Star Trek vs Star Wars

Contrasting Visions


It seems, based on certain posts and articles, that there is this definite divide in terms of “science fiction geeks” over which is “better”, Star Trek or Star Wars. Some of this is based on comparison of the movies, some on comparison of the technology. Star Wars has not had a live action television series, though there is a Clone Wars animated offering.

I think most people today recognize that the original Star Wars movie is pretty bad in terms of pacing, dialogue, and acting in general. The star of Star Wars was clearly Special Effects. I remember sitting in the theater watching that opening scene and being amazed and swept along. Suffice to say, the effect is not the same on a home TV screen, even today’s HD big screens. And the actual story is fairly mundane. They have made some really bad and really good movies.

Most people recognize that the original Star Trek series was pretty campy, and they have made some really bad and really good movies.

The difference between the two can be found in their titles: Trek vs Wars.

Star Trek offers an idealized vision of humanity having made great strides in conquering our various foibles. Star Wars shows a current version of humanity with more weaponry.

Star Wars would appear to be a more accurate representation of the current state of humanity.

It is interesting how religion is handled in both Star **** offerings. In Star Wars, you have “The Force”. The Force, according to Obi Wan, is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together”. In the early shows, the Force was strong with this or that person. In later shows, a person had higher or lower levels of “midichlorians” allowing them to be sensitive to and use the Force. So, the Force went from something accessed directly to something mediated through another party, so to speak. And that’s about the closest we get to any kind of religion in Star Wars. Interestingly, that concept is at least in striking distance of the Christian concept of God as the source of all being, and the only reason everything continues to exist. But do note the difference – the Force is created by all living things. The Force is a creation and as such can be used.

In the Star Wars universe, the Force is basically weaponized, whether for good or ill. But God, as the uncreated source of all things, living or otherwise, cannot be used. I recognize the concept of God is used, but that is not the same thing.

Star Trek takes a different approach. All the various species of alien encountered by humans in Star Trek are exaggerated versions of one or more human traits. Ferengi are greedy to a fault. Vulcans are logical to a fault. Klingons are warlike to a fault, etc. As a story device this approach allows an exploration of the human condition. Humans are largely presented as an idealized harmony of these various traits. Vulcans and Klingons seem to have their own religions, though the Vulcans are probably more akin to Eastern mysticism and the Klingons to some sort of religion more similar to Greek mythology. And almost every species holds honor at some high level. But Humans have eliminated war, money (and therefore poverty), oppression, prejudice, etc., at least on Earth.

I’m going to boldly make a claim no man has made before, but while there is very little mention of God or Jesus in Star Trek, the series is very Christian in its idealized portrayal of humanity as living out the “love thy neighbor” commandment.

Star Trek presents an optimistic view of the human condition and human potential. Star Wars presents a pragmatic, if not pessimistic, view.

So to completely shift gears here: Star Wars is Old Testament, Star Trek is New Testament. The New Testament, and Star Trek, hold up an image of how humans could and should be. The Old Testament and Star Wars show humanity as it is.

If you don’t think we live in Old Testament times, read Jeremiah, and then watch the news. Our technology has done little to achieve what the Star Trek universe presents, a humanity living in love and harmony – yes contending with others, but always the others being better off for the contact. We are very much living in a Star Wars universe with its spirituality geared for personal gain a la “The Secret” or the various prosperity gospel messages out there.

We live in a Star Wars universe and yearn for a Star Trek universe. We live in Old Testament times and yearn for Christ.

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