TFF: Is it possible they do find God?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Captrek, Dec 6, 2012.

?

Is The One really the God of Abraham, Yahweh? Check all that apply.

  1. No. Yahweh doesn't exist.

    51.7%
  2. No. Yahweh is eternal and all-powerful, not a limited being like The One.

    44.8%
  3. No. Yahweh is a limited being, but The One is still an imposter.

    3.4%
  4. Yes. The One is Yahweh, and His prophets on Earth are, like Sybok, deceived.

    13.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Enterprise goes to the center of the galaxy looking for God. They do not find God. What they do find is a being, called The One in the novels, who needs a starship, doesn't know who Kirk is, and is killed with a low yield photon torpedo and a couple of disruptor shots.

    So goes the straightforward interpretation. But perhaps there's another.

    The One gives Sybok a vision. He also somehow gives Sybok the ability to take away peoples' pain and turn them into obedient followers. Because Sybok and his followers are ruled by their emotions and believe with their their hearts, The One can convince them that the visions are from God.

    Maybe The One has also given visions to the prophets of scripture. Is it possible that he is the biblical God? If God tells the world that He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and the creator and lord of the universe, should He be believed? Does one have to be a Sybokist (emotion, heart) to believe it, or can a Surakist (logic, intellect) believe it too?


    ETA: The four poll options are (at least intended to be) mutually exclusive and exhaustive. Check the ones that you think may be true.

    The question is posed from an in-universe perspective, so don’t reject the “Yahweh = The One” possibility simply on the grounds that the former is real and the latter a character from a movie. The events of the film are to be taken as real. The events of the Bible are to be taken as you please.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  2. Balrog

    Balrog Commodore Commodore

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    It wasn't God, Yahweh or The One because The Great Bird of the Galaxy trumped all that talk...
     
  3. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    God in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament do not appear to be omnipotent nor omniscient, so yes, in the context of the Star Trek universe it is possible for One (or any of the numerous Trek universe non-corporal super beings, really) to pose as Yahweh.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    You need a 5th poll option: None of the Above.

    Interpretation of the film depends on the viewer's own spiritual or religious beliefs.

    My dad was a Southern Baptist preacher from the age of 23 until his death at 65. Seven days a week, fulltime. But he was a moderate, believing the scriptures are open to interpretation, and not always literal in its meaning. It helped that he had held two doctoral degrees, and had studied multiple cultural religions other than Christianity. He wasn't in it for the money.

    Naturally, I was indoctrinated early. After he died, church services weren't the same for me, and I stopped going altogether. I don't know what God is, but I don't think It's some old guy in a chair saying "Worship Me or else!" Maybe It's something we can't conceive of.

    Maybe God is the human capacity to consider his existence.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not in my view, no. The One is just an alien, nothing more. It's not God. Like McCoy said, what does God need with a starship? The very fact that The One demanded one is pretty much proof that it isn't God.

    Sure. Why not? I choose to believe God, but not this thing. God acts out of love and compassion. The One is simply a mad alien who attacks people - and needed to be imprisoned for something. Just because it says it's God, doesn't mean it is.
     
  6. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't recommend reading the Old Testament. ;)
     
  7. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It’s intended to be a logically exhaustive list of possible scenarios, though admittedly they’re fuzzy due to ambiguous terms.
    Code:
    ┌───────────┐      ┌───────────────┐      ┌───────────────┐
    │ G exists? ├─Yes─>│ G is limited? ├─Yes─>│ G is The One? ├─Yes─>4
    └─────┬─────┘      └───────┬───────┘      └───────┬───────┘
          No                   No                     No
          ↓                    ↓                      ↓
          1                    2                      3
    Actually it was Kirk and then Spock, not McCoy, who asked about the starship.

    Clearly, The One is not omnipotent. If God is omnipotent, then it follows that The One is not God. But how do we know that the God of the Bible is what He claims to be? How do we know the prophets described in the Bible didn’t get their visions from a deceiver just as Sybok did? If you believe in the prophets of Yahweh, how do you know you’re not making the same mistake as Sybok’s followers?

