More Gospel According to Star Trek

Remember the really immemorable Star Trek movie, number V: The Final Frontier? The one where the Enterprise suddenly went from having twenty-some decks to seventy-some? Where a bargain-basement special effects menace tried to pass itself off as God? Where Captain Kirk had the audacity to ask it: “Excuse me … what does God need with a starship?”

There’s at least one almost-redeeming moment near the last of the film, where Federation crew and their Klingon guests are tossing back a few together in the officer’s lounge. Kirk, with Spock and McCoy, ponders the futility of their quest for “God” at the “center of the galaxy” – that’s some shielding the ship now has, too! – and posits: “Maybe God is right here” (and he touches his chest) “in the human heart.”

Pretty profound for the galactic humanist (and shameless womanizer). When I first suffered through the movie at a theatre near some of you, my journey through the cosmos was still at a point where that thought was brand new and had to be weighed.

God, as we all knew, was in his heaven and all was right with the world. The Christians I knew believed the right thing, occasionally did the right thing, and anyone else was on his/her own. We were in Him; not vice-versa.

I had to think: In the human heart? Like, like being possessed? Like … being bought with a price? Like … are we talking the Holy Spirit here?

In the human heart?

Looking back, I imagine that the inspired Hollywood writers who contrived the script were probably just saying, “You know, the concept of God is fine for anyone who wants to believe in it.”

But I’ll always be grateful for the inkling of insight that I probably read into that movie moment … and for the fact that it opened the door of my heart a little wider to the possibility of God in me.

That isn’t the most profound thing Kirk said, though. I think that came when Dr. McCoy challenged his description of the trio’s relationship as brothers: “I thought you said men like us don’t have families.”

He smiles the Kirk smile in reply: “I was wrong.”

One thought on “More Gospel According to Star Trek

  1. Keith,

    I read the book before seeing the movie and the book is a lot more “God-friendly”, I thought. It allows speculation about that “thing” at the center of the galaxy and the fact that it was imprisoned. The rationale was that if the being was imprisoned, then someone must have imprisoned it — perhaps the real God.

    I am a Trekkie, even have the Christmas ornaments and mugs to prove it.

    Your point about the the Holy Spirit and the human heart is right on!

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