Star Trek: Voyager

“Emanations”

2 stars.

Air date: 3/13/1995
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston

"What we don't know about death is far, far greater than what we do know." — Janeway

Review Text

Whoa, Janeway's above quote is some understatement. That's got to be one of the most insightful, meaningful quotes in the entire series. And excuse my sarcasm there.

One of the great mysteries of life is what happens to us when it all ends. It ranks right up there with "Why are we here?" "Emanations" is Star Trek's attempt at a provocative analysis of this question—a polemic on death and the afterlife. Unfortunately, five acts of repetitive, mundane pondering about a subject whose questions cannot be answered is all that comes out of this pretentious hour of hardly profound and unmoving drama.

When an away team discovers an alien burial ground on an asteroid, a subspace vacuole snatches Ensign Kim away and replaces him with a deceased alien woman (Cecile Callan) from a race that calls themselves the Uhnori. The crew beams the Uhnori aboard the Voyager. The Doctor is able to revive her since her death occurred just moments before. Upon awaking in sickbay, the Uhnori, who we learn is named Ptera, believes she has reached the afterlife.

Meanwhile, the subspace vacuole takes Kim to the Uhnori's planet. Simply put, Kim and Ptera have switched places. Ptera had just been sent to the "next emanation," as the Uhnori call it. By activating a device, the Uhnori send their dying people into what they believe is an afterlife where the deceased meet their fellow dead and evolve into a higher form of consciousness. In reality, the device forms a subspace vacuole that sends them to an asteroid where they instantly die and decompose.

Kim's evident appearance from the next emanation sparks a lot of excitement (as well as fear) on the Uhnori world. They believe he has returned from the dead, and his descriptions of what awaits at the next emanation—an asteroid with a bunch of bodies—don't exactly provide them with a comforting view of life after death.

While searching for a way back, Kim meets Hatil (Jefrey Alan Chandler), a disabled man whose family has persuaded him to commit suicide to ease their burden. Hatil has always been a little bit skeptical to "prematurely send himself into the next emanation" (i.e. kill himself), and Kim's appearance and descriptions of the afterlife lead Hatil to reconsider his options.

Back aboard the Voyager, the crew attempts to locate Kim, using Ptera as the best resource for answering questions about her home world. Ptera, however, has some understandable emotional problems. At first she thinks she's dead and her afterlife is not as it should be. After Janeway convinces Ptera she is still alive, Ptera begins to fear death, having lost confidence that waiting in the next emanation is a new existence.

What we've basically got here is the same question posed over and over again. It's neither compelling nor mystifying. Kim tells the people over and over that he doesn't know what death means. All he knows is that there were bodies on the asteroid. It is entirely possible that they have souls that exist outside their non-corporeal remains, he tells them. Ptera spends much of the B-story walking around the Voyager stating that she can't live out her life away from her people.

The resolution of Ptera's situation is so underwhelming it's appalling. The crew attempts to send her back through the subspace vacuole using the transporter and some reliable technobabble procedures. But her transporter pattern breaks down and she dies in the process, end of story.

Meanwhile, Kim faces being stuck on the Uhnori's world forever. They want to keep him for interrogation so he can solve the puzzle of death for them—something he can't do anyway.

Kim comes up with a plan to escape. He decides to help himself and Hatil by taking Hatil's place at his death ceremony. This way, Hatil can live out his life in the mountains without breaking tradition, and Kim can return to the asteroid and be rescued by the Voyager without the Uhnori suspecting he's gone. The ceremonial wrapping of a death shroud to hide Kim's body so no one can tell it's Kim and not Hatil being buried strains credulity. Nice to see the old switcharoo still works in the 24th century. Clever, Harry. Too clever.

There's not much in terms of interesting character interaction either. Again, Chakotay doesn't get the screen time he deserves. Neelix doesn't even make a single appearance. They put off giving the Doctor his name yet another week. And they miss a major opportunity with Paris, who should've been allowed to display some sort of emotion in dealing with the potential loss of his best friend. Janeway does come off rather nicely, remaining a pleasure to watch in action as ship's humanist. The reassuring closing scene between Janeway and Kim is more impacting than anything else in the episode.

Next week: Mutiny aboard the Voyager! Now that sounds interesting.

Previous episode: Ex Post Facto
Next episode: Prime Factors

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Comment Section

90 comments on this post

    From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
    Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow...

    -

    Because I could not stop for Death,
    He kindly stopped for me;
    The carriage held but just ourselves
    And Immortality.

    -

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    -

    Death is pretty important stuff. Maybe Star Trek isn't exactly the best forum for examining the afterlife - although I can hardly think of somewhere more scary to boldly go - still, TNG's The Next Phase at least tested Ro's faith a little bit, Transfigurations talked somewhat about evolving to the next phase, and in DS9's Shadows and Symbols, the gang goes on a mission to ensure Jadzia's place in Sto-vo-kor.

    Not exactly Phaedo, but these still, evidence that Star Trek can be slightly more nuanced than this wasted hour...

    I found Kim's solution for Hatil odd: wasn't the man a burden to his family for medical reasons? He even showed off his leg "braces". How could he survive on his own?

    But what liked even less was the pseudo-scientific spirituality. What's there to know about death, in any practical sense? And what is neural energy, and how do you measure it's "activity?"

    Classic Trek has an unfortunate tendency of turning fans into Dawkins-style atheist a**holes. What I really like about this episode is how religious dogma so often blinds us to the real wonders of the Universe.

    The story opens with a very tech-y interest in this new element and it turns out in the end that it is this element which allows for a remarkable change in energy state which may encompass a change in perception for an entire race. Having become bogged down in ritual (see the shroud), the Uhnori have lost any real sense of wonder about death or life. They see a life as dispensable if it becomes burdensome. In and out of religious contexts, this is a depression which is very real and to which admiring the strange beauties of nature can be a remedy.

    It's a quiet story, but I think you severely underestimate it. There's perhaps a little too much whispering going on, but overall the direction and pacing were excellent. I particularly loved how the Uhnori's world was filmed in such a way as to appear distorted and other-dimension-like.

    It may not have been a success, but I certainly appreciated the effort to at least try and tell a story about death and what it means- a subject most American TV shows (Six Feet Under being the big exception) scrupulously avoid.

    This episode was all kinds of unenjoyable for me. Personally, I think two stars is mighty generous. Beyond my own admission that I don't want to think about death while watching Star Trek, this episode is unbelievably boring.

    The episode starts off already rubbing me the wrong way when Chakotay starts getting uppity about poking around the bodies on the asteroid. Now, don't get me wrong, I entirely agree with him that they should leave the bodies be and avoid any accidental desecration of their graves. But, where I was left scratching my head is his insistence that they not use tricorders. Umm... Isn't it worse to go stomping around all over the place to investigate things by hand? Wouldn't it be less intrusive to just scan them from a distance? His logic makes no sense to me at all.

    Then Harry gets pulled off to planet snooze button. I kid you not when I say I just watched this episode and yet can't remember a single thing of importance about these people other than that they are ok with committing euthanasia. I was bored to tears during all of Harry's scenes with the foreheads of the week.

    Then there was Ptera, who was equally boring due to her basic repetition of the same boring stuff her fellow forehead of the week aliens were telling Harry. Jammer is absolutely right. The same questions asked over and over again, particularly one that none of us know the answer to, is frustrating, annoying and incredibly dull.

    Jammer is also absolutely right about all the missed character opportunities. Was Tom Paris even in this episode? The only thing I might argue with Jammer about is his seeming disappointment that Neelix isn't in this episode. In my book, doing an episode without Neelix is never a bad thing.

    This story tried to comment on euthanasia towards the end, and I do appreciate what they were going for. But, the whole thing just really wasn't nearly as deep or profound as what they wanted it to be. Likewise, their discovery of a specific radiation in the planets rings was a sort of half baked attempt to show that the afterlife the aliens were looking for could exist. But, I sort of felt like the show was trying to have it's cake and eat it too. It felt cheap and made the episode seem even more pointless to me than if they had just left the issue of whether or not an afterlife could be real completely alone.

    In the end, the Janeway quote Jammer uses to head this article is, of course, true. I don't think any of us will ever know what happens to us when we die until we actually do. But, that's exactly what's wrong with this episode. An hour of asking the same unanswerable question does not make for an entertaining story.

    This episode gets one star from me.

    Well, you may think that Janeway line is worthy of ridicule, Jammer, but for Star Trek, it's a positive revelation. As one of the earlier comments pointed out, the Roddenberry atheist rules are still in place, and religion only exists among the less evolved species, something that the enlightened Starfleet crews have long since outgrown - unless you're an Indian, of course. I'm not saying the episode is brilliant, but it's a refreshing change from the "Who Watches the Watchers" type of arrogance that is usually directed toward issues of faith.

    There is one slightly striking moment to this episode: the contrast between the dismay Ptera felt and the comfort Harry felt in awaking in sickbay, one in an alien environment and the other surrounded by friends. That contrast I think spoke well to the fact that our lives are defined so much by those with whom we choose to share it. Not terribly profound--and possibly not even intended--but charming for a moment.

    @Carbetarian

    "I kid you not when I say I just watched this episode and yet can't remember a single thing of importance about these people other than that they are ok with committing euthanasia."

    Also, one of them was Mark Twain from TNG's "Time's Arrow."

    To put a positive spin to all the above, fully justified, "bleh" attitude towards this episode, I want to call attention to the really nice space sequences. There are some shots of Voyager with the planets, rings, and rocks that are at angles, and levels of detail that we have never seen before on a Star Trek episode. Clearly there were no "reused" space objects. On the DVDs, the quality is excellent. If there is ever a blu-ray for Voyager, the justification to upgrade from the DVDs will be tough.

    As for me I liked that episode. Not the greatest, but I enjoyed it, as I always do with episodes about other cultures.

    The one thing that made it "blah" instead of good for me however is the cop-out at the end. It would have been so much more powerful to indeed make these people realize that everything they've always believed is just wrong and there's nothing after death. Not only that would have been interesting (how would that society break up? what would happen?) but it would also have been a strong message by the show:

    Yes, Christian heaven or any other Earthian "afterlife" fantasy is probably like this planet's afterlife beliefs: Just a stupid fantasy, wishful thinking that has no basis in reality or fact. But of course, that show is American, and it couldn't have afforded to potentially offend the religious in this country, so it had to cop out at the end, with a stupid suggestion that heaven is actually possible...

    Hatil says that the death shroud has been in his family for generations, but...how? If it's worn to get transferred to the asteroid...who is retrieving it afterwards?

    Plus...Harry is like twice Hatil's size. Even wrapped, it's obvious that Harry was way too huge to be Hatil, and the others should have noticed it before sending "him" off.

    Doesn't anyone on that planet ever die accidentally? Or all alone, where their body wouldn't be found for a while? It doesn't make sense that they're so shocked that their bodies decompose after they die.

    Jack - who said "Hatil says that the death shroud has been in his family for generations, but...how? If it's worn to get transferred to the asteroid...who is retrieving it afterwards? "

    I was going to say the same thing, but it occurs to me, maybe by "shroud" he doesn't mean that particular shroud, but "shroud" meaning that particular weave and color and perhaps the way it's wrapped, maybe other families used a different type/color material, and instead of ace-bandage type wrap for another family it would be a bag type shroud. I think that was the way it was meant to be taken anyway.

    Elliot's intelligent comments on Jammer's site have provoked me into finally watching Voyager episodes. I'm almost at the end of Season 1. You know what...it's actually a very good series once you ditch the preconceptions. I like the ethical bent some of the episodes have.

    This was a botched opportunity I think. The writers had the potential to set up a very contemplative episode, perhaps in the vein of an Ingmar Bergman movie, but the hokiness of the alien race derails the whole thing.

    This plot would work better without the aliens entirely. Why not create a small existential episode aorund the young Ensign Kim? No need for that silly looking planet at all.

    The episode was OK, but it didn't seem to know what it wanted to talk about. It flirts with being about people pressured by their families into euthanasia, cover-ups, and the ability or inability to adapt to your worldview being overturned. The episode over and over repeats that just because this particular belief is incorrect - the belief that their bodies come out alive on the other side - that it doesn't mean that death is the end. It seems they realized that this episode had the potential to upset people.

