Avast! Thar be spoilers ahead!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode: Rightful Heir

Worf, troubled by his lack of faith, journies to Boreth, the spiritual center of the Klingon Empire where the messiah-figure Kahless promised to return. After many days of prayer, Worf has a vision of Kahless that manifests into bodily form. Aboard the Enterprise, the DNA of the returned Kahless is tested against a sample of the original Kahless's blood stained on a knife, which is a match. However, Worf finds this returned Kahless lacking: he does not know what warnog tastes like, he cannot remember details from his life, and he is an inexperienced warrior. The returned Kahless is in fact a clone brought to life, using the blood of the original Kahless. His memory is constructed out of the stories of the original Kahless. Those who brought him back argue that there is nothing to indicate that Kahless would not be back through the cloning process but Worf is troubled. He is unsure if the cloned Kahless means that the real one will not return. However, Worf forces the Klingon council to accept Kahless as the spiritual leader of the people, with the title of emporer, while keeping the political power in the hands of the council. Kahless suggests to Worf that maybe it is not important for Kahless to return because he left his words, which are important.

When Gowron first challenges Kahless's authenticity, he asks ""Have you ever fought an idea, Picard? It has no weapon to destroy, no body to kill."

It is a strange conflict. If Jesus were cloned from blood on his crown of thorns(in France), the bloodstained cloth Jesus was wrapped in after death (in Spain), or one of the many Veils of Veronica, who would accept that Jesus? What if he preformed no miracles? What if he tried to determine which version of his life story is true? Or what if he could not? Doesn't it matter if Jesus if never coming back? Would anyone be a Christian if he would never return?

Data discusses a leap of faith he made when told that he was only an android and chose to believe that he could be more. Which is among the many magical things about Data. I like Data, don't get me wrong. Actually, I love Data and had a pretty big crush on him when I was younger. But I have never believed that he was a robot the same way that I frequently believe that Dorn is a Klingon and not a man in a lot of make-up. I am always aware that he is a man acting like a robot that is trying to be human.

As an atheist, I know what it is to fight an idea. Data's supposed leap of faith has been rewarded by his continual growth, his ability to assimilate new information and algorythems, and advances in technology. His leap of faith was more like a hypothesis that has been regularly rewarded with evidence. Like a true hypothesis, it is an idea based on many facts, that has not met with evidence to disprove it, and thus forms a basis for understanding . . .you know, like evolution. Worf's leap to back the clone is similar in that he does not make an extraordinary claim. He demands that the truth about the clones origins be told to everyone so there is no deception. Furthermore, since the clone is based upon the teachings and legends of the original Kahless, he is singularly appropriate to be a spiritual, but politically impotent, leader. There is not much faith or leaping there.

Clone Jesus is an interesting new componant to Zombie Jesus.

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