Star Trek : The Enemy Within

Kirk splits in two. One good. One evil.

The evil side tears through the ship on a passion-driven hunt for sex and power.

He targets and actually abuses Yeoman Rand.

Good Kirk describes Bad Kirk: “He’s like an animal. A thoughtless, brutal animal. And yet it’s me. Me!”

Why does Kirk need to keep his bad side? Why does he insist that the villainous Kirk is still him?

We are bad

One potential reason for holding onto the bad side would be that it’s true that we have a bad side. Since we can’t deny that each of us has a bad side, maybe it’s there for a reason. Maybe we need it. McCoy, in the worst reasoning I’ve heard on any Star Trek, “We all have our darker side. We need it! It’s half of what we are. It’s not really ugly. It’s human.”

But the mere presence of a thing does not indicate its legality. That is, admitting we have a bad side does not mean we should encourage its continued presence in our lives.

We should try to see what’s it’s even there for. Why do we even have a bad side?

Just in case you don’t quite believe that we are bad, here’s the Bible.

  • YAHWEH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5
  • How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!” Job 25:4-6
  • Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
  • The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
  • We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” Isaiah 64:6
  • For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23
  •  “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19
  • None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Romans 3:10-11
  • For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
  • For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7-8
  • The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14
  • For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” Titus 3:3

So the Bible says we’re bad. Maybe you noticed a negative review of our badness in those statements.

We are bad and we should not be. None of these excerpts command us to just shrug and say, “Oh well,” or, “So what if I was born bad?”

The glory of God is a desirable thing. It’s something pleasurable, profound, sweet, eternal, and joyous. Falling short of that glory is not something to shrug at. Falling short of that glory is not something to ignore for the sake of having an easy life.

What Star Trek got right

Given over to darkness, even a good person can create massive damage. Captain Kirk is a great guy. He’s a hero! But given a full separation from the influence of whatever light was in him turns him into a howling maniac.

What Star Trek got wrong

Good Kirk would not get weaker if Bad Kirk died. Good Kirk does not need Bad Kirk.

The whole point of this show is to reunite both sides of Kirk’s personality. Kirk’s dark side is a rapist. He attacks women. Why is he needed?

Spock explains, “We see here indications that it’s his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength.”

The evil, woman-attacking part of him gives him his strength? So every bit of power comes from an evil desire that is then tempered by a person’s good side.

This dumb conclusion has a few logical problems. I’ll just raise the questions:

  • If the evil were removed from us, would there even be any good left?
  • Are all decisions made by evil? What about the decisions to not do evil things?
  • Are control and discipline applications that our evil sides would even tolerate?

Who is the most powerful being there is? It’s god, the God. The same one that created the world, brought Israel out of Egypt, crushed nations, rose from the dead, and is coming back to finally reclaim whatever of His creation does not currently acknowledge His supremacy.

And where does His power come from? Did He ever use some inner evil power drive to source His decisions? His decisiveness was never, and will never be, evil.

Is God powered by evil?

Why should we think that we need to be powered by evil?

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2 thoughts on “Star Trek : The Enemy Within

  1. Great critique of a great (but, as you point out, anthropologically and theologically incorrect) epsiode! I think the only potentially “redemptive” lesson it has to offer is that it doesn’t pay to ignore our shadow side. The sin nature is too strong for us to master on our own, so ignoring it or pretending it isn’t there will only lead to bad things. We have to bring it into God’s light for God to save it, to save us.

    It also might be that the act of confessing, acknowledging, our shadow side/sinfulness can gives us strength – but not, as you say, to shrug and do nothing about it.

    Anyway, great thoughts!

    • Isn’t Star Trek wonderful?

      I feel like I could write one of these Christian reviews for every episode, then go through and do it all over again and not repeat myself.

      Thanks for your comments. And I’m loving the TNG reviews you’ve started over at The Sci-Fi Christian.

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