    I thought Ptera's story didn't work very well, except to provide information to the people in Voyager. It would have been interesting to send her back. When they wanted to send Harry to some lab to keep him "safe" it was pretty clear that he was coming back, he was going to be quietly tucked away where he wouldn't be inconvenient. Ptera may well have been tucked away just as easily.

    It seemed odd that they let Kes declare Ptera dead, that's the sort of thing that you have a doctor do, not a semi-trained medic. But I suppose it saved time.

    I've had a chance to think about this more, and this is really something very much like ancient Egyptian funereal rites. The bodies look like mummies, and they go into something very much like a sarcophagus. Here on Earth, it's been thousands of years and the mummies haven't come back to life yet. The ancient Egyptians might have been just as disturbed to learn that the mummies would sit there for thousands of years.

    BTW, when I wrote above "It was pretty clear he was coming back" I should have written "It was pretty clear he wasn't coming back".

    Nice episode, with deep debating underneath the surface.

    But the blunt violation of the Prime Directive when they decide to revive the body of the alien was... disappointing. So far Voyager was making me happy, as I have watched the whole DS9 first and got mad with how much they corrupted the Federation and the Starfleet portrayal in the end. I was glad to see characters respecting the basic ideals in though moments. But here, crew just so easily decide to revive a dead alien to make a first contact even when they didn’t know if it would be violating the directive!

    Worst, Kim seems to be completely untrained for his first mission. How the hell he starts talking to the aliens about his ship, where he came from and so on when he didn’t know whether he would be interfering in the new aliens’ usual beliefs? More, it was blunt that he would interfere and even though he first reaction was to give a damn, until too late realizing that it would be better to not talk freely anymore. Common, he deserves to be released from duty when they arrive home….

    I just watched this episode and agree that it is kind of disruption of the season 1 episodes.

    I also feel that even though I'm glad that a Star Trek show would have a show about death, I feel "Emanations" came along on Voyager way too early in the shows run. And I feel that is the basic problem with this episode and why it comes across at best rather fuzzy in terms of what the writers wanted to express in regards to death.

    I would actually feel this episode might have worked better near the beginning of season 3 (before the two-parter "Future's End", before the doctor got the mobile emitter, but after the crue had dealt with others deaths -- this episode is very woeful when compared with the actual head-on episode about euthanasia season 2 episode "Death Wish".) I feel the timing of this episode was way off with season 1 being a shortened season (usually a major look at death doesn't occur in most shows, not specifically about the subject, until very late in a first full season or in one where the first season is shortened, the 2nd season -- see "The Next Generation" late season 1 episode "Skin of Evil" for that one.)

    Also by the way this episode might have actually been better, and a rare exception on that for a season 1 and 2 episode of "Voyager" if Neelix had been one of the featured players. Don't forget Neelix actually deals with very many of the same issues in the 4th season episode, "Mortal Coil", when Neelix is brought back to life with the help of a technique developed by Seven of Nine and her Borg gained thought. In that episode both Ethan Phillips, the actor, and Neelix really were superb and you really felt for the character more than you normally would (Phillips also states that was one of his favorite acting shows on "Voyager".) Would have loved to have seen Neelix' reaction to them reviving a dead alien in "Emanations" and might have been interesting to see that tie-in to what would later happen on "Mortal Coil" (notice in that episode, that this episode gets totally forgotten about -- when if it had happened and aired later in the run -- as I write above in the early half of season 3, it might not have forgotten about.)

    Interesting enough in some pieces of the story. Especially the aliens belief in their afterlife allowing for support of euthanasia for reasons other than terminal illness. Could have been a great backdrop for how religions utilize their illogical beliefs to affect public and political opinion. Could have also been a great backdrop for the aliens questioning beliefs and looking for real answers. Could have been any number of things. Instead we get the cute "the aliens release neural energy that becomes all dynamic and stuff" ending with a one-cliche-fits-all speech by Janeway.

    So the aliens are a bit different and have some pretty unique things that happen when their particular species dies. The speech at the end makes everything brought up before in the episode arbitrary. Everything brought up in the episode makes the ending condescending.

    Just because our evolution has brought us to this level of consciousness and self-awareness does not mean an afterlife magically formed for our benefit. This episode should have focused on that or done something more interesting with the unique concept put forth at the very end. As it is, it's a pandering, jumbled mess. However, it's not a complete loss and on its own terms is a watchable hour with some decent character moments with the aliens. Harry Kim especially shows improvement here but is, up to this point, quite noticeably rough around the edges.

    2 stars.

    @Vylora

    "So the aliens are a bit different"

    Yeah, they have four nostrils. Do they live on The Planet of the Extra-large Handkerchiefs?

    Paris took them 0.6 ly from the ring system in what apparently just less than a minute. At that speed, they should have been able to travel 70,000 light years in about 12 weeks...

    Wow, a Star Trek episode that doesn't spit on religion or religious beliefs. It actually dealt with them very respectfully here.

    It's also a culture that has embraced the Doctor Jack Kevorkian as their role model! :-)

    Wait, I'm in pain and a burden to my family, so let me end it all...

    Interesting for a Trek episode.

    I think Chakotay was right to respect the site as a burial site, but he might have went a little far with:

    "The sanctity of these bodies should be respected. I recommend we make visual observations only. No tricorders"

    As far as "sanctity" goes, what's the different between looking and conducting passive scans?

    Love the exchange at the end where Janeway is telling Harry to take a couple days off and reflect.

    Also, I was pleasantly surprised about this:

    "JANEWAY: I wouldn't be so sure of that, if I were you. That neural energy their bodies release, it becomes part of the ambient electromagnetic field surrounding the planet. Our readings also indicate the energy's unusually dynamic. There's a great deal of variation and pattern complexity, quantum density.

    KIM: Are you saying you think they do have an afterlife? That the energy field is where they exist at a higher level of consciousness, just like they believe?

    JANEWAY: I'm not certain, but I am certain about this. What we don't know about death is far, far greater than what we do know. See you in two days, Ensign."

    Can anyone hear Picard talking like this? Relating a possible scientific release of energy to confirming a religious belief? I like it, she's her own self/Captain.

    I'll have to go a solid 3 stars here.

    @Yanks - I'd agree on all counts. Loved the episode. Loved the ending. THIS Janeway is what was missing from later seasons. She's SUCH a scientist that she's not willing to dismiss anything, even religious things.

    That's TWO!! Write it down, Robert agrees with me on all counts!!

    :-) :-)

    We may disagree on other stuff, but honestly you and I have very, very similar taste in Trek with a few exceptions. Enjoying your VOY reviews.

    Robert,

    No one agrees with anyone on everything. But, here like other sites I've been to, trek seems to find common ground for it's fans. One of the reasons I love trek.

    Nothing really so much wrong with this episode apart from the fact it is just painfully, painfully slow and dull. For addressing such large philosophical questions the whole thing just seems very small. And even though it's probably appropriate that we don't get any answers, in some ways leaving the question open feels like a cop out.

    Perhaps the best part was when the Doctor cheerfully pointed out they had been "strolling through dead bodies". 1.5 stars.

    Chakotay was prat in this episode. Yes let's not passively scan these dead bodies from a distance, let's walk around and touch and disturb them instead. The bodies were dumped unattended on a barren rock, why does he think there's are ritual element to it at all? The Klingons for one don't give a crap about the bodies after they die.

    So Ptera dies, ends up on Voyager, is revived but the attempt to send her back kills her so... Janeway beams her body to the asteriod. Er... You revived her once just after she died already why aren't you doing it again? She Ptera died... Because Janeway was lazy!

    And if the webby stuff is a by product of the aliens decomposition, why was Ptera covered it seconds after dying?

    But to be honest, if I was Captain Janeway and my Ensign Kim disappeared and was replaced by a dead body, I'd be counting my blessings and warping out of there at Warp 9 hoping he doesn't find a way to come back. The dead body would have made a far more interesting character for the show anyway.

    I really, really liked the initial premise of this episode. I loved the concept of this entire races religious beliefs being challenged by the appearance of somebody from their "afterlife". I loved the idea of deaths unknowns being viewed from the other side and of the potential conflict it puts Kim and the Voyager crew in.

    But then it took a different direction. None of this conflict was really that adequately explored. Valuable screen time was wasted by bodies appearing on the ship and an irrelevant jeopardy. (It was not interesting to focus on dangers to the ship from subspacd vacuules. We didn't need that. Far more interesting was the implications to Kim and this culture.) The episode turned into a fairly routine quest to trg and get Kim back.

    I am reminded somewhat of the TNG episode First Contact and the way the Federations arrival challenged the Malcorian way of life; and the internal conflicts that society had and the weight of the compromise that was reached. Of course that was not about religion exactly - in that culture it was a challenge to the Malcorian view of their place in the universe - but the general concept of the core beliefs of a society being deeply shaken was handled well and with great depth. I was sad to not see this episode get a similarly in depth treatment. We didn't even get to see the impact Kim had here.

    A strong start but went the wrong direction with an unremarkable finish.

    One of the stupidest wastes of an hour's worth of TV, ST or not. Good grief is my only reaction to this inane nonsense.

    I like that the actor who plays Mark Twain in TNG's "Time's Arrow" appears as the alien spiritual Doctor.

    I hate chakotays Stories...theres an old story my people....theres an old saying...

    Is someone in this alien society designated as the Chief Thanatologist? How can anyone be an -ist on something you can't see, touch and experiment on empirically? And Janeway's blah blah blah to Harry at the end about what we don't know about death...Ya think?

    So Chakotay is all like "don't desecrate the dead bodies, don't use your tricorders around the dead bodies" but then has no problems whatsoever with bringing one of the dead bodies back to life even though that's a way larger desecration than scanning a dead body?

    Well what are the odds. Another watchable episode. I know some may be looking for some sort of philosophical or theological angle to take from this. As for me it was just a story that didn't bore me.

    I have one major problem with this episode. If the emanations detected by voyager were meant to indicate that there truly was an afterlife (next emanation) for these people, didn't Harry just steal the guys chance at immortality? I wonder if he would have been beamed to the asteroid belt after living out his life in the mountains.

    That was utterly tedious. I paused the episode at one point to see how long was left as I felt I had been watching a movie-length episode. Only 20 minutes had passed.

    If this is a sign of episodes to come, I'm not optimistic about making it to Season 2, let alone Season 7.

    This episode has one of the three necessary ingredients present in all the best Star Trek episodes (see my review of Blink of an Eye in Season 6) and for that it deserves to be watched.

    But it is not a great episode and won't be on many people's list to watch over again (like the best are).

    But it is canon for the simply reason that it shows how silly religious belief can be, especially when viewed as an outsider. It carries on the tradition of Gene Roddenberry's secular vision - episodes like Who Watches the Watchers' Devil's Due, and the excellent Voyager episode Distant Origin.

    See it once for no other reason than to continue "breaking the spell" so we might one day actually live in a world like Roddenberry envisioned.

    Greg - not sure I agree that the episode was meant to show how "silly" religious belief can be. On the contrary, it seems to me the writers approached the issues of faith and afterlife with some real respect. Yes, the Uhnoris' beliefs were revealed to them as being false - but there was a counterpoint to that with the emphasis (primarily through Janeway) that there is so much we do not yet know, and may never know, at least not using the tools that the physical world provides us to explore. (And I agree with the comment earlier that Jammer's snarkiness about the Janeway quote seems a bit harsh. It was meant, I think, to provide a focus for the episode, and did so effectively, IMO.)

    To follow up on that thought - the thing that I find interesting about our relentless search for knowledge is that almost every time we open a door to a new discovery, we find more doors. I am loathe to get into a debate with atheists or secularists or skeptics about what I believe. I will say, however, that from what I've read of Roddenberry, I think he and I shared a belief - that of rejecting religion, but accepting the notion of "God". This episode circles around these issues and provides a platform to think about them. Yes, there are some huge plot-holes here, but on balance I really enjoyed this thought-provoking episode.

