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Sermon : On ‘Star Trek’ and Spirituality

<i> The Rev. Gerald R. Zollar is the director of Obadiah Ministries in Los Angeles. </i>

The music, the star-filled view, the haunting voice-over that says, “Space, the final frontier.” If you are a Trekkie, I need say no more. Even if you are not, you’ll get my drift.

What does this television show have to do with religion and God? In the main, nothing. Mind you, I said religious, not spiritual. There are many religious interpretations of the one spiritual nature that we all possess. The Judeo-Christian rendering leans on the writings found in the first book of Genesis, wherein humanity is created as a godlike idea, or concept of God.

One particular “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode that seemed to have been written around this concept of creation deals with the humanoids of this galactic arm in the 24th Century chasing each other around the Milky Way, each with a strand of deoxyribonucleic acid. The DNA led each group representative on a merry romp across the stars. When, at last, they confront each other on a barren planet, ready to do the “human thing"--go to war--Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher conspire to put the last piece of the DNA puzzle in place.

Lo and behold, a holographic image appears and gives each “species” representative a universal shock: Yo, homeboys, Y’all be kin . . . in the DNA . . . in the skin! No secret treasure, new weapon or advantage one over the other. Just a spiritual understanding and identity of sameness.

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How is that spiritual? DNA, the basic material of human life, the transmitter of heredity, is a series of seven or eight proteins that have millions of different combinations. Yet only a few specific combinations can make us. Only a few chromosomes keep us from being chimps. Yet there is an uncrossable gulf between us and the chimp. Together we can not create viable offspring.

In the original “Star Trek” we first meet Spock, who is from Vulcan, light years from Earth. Yet Spock is half human. He has had a different and separate development yet is not so different. Later on, we meet Lieutenant Worf, who is Klingon/human; Deanna Troi, Betazoid/human, and on “Deep Space Nine,” the newest offspring in the science-fiction family, we have a Bjoran (anyhow, it sounds like that) and Cardassian mix.

Human, Klingon, Cardassian, Romulan, Vulcan, Betazoid, et al.: all kin, blood kin, DNA kin. All sharing a single progenitor, creator if you will, the one source from whence they all arose.

Intended or not, when I saw the final DNA segment put into place on the screen, I felt an intense moment of spiritual connection, a bond that left all present shaken to the core of their being. Then the physical regained control.

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If there was a physical being that stirred our primordial soup, so what? It still points to an infinitely higher being. I seem to recall even the “Q,” godlike beings on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” alluding to powers greater than they.

Back on Mother Earth, we seem to live for the difference, never looking beneath, beyond, below, behind the surface. We add layers of surface with our cultural trappings just so we can be different.

The creation alluded to in Genesis is a singular sameness, the part that is like God. The dirt being--the physical--doesn’t come in until the second chapter. I contend that humans would never have placed those books in that order except for the hand of God.

The Trekian allusion to a deeper and more fundamental sameness in some of the populations of the galaxy, fell short of the real truth. In the beginning God created everything! You simply have to look for the sameness: It is a spiritual thing.

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