the good Kirk is a bumbling, indecisive joke--a total failure.
A couple of years ago I wrote a column about Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown. A woman called and threatened to blow up my house because, she said, "You and Dan Quayle are not fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Murphy Brown."
It's only fiction, folks. It does not exist when you leave the theater or turn off the television. And even recognizing Star Trek has faults, and committing the heresy of discussing some of them, I am still a Trekker.
Many fans preach an interesting message: Star Trek and hope.
Remember that as the decade of the 60's ended and the 70's began (the time when Star Trek first appeared) we were tearing our country apart. Soldiers returning from war were decorated, not with medals but with spittle. Men and women of dissimilar color were expressing their differences in violence. A world where beings of distinctive color, gender and even planetary origins lived in harmony was, and is, an idea worth seeking.
Star Trek pointed to the universe of the U.S.S. Enterprise and some people said, "We may just make it." They just never told us how.
There is hope. There is a better world. But it will not come, as Theodore R. Cogswell and Charles A. Spano, Jr., wrote, because of Spock, Messiah! It will come through Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 11/19/94
Copyright 1994 by David Sisler
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