    I do give credit to the episode for trying to be diplomatic and not blatantly "religion is evil man", but it's still nothing out of the ordinary and Jesus,
    the first act with is terrible and makes Chakotay look like self-important dumbass.

    @Greg See, I think it's precisely why these stories might be one of the least well-aged things about Star Trek. Admittedly, ST usually handles it with a lot more tact than it could, this episode in particular, but these "Silly aliens, you are worshipping a space hole" plots nowadays come across as arrogant and disdainful. Yeah, hate to break it, but "we must all unite in peace, as long as you realize your beliefs are stupid and agree with me" isn't message of tolerance.

    @ Jay. In fairness, it never mention how long it takes to get that 0.6 ly. Could be 1 minutes, 5, 10, 30 minutes. Who knows? But I sure don't want to see a 5 min scene Voyager go to the distance.

    ---

    I don't mind the afterlife episodes. Anything but the usual cliche episodes of Hard-Headed-Alien or Anomaly-of-the-Week i'm okay. But I'm not sure what this stories want to tell. We know nothing about death? Well, nothing new there, it's beaten to the death (pardon-the-pun)
    The implication to the social/belief exposed and challange? Just barely scratch

    This stories has the potential to be character growth episodes of Chakotay and Kim, but it wasted on them. Kim with his technical knowledge can be utilized to found a way communicate or locate where he is, Chakotay with his anthropology knowledge can be utilized to learn more depth about the alien culture. Then working from both side they can work on elaborate attempt for rescue Kim. Along the way we can get glimpse how the interference affect their culture and belief.

    Instead, Chakotay insight on the burial site come as a bit silly and no use at all for the overall plot. Only used as a shallow prelude that the people on burial site trust after-life.
    Kim is the same thing. Wang, this should be your show, but some of the guest star even perform better than you. Not that the script much help though. The writer made him completely useless, not able to point out where he is, nor do anything useful to investigate the problem, the culture, anything that can be useful. Naah.. He's just go along with the flow and hope luck will bring him back by using the cenotaph again.

    BTW. Who's dumb idea to wake someone from death, surround it like somekind of ambush, then proceed to interrogate, and you suprised she's panicking Captain?
    Kes declared death? Didn't she's just recently learn anatomy, not even qualified yet for medic? Don't we have Doctor for that?

    Meh for that last second cliche arrival of Kim, just when Voyager about to leave. Damn Torres, you should said 'leave' a little earlier.. we don't lose anything here

    Agree on 2 (**) stars

    An episode focusing on the two dullest regular Voyager crew members, Harry Kim and Chakotay, in the opening scenes was bound to be a dud. Luckily Chakotay's role diminishes after the first 5 minutes, but Kim's does not.

    Some excellent performances by guest stars are not enough to save the day either.

    Good actors can sometimes carry a badly written episode with their acting skills, but I don't (and shouldn't) expect that from Garrett Wang and Robert Beltran here, and this is despite the fact that the underlying story here did indeed have potential.

    Just look at the opening scene with 4 of our regular characters (2 of whom are Kim and Chakotay) when they are talking over what they see in a screen. Wang delivers his lines as if he were reading them from that screen (sigh). And the conversation that ensues in the cave between Kim and Chakotay; no energy whatsoever even when Chakotay refuses to scan the bodies for ethical reasons (ummm.. I can think of at least 10 episodes in the Star Trek universe, if given the time, in which dead bodies discovered are scanned immediately. Nevermind anyway that Petra's dead body was revived without too much contemplation by anyone).

    The most blatant examples of acting-skills contrast take place in those scenes that show Wang (Kim) and a seasoned actor like Jerry Hardin (or even a less-accomplished one like Jeffrey Chandler) holding one-on-one dialogs. I am also inclined to include the closing dialog between Kim and Janeway in the same breath. Wang is like a Chevette trying to keep up with a different Ferrari in each of these scenes.

    So, 2 stars for this episode? The same score as the preceding one that spoofed "Double Indemnity" and married it to a really hokey spy plot that made no sense?

    At least this one was a sensitive portrayal of a very heavy subject. I also liked seeing Harry Kim given some screen time, even though Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat from The X-Files!) and some of the other cast can indeed act circles around him.

    I've got to love the supreme confidence of some of the commentators here, where just because some particular doctrine is exposed as mistaken must therefore mean that ANY spiritual beliefs whatsoever are laughably childish and wishful thinking. Is that really what Roddenberry was intending all along? I'm not so sure, but then I lack the smug self-assurance of both the militantly religious and the equally militantly anti-religious factions. To paraphrase what Janeway says, "who really knows?" Most of us just like to think we have all the answers.

    I think that's the ultimate message of this episode -- that no one should be too sure of their knowledge of ultimate truth. The episode itself, far from being dull, was thoughtful and the pace made sense given the material.

    A high point for me was the production design of the alien world: small, claustrophobic rooms with cold metal finishes, zero greenery of any sort, and industrial-looking egg crate foam as the only concession to soft surfaces. It fit well with a society obsessed with death and embracing euthanasia to the extent that simply being middle-ages and wearing leg braces makes one a "burden on his family." And it's no wonder Harry couldn't pinpoint his location -- he was never permitted to get a look at the sky. The aliens here seem to live as much underground as the mummified bodies of their dead inside those asteroids.

    On the whole, it was a clever and thought provoking episode. A solid 3 stars from me.

    I actually enjoyed this one -- I thought that the material for Uhnori was strong both on the ship and on the planet, and ended up finding it quite moving. The main issue with the episode is that placing Kim at the centre of it was maybe a mistake. What's interesting, maybe, is that Kim is Starfleet and a techy guy, so is hyper-rationalist, as established early on (by contrast with Chakotay), so he has no real thought as to "afterlife," and he's also young, relatively untouched by death of anyone close to him and far from death (from old age, anyway), and so he doesn't have as much incentive to believe in an afterlife as some others. This is something Janeway somewhat alludes to at the end -- part of Kim not letting things sink in is surely that his instinct is to ignore the implications of what has happened? This isn't a problem in and of itself, but it maybe weakens the episode because Kim ends up only having a strictly plot goal -- he wants to get back to Voyager -- and doesn't have much emotional arc, with the big feelings all going to the Uhnori. And on that score, the episode also misses an opportunity by having the Uhnori on the ship just die partway through in a transporter accident, rather than having to make a choice of how to live in the new world that's opened up to her; I could certainly see an ending in which she does die (for example, she chooses to die and have her body beamed to the asteroid to be with the rest of her people), but for her choice entirely to be taken away sort of blunts her mini-arc in the episode.

    What I appreciated about the episode is its contemplative tone and the way it examines what the social function of religion is as well as the problems that develop with a too-literal interpretation of it. As others have pointed out, the idea here is not that there is definitely no afterlife; there is some possibility that there is something in the radiation field, which is maybe a have-cake-and-eat-it-too dodge, but I think works as a kind of spiritual metaphor. But overly literal conceptions of death as moving into another life in one's own body can lead to perverse outcomes -- in particular, a devaluing of *this* life, as we get to the euthanasia plot. I think the message is the replacement of religious dogma and literalism with a humbler, more uncertain spirituality; Kim's staunch rationalism comes under fire too by that ending (from Janeway), and Chakotay's somewhat pompous theorizing about what one can learn about the Unhari from their death rituals, too, gets implicit criticism since despite his confidence, he was extremely far off in his judgments. (This makes me feel a little better about the silliness of rejecting tricorders but allowing visuals because...why? Why is using your eyes better than using tricorders passively?) Hatil's arc seems to be about how to some extent, some fear of death (and uncertainty about whether there is an afterlife) is necessary in order to have the courage to live one's life, and take chances when life is unpleasant, and that story works for me. Despite the problems, I think this gets a shaky 3 stars from me.

    Actually, thinking about it some more (mostly while writing), while I'm not necessarily sold on Garrett Wang's performance in the episode, I mostly am fine with Kim's lack of emotional investment in death as such in the way things play out; his lack of experience is part of why he lets slip so much about what he saw so early, and why he maintains a bit of smug detachment from the way his information from the beyond is destabilizing the Uhnari in general (and Hatil's family in particular) while also trying his darnedest not to let it show. That Kim can't entirely empathize with how shocking the news he brings is in part because of his own inexperience with death makes the ep a little drier emotionally than it could have been, maybe, but still is interesting in its own way. I find this one underrated.

    Elliott's comment is really great here. The Uhnari's flaw is in believing that death only has meaning if it happens in a specific way, and they are basically unchanged by death. The "their souls are in the radiation field!" ending is, I know, maybe a stretch as science-fiction, but I think of it more in the way Kes describes how her society has beliefs about how souls are in some way preserved through the process of decomposition helping other life grow...which is a metaphorical way of saying that there are after-effects, in the lives of others, after we are gone, and that even if we live on in no other way, that is not nothing and forms a kind of after life that can provide comfort to the spirit. The radiation field ending is more meant as a mystery; it fits with the worldview of those who are more religious than I, but also works for me as metaphor, as well as a reminder of things that can inspire awe in the universe as a whole. If our bodies don't emerge whole in some other world, that doesn't mean there is nothing meaningful in life or death; that is the message of the episode. The decision to have Kim, who is outside any *religious* dogma but is maybe too much a rationalist and who is also at risk of being, as Janeway says, jaded to the wonder of the universe, be the centre of the episode and the one who inspires Hatil's personal renaissance is pretty important and meaningful.

    For some of the people wondering how they use the shroud again, they say in the episode that the body comes to the asteroid naked, so I assume the shroud is left behind in the pod thing. That doesn't explain why Kim and that woman go through with their clothes on however.

    And I know that Star Trek plays fast and loose with warp speeds and distances, but this episode is ridiculous with it. It should take about 8 hours to go .6 light years at warp 7. Not about 5 seconds like in the show. Even if it was supposedly longer than that, like 10 minutes, it certainly wasn't 8 hours.

    Also Torres says 'It looks like most of these asteroids support Class M atmospheres'. Right, of course they would. I guess they didn't have enough in the budget for space suits this week.

    Forgetting that stuff, still a pretty lame episode.

    1 star

    With regard to Ptera's transporter "accident", did anybody else think Janeway was relieved that they got rid of that uncomfortable little problem? They certainly didn't try hard to re-revive her, like perhaps having the doctor look at her.

    Not a bad episode really.

    There are a lot of things to criticise about this episode but I'd still give it a solid 3 stars.

    There are some interesting concepts, unfortunately most go ignored or unexplored.

    Harry basically breaks the prime directive by showing/telling a society that all their beliefs are nonsense and they just rot in a cave. It would have been better to show the society wide repercussions of that and how ridiculous it was that people were choosing to die for their blind faith.

    Instead, we see this touched upon slightly but mostly ignored. The episode could have explored what it meant for the prime directive: Should Harry lie to them to avoid breaking the prime directive? Is lying to them about their religious beliefs moral? Alternatively it could have gone down the route of showing what happens when people realise what they had believed their whole life is wrong.

    Either of these would have been more interesting than what we got. My biggest gripe, however, is the religious pandering at the end with "neural energy swirling". It would have been far more powerful if the episode had made it clear they they just decomposed in the cave and the society would need to deal with that.

    Here's a VOY episode that could have been better without too much effort. Great idea to focus on the afterlife and how another culture can interpret it and what it could mean for some good character development. Instead it winds up being mostly boring and Wang really doesn't convey the urgency of his situation being held captive by aliens who may not even be in the same dimension as Voyager. No real character development here, except for Janeway at the end with some mothering of Kim.

    With the teaser, I initially thought the away team had beamed down to Shelob's lair complete with dead bodies in cocoons and spider webs hanging everywhere. But I thought Chakotay had some interesting comments on other cultures and rituals for the dead -- unfortunately that was about all he contributed to the episode.

    Hard to really care anything for the aliens' rituals and how they kill their own prior to going to the next emanation. Just your random aliens of the week.

    But what was somewhat clever is how all the switcheroos work out ultimately. The woman who gets brought aboard Voyager is eventually killed through the transporter when she finds out the afterlife is not what she thought it would be and agreed to Voyager's test. And Kim switches with the old man who doesn't want to die so he can go off and live with friends far away while his family thinks he's dead. And Kim goes through the aliens' emanation process, dies and gets revived when back on Voyager. It all works out quite nicely and conveniently.

