Hubby and I had a lovely date night watching Star Trek movies. Cheesy I know, but it was fun and pleasant. Also very considerate, because I am a much bigger fan of Star Trek than he is and I just adore Benedict Cumberbatch. Which brings me to, “Star Trek, Into Darkness,” 2013.
Spoiler alert here, but Benedict plays Khan, the bad guy, genetically engineered, superior superhuman, ruthless, somewhat evil. I say, “somewhat evil” because how are we defining “evil?” By what standard? I mean, an argument could be made that he is simply interested in self preservation and the preservation of his own kind, and eventually universal domination to, “go where no man has gone before,” and to rid the universe of inferior vermin. Unfortunately that vermin would be us.
For the record, for our purposes today, he is clearly the “bad guy,” he and 72 others just like him, all cryogenically frozen in suspended animation. War criminals, dangerous, guilty of atrocities, kept frozen for safety’s sake.
Which brings me to the concept of hell within our faith and to a moral dilemma you often encounter in sci/fi, so what do you do with the bad guys? I mean, you fight them, you blow them up, and you annihilate them. That’s where all the action is! But what do you do with them really, for the long term? You must be careful because if you resort to their same tactics, you just become the very evil you are fighting against.
This is simply a lesson in imagination, an exploration and discussion about the concept of hell. I am content, I am certain hell is not my destination, so I am not concerned about it. Others however, really struggle, and many atheists use it as an excuse for not believing in God. They are not going to follow a God who allegedly tortures people for all of eternity. I totally get that, I empathize. However, I’m going to just say, that’s actually a silly excuse, on account of the fact that many early Christians didn’t really believe in our modern Western versions of hell, some Christians today are universalists, and a great deal of our false imagery is based on “Dante’s Inferno” and not the Bible, anyway.
So we are all without excuse. The Bible doesn’t say you must reject dinosaurs, declare the truth about hell as portrayed in medieval paintings, and give up wearing yoga pants. Those are all man made cultural assumptions.
My point however is still, so what do you do with the bad guys? You get to be the little creator, the sci fi author, the story teller in complete charge of the entire universe. How do you deal with evil? It’s a seriously challenging question from a moral perspective and rather complex. You can’t personally torture evil for all of eternity or you become a torturer, an evil yourself. You can’t just kill all the bad guys, especially as in Khan’s case because this is an entire species. We cannot simply commit genocide without becoming genocidal.
In Star Trek, the only civilized way to deal with this evil is to cryogenically freeze them and put them in storage, therefore eliminating the threat or at least postponing it to some future generation of people who have the misfortune of receiving the fruits of that thaw.
I just found it to be a fascinating dilemma, a good moral conundrum. For me, I finally came to the conclusion that I simply lacked the wherewithal to deal with evil in a Holy, just, or Godly manner. I don’t know what to do about it. I am unable to adequately control all the variables.
Well, if I don’t know, then I can’t very well complain that God is doing it all wrong.