Here‘s the Guide for Parental Units of Geeks
This is a short one.
The planet is full of children who are all dying and absolutely refuse to admit it. There is overwhelming evidence that their lives will end when they reach puberty. Given the centuries that have passed before any of them must endure puberty, they assume it will never happen to them.
Of course, it’s already affecting them. Miri, the oldest child among them, is nearing womanhood. The strange purple rash has begun to affect her skin. Hiding it doesn’t change what it will do to her. She is going to die. Yet the other children still refuse to believe it. They’d sooner shout and chant and bully and fight.
I’m keeping this review brief because I want to make one simple point: sin is the purple rash that causes death for every single one of us.
Ignoring sin, denying sin, or fighting against the One revealing it to you will not stop its onslaught.
Ignoring the purple rash, denying the purple rash, or fighting against the one revealing it to you will not stop its onslaught.
Think of how frustrating and foolish Michael J Pollard’s character was. That is what you – and I – do every time we deny that we are sinners. Every time we ignore the fact that we’re going to die, we may as well lift a club to beat Captain Kirk with. Every time we shout at Christ, or His missionaries, about our innocence, you may as well be screaming that you’ll never get that purple rash.
The world is broken, just as broken as the world of the Onlies was. Just as the Onlies did not have the cure themselves, neither do we have a cure for our problem. For the Onlies, there was a hero who descended from the sky, telling them the truth.
Reject the solution provided, and you will die:
Accept the hero and his solution, and you will not only live, you will also join in his mission:
You remember this one, right? Charlie is a young boy, the only survivor of a terrible wreck. He grew up all alone and is very weird. Once on the Enterprise, he demonstrates bizarre powers and a tendency to inappropriately approach women.
The crew really just puts up with him until a mysterious alien race appears. The Thasians claim to have given Charlie his powers and regret doing so, as he is now quite human. Of course, Charlie prefers to stay among his own kind. But he’s just too powerful, so he’s dragged away screaming to live among the Thasians, and he “…can’t even touch them!!”
At the end he’s shown to be a stranger among humans and among Thasians. He has the desires and appearance of a human, but the powers of a Thasian. And he isn’t at home with either.
The power of a god. In the form of a man.
I see a great similarity to Jesus Christ here.
Obviously, Charlie is an ill-tempered, immature, reckless, and selfish god-in-a-man. And Christ is, well, perfect. I guess Charlie resembles the old pagan gods more than anything. He’s capricious. He pursues his own interests and passions. And he can’t be reasoned with. Maybe if the crew had offered obeisance and walked on eggshells, they could have lived somewhat comfortably with him as their own shipboard god.
Kirk corrects Charlie, “There’s no right way to hit a woman,” after he slapped Yeoman Rand’s behind. Charlie is truly a boy in a man’s body, as Kirk suggests. But he’s also got the power of a god. The body of a man with the mind of a pubescent boy and the ability of a god.
Comparing Charlie with Christ might seem pointless at best, and sacrilegious at worst. But what it does for is remind me of the importance of Christ’s sinless life. With a figure like Charlie, who shares quite a bit with the gods of Ancient Rome that Christianity had to contend with, we see how obvious it would be to misuse power. Jesus was a teenager once (at least by number). And we know he wasn’t slapping girls’ butts or mocking his elders as Charlie did with Spock. Yet it would have been easy to do whatever he wanted.
“He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 1 Peter 2:22
And looking at what a boy like Charlie did with his abilities, and then looking back at Jesus, I probably won’t take the sinless life of Christ for granted again anytime soon.
Appearances can be deceiving.
McCoy sees Nancy Crater as he wants her, like she looked ten years earlier – not what’s actually there. Kirk looks at the same girl and sees something totally different – he sees her as she should look now. The red shirt sees something different still. All three guys look at the same figure and each sees something different.
By attracting people to itself, the salt vampire can reveal its true nature and devour its prey(‘s salt). This is a classic concept, in no way exclusive to Christianity. The Sirens tried to lure Ulysses and his men to a rocky death. These tired, stinky sailors had spent the previous decade in war. Beautiful feminine voices naturally caught their attention. The Christian analogue is the concept of temptation.
So Nancy Crater / Sirens / Temptation ->> Salt Vampire / Rocky death / Sin.
All of the temptations are appealing, because who would be attracted to death?
And we try to look only at the pretty stuff, ignoring the dangers that may lie on the other side of it. Certainly not all pretty stuff leads to death. But we usually know the difference. Does the given activity have to be defended with a “better-to-burn-out-than-fade-away” attitude? Then it’s not pure beauty; it’s likely temptation leading to death. Does it just feel right, despite the fact that you know it’s wrong? It’s temptation leading to death. Sleeping around, stealing pretty things, anything that involves breaking the law, get-rich-quicks. These are probably not times we’re enjoying pure beauty or love or anything. These are most likely temptations that will appeal to our base desires and encourage us to sin. Just like the Sirens and Nancy Crater, we can’t just have convenient sex. Neither can we have convenient wealth or comfort. Usually. Temptation appears as a short cut to joy, but is really just an on-ramp to … the Highway to Hell! (I just couldn’t resist!)
We try to inoculate sin by focusing on the appealing temptation side of it. We ignore the syphilitic results of indulgence. We ignore the heart disease that follows comfy laziness and delicious third helpings. Most people only see the words ‘sin’ or ‘temptation’ on dessert menus.
Stories like this remind us that the joy we find in the temptation to do evil is brief. It’ll suck the life outta ya!
The whole thing wraps tightly around McCoy (in his very first ever appearance on TV, by the way) struggling with the knowledge that all evidence points to this not being Nancy and yet wanting it so badly to be her anyway. The creature has killed and left its saltless victims strewn about the planet and the Enterprise. It creeps closer and closer to McCoy’s quarters. He’s face to face with the woman he wants and he knows it’s not her, but he just can’t bring himself to fire his phaser.
Spock even rushes in to try to overpower the thing but fails. If McCoy refuses to see the truth, there’s no saving him. Finally, Spock hollers out, “Is that Nancy, Doctor?”
What are we tempted by? Whatever it is, we have two ways to get free from it. Our friends can just tie us to the mast so we’re not physically able to get to the sirens, left to wonder what might have been had we been allowed to indulge. Or someone can challenge us to face the truth.
“Is that really Nancy?”
“Is that affair really going to restore your confidence?”
“Is that double bacon quarter-pounder that’s oozing all over your fingers really going to reduce your stress from work?”
“Are you realy more important than the other people in line?”
“Will making that much more finally be enough for you to start giving to others? Or will the high cost of living discourage you, no matter how many raises or lucky breaks or freebies you get?”
“Is screaming at your wife really going to make her finally see things the right way?”
“Will dreaming about having that guy’s house and wife get you any closer to having your own house? Or finding someone to marry?”
“Is it really demonstrating your maturity by rejecting all correction?”