    2 stars for "Emanations" -- At least the episode leaves the afterlife as something nebulous -- the neural energy that surrounds the planet and the asteroids and a possibly higher level of consciousness. Janeway has her tidbit of wisdom about death, which is fine. Overall a kind of a slow-paced sterile episode.

    I also found this episode overwhelming. I'm not sure why it got 2 stars. It was infuriatingly boring. As one commenter said, death is a really good place to boldly go. And because I'm coming off of DS9, interacting with an alien culture using space anomolies as part of their religious ritual should have been written much more nuanced. DS9 didn't cover The subject of death very much either. Maybe we will never get a good episode... The character plots (the aliens') didn't make sense the way they were written off. I'm very disappointed in this episode.

    Teaser : **.5, 5%

    The Voyager has discovered a new element within the rings of a planet. Torres and Janeway continue their streak of nerding out over the discovery, excitedly speculating about its applicability. The asteroids in the rings support breathable atmospheres (of course they do), so Chakotay leads an away team back to the ol' cave set, which is now strewn with Hollowe'en prop spider webbing. Torres notes that the webbing is indeed organic. They stumble across several corpses wrapped up in this webbing, and at this point, I think they had better be on the lookout for Shelob. The production elements here are a bit goofy, reminding me of early TNG, but there are certainly a lot of directions the story can go from here. I'm neutral.

    Act 1 : **, 17%

    Chakotay reports their findings over the comm to Janeway. He speculates that the asteroid is a burial site, and Torres remarks that the webbing is the new element they discovered and is being excreted by the corpses, which manages to be even creepier than the giant spider idea. Chakotay and Kim disagree over how to proceed—Harry wants to examine the bodies, to learn as much as possible about this new species, whereas Chakotay doesn't want to desecrate the gravesite. Sigh...while Chakotay is entitled to his personal opinion about the “sanctity” of the dead bodies, Janeway choosing to humour him and ignore their Starfleet directive to investigate this phenomenon strikes me as ridiculous. Is she placating the commander for some reason? Honestly, this would have worked better if they hadn't contacted the Voyager, but just had Chakotay, recent Maquis, overrule the directive, backed up by Torres, leaving the green ensign to sheepishly accept this violation of protocol. A missed opportunity.

    Instead, we get Chakotay being incredibly smug “you're looking, but you're not seeing.” Oh, fuck me. He speculates wildly about this culture's burial customs, and determines that they must be ritualistic, which is fair, and that they probably believe in an afterlife, which is baseless, as Torres is quick to remind him, citing Klingon customs. This tour of smug is thankfully cut short by the appearance of a “vacuole” in the cave. Chakotay calls for a beam out and Bajoran Ja-Rule attempts the transport. The vacuole distorts the beam and Torres, Chakotay and a fresh corpse materialise on the transporter pad. Torres determines the woman on the pad has only been dead for a few minutes, while BJ-Rule notes that Kim has been beamed through the vacuole to wherever these people come from. Chakotay gets one more dose of smug in, but finally relents to have the woman beamed to sickbay and revived so she can be questioned.

    Somewhere else, a land of Dutch angles, a funeral rite is taking place. A priest says that the woman, Battering Ram or whatever, will thrive in “the Next Emanation.” The ceremony is interrupted by banging from within the space coffin and Kim is released, panicked.

    Act 2 : ***, 17%

    Elsewhere in Space Holland, an older couple is having a tearful goodbye. The husband is apparently about to die, and cross over to The Next Emanation, where he is expected to be able to interact with the family's other dead relatives. She makes sure to mention some Guerilla trees or something that his father had planted, suggesting the dead man will be pleased to know they're blooming. After the wife exits, Kim is led into the room by the priest and some other aliens. The dying man is intrigued by this person who has returned from Heaven, but his intrigue quickly turns to fear when Kim mentions all those corpses and spider webs. Before this can continue, a thanatologist (real thing, by the way) is brought in, who is equally horrified/confused by Kim's reports.

    On the Voyager, the EMH reports to Janeway—he cured the alien woman's cancer and revived her, badda-bing. The Doctor manages to shame Chakotay a bit, which is most welcome, by informing him that, for all his sanctimonious effort to avoid desecrating a gravesite, the away team had been “strolling through” dead bodies which left behind those cobwebs. Kes, for her part, has become a full-fledged nurse for the EMH.

    They awaken Battering Ram, which is wonderfully framed so that Janeway and the EMH appear like gods hovering above her. She asks after her brother and the rest of her family. Janeway's words explaining how they cured her, meant to comfort, horrify the woman who had expected to find the afterlife. She panics and the EMH sedates her. These two parallel scenes, in which the Voyager crew through the aliens' beliefs into doubt, are cleverly constructed; we get the cultural perspective from Kim's experience and the individual perspective from the woman in sickbay. Good setup.

    Act 3 : ***.5, 17%

    Kim and the thanatologist examine the space coffin together, where it is explained how the technology harnesses the vacuoles, which occur naturally, to allow the dead to pass on to the Next Emanation/spider asteroid. What I like about this is how the ritual associated with these people's belief is enhanced by sci-fi tech, but that it's perfectly plausible that this ritual predates modern technology. In ancient times, they probably just tossed the bodies through the ruptures. The tech just streamlines a conceivably pre-Enlightenment ritual.

    The thanatologist questions Harry, deepening his horror when Harry explains that the aliens' bodies are on some asteroid decomposing instead of planting Guerilla Trees in Heaven. Harry is told that he will be analysed to help them better understand “life after death.”

    On the Voyager, Mrs Butterworth or whatever has awoken and a bit calmer than before. She's able to provide Janeway with some answers about what has happened to Harry, but she is desperate for answers to her own questions. What happens when you die?

    JANEWAY: I'm not sure what you mean.
    PTERA: We're supposed to evolve into a higher level of consciousness when we die. We're supposed to gain a greater understanding of the universe. All of our questions are supposed to be answered.

    Janeway is sympathetic to her fear, to her disappointment, but at no point does Janeway entertain her delusions about life and death. It's a wonderfully-written scene that reminds me of “Who Watches the Watchers” in its straightforward, empathetic but unapologetically-honest dialogue. A little boom interrupts them, and Torres reports that a vacuole has formed aboard the ship itself, depositing a new body in Engineering.

    Act 4 : **.5, 17%

    In Dimension X or whatever, Harry's presence has thrown the dying man into doubt about his future in the Next Emanation. He and his wife argue about his indecision.

    LORIA: Hatil, we know nothing about him, or why he's come here, or why he's spreading lies about the Next Emanation. All I know is, you can't throw away a lifetime of belief because of him. It doesn't make sense.

    Except, it actually does make sense. When your beliefs centre around scientifically-measurable ideas, they are subject to the scientific method. I'm looking at you, Bajor. These aliens believe that their afterlife revolves around a physical transformation, an assumption made in ignorance about exactly what the vacuoles are. True, all they have is the word of one alien, Harry, to cast doubt on this system. Harry's word shouldn't necessarily be believed outright—he may very well have some sort of agenda—but *doubt* is not only justified, it's a sign of intelligence. Harry is upset with himself about inadvertently interfering in this culture, but Hatil is quite serious in confronting the possibility that death is...the end, which is admirable.

    HATIL: My people have come to think of death as just another stage of our existence. There are some people who are even eager to die. If they feel depressed or lonely in this life, they simply move on to the next one.

    Yeah, that's exactly why suicide is considered sinful in so many religions; the only way to keep people from leaping to their divine reward is to remind them that it's supposed to be a reward for enduring life on earth—only god can will a person's time to die and so forth. Anyway, it turns out Hatil has suffered an accident which has made him a burden to his family, which has led to the family decision to terminate him. Harry can't conceal his disgust for this practice, even though, quite unlike Lwaxana Troi, he tries.

    Meanwhile, the Voyager is still collecting dead bodies; the warp core is attracting the vacuoles away from the asteroids, which is starting to destabilise the core itself. Janeway discovers that the corpses are releasing energy into the rings. Meanwhile, Kes has taken Bathsalts or whatever her name is to the mess hall, in an attempt to console her. Unlike Hatil, the confrontation with the fact that her beliefs are a lie are more cause for depression than doubt. Kes explains that the Ocampa believe in an afterlife, but like Enlightened species, their beliefs are spiritual—the Ocampa soul transcends the physical universe in some, undisclosed way. Beetroot or whatever her name is can't relate. Her people have always believed they know *exactly* what Heaven is. They have anthropomorphised the universe to such a degree that Heaven itself is just another physical existence. How tragically shallow.

    To help resolve the situation, Torres suggests trying to re-create the transporter accident by sending Petrock or whatever her name is back through a vacuole with a transponder that they can use to locate Harry. Torres has also created a stopgap to protect the warp core, and Bajoran Ja-Rule attempts the transport, but there's an accident of some sort and she ends up dying again right on the transporter pad. This time, the death is permanent, with no brain activity to speak of—okay, then. This is really rather dark—the young woman was diagnosed with cancer, but promised an eternity of happiness with her family, only to awaken in an alien place full of nothing but disappointment. She attempts to return to her old life, to at least find comfort in familiar surroundings, only to be killed again, but this time she died a terrified and suicidal mess.

    Act 5 : ***, 17%

    Back in Holland, the thanatologist and Harry argue about what to do next. Harry wants to examine the space coffin, but the aliens are worried about the ripples of doubt flowing through their culture, so they want to move Harry to a more secure location where they can examine him more thoroughly. Hatil, meanwhile, is wrapping himself in a death shroud, a ceremonial part of their death rites.

    KIM: So they make you wrap yourself in your own death shroud.
    HATIL: It's something we look forward to, actually. I remember when my father used this shroud, his father before him. The difference is, when my father put this on there was no doubt in his mind about where he was going.

    Hatil has considered just fleeing his family instead of going through with the ritual, and Harry seizes the opportunity to get himself back to the Voyager. He will swap places with Hatil so the latter can go into hiding and Harry can be sent back to the Next Emanation. He'll die of course, but Harry thinks it's possible the EMH will be able to revive him. Hatil points out that his revival is not a certainty, and Harry agrees but will go through with it anyways. It's okay to live without such comforting certainties about life and death.

    So they, go ahead with the swap—unconvincingly as Harry is about 60 lbs heavier than Hatil, but whatever, it's TV. The death ritual is completed, with the wife actually pressing the death button. And Harry dies.

    On the Voyager, there's some typical drama around the warp core being close to DOOM. Janeway reluctantly agrees to fly away, but right in the nick of time, Harry is vacuoled aboard. He's revived in Sickbay—try not to be so surprised.

    In the epilogue, Janeway orders Kim to take some time off duty to “reflect” on his experience. Mulgrew shepherds Wang through a touching little scene:

    JANEWAY: This may not make much sense to you now, a young man at the beginning of his career, but one of the things you'll learn as you move up the ranks and get a little older is that you wish you had more time in your youth to really absorb all the things that happened to you. It goes by so fast. It's so easy to become jaded, to treat the extraordinary like just another day at the office, but sometimes there are experiences which transcend all that. You've just had one, Mister Kim, and I want you to live with it for a little while. Write about it, if you feel like it. Paint. Express yourself in some fashion.

    I absolutely love this speech. How do non-believers like the Federation express themselves spiritually? Through art, through reflection, through discussion. Janeway also shares the information about that energy which goes into the rings, a sign that *something* happens to these people when they die which they can't explain, and a little healthy agnosticism is not a bad space to inhabit.

    Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%

    The execution of this episode is rather uneven. Much of the cinematography and dialogue is actually quite breathtaking, but then there are oddly slow and tech-heavy bits, as well as a slightly underwhelming performance from the central character. The other major flaw was in not making the stakes personal for Kim in a way which would have fleshed out his character. Much like early Bashir, the writers seem a bit stuck in the etchings of Harry Kim instead of his soul, ironically enough.

