To Boldly Go
Who doesn’t like Star Trek? Admit it, you know you do. The cheesy little series that could. With only 79 original episodes it managed to spawn a cult following, several spin-off series, about a dozen films and even a language. The original series debuted in 1966, ran through 1969 and for almost 50 years the franchise has attracted fans of every generation. It sort of defies logic. Fascinating.Along with the many voyages of the Starship Enterprise and crew, boldly going where no man has gone before, is the interesting personal journey of Mr. Spock. Half Vulcan and half human, Spock denies his human side in favor of the Vulcan. The Vulcan side is all logic all of the time, dependent on empirical evidence, science and the logical response. As time goes on he brings his Vulcan and human sides into the balance and fullness of who he really is. In this balance and truth he finds that logic and science do not always provide all of the answers. They remain extremely useful and efficient tools but are no longer all sufficient. He begins to fill his tool box with other tools as well. Tools that are not always logical but are true and reasoned, including the value of acts of faith. When it comes down to it, however, his most valuable tool, the one that will most define him, is not about being a Vulcan or a human or about logic and science. It is in his friendship with Captain James T. Kirk. What defines and shapes his life the most is a relationship. Quite unexpected and…fascinating.
“Why Mr. Spock, you almost make me believe in miracles.” – Captain Kirk
That’s life then isn’t it? The evidence that brings us to truth is not always empirical. Repeatable testing usually relies more on repeated experience than on the scientific method. All of us operate on acts of faith, though we may put our faith in different things. We are more greatly defined by our relationships than anything else. Especially our relationship with God. All of us are defined by our relationship with or to God even when we do not believe in him. We are defined by what we believe, we are defined by what we don’t believe but both are formed and shaped by our relationship to God.So what has sent me on this trek through Star Trek? The comments of an atheist who had a Spock avatar. I noticed something about the methods of those who dispute God and the Church; their use of, or more precisely, their misuse of logic and evidence; and how they play games with logic and evidence to limit the discussion to what they have already concluded. It seems that the atheists have made up a rule that the rest of us don’t know about. The burden of proof is always on the theist just because. Just because we believe in God and they don’t so we always have something to prove. They can make any claim that they want, about God or the Church and do not have to substantiate it but rather the burden of proof is shifted onto us. Didn’t know they had that rule, did you? I am not kidding, I found it on an atheism logical argument site later. So there this person was making the rules, dictating the terms, deciding on the definitions, determining that only empirical evidence was acceptable, and setting parameters for the discussion so that it could only lead to his conclusion. Pretty nifty system they got there. It might be nifty in winning debate points but it is limiting in coming to the truth. They box us in and box God out. Which by the way, is not reasonable, not balanced and not the truth. It is then not logical.
We find ourselves up against similar obstacles with, not only those who don’t believe in God, but those who come against the Church and her teachings. They have already reached their own conclusions based on definitions that are not based on truth but on how they want things to be; they have a playbook of responses to what they think our arguments will be; they won’t really allow the discussion to go outside of these parameters. They box it in and box the Church out. I have seen this in discussions with secularists, with Protestants, even with those who call themselves Catholic but are not in agreement with the Church. They limit the discussion to win the argument. The truth has little to do with it. Because they are afraid. They are afraid that if they do not set these limits they will have to abandon their conclusions. They are afraid to explore and to seek. They are afraid of that space and that frontier. They are afraid to boldly go where the truth might lead when it is not limited and shackled.
We are afraid to boldly go with the truth as well and so we let these obstacles impede us. We are afraid that we will offend, we are afraid that they will not listen to us, we are afraid that we may be persecuted. We dance with those who oppose us and play the rhetorical games. We play logical argument games and scientific method games with the atheists and let them point fallacy fingers at us. We play definition games with the world that stop us the minute they make an emotional argument or mention the words love, judgment or tolerance. Even though they have falsely defined those words. We allow Protestants to limit the conversation to sola scriptura. We allow secular forces within the Church to oppose Church teaching. We allow forces with unbalanced ideas of tradition to undermine Church authority. Both of those extremes taking the interpretation of the truth, the teachings and the beliefs of the Church away from the authority of the Magisterium and into their own hands.We might find common ground in which to begin a discussion. We may adjust what we say so that others may better understand it. We might adjust our approach for charity or patience remembering, however, that love rejoices in the truth. But it is not logical to let those who oppose what we believe, what we know to be the truth, to have the advantage, to limit us, to impede or silence us. We bring ourselves into balance and be true to ourselves as Catholics. We know that each and every person is defined and transformed through their relationship with God, through Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Satan has a stake in this too. He loves for us to be limited in our understanding of the truth and in the telling of it. He loves for us to think that he has an advantage or to hand an advantage over to him. He loves when we allow misrepresentations of the truth to divide us. He loves when we allow ourselves to be boxed in while God and the Church are boxed out,.
We have to ask ourselves why we are Catholic…because your mama done told you and had you baptized? Or because you believe that God is the truth; Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God sent to redeem and reconcile us to the Father; the gospel is the truth and that the Catholic Church was given all authority to tell that truth. Then do not be afraid to boldly go into any frontier or arena, to live that truth, to speak that truth and do not give ground to any argument that impedes that truth from being told.As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine will not be silenced…2 Cor 11:10
…we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you. Gal 2:5
... that speech may be given to me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel… Eph 6:19Space is not our final frontier. The mysteries of God are far more infinite. Our life’s mission is to explore and seek what he has revealed to us, through his Son and the Church he has established. To be not afraid and to boldly go, confident as ambassadors for Christ, aware that God is making his appeal through us we entreat all men on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:20) Not to where no man has gone before, but to the fullness of truth where all men were created to be.