Monday, February 6, 2012

Star Trek The Next Generation (Highlight)

<--Season 3b Season 4a-->

The introduction of the Borg was a huge moment in the Star Trek franchise, both for the excitement and entertainment it brought to the story, but also for the ways these episodes elevated the “thinking” element of the “Next Generation.”

Four episodes make up an arc of sorts:

Season 2 Episode 16: “Q Who?” 

One aspect of this show that was not addressed here is the way Q represents the weakness of the Secular Humanist approach to divinity. Many humanists and philosophical atheists reject the existence of God as a protest to the offense that their understanding of Him generates. They are offended when they place themselves or any other being in the role of a hypothetical creator. It is offensive to them that God would be [jealous, selfish, proud, just, or insert any other quality that would be silly for a creature to entertain] because they fail to see Him as whole other.

It all boils down to the fact that they see divinity as someone from the mythological, polytheistic days would; as a human improved by degrees. Q is just such a god. He is a childish brat with power. His demands are therefore childish. In the episode, he is capricious with Humanity merely to prove a point. Anyone understanding God in this light would naturally reject Him. Since that is a human created idea of god, and therefore false, it would have to be rejected.

What the atheist fails to entertain is a wholly other Creator who is a loving, personal God. They fail because they are incapable of coming to that conclusion regarding divinity because they are presented with a fallen creation as evidence and because the reality is so other that no one can understand it on their own. That is why the simplicity of faith and trust are needed to understand the true nature of divinity.

Season 3 Episode 26 and Season 4 Episode 1: “The Best of Both Worlds (Parts 1and 2)” 

When the Borg finally reaches the area of space where humanity lives, we are presented with evil for the first time in Trek. The monster that killed Tasha in season one was simply mean, and other cases of wrong in previous episodes and the Original series were comprehensible. They could be diagnosed and treated or contained. Here, the Borg represents evil as an absence, a vacuum. They are not malicious or mean. They seek simply to assimilate every consciousness into the empty hive mind that is their non-society. That is also what makes them so scary. They represent the loss of self into the service of nothing.

It is a rather helpful picture of true evil. Evil being an absence of good. If good is the way creation was intended to be, with freedom, relationship, love and purpose. Evil is the un-force in creation that destroys all of that. Wrong, pain, isolation, hate and meaninglessness are the result of our choices to do things our way—in our limited understanding. Even if we seek our idea of good, we fail to achieve it with our limitations. Even the arguments put forward by the Borg as they try to reason with those who would resist their “gift” sound like something the Federation or another human society might propose.

Season 4 Episode 2: “Family” 

After Picard is forced by the evil of the Borg to assist them in destroying most of Star Fleet and kill so many people, he is understandably riddled with guilt. This whole episode is a study of that guilt. Even though Picard was powerless, he knows what he did was wrong. Even though he knows he was too weak to stop it, he knows he should have done more. Guilt is something we explain away these days with excuse after excuse. The only thing that will truly relieve us from the guilt we feel in life is forgiveness. Here, Picard turns to family and when he finally does repent and confess he receives acceptance and love and is able to begin to forgive himself.

How wonderful it is that in reality all of our guilt can be forgiven; that the real, loving Creator has offered us forgiveness and has paid the price of our guilt Himself!

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