    That said, the way in which the message of the episode is conceived and delivered is brilliant. The parallel stories between Badminton or whatever and Hatil encapsulate the different manifestations of doubt, which are a real part of faith-based cultures, quite effectively—something sorely missing on DS9. The young woman, unable to reconcile her beliefs with a reality she is forced to confront, ends up dying tragically. The older man, in contrast, chooses to take the opportunity afforded him by this introduction of doubt and lead a new, more enlightened life instead of throwing it away to tradition. I like very much that it ends up being the older character, whom one would expect to hold the more stubborn and conservative beliefs, to be the one given a second chance at life.

    Then there's Harry. He spends the first act eager to learn as much about the species as possible, only to get shut down by Commander smug. Then he becomes a source of revelatory information *to* that very species about their own existence, one with potentially devastating consequences. We have to imagine Bethany or whatever her name is wouldn't be the only person to want to kill themselves on their homeworld. Mulgrew's performance at the end was fantastic, but I think what would have really bumped up the quality of the message would have been for the conversation to take place between Harry and Chakotay: Chakotay, being allowed to be “the religious guy” because of Hollywood guilt, was just as certain in his evaluation of the corpses as the aliens were in their afterlife. Both were proven wrong here, and I think it would have been wonderful for the two men to grapple with this issue together. Exploring spirituality is good—through art, through ritual, through contemplation, through philosophy, even through religion—but when one begins to let faith intrude on matters of knowledge, one makes the Universe smaller, less mysterious and less inviting a place to explore with whatever lifespan one is lucky enough to live.

    Final Score : ***

    I was an atheist asshole far before I heard of Star Trek, and a Trekhead long before I ever heard of Richard Dawkins. This does not stop me from being in love with Elliot.

    3 stars

    My opinion improved of this episode from its initial airing in 95

    I enjoyed how unique this episode felt and at times surreal. The ring system was beautiful. Enjoyed seeing the away team scene with Chakotay wanting to respect the remains and just make observations. The alien world Kim ends up was nicely Egyptian from the cenotaph to the garb to the shroud wrappings. Interesting an alien race sees an anomaly that litters their world is a gateway to the afterlife.

    Liked the ending where the episode didn’t just crap all over the idea of an afterlife by suggesting possibly the neural energy continues on in the radiation of the ring system offering a possibility of more

    Janeway steals the show in the last 2 minutes of the episode. Just remarkable. The first tear jerker in VOY for me.

    3 Stars!

    Those “aliens of the week” weren’t the brightest. Why could they not just accept that the asteroid was a graveyard when told about the bodies? That doesn’t ruin everything. I guess they just had to have their physical bodies in their heaven or no deal. Pretty weak episode. Like someone took mushrooms and got inspired but then just finished up the story 3 weeks later over the weekend instead.

    An A- on concept and effort. C+ on execution. I liked that they tackled the subject, and more on that below.

    Regarding warp speed:

    "Trek" just can't nail down how fast/far warp speed will take you. But ignoring all the wildly varying calculations from the previous series, "Voyager" should have nailed it down at premise. After all, the entire idea of the series is you're 70,000 light years from the Federation, and it will take about 75 years to get back.

    So without shortcuts, you're looking at journey where you clock about 933 light years per Earth year.

    So yeah, it was really stupid that they covered half a light year so quickly in this episodes. All Janeway had to do was say get us a safe distance away.

    +++

    I also read up above about how this was kind of early in the series to do an episode like this, and I agree.

    I don't know why they didn't do a lot more "Delta Quadrant building" and "Star Fleet / Marquis" integration episodes out the chute.

    They went to great pains in the pilot to build off the Marquis storylines from Next Gen and DS9, which I think was a good idea. Then they established decent backgrounds on the core characters and how/why each person fell on the Star Fleet / Marquis continuum.

    And then in Episode 2, it was already getting wrapped up. Most tension was already being resolved. The overriding concept of Season 1 should have been a messy integration.

    Episodes 2 and 3 should have been nothing but Star Fleet / Marquis storylines. Episode 2 could have been a Chakotay-test episode with a Marquis member attempting a real mutiny. Episode 3 could have been set on a dangerous planet where a landing party of Star Fleet and Marquis had to band together to fight for survival.

    As for Delta Quadrant building:

    In the pilot, we're introduced to the Kazon (where we learn they constitute numerous warring parties). We also get a Talaxian and an Ocompan. And then a few episodes in, Videeans (I actually liked them a lot).

    I think that was plenty to work with for most of Season 1 without throwing in a whole bunch of random one-off species. We have two new species for villains. Potentially new allies in the Talaxians. And well, nice to meet the Ocampans, but they seem to be isolated to one city on one planet.

    And I can buy the Kazon factions as viable threats to Voyager, even with their inferior technology, because Voyager has been crippled by the Caretaker. Just don't let her get repaired so fast, and the Kazon make for real trouble.

    And the Videeans were a fantastic concept. We should have seen more from them.

    I think each season should have had an overarching species (or two) that proved to be the main menace for that season. Given Voyager is trying to do straight shot home vs. roaming around in circles exploring and attending to diplomatic missions, etc., that would be have made a lot sense.

    They pass through the space of _______ (the Trabe, the Hirogen, etc.). Things go poorly. They have some encounters. We learn about this species. Voyager then leaves ______ space and then enters ______ space, maybe after a couple of one-off episodes.

    Instead, we got all these spacial rifts and time paradoxes and think pieces at first when they really should have been mining the Marquis and the outer rim Delta Quadrant species at first for most of the episodes (and looking harder for Lady Caretaker).

    All that said, I think "Voyager" is better than many fans give it credit for. Especially in hindsight when we seen what came afterward.

    @Yanks

    >Can anyone hear Picard talking like this? Relating a possible scientific release of energy to confirming a religious belief? I like it, she's her own self/Captain.

    In TNG 2x02 “Where Silence Has Lease” Data asks Picard "What is death", Picard replies with an almost religious answer, "Considering the marvelous complexity of the universe, its clockwork perfection, its balances of this against that, matter, energy, gravitation, time, dimension, I believe that our existence must be more than either of these philosophies. That what we are goes beyond Euclidean or other "practical" measuring systems, and that our existence is part of a reality beyond what we understand now as reality."

    @MartinB

    >The Klingons for one don't give a crap about the bodies after they die.

    Not unless you count Discovery as canon (which I don't).

    @TB

    >Harry basically breaks the prime directive by showing/telling a society that all their beliefs are nonsense and they just rot in a cave. It would have been better to show the society wide repercussions of that and how ridiculous it was that people were choosing to die for their blind faith.

    Agreed

    >Should Harry lie to them to avoid breaking the prime directive? Is lying to them about their religious beliefs moral?

    Usually he should lie due to the prime directive but I think he had interfered enough already just by being there. So like in TNG 3x04 "Who Watches the Watchers" where they accidentally contaminate the culture of a primitive society, Picard chose to reveal who he was.

    On rewatching, I bump this up to three stars.

    Rahul and other reviewers are right, there are so many conveniences. And Kim shows up on this other planet, and they’re all like “dead people? You saw dead people ??” That’s ridiculously on the nose.

    But this is Voyager’s first season, and aside from the original, all Treks has messy first seasons. And (many, MANY) wrinkles aside, it’s still a nifty high concept that I don’t recall from any other Trek.

    And of course, this is Harry Kim’s “let’s torture Harry” episode, and he ultimately filled the Miles O’Brien role.

    And of course, this was a primary example of Chuckles performing in the Magical American Indian role, with was horrible, and based on Paramount hiring a compete fraud, and while that’s a glaring blight on the show, it wasn’t exactly the show’s fault. Kind of was, but not exactly.

    This could've been an interesting character episode but I don't think the show really got there. What does Kim think happens after you die? Does this experience change his perspective at all? The closing scene with him and Janeway touched on that aspect but the rest of the episode didn't even explore it, which is unfortunate, especially given how close he was to death before he was revived.

    "Emanations" was a frustrating episode. Here's a list of a few problems: (1) After the macabre opening, we get an all-in demonstration of Harry's sub-novice-level understanding of the Prime Directive. At some points it even reached a consummate 'Rosebud-is-the-sled level' of incompetent divulgence.

    Hatil: "You saw dead people there?"
    Harry: "Oh did I say dead people? I meant lead people....lead people". "You know, the kind that go with a model railroad".
    Hatil: "Uh oh, I think I have doubts about my whole belief system". (sniffle).
    Harry: "Please don't cry. Besides, It's not my place to criticize your vapid world view." ..."Oops, I mean your rapid world view....your rapid world view, You know the really quick kind of world view some people have. Especially if they're nice people, who like sleds...."

    (2) Although I really tried, I failed to make sense of Hatil's line about the shroud being in his family for 5 generations. How does the d____ed thing get recycled once you're locked into the pod? And what is it like to receive it? "Thanks family member, it's just what I wanted." Of course it's probably handed to you by the family attorney, since everybody else is already on the asteroid mummified in saran wrap. "Here you go sonny, you're next. By the way, that'll be $400.00."

    (3) While I never fully warmed up to the Patera character, what's up with her sudden accidental death by transporter? It was just awful, with Kes left there despondent. She had just shared tea and cinnamon sticks with the poor woman a few moments before. Now it's 'beam her out to the asteroid and make it snappy!' Such sensitivity! Excuse me, when's the next train to Cardassia?' I know that it's their belief system and all, but I think the writers missed an opportunity there. At the very least, Kes could have said "Captain, I can I say an Ocampan prayer for her first?"

    Seriously though, for all its problems, the episode held my interest and did have some better moments, even actually, some superlative ones, like Janeway's excellent and touching speech to the contemplative Harry, after his return. Let's savor what's extraordinary for once! Or so I take it to mean. Way to go Janeway!
    2.0 stars.

    With nu-Trek lowering the bar for what "bad Star Trek" looks like, "Voyager" episodes I'd dismissed years ago have started looking pretty great.

    I've noticed a lot of the comments above have also started being kinder to this episode. Like "Eye of the Needle" - my favorite "Voyager" episode, and IMO the best episode in season 1 - "Emanations" is a pleasantly hushed, sombre episode, and one with a great high concept.

    Jammer and others rightfully point out the flaws - forehead aliens, Kim hides in a coffin a bit too easily, the universal translators are deciphering alien languages way too quickly - but the premise is super cool in a Twilight Zone sort of way, and some of the character interactions are beautiful.

    What nobody's pointed out yet, however, is how Kim's "death scene" inverts the death rituals of the aliens. The aliens place their faith in their traditions, whilst Kim gets in the coffin and puts his faith in science, Starfleet and his compatriots. He clings to his belief that the sensors will pick him up, that Janeway won't have abandoned him, and that their medical science can resurrect him after death; a sort of Starfleet faith.

    "The aliens place their faith in their traditions, whilst Kim gets in the coffin and puts his faith in science, Starfleet and his compatriots."

    Faith for the aliens and Kim are not the same thing. For the aliens, faith would be belief without evidence. That's the case for most religious/supernatural/spiritual claims. You're supposed to believe it without evidence, or faith is itself supposed to be the evidence (basically if you believe hard enough that makes it true).

    In Kim's case, faith would be more like confidence, because it IS based on evidence. He knows their medical technology can revive him, that sensors can detect him, and that his compatriots would be looking for him. He's seen and experienced those things happening in the world. That's enough to justify the risk, but it's still a risk and his only real option.

    Science doesn't need faith because it's proven itself to be reliable, and it's self-correcting when it's wrong. If faith is just a synonym for confidence, ok I guess, but that's not usually how it's used, and I would argue that the aliens' faith/confidence is unjustified.

    Sure, but knowing that Voyager's sensors are able to detect humans, and having the faith that this truism holds true, is not the same thing as having faith in Voyager being present when you materialize, and being able to detect and revive you if you do.

    The former is an understanding that the scientific method has a certain track record. ie, a confidence in the scientific method.

    The latter is "faith" in the sense oft applied to religion. And that's what Kim turns too. Kim hopes that, like a God, Voyager is there, watching everything, and ready to pluck him out of the black.

    Two things stand out to me from this mediocre episode. I love Chakotay's insistence on the away team using visual observations rather than invasive tricorder scans on the bodies. His spirituality is a major part of his character and its used to good effect here. The other thing is the death of the alien woman. Ultimately the decision to try and send her back fails spectacularly. It's such a tragedy that the only thing they can do is transport her body back to the asteroid, essentially desecrated. It's notable to me that the technobabble solution DOESN'T work, that the characters are fallible. That didn't happen much in TOS and TNG.

