I love sci-fi. My wife loves sci-fi too. She watches it with her eyes closed. It is more effective for her than a sleeping pill. Sometimes after a long busy day teaching she has a hard time going to sleep so she asks me, “Honey, don't you want to watch a Star Trek?” To which I 'reluctantly answer “Ohhhh-kay”.
Three nights ago was such a night. Solely motivated by a spirit of altruism I watched S1E08 of Star Trek Voyager. In this episode, as Voyager approached the asteroids forming the rings of a planet, the crew detected a strange neural energy which seemed vital to the planet itself. Three crew members transported down to investigate and found dead bodies in some sort of cocoons in the caves of the asteroids as the source of this strange energy. Due to a sudden anomaly, they decided to return to their ship. In the transport, Kim, one of the crew members, is exchanged for one of the cocooned bodies. Kim wakes up on the planet while the cocooned body arrives on the ship.
In an attempt to get answers as to Kim’s whereabouts, the ship doctor is able to revive the woman in the cocoon who is, to say the least, very surprised. This is where it gets interesting. The people of that planet believed that after they died, they would be transported to a place where they physically resurrected in the company of their previously departed loved-ones. The woman in question was sick and in order not to be a burden to her family decided to go to that other dimension. You can imagine her, surprise when not only did she not resurrect in the company of her loved ones, but she learns than the dead people from her planet only get transferred to a nearby asteroid as a cocoon forever.
Later in the episode everybody returns where they belong but Kim remains puzzled. He realises that these people made life and death decisions based on what seemed to be false hope. This caused him to reconsider his own beliefs on the matter.
I have traveled around the world and met people from many different cultures and religions. Each has his own version of what happens after life. Even in our own Judeo-Christian culture, there are plenty of versions to chose from. Each group determines that their form of religious practice gives them a free ticket to ‘paradise’ where they and those like them are the only ones there, or at least the leaders,.while everyone else is either damned or subservient. Such polarized opinions on the matter, invite the notion that some conclusions may be wrong, which then begs the question, “Could we also be making serious life and death decisions based on false premises?” Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in such a realm as it is that belief that orders my every step, … but back to Star Trek.
As Kim looked puzzled about what really happens after death, Captain Janeway came to him and said, “What we don't know about death, is far far greater than what we do know!” Religious books such as the Bible introduce us to such things, but without much details. It actually refers to it as the marvel that human eyes have not seen nor the human brain been able to conceive nor find, and that whatever we know about it, we know only partially, like seeing through an opaque glass (Is 64:4; Ecc 3:11; 1 Cor 13:9,12). Being left therefore in the ‘dark’ about this wonderful Kingdom of Light, curious human nature gets the best of us. We must try to define, quantify, and explain it in our own poor, weak, and limited human terms. But doing so, don’t we rob ourselves of something even more wonderful that we could ever imagine? Maybe this is why Moses gave the wise counsel which agrees with captain Janeway’s comment, ‘The secret things belong to the LORD our God’ Deut 29:29. Why not then leave them there and like the children that we are, wait for the surprise!? In the meanwhile, let us live lives of merit knowing that there is recompense for our deeds.
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