Monday, April 18, 2005

Star Trek--Star Gate--Timeline and Evidence for the Soul

I am not doing Hebrews today. In part, this is because I slept in. However, that is just an excuse to take a break and write on a more off-the-wall topic.

I am a fan of science fiction. Such literary taste is somewhat rare in Christian circles, I think, because a lot of science fiction incorporates, directly or indirectly, Humanist thought. It is not the genre you read to find out the state of Christendom in 100 years. For the most part, religion is not mentioned. On the other hand, it is a great vehicle to see what persists when an atheist puts thoughts to pen and writes about the ideal world of the future, or intriguing possibilities in the present.

I have found that science fiction authors find that it is impossible to escape the idea of a superior being who kindly watches over the affairs of mankind. Take, for instance, the "Foundation" series by Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov was a president of the American Humanist Association and, before his death, an avowed atheist. Yet his foundation series contains humans with miraculous powers and culminates in a single robot named, Daneel, who has been watching over and protecting the development of humanity. To me this series revealed a man who, in denying the actual reality of the Living God, needed to invent a substitute--something greater and wiser than mankind.

Which brings me to relate some fictitious technology in three popular science fiction motion pictures. I am refering to Star Trek's Transporter, Star Gate's Wormhole, and Timeline's Quantum Foam. Each of these technologies are based on the destruction of the original body and its recreation on the other end. In watching these programs, we take it at face value that the Captain Kirk on the Enterprise is the same Captain Kirk on the planet. The Micahel Jackson at Star Gate command is the same Michael Jackson emerging on Abydos. The Professor in Timeline who sends a call for help from the past is that self-same professor.

Such technology requires that there be a soul. The issue is, for the greater part, never even raised or discussed. To its credit, the movie Timeline, briefly dealt with the implications when one of the archaeologists refused to make the trip because his current body would be destroyed. I find the idea amusing, because many of the authors of these stories would deny the soul's existence--the concept sneaks in like a trojan horse able to get past their atheistic defenses and ultimately hold them accountable to truths they never quite wanted to acknowledge.

To see what I am saying, I must ask you to pause before the wormhole. If there is no soul, the body, which represents you in totality, is about to be obliterated. To be sure, a copy of you will appear on the other side--and to everybody else it will be you. And because of reconstructed memories, that copy will have all the memories to feel like you. The "being" in front of the wormhole, however, will be no more. Without a soul that represents "you" apart from the body, the wormhole represents your death--you will cease and a separate and distinct copy of you will live until it ceases to be and a third copy emerges back at Stargate command. So standing before this device, do "you" want to step through--or do "you" want to go get dinner?

The point that I am trying to make is that the "fact" of our soul is so fundamental to who we are that those who would deny the soul completely depend on its being there to make sense of their fictitious world. It is so fundamental that it is unquestioned.

On the other hand, Christianity acknowledges that our being is separate from the body. We all look forward to the resurrection from the dead. In the meantime, our bodies will have completely decayed and gone the way of bug and plant food. And yet, we understand that we go on and will one day animate a new body. We do not doubt that it will be us.

Test everything. Cling to what is good.

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