    Come on GUYS doesn't e:eryone or anyone agree this had an ORIGINAL SCINFI PREMISE WITH ORIGINAL AND UNIQUE ALIENS and tje concepts ofnthe rings with the subspace vacuous and a new element..hownjs this not wonderfully fresh and imaginative?? Three and. Ahalf stars at least right?? Way better than ex post facto and time and again..

    It's a strange episode to be sure. Sorry that the writers kept Neelix out of it, but I can imagine he would have gotten very emotional. We know that he has a full survivor's guilt complex from Jetrel and his strong netherworld issues emerge later in the series.

    As is so often the case with Trek, I'll check up on a guest star whose performance I think was strong and find they have a wealth of acting credits. In this case, it's Jerry Hardin and Jeffrey Alan Chandler.

    Hardin, who plays Dr. Neria in this episode, had a career that ran from 1958 to 2014 and has 167 entries on IMDB. He played a recurring character on The X-Files in the 90s. He's 93 and lives in Dallas.

    As to Chandler who plays Hatil, his list is a bit more modest at 43 entries for work from 1985 to 2003. He has a credit for Deep Space Nine for appearing in 1995's "Facets" as a Trill Guardian. He moved on to the next emanation or whatever lies beyond in 2001. He was only 57.

    The Trek franchise has rarely suffered for quality in its selection of guest stars.

    Jerry Hardin also played Radue, the obstinate Aldean, in TNG's "When the Bough Breaks", as well as Samuel Clemens in "Time's Arrow." Many people despise Clemens in that episode, and I'll admit the performance can get a bit grating, but that could be more from the writing and directing than Hardin's interpretation of the character.

    Jeffrey Jacucyk. Monday August 30th, AD 2021, 1.25pm (UTC-5) wrote :

    “Faith for the aliens and Kim are not the same thing. For the aliens, Faith would be belief without evidence. That’s the case for most religious/supernatural/spiritual claims. You’re supposed to believe it without evidence, or faith itself is supposed to be the evidence (basically if you believe hard enough that makes it true).”

    The claim that Jesus Christ bodily rose from death after being crucified, is not without evidence. It is not about “believing hard enough” to “make it true.”

    As those with an understanding that Jesus did appear bodily to His disciples and apostles after being previously being crucified, for Christians, there is enough evidence that His resurrection is real for us to know. Concerning the Vhnori beliefs in life after death, Ensign Kim said “the truth is, none of it is real.” This statement contrasts with the fact of Christ’s resurrection.

    The apostle Paul wrote: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”

    The “firstfruits” being a clear reference to the practice of the Israelites to bring from their harvest the firstfruits in a festival the day after the Sabbath after the Passover. This corresponded with God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt as His firstborn.

    As noted by a biblical scholar:

    “The offering unto God . . . commemorated Israel’s separation from the nations, as a firstfruits of redemption. [It] symbolically signified the consecration of Israel unto God as the first-born unto Him from the nations, the beginning of the world’s great harvest.” (S. H, Kellogg, Studies in Leviticus, 468).

    As also noted by David Schock:

    “That Christ would be called the “firstfruits” in 1 Corinthians 15:20 corresponds to this reality. He is the Son of God; not only in his divinity but in his humanity. His resurrection designates him the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 1:3-4; 8:29-30).”

    As Paul also noted in 1 Corinthians 15:

    “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

    Once, prior to His death, when Jesus cleared the temple in Jerusalem of the foreign money changers during Passover, the religious authorities wanted to know by what authority Jesus acted. Jesus responded with a prophecy:

    “But the Jewish leaders demanded,

    “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it. “

    “All right” Jesus replied,

    “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” ”

    Jesus accommodated their request (but not in the way they expected), when He spoke of His coming death (destroy this temple) and miraculous resurrection (“I will raise it up”). He was basically affirming His actions were from God. Jesus yielded to God’s plans, as per the Jewish Scriptures, not, to the “situation”.

    In the DS9 episode, Destiny, Dax told Sisko not to base his decisions on prophecies:

    DAX: Then it seems to me you have a choice. You can either make your own decisions or you can let these prophecies make them for you.

    However Christ made His decisions in line with God’s will, which also had been spoken of by prophets including Himself being mistreated and crucified. This yielding to God’s plans also included raising Himself up from the dead. As Jesus said concerning His life:

    “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

    The Hebrew translation for “command” in this sense is mitzvah, which is a duty to be performed in compliance to a commandment or direct order, from God.

    The religious leaders later took a course of action that included trying to get people to lie about Jesus.

    “A false witness tells lies.”

    Nicodemus, the Pharisee whom Jesus spoke to about the need of being born again to enter God’s kingdom, questioned his fellow Pharisees when they had wanted to “bring Jesus in by force” by the temple guards. (John 7:45) He appealed to the law as given by Moses:

    “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?”

    The leaders wanted to put Jesus, an innocent man, to death by decree:

    “Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side-
    Leaders whose decrees permit injustice?
    They gang up against the righteous
    And condemn the innocent to death.”

    When the gang of Judas Iscariot, the leading priests, Temple guards, and elders came to arrest Jesus, He said to them:

    “But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”

    After Jesus had been betrayed and was taken to the home of the high priest Caiaphas where He was judged, the claim that Jesus said He would destroy the temple and “re-build it” was brought up:

    “Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put Him to death. But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use any testimony. Finally, two men came forward who declared,

    “This man said,

    “I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.” ”

    Even though they could find many liars, they could not “use” them against Jesus who was a fellow Israelite. The leaders thought they would “catch” Jesus of a crime, by having more than one witness to what Jesus said, as per God’s instructions to Moses about evidence required to convict someone:

    “You must not convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of only one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, then both the accuser and accused must appear before the Lord by coming to the priests and judges in office at that time. The judges must investigate the case thoroughly. If the accuser has brought false charges against a fellow Israelite, you must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way you will purge the evil from among you. Then the rest of the people will hear about it and be afraid to do such an evil thing.”

    By law, as given by Moses, the sentence the leaders wanted to impose on Jesus, that is, death, would be imputed to the person if that person were to be found as a false accuser. The leaders thought they had witnesses who could both confirm the “fact” of Jesus’ guilt, and so not be culpable of sentencing an innocent man to death, as Moses ordered the people:

    “Be sure never to charge anyone falsely with evil. Never sentence an innocent or blameless person to death.”

    But Jesus had been speaking about His body as being the Temple of God, which would be raised after He had died. This testimony of the two adversarial witnesses, who did not believe in Jesus, is actually good evidence, that Jesus did actually say what He said about his body being raised. When Jesus had originally made the claim, the Jewish leaders were outraged.

    “ “What!” they exclaimed, “It has taken forty six years to build this Temple; and You can rebuild it in three days?”

    But when Jesus said “this Temple,” He meant His own body. After He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered He had said this, and they believed the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.”

    In the Star Trek:Voyager, called Parallex, the idea of cause and effect is reversed:

    PARIS: … we picked up the distress call before she sent the hail. How could we have been seeing a reflection of something we hadn't even done yet? Am I making any sense here?
    JANEWAY: No, but that's okay. One of the more difficult concepts to grasp in temporal mechanics is that sometimes effect can precede cause. A reaction can be observed before the action which initiated it.

    Some have argued that the testimony of the apostles of Christ that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead, was an effect not based on a real historical event that happened prior (something which had not been done) to cause such a testimony, that is, it was invented.

    Thomas Bayes (born AD 1701, died AD 1761) was an English Presbyterian minister and statistician, who wrote an essay concerning probability, which ideas have been used in modern times, such as to calculate the likelihood of an event happening (epistemic confidence) for example, in risk assessments. His formulation allowed problems concerning the probability of certain events occurring , given specific conditions, to be solved. In AD 2018, the University of Edinburgh opened its informatics centre named after Bayes.

    Bayes defined probability of an event as "the ratio between the value at which an expectation depending on the happening of the event ought to be computed, and the value of the thing expected upon its happening."

    In a Master Thesis, The Resurrection of Christ: A Bayesian Analysis of Explanatory Hypothesis. submitted by Nicola Jérôme Liebi, Nicola set out to determine “under which circumstances a supernatural hypothesis should be preferred over the most probable natural hypothesis to explain a set of historical facts.”

    The set of three historical facts are “1. Jesus Christ died by crucifixion, 2. Various groups and individuals claimed that He appeared to them as the risen Christ and 3. The former persecutor of the church Saul of Tarsus experienced a radical change after encountering Jesus in the road to Damascus.”

    Using Baysian theorem, a methodology allowing to take into account different worldviews and beliefs, such as whether God exists and supernatural events are real, rather than using “inference to the best explanation,” Leibi found that the conclusion that “Jesus was raised bodily after His death” is “the best explanation for the three historical facts” forementioned.
    Reference: The Resurrection of Christ: A Bayesian Analysis of Explanatory Hypothesis. submitted by Nicola Jérôme Liebi, THES 689-D91, Liberty University School of Divinity, December 20, AD 2019

    So the apostles and Paul reacted in a way after observing bodily the risen Jesus Christ. The action of the risen Christ initiated their reactions. Their reactions contradict the statement that Christ rose bodily never happened. I interpret their reactions as real evidence that they were not false witnesses telling lies, saying Jesus rose from the dead.

    @Booming: Sat, Apr 22, 2023, 2:47am (UTC -5) "Evidence"

    As far as legal concerns, "evidence" is a description of information being given by a witness as a testament:

    What is a witness?
    A witness is a person who has information which may be useful in a case being heard in a Court. This information is called evidence. Giving evidence is sometimes called testifying.

    Ref: https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/going-to-court/i-am-a-witness#whatis

    The risen Christ appeared to multiple people at multiple times, over a period of time. Such people gave testimony to this. Such testimony is evidence.

    Paul, who became an apostle after meeting Christ alive, met with Peter and James the brother of Jesus three years later in Jerusalem after meeting Christ. Paul stated clearly he did not receive the Gospel of the risen Christ from another apostle. Fourteen years later he returned to Jerusalem and again met with Peter , James and also John. Paul's understanding that Christ rose from the dead corroborated with Peter, James and Johns' witness that Christ was alive. As Paul noted to those believers in Corinth:

    "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

    If Paul stated that Christ was not in fact alive, the apostles such as John and Peter would have corrected him, especially since he was once a great persecutor of those who stated Christ had risen. James, the brother of Christ is one example of such a witness who met his own brother after his brother had been crucified, that, if he knew that Christ did not actually rise bodily from death, could have easily given up such a "wrong" belief and testimony. He did not give up his testimony and was killed by authorities.

    Peter and the apostles did see, with their own eyes, and hear, with their own ears, the sufferings and then, the risen Christ.

    In the first letter, Peter stated emphatically, in a statement of his “qualification” as an elder, that he was a “witness of the sufferings of Christ.”

    Peter saw what happened to Christ. We read early in the book of Acts that the leaders in the temple were extremely upset that Peter and John were:

    “teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead.”

    Even though the leaders wanted to silence Peter and John, Peter said he could not be silent about the truth of the risen Lord Jesus, again, whom the apostles had seen and heard.

    Peter was not passing on fake news or misinformation he or the other disciples had made up. He was not passing on a dream or hallucination he had experienced. The occurrence of meeting with the risen Christ in person, by sensing Him through the physical senses of sight and sound, was real history. He said:

    “We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”

    Jesus had told his disciples, including Peter and John:

    “You are witnesses of all these things.”

    The disciples did issue news as witnesses to what they saw happen to Christ.

    “A truthful witness saves lives, but he who speaks lies is treacherous.”

    In an article about being able to recognise lies, Are some of us destined to be dumb and is there anything we can do about it?, Antony Funnell wrote:

    “For the University of Warwick's Quassim Cassam, it's important to understand the nature of mistruth. His arguments draw on the work of US philosopher Harry Frankfurt whose famous 1970s theory of "bullshit" focused on the nature of deception.

