Star Trek and Theology?

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This blog post has NO spoilers.
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What does Star Trek have to do with theology, much less a blog about theology in a Messianic Jewish context such as this one?

Well, the connection may be as thin as the emotional consciousness of a Vulcan, but I’m blogging about it anyway. I was among the first to see the new Star Trek film and I’ll say right up front: it was a thrill.

There are some connections to justify a post about Star Trek on Messianic Jewish Musings:
(1) Leonard Nimoy (Spock) is Jewish.
(2) The Vulcan greeting and hand gesture is based on the Aaronic Benediction of Numbers 6 (the Birkhat Kohanim).
(3) The stories often involve the theme of friendship and loyalty (hesed), which are also Biblical themes.
(4) The plots often explore human consciousness and emotion, which is a profound theological topic, in my opinion.

Should you go and see this movie? Well, do you like it when the adrenaline flows and your emotions well up and your breathing changes and you feel so alive you could take on a band of Romulan warriors? I do.

Via twitter yesterday I read a snarky, smarmy review by some New York Times reviewer whose opinion I now regard as unworthy of even the photons necessary for viewing on a laptop screen. He said the movie lacked depth and that it was a failure.

Hey, go back to your little cave of nihilistic abandonment of all romance, joy, and adventure, would you, Mr. Critic? I have no use for your pessimism as I happen to enjoy and believe in courage, loyalty, and friendship. If you find me naive, good for you and your joyless cadre of admirers. (There!)

I do not find the narrative exploration of human existence and the value of emotion to be an unworthy topic. Philosophers have written tomes on the subject. As a particularly emotional being, I value the dialectic of both the dangers and rewards of emotional perception in this life which is large enough to be more than perplexing.

I am reminded of a scripture, from the Song of Songs, of which I will change only one word, and in so doing not destroy its intent: [Emotion] “is as strong as death . . . its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord” (8:6).

Star Trek is one of many great movies, the kind that thrill and point us to embrace our natures and seek the good.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Messianic Jewish, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Star Trek and Theology?

  1. janebrock says:

    We have trek’d from the beginning of the television series and the theater productions. When new movies come out, my hubby usually asks me if I want to see it. On this one, he says “When do you want to go this weekend.” Looking forward to it.

  2. judahgabriel says:

    Derek, so can we believe you as an unbiased reporter or should we take into account you’re freshly overwhelmed with emotion and are a total trekkie nerd? :-)

    I’ve been disappointed by the newer Star Trek films. Big fan of Picard and the TNG crew, but the movies sucked.

    I’m cautiously optimistic after hearing your report and some of the reviews on RottenTomatoes.com

    “I now regard as unworthy of even the photons necessary for viewing on a laptop screen.”

    LOL!

  3. sidefall says:

    Derek, I’m no trekkie but I do enjoy watching it from time to time. Like you, I feel that it explores many biblical themes and I’d add that it also encourages careful consideration of many deep ethical issues. But there’s one thing we also need to remember – it’s entertainment! Sometimes we take things far too seriously. One of the things I like about Judaism is that it acknowledges we have a need for rest and recreation, for relaxation and entertainment. That’s one of the messages of shabbat, so perhaps Saturday night (after dark, of course) would be a good time to see it!

  4. toma4moshiach says:

    Derek,

    You are right.

    Remember the response of “Live Long and Prosper” is
    “Peace and Long Life” were actually derived from the Hebrew greeting Shalom Aleichem.

    Leonard Nimoy brings Tikkun olam thru Sci-Fi.

  5. tandi119 says:

    Derek

    Could you expand on this statement?……..

    …….theme of friendship and loyalty (hesed)

    What are the nuances of the Hebrew word (hesed or chesed)? I thought it meant mercy or kindness.

    I am very interested in the theme of friendship and loyalty from a Hebraic perspective.

    Thank you,

    Tandi

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