    You believe that the God who gave us the Bible is both omnipotent and benevolent. Sybok and his followers believe the same of the God of Sybok’s visions. How do you know that you’re not making the same mistake as they are?

    Does that apply to the God of the Bible too? If “just because it says it’s God” isn’t enough, then what is?
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Several of the divine beings mankind in Star Trek apparently has readily accepted as such have been non-omnipotent, non-omniscient aliens who demonstrated no powers of creation and no control of afterlife, but who did expect their followers to adhere to certain moral guidelines (or other instructions the mortals mistook for moral guidelines). So there's precedent for Yahweh-like Gods in fact being limited aliens: we have Apollo and His reputed relatives at the very least, plus Kukulkan.

    Whether The One from ST5 is a good match for the precedent is debatable, though. Apollo and Kukulkan appeared to travel from world to world and "play God" for the natives, possibly for a wide range of natives on various worlds at that. The One having embedded itself in the racial memories of both Earthlings and Vulcans would be consistent, then. But the influence of Apollo and Kukulkan ceased once They departed. The One had interstellar powers of persuasion, making Him a somewhat greater God (since Apollo wanted followers, too, but evidently was unable to summon those across the stars even though He was not imprisoned).

    That in mind, I think the poll really does need further options. Say:

    "Yes. Yahweh is eternal and all-powerful, but since Gods exists in a hierarchy, He can still be overpowered by His betters; indeed He was, and is The One."

    Or perhaps:

    "Yes. Yahweh doesn't exist, and neither does The One - yet they can be called into being by their followers. Sybok called into being The One, while Kirk called into being Yahweh, both of which manifested as familiar faces in the Divine Stonehenge while actually being equally nonexistent. Other Earthlings at other times have called into being Yahweh, too. Or, say, Ganesha. They just didn't have the generic amplifying powers of the Divine Stonehenge available to them (that we know of). They would find their divinity of choice manifesting as a familiar face at Sha-Ka-Ree, simply because they would believe so, and would experience that divinity in the manner they believe they would. Too bad our heroes so strongly believed their God would betray and hurt them!"

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Interesting question, if you look at it a different way. I think they did find God. In each other. In friendship.
     
  10. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    By religious circular definition, God cannot be found. If you find someone, he's not God.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's called having faith. Try it sometime.
     
  12. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sybok and his followers have faith too. Try again.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Clearly The One is not a lot of things, in comparison to some of the beings on Star Trek it wasn't really all that powerful.

    It apparently couldn't travel independently from the surface up to the ship, and I got the impression that it didn't know a ship had arrived, or where exactly it was even after being told there was one.

    The barrier wasn't so much to keep it in, as keep others (with ships) out. Someone trapped it there long ago, that says something about it's intelligence.

    I think the planet looked the way it did because The One had spent it's captivity having a multi-millennium long temper tantrum.

    Sybok's "followers" didn't have his faith, they had Sybok mindraping them one by one to gain their blind allegiance.

    ******

    I just when through the transcripts of the movie, at no point does the being refer to itself as God. Only others do this. Interesting.


    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Neither of these necessarily speaks of the weakness of the critter, though - only of the strength of the jail around Him. On any other planet, the situation might have been drastically different.

    Umm, actually, it was said and demonstrated that the barrier was no obstacle to incoming ships. Since The One did not depart, it would be fair to speculate that the barrier was a much more real obstacle to Him. Sort of like a jail that stops incoming people only by the strength of "No Trespassing" signs, but outcoming people by the strength of steel bars and concrete walls.

    In what way? All sorts of clever criminals (or clever decent folks) have been trapped eventually, thereafter spending a long time in jail.

    Makes a lot of sense. Although with His powers of manifestation, He could probably make the planet look like a paradise on short notice again. Regardless of whether it was one.

    Timo Saloniemi
     

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