    Mr Frankfurt's theory was that the truth-teller and the liar share a common trait – both actually care about the truth. The former wants to say things that are true, while the latter wants to say something which, while untrue, is still shaped by the apprehension of what is true. But that's not the case with someone who bullshits, says Professor Cassam.

    "The bullshitter, in Frankfurt's sense, is someone who is indifferent to whether what he says is true or false — he just doesn't care."

    Professor Cassam describes the attitude that underpins bullshitting as "epistemic insouciance" – a "couldn't care less" approach to facts.”

    Ref: Antony Funnell, Are some of us destined to be dumb and is there anything we can do about it? ABC Radio National, Future Tense, COVID Blog, first posted 23rd December, AD 2021

    The disciples had been rebuked by Jesus because, as reported by Luke, not that they did not care less, but they did not believe in the facts, and it took Jesus’ personal presence to change their minds about the facts. That is, He was alive physically, and death by crucifixion by the Romans did not finish Him off.

    Peter and John were not being treacherous in declaring they saw Christ alive after He had died.

    @Andrew Eastman
    First of all, anything in the gospls was written down decades later by people who never met the persons who allegedly saw something. We actually even don't know anything about the people who wrote the four gospels who were just given certain names much later. Which means we have second hand accounts from persons we know nothing about who wrote stories down at an unknown point in history, but definitely several decades after the incident.
    That is not evidence. It could barely be more removed from anything a court or science would accept as evidence. It's 2000 year old hearsay.
    Same goes for most of the other books of the bible and what Paul of Tarsus wrote down... lots of people think that god or gods spoke to them.
    Here look
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/god-told-me-to-invade-iraq-bush-told-advisers-1.1183264

    @Booming Mon, Apr 24, 2023, 6:26am (UTC -5)

    There is a chain of events concerning Jewish people who heard the Gospel going back to very early days of believers in Christ.

    Timothy, whom Paul wrote letters to, was born to a Jewish lady, Eunice, who would have taught her son Timothy the Jewish prophets’ writings as the word of God, which pointed to the coming of the Messiah, that is the Christ.

    It has been deduced of Eunice: “The mother of Timothy was a pious Hebrewess, and regarded it as one of the duties of her religion to train her son in the careful knowledge of the word of God.”

    Ref: Albert Barnes, ‘The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy- Chapter 3- Verse 15 Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)

    Eunice, whom Paul said had the same faith as Timothy, accepted that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. The words of the Jewish prophets pointed to this fact concerning who the Messiah would be. Paul spoke of the generational faith that had been passed on in Timothy’s family:

    “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”

    Paul the Jewish apostle of Jesus Christ, who had been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” signed off on a letter he wrote to the believers in Christ in Thessalonica:

    “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.”


    In the same letter, Paul had warned the believers in Thessalonica against those who purport to write on his behalf teaching false doctrine about Jesus Christ. He wrote to them:

    “Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have has a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us.”

    This is the same Paul who had met with Peter, James and John in Jerusalem. He would have known if these apostles taught incorrect teachings. In fact, Paul even rebuked Peter at one stage in the early gatherings of believers when Peter acted not in line with Christ's teachings. Peter also referenced Paul in a letter:

    "just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures."

    Paul had passed on correct teaching about the Christ, and warned against false teaching. that distorted the message of the risen Christ. There is still false teaching about Jesus Christ today, with people who make claims about Christ that are incorrect, thereby teaching a different Christ.

    Some such teachings come from giving credence to so called gospels that are separate to gospels according to those we have in recorded in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the teachings of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

    In the Star Trek:Enterprise episode The Forge, the question of the reliability of the historicity of a person’s teachings is raised when T’Pol the Vulcan has a chat in a Vulcan desert, known as the Forge, with Captain Archer, about whether to believe the things the famous Vulcan teacher, Surak, (who lived 1800 years prior) did do or not, as well as his teachings.

    Surak was introduced in the original series of Star Trek in an episode known as The Savage Curtain, in which Spock pays the highest compliment concerning Surak to Captain Kirk, after he meets an image of Surak:

    SURAK: I am whom I appear to be.
    SPOCK: Surak.
    KIRK: Who?
    SPOCK: The greatest of all who ever lived on our planet, Captain. The father of all we became.

    Spock goes on to say he deeply respects what Surak has accomplished, and that Surak holds much “meaning” for Vulcans, being revered as the “father” of their civilisation.

    (In the Enterprise episode, The Forge, Surak is described by the Vulcan administrator, V’Las, as “the most important Vulcan who ever lived.”)

    Archer says he is familiar with the idea of questioning the veracity of teachings, without specifying how he is familiar, but possibly, as he is from Earth, he meant he is aware of how some people do not believe the historicity of the things the person Jesus Christ did and said, including His death on the cross and His physical resurrection:

    T'POL: This site is called Gateway, where Surak supposedly began his journey into the Forge.
    ARCHER: You keep saying supposedly. You don't believe Surak did the things they said he did?
    T'POL: He brought logic to Vulcan, in an age we call the Time of Awakening, but his writings from that period no longer exist.
    ARCHER: There must be some record of it.
    T'POL: Over the centuries, his followers made copies of his teachings.
    ARCHER: Let me guess. With the originals lost, whatever's left is open to interpretation.
    T'POL: You find this amusing?
    ARCHER: I find it familiar.

    As Jammer wrote of this scene:

    “the story draws a parallel between Vulcan history and human history, and notes how these stories of biblical scope cannot be agreed upon because the records have been lost and transmuted over thousands of years.”

    The events of Jesus’ life, and purpose of His ministry, have not been lost, We do not need special , extra or secret teachings about Christ to fill us in about Him.

    The idea of the words being lost or transmuted was raised in the show AD 2020 television series, The Unexplained, hosted by the actor who played Captain Kirk, in Star Trek, William Shatner. In an opening statement to raise curiosity William stated:

    “Around the world, the bible is the single most important document in human history. Its contents are believed to be authoritative, infallible, and unquestionable – the word of God. But is it possible that the bible we’ve been reading for thousands of years, has been compromised by everything from flawed translations to conflicting religious agendas? Well, that is what we’ll try and find out...”

    Further into the program, William promotes the idea that we cannot trust the stories of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. For example, the show goes on to make claims, such as “Jesus was born in Nazareth”, with the erroneous reasoning belief that He was called, Jesus of Nazareth, that means He was born there.

    William stated in the show:

    “But given the fact that these stories have been continually subjected to centuries of editing, translation and re-interpretation, just who was the original author, and how close are today’s versions to the original texts?”

    In the Tanakh, the ancient Jewish history of the Israelites was passed on. But such a history was not passed on in other cultures, such as the Egyptians, as we read in the book of Exodus about a new Egyptian ruler who did not know of Joseph, the same Joseph who was a son of Jacob (Israel), who lived in and held responsibility in Egypt as a non Egyptian:
    “Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done.”

    In a later episode, of Star Trek:Enterprise, Surak’s original teachings are identified as having been stored in an artefact, a rock like monument, known as the Kir’Shara:

    T'PAU: The Kir'Shara contains Surak's original writings. It's the only surviving record of his true teachings.

    Sam Harris, the American philosopher (born 9th April, AD 1967) once said, in an attempt to discredit the gospels, that is true teachings of Christ, recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which attest to a risen Christ:

    “the miracle stories that “cash out” Christianity, are miracle stories set in the context of the pre scientific context of the first century Roman empire, attested to by copies of copies of ancient Greek manuscripts that have thousands of discrepancies.”

    Also in an attempt to discredit the writings which point to Christ in the Scriptures known as the Bible, without mentioning the acts of Jesus Christ to help, heal and forgive, Mark Twain once wrote:

    “This Bible is built mainly out of the fragments of older Bibles that had their day and crumbled to ruin. So it noticeably lacks in originality, necessarily. Its three or four most imposing and impressive events all happened in earlier Bibles; all its best precepts and rules of conduct came also from those Bibles.”

    The apostles of Jesus Christ were familiar with the things Jesus Christ did and His true teachings, as they not only met Christ, but interacted with and were intimate with His teachings and had first-hand experience of His actions through His ministry. They were able to attest to His actions and appearance after His crucifixion.

    In episode 2 of Season 4 of Star Trek:Deep Space Nine, Captain Sisko gives his son, who aspires to be a writer some advice:

    SISKO: Well, I'm no writer, but if I were, it seems to me I'd want to poke my head up once in a while and take a look around, see what's going on. It's life, Jake. You can miss it if you don't open your eyes.

    The apostles had their eyes open, with Matthew and John being apostles who lived with Jesus, being familiar with His life, writing down what they had seen, such as miracles Jesus’ performed. John and Mathew had both “poked their head up.”

    Sam Harris believed that the so called “miracles” of Sathya Sai Baba were “on par” with the miracles of Jesus Christ, saying that Sai Baba did what Jesus did. A close look at this will see it is false. The so called resurrection of Walter Cowan, a follower of Sai Baba, was not true, with no doctor verifying that Walter Cowan had passed away before the so called “miracle” of Sai Baba bringing Walter back to life. A doctor at the Lady Willingdon nursing home, Dr. B. Krishna Rau, reported “Mr Walter Cowan was admitted with congestive cardiac failure and in a very bad condition. He had NOT at any time died in the medical terminology.” Whereas Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus four days after Lazarus had been dead and placed in a tomb, was testified by many, and one of the reasons people sought to put Jesus to death, but also Lazarus:

    “So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.”

    COUNTESS: Oh Doctor, I'm quite convinced that you're perfectly mad.
    DOCTOR: Only Nor-norwest. Nobody's perfect. If you think I'm mad because I say I met Shakespeare, where do you think your precious Count got that?

    Ref: The City of Death, (Doctor Who episode) © BBC, written by David Fisher, Douglas Adams and Graham Williams, starring Tom Baker as The Doctor, Catherine Schell as the Countess, first aired 20th October, AD 1979

    Where indeed did we get “that”? That is, the Gospel, which includes the story and John the apostle’s account of Jesus raising Lazarus His friend from the dead, which comes from those that met Christ, which seem like a “strange idea” to some?

    Was it just some random message scribbled down on a papyrus scroll or via a stylus and wax tablet by people who were mad? Did the apostles “make it up” to deceive others? Were the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ as written in the four New Testament Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, lost and then transmuted, as Jammer describes, over thousands of years?

    The disciples were eye witnesses to Christ. They met with Him regularly in person. It was not a fleeting meeting, or just a greeting. They lived with Him and interacted with Him for three years before He was crucified. They saw, ate with, spoke and listened to Christ after He had risen from the dead. They passed this Good News on to others in person.

    The records were not lost.

    Tertullian wrote in AD 197 concerning the Gospel- “the rule of truth”:

    “the Rule of Truth is that which comes from Christ, handed down through those who accompanied Him.”

    John the apostle testified to the origin of Jesus’ words or testimony:

    “The one who comes from above is above all... He testifies to what He has seen and heard, but no one accepts His testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. “

    As the “oracles of God” had been entrusted to the Jewish people, Paul made it specifically clear God has entrusted the Gospel, the victorious tidings of Christ victory over sin and death to the apostles, to be preached to both Jews and non Jews:

    “I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised.”

    SPOCK: Specify. Point of origin.

    The gospel of Christ had been foretold by the Jewish prophets, and fulfilled in the man Jesus Christ who appeared in Israel and Judah. He is the message and the “point of origin.” The Gospel was passed on to the apostles to faithfully share.

    Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth that he passed instruction on he received directly and originally from the Lord concerning remembering the Lord’s death in partaking in the Lord’s supper through the “breaking of bread and drinking the cup”:

    “For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord Himself...”

    In the television show mentioned, Mysteries of the Bible, from the series The Unexplained, the writers tried to interpret Jesus’ real identity by crediting the Gnostics teaching, such as the so called Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary. William Shatner calls such Gnostic teachings as “secret teachings, directly from Jesus Himself, passed down through His closest followers, and potentially giving us a first hand account of Jesus life and deeds.”
    However the ideas of the Gnostics directly contradicted truths of the account of Jesus’ life, such as stating that Jesus was not physically crucified, and so did not die on the cross. As the 2nd century Christian teacher Irenaeus wrote concerning the Gnostic teacher called Basilides who erroneously believed concerning Christ:

    “He did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that the latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and standing by laughed at them.”

