Submitted by Gerald Box, Louisville, KY
Remember, or imagine, being a kid in the 1960s, sitting in front of the TV set. With great excitement and anticipation, you are watching the opening monuments of a brand new type of TV program. There is a starship on the screen. It’s huge, 7 football fields long and 23 stories tall. It has artificial gravity inside and can travel at speeds faster than light. The vessel and crew go from one star system to the next, as easily as people can travel from one town to the other.
And as you are soaking all of this up, in the voice of the ship’s captain, you hear the almost magical words of what can be called “The Stellar Great Commission”: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
The last day of filming for Star Trek (the original series) was January 9, 1969, and after 79 episodes, NBC cancelled the show in February, despite fans’ attempt at a letter-writing campaign. One newspaper columnist from The Palm Beach Post advised a protesting viewer: “You Star Trek fans have fought the “good fight,” but the show has been cancelled and there’s nothing to be done now.”
So next we had Star Trek movies, then a new series, followed by more movies and even more new series. Friends, today it’s September 2017, and they are still actively working on the business of creating new Star Trek episodes right now.
The “Star Trek for Christians Mini-Course” completed its final session on October 4, 2017, at Beargrass Christian Church in Louisville, KY. Fifteen students attended this new type of course. The class looked at Christian themes and morals in the Star Trek original series (from 1966 to 1969). This five-session class reviewed eight selected episodes featuring Captain Kirk, Mister Spock, and other crew, during the stellar missions of the USS Enterprise, flagship of the United Federation of Planets. We discussed racism, hate, understanding people that are different, brotherhood of mankind, tolerance of other cultures, rights of women, and how to make morally sound judgments. We also enjoyed talks on the ins and outs of TV show production and Star Trek trivia.
Selected course episode list included:
- “The Enemy Within,” Season 1, Episode 5
- “The Naked Time,” Season 1, Episode 7
- “Who Mourns for Adonais?,” Season 2, Episode 33
- “Bread and Circuses,” Season 2, Episode 43
- “The Omega Glory,” Season 2, Episode 54
- “The Day of the Dove,” Season 3, Episode 66
- “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” Season 3, Episode 70
- “The Way to Eden,” Season 3, Episode 75
Group discussions and video review focused on: the effects of faith and worship on society, the conflict of good vs. evil, the nature of sin, our need for God, our motivation for worship, the value of scripture, the flaws of racism, and the impact of evil in human interactions. We touched upon the original Jesus movement known in history as “The Way,” and talk about IDIC, which is a Vulcan term meaning “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” The first three course sessions featured a major video segment. Class members received a course certificate and Star Trek reference guide. Each session showcased a display of Star Trek books, autographs, glasses, clothing, toys, models, action figures, games, trading cards, comic books, and other related items.
This was the first of its kind, Star Trek/science fiction themed, course offered at Beargrass Christian Church. As the course concluded after five weeks, three hopes and goals were wished upon the students. First is that they will continue to ask and answer the moral and religious questions discussed throughout this course.
Second, that they may come to a finer appreciation for at least one of the Star Trek series.
And third, but not last in importance, is that they will always remember these words as highlighted by author Kevin C. Neece in his recent book, The Gospel According to Star Trek: The Original Crew: “The second part of John 10:10 reads, ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ – King James Version. Or another translation is ‘I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.’ – The Message Version. But perhaps we can also state this in Star Trek terms, ‘Live Long and Prosper.’ – Spock of Vulcan version.”