Vulcans, Klingons, and Christians. Oh My!

I have long been a fan of science fiction, especially Star Trek. I have the rare gift of being a fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek. I have watched every episode of Star Trek in the original series, as well as the Next Generation.

One of the things that I enjoy about Star Trek is the portrayal of alien races. Aliens give the writers the means by which to reflect on different aspects of human nature. By taking one part of humanity and magnifying it within another race, we can learn more about ourselves.

One of my favourite alien races in Star Trek are the Vulcans, especially as portrayed by Spock. Vulcans are a race that have made a decision to suppress all emotional responses and to elevate logic above everything.

What makes Spock particularly interesting is that he is half-Vulcan and half-human. Within Spock, there is a battle between logic and emotion. He strives to think and live logically, fearing what an emotional response could do.

Whereas Vulcans reject emotions, the Klingons enthusiastically embrace them.

The Klingons are a warrior race, that fight with the same passion that they have when it comes to love. Worf, a Klingon officer on the Enterprise, is one of the most interesting characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Worf, who naturally would like to respond with his full emotions, is forced to submit to the discipline that is required of a Starfleet officer.

What in the world (or galaxy) does this have to do with thinking faith?

When it comes to being a Christian, the easy way is to be either a Vulcan or a Klingon. That is, there is a temptation to embrace either intellectualism or emotionalism. Each of these extremes have a nice tidy box in which to place God and the Christian life.

The problem is that the God and the discipleship that Jesus presents to us do not fit neatly into either box.

Jesus commands us to love God with our minds, he debates with other religious leaders and offers us enough theology to study over many life times.

Jesus also lifts up love as the primary identification for disciples, he sheds tears at a funeral and gets angry enough to flip tables within the temple.

Jesus was neither Vulcan nor Klingon.

While it may be easier to focus on one extreme, a full and healthy Christian life should embrace both our minds and our hearts. We should think, and study, and learn more about God. But we should also be passionate in our love for God and our love for people.

Spock and Worf are not characters for us to imitate in their fullness. Rather, they are aspects of who we are on the inside, which must be brought together in our Christian discipleship.

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Stephen J. Bedard is an author, blogger and speaker. He is interested in discipleship, apologetics and disability advocacy. He co-wrote the award-winning book, Unmasking the Pagan Christ, which was also made into a documentary. He is the director of Hope’s Reason Ministry and editor of Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics. Additional writing can be found on his website stephenjbedard.com