Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Prime Directive, the Great Commission, and the Great Commandments

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?'

"Jesus replied: '"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments'" (Matthew 22:34-40).

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20).

In the Star Trek universe, Starfleet's prime directive restricted its members. The crew of each starship was prohibited from interfering with the cultural values held by alien worlds. Inevitably, the prime directive was violated when the crew of the Enterprise would encounter an alien race enslaving or killing others who were weaker. The crew agonized for a few minutes about violating the prime directive, but they nearly always took action when others were being abused and oppressed. Despite giving lip service to pluralism and moral relativism, deep down, the heroes of the Star Trek series usually knew right from wrong; they could not refrain from trying to relieve injustice.

I am tempted to follow the prime directive. In many ways, life is easier when I don't get involved in solving problems or confronting wrongdoing.

As a Christian, however, I can't afford the luxury of intentional non-involvement. I am called to help people. I can't accept the pluralistic values and moral relativism of Star Trek's prime directive, as appealing as it may be. I have been commissioned to love God with total devotion, love people as I love myself, and reach the world with Christ's message. I cannot live by the values of Star Trek's prime directive and accomplish anything God really values.


Rick Morgan said...

Thats a great lesson for this culture of tolerance that we live in. Some things shouldn't be overlooked and pretend that it isn't happening.

Thanks for the comments on my page. Mark yourself as a "follower" if you like.

Terry said...

Thanks for the comment, Rick! I'm convinced that postmodern moral relativism is a facade. Like the characters on the Star Trek series, people give the concept lip service but really know that some things are always right and wrong. We are tempted to use it as an excuse to be uninvolved in solving the hard problems of life and in helping people who are difficult to help. I'm not sure if we pretend to believe in postmodernism as an excuse for laziness, cowardice, or a mixture or both, but I think it's time to admit the truth. I appreciate your comments!