I laughed the other day when I said to my husband, “I’m pretty sure God watched every Star Trek episode there is.” Some statements feel kind of obvious, but in a weird way that makes you do a double take. In my head was a voice that whined, “Well, yes, He’s omniscient so that’s technically correct, but…” which only added to my amusement. What—God is too detached and holy to watch Star Trek?
Is He a Trekkie? That one’s up for debate. But He’s certainly not above using story segments as reminders, and for that He had to have watched them all.
Currently, my husband and I are plowing through Star Trek: Voyager. We started with Next Gen, moved on to Deep Space Nine (BY FAR THE BEST), and are now on Voyager. The Captain—Captain Catherine Janeway—frustrates me on so many levels, but because of that, in part, she is a very good character, if a sorely deficient captain. She captains a Federation ship called Voyager that was thrown into an entirely different quadrant of the universe, and it’s a 70-year journey home if all goes perfectly. Spoiler, it does not all go perfectly.
One of the more memorable things about this show is the crew’s interaction with the Borg. For anyone unfamiliar with Star Trek, the Borg are one of the most terrifying menaces of any Star Trek series (though some argue they were severely weakened for Voyager). The Borg is made up of thousands of species that have linked their minds together and infused their bodies with technology.
They will assimilate peoples and technology that they believe will enhance the collective and bring them closer to perfection. There is no individuality in the Borg, and each creature assimilated becomes a Drone, no more important than a single brain cell in the whole of the brain. Because of all the information and technology they have, as well as the massive computing power of millions of minds and all collected tech, it is very difficult to defeat this enemy. “Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated,” is the only warning you get when the Borg show up.
In one situation, Captain Janeway encounters the Borg at a war with a species that might be able to take them down, but also might possibly be more dangerous than the Borg. Janeway, after three sleepless days, decides that it would be a good idea to make a deal with the Borg. The end result of this little arc is that a single Borg drone is severed from the Borg’s collective consciousness and added to Janeway’s crew. Her name is Seven of Nine, or Seven. Since Seven was assimilated as a child, she was essentially raised by the Borg and knows no other way of functioning. Janeway takes personal interest in helping Seven develop something she never had; individuality.
Saturday night, my husband and I watched an episode called The Voyager Conspiracy. In it, Seven attempts to modify her “regeneration” station (where she does the Borg equivalent of sleeping) so that she can assimilate all the information Voyager collects. She hopes that this will help her more easily diagnose problems with the ship and spot deceptions from other species that come in contact with the crew. Since she is more human than Borg at this point, the sheer amount of information downloaded into her brain throws her mind into chaos. In an attempt to restore order to her thoughts, she tries to find patterns in the information. The result is that Seven spins off multiple conspiracy theories, pitting members of the crew against each other, and ultimately pilots a smaller ship away from Voyager in an attempt to escape Captain Janeway, whom she now believes wants to harm her.
I break away from this train of thought for a moment to bring you a slice of my own life. I grew up in the church. I have believed that Jesus was the son of God my whole life. I have seen God’s hand in my life and my parents’ lives and in the lives of people around me too clearly to say the Father does not exist. However, I have taken seriously and personally the culture’s general criticism of blindly accepting what one was taught growing up. I’ve begun reading books—both by Christian apologists and atheist/agnostic writers—to try and sort out the truth.
It is difficult. I am finding that I do not have the sort of brain that sifts and sorts the facts easily. I have difficulty finding an unassailable rock to stand on. In some ways this is exactly the way it is supposed to be for me, because as an open and creative type, things in my head need to shift around and connect loosely so that I can craft stories out of nothing more than the loose sediment floating around in my brain. The sad flip side of that is it is difficult for me to trust setting my foot down on any concept, because what if it’s wrong? What if I don’t have all the facts? This might move under my feet. If we made a mistake about who Jesus is, would God forgive us? What about these good-sounding counter arguments? How do I KNOW what is true about Jesus?
Saturday night, I watched The Voyager Conspiracy. Sunday morning, I went to church with my husband and my parents, and we had a long conversation about the sermon afterward over Thai food. I expressed my general concerns, doubts, and confusion. It was a good and productive conversation, but I didn’t come away any more settled.
Later that afternoon, as my husband and I worked on splitting old wood for the fire, a scene from the previous night’s episode popped into my head. It takes place shortly after Seven flees the ship, ready to sabotage Janeway’s supposed plans and then kill herself. Janeway beams aboard Seven’s ship to reason with her.
As this scene went through my head, it seemed to resound with the question, “Have I steered you wrong?”
No. No, He hasn’t. This isn’t a setup with a triumphant “Gotcha!” at the end of my life. He is bigger than my wrestling. I have to believe His hand is in it, even now.
I don’t believe this was a warning against investigating further. I do believe it was a reminder about who He is in my life, and a reminder that I tend to flail in terror when pieces of information appear to point in a particular direction. I need to remember what He’s done in my life. I need to remember that a string of data can point in multiple directions (something other parts of the episode highlighted as well). I need to remember that the overall picture matters more than the stray pieces of data, and that stray pieces of data have not changed the core truths.
Thank You for small reminders that I’m not as lost as I feel.