    Such a belief is clearly not supported by the accounts of the four Gospel writers, as well as the apostle Paul, who was entrusted with the Gospel. Both cannot be correct and historically accurate. The early church was founded by Christ and the apostles, who clearly taught that suffering, physical death and resurrection of Jesus Himself, were facts and not made up stories.

    Paul passed on events that happened to the Lord on the night Jesus had been betrayed. Paul had met physically the apostles, James, Peter and John in Jerusalem. These apostles had been with Jesus on the night He celebrated Passover, the night He had been betrayed. They did perceive the grace that Paul had experienced.

    As the message (the gospel, meaning “good news”) circulated, the names associated with the authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, became synonymous with every titled manuscript of the four New Testament Gospels.

    Unlike the idea of the fictional Kir’Shara being the only deposit of the “core beliefs” and true teachings of the teacher, there were many copies made of the New Testament Gospels which had circulated widely by the end of the first century.

    The New Testament Gospels circulated abroad, and were not “stationed” in one place. As Timothy Paul Jones Ed.D, has pointed out, “no matter what part of the world in which it was used, each Gospel is connected to the same author.” Timothy also pointed out it would have been “difficult to ascribe false names to the Gospels without someone protesting.”

    Ref: Timothy Paul Jones Ed.D, The Gospels: “Lost”& Found, Rose Publishing, AD 2007, Bristol Works Inc.

    Some would claim that the Gospel writers Mathew and John, who were both apostles of Jesus had gospels names after them as they were written “more than one generation removed from the events they describe”.

    The early church of believers in Christ did have belief in the testimony of the apostles, which they had recorded, Mathew and John who lived after Christ had been crucified and risen; and in the case of Luke an historian who knew Paul, and Paul who knew Peter and John who had lived with Jesus during Jesus’ ministry; in the case of Mark who knew Peter in person.
    The testimony of apostles during the “apostolic period” was not more than one generation after the events of Jesus’ life and ministry.

    In a summary, in a video called “How can we trust the Canon created by the early Church?” Dr D.A. Carson, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, stated:

    “Well first of all, I don’t accept that the church fathers created the Canon....As the message (the gospel, meaning “good news”) circulated, the names associated with the authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, became synonymous with every titled manuscript of the four New Testament Gospels.
    It wasn’t as if the church fathers were going around asking “Shall we create a bunch of authoritative documents and call them the canon? Rather. They were asking “Granted that God has given us certain materials, materials that we all recognise, what is the limit of those materials?”
    And they developed certain criteria. Those criteria were fundamentally, three. The first, was “Is the material apostolic?” By that they didn’t necessarily mean they had to be written by an apostle, one of those first designated by Jesus, but it either had to be written by an apostle or be associated with an apostle, in some sense, within a full generation. So, Mark’s gospel for example was known to be connected with Peter. Luke was known to be connected with Paul. And so forth. But they were trying to preserve the central place of the first witnesses who were in living contact with Jesus Himself, rather than allowing a long succession of later narratives to come on board.

    So when you start dealing with the gospel of Peter, this sort of thing- a second century document without any living connection with Peter, long beyond the time of the apostolic period- one of the reasons it’s not accepted is because it doesn’t meet the first criteria.

    And then, second, the question was always raised “Has this always been universally recognised throughout the church?” That is to say, is it just some sort of local thing that’s been built up by some sort of aberrant group in Egypt let’s say , or in Babylon. Or is it instead something that is massively accepted by the whole church, and you have to recognise that sometimes some documents took a little longer to be accepted in other places, they recognise that too, but that was an important criterion too, so it was not just a parochial judgment.

    And then third, they wanted to then ask, “Is this in line with the gospel we have understood, with what has already been passed down in the documents that are already accepted, in the teachings that the first apostles recognised. Is this something that is in line with that, or is it different?”

    Ref: Dr D.A. Carson, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School “How can we trust the Canon created by the early Church?”
    http://ehrmanproject.com/


    The original message has gone out, and the response has been multiplied, with billions of people responding over the thousands of years since. One month before The City of Death episode of Doctor Who was first aired, Sting sung:

    “Walked out this morning
    Don’t believe what I saw
    A hundred billion bottles
    Washed up on the shore.”

    Ref: The Police, writer Sting, Message in a Bottle single, Label A & M, released 21st September, AD 1979.

    In the song Message in a Bottle, Sting was singing, in a metaphor for a cry from loneliness, about getting a response of “a hundred billion bottles” on a deserted, lonely island, (point of origin) after sending out an SOS message in a single bottle. If a person finds on a beach, a bottle with a message in it, the person may ask the questions, “What does the message say?”, “Who wrote this?”, “Where is it from?” and “How old is it?” or “Why did they write it?”

    Christ’s message has gone out, but not from just one person hoping for a response. Paul wrote that those who turn to the Lord in response to this message find freedom in the Spirit of the Lord, which the words of Moses could not and cannot bring.

    Clement 1, (born circa AD 35, died AD 99) who was a first century bishop of Rome, and had known the apostle Peter, wrote concerning whom the message of the Good News was from, in his extant letter to the church at Corinth (this letter, known as 1 Clement or the First Epistle of Clement, apart from the New Testament, is considered the earliest authentic Christian document) :

    “The Apostles have preached to us from the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ from God.
    Christ therefore was sent by God, the apostles by Christ, so both were orderly sent, according to the will of God.
    For having received their command, and being thoroughly assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and convinced by the word of God, with the fullness of the Holy Spirit, they went abroad, publishing , That the kingdom of God was at hand.”

    Tertullian, (full name Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, c. AD 155 – c. AD 240), who was an early Latin Christian writer and who lived in the Roman province of Africa, wrote about the apostles who came before the first early bishops and who ordained the bishops, passing on the Good News directly:

    “For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed."

    Papias, another early church bishop also wrote that the message was from those who personally knew the Lord, and were sent by Him. These were the apostles.

    “For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, anyone who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings,--what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples.”

    There were certain criteria of who was an apostle. Not just anybody could be an apostle. Just as in the days of the temple service, not just anybody could minister at the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. There was a careful record of those who could qualify as workers at the temple, as we read:

    “These were the descendants of Levi by clans, the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name. Each had to be twenty years old or older to qualify for service in the house of the LORD.”

    The apostles were not apostles because of being born in a particular family clan, but were with the Lord Jesus, and chosen by the Lord Jesus, during His ministry. (the apostle Paul had been selected personally by Christ, after Christ’s resurrection, to spread the message to Gentiles)

    Papias, lived from AD 70- AD 163, and was the bishop of Heiropolis (modern day Pamukkale, Turkey). Papias was a friend of Polycarp who was a “hearer of John” (ear-witness) - the disciple close to the Lord Jesus. This excerpt from Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord is quoted by Eusebius. Papias also referred to the apostle John, as the “Elder”, when he wrote:

    “The Elder used to say: Mark, in capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he recalled from memory- though not in ordered form- of the things either said or done by the Lord.”

    Concerning Matthew, Papias wrote:

    “Therefore Matthew put the logia in an ordered arrangement in the Hebrew language.”

    Clayton Jefford, the author of Reading the Apostolic Fathers, wrote concerning Papias:

    “It is clear from both Irenaeus and Eusebius, for example, that Papias was revered as an authoritative witness to the teachings of the apostle John. The early church valued such historical testimony about its roots, and the testimony of individual leaders was greatly prized.”

    Ref: Clayton Jefford, the author of Reading the Apostolic Fathers, p 66, Baker Academic, AD 2012.

    The early church did value eye witness reports, hence for the possible reason that Mark in his gospel records:

    “A passerby named Simon who was from Cyrene was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers force him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus).”

    Cyrene (on the coast of modern Libya) was the place of Jewish community in the first century. Mark may have named the sons of Simon (not his father) as possibly his intended readers of his account in the early church were familiar with the persons Alexander and Rufus, who could have verified the account of their father carrying the cross of Jesus. Paul sent a greeting to a man called Rufus to the church in Rome:

    “Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.”

    If this Rufus Paul mentioned is the same Rufus Mark mentioned in his gospel, it is a pointer to the gospel of Mark being written prior to the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in AD 70.

    In about 180 AD, Iraneaus the Bishop of Lugdunum, in Gaul (modern Lyons in France) wrote:

    “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and laying the foundation of the church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also did hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”

    After AD 244, the scholar Origen wrote:

    “Among the four gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language.”

    Eusebius went on to write himself:

    “Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and then he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue (Aramaic) so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote”

    These are the fish that John West rejected....

    Serpion of Antoich in the late second century AD is attributed with commenting on rejecting those written accounts that do not have their basis originally from the apostles:

    “We brothers and sisters receive Peter and the rest of the apostles as we would receive Christ Himself. But those writings that are falsely ascribed with their names, we carefully reject, knowing that no such writings have ever been handed down to us.”

    In 2 John, John the apostle, warned believers against those who preached false things about Jesus Christ, such as those that “deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body.”

    Such a belief was promulgated by the Gnostics, such as a document found in the Nag Hammadi library in Egypt dated back the 4th century AD, which stated Jesus said:

    “I was not afflicted at all, yet I did not die in solid reality, but in what appears...”

    As the apostle Paul rebuked the Christians in Corinth about a false gospel being taught by false apostles which they “put up with.”:

    “You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.”

    The false apostles masqueraded as holding a position to give authoritative testimony. Paul wrote the truth about such liars:

    “They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.”

    So there is evidence that certain false teachers and apostles, who were not witnesses to the risen Lord, spoke and wrote false gospels and teachings of Jesus Christ. Such false apostles can be contrasted to the real ones.

    Timothy Paul Jones, Ed.D, has observed:

    “From the beginning, authoritative testimony about Jesus Christ had to have its source in eyewitnesses of the risen Lord.”

    At one point T’Pol, the science officer on the Enterprise, considers the followers of Syrran a radical faction, and that their beliefs have nothing to do with science. Speaking to Archer, who at that point had the katra of Surak the Vulcan teacher:

    T'POL: I may have had disagreements with the High Command, but that doesn't mean I'm going to join a radical faction.
    ARCHER: You signed up with Starfleet. A lot of Vulcans I've met consider us a radical faction. As a scientist, I just thought you might want to keep an open mind.
    T'POL: This has nothing to do with science!
    Later. T’Pol describes herself as a Syrrannite:

    T'POL: I am a Syrrannite. We don't lie.

    The apostles were not passing on an opinion, lie, or scientific data about Jesus Christ and His teaching, but gave authoritative eye witness testimony, to His person and actions and words. They had observed and heard Him, including after He had been raised from the dead. This contrasts the idea that the words concerning Christ in the gospels can mean anything to anyone, as the meaning is malleable – with such an idea of malleability of Scripture believed and spoken by Reza Aslan PhD, on the show Mysteries of the Bible.

    John the apostle, who warned believers about false teachers about Jesus, gives a correction at the end of the Gospel of John about the words of the risen Lord Jesus, when he spoke of a rumour that spread:

    Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” So the rumour spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
    John said he testified to the events and recorded them as an accurate account. John wrote that the rumours about himself spread during his life time, that is, while he was still alive, which points to the gospel written by him was recorded not generations, or hundreds of years after the events of Jesus’ ministry, works of miracles, including His resurrection from the dead.

    John is stating that his account can be trusted, as he was there. He corrected those who misinterpreted or changed the words and teaching of Jesus.

    In the Star Trek:Enterprise episode Daedalus, T’Pol commits herself to reading and knowing the teaching of Surak, the Vulcan “father of logic”. In this episode Trip talks to her about her new interest and priority, and T’Pol describes the Kir’Shara as “extremely interesting”. She is seen to be reading not the actual holographic projections of the words from the physical, triangular prism like structure of the Kir’Shara, but an electronic version in a tablet form. T’Pol does not doubt she is reading a true copy of the original. Later, Trip calls the Kir’Shara copy “that bible of yours.”

    The written gospels are a way of enabling us to know the memories of those who were with the Lord. The “gap” of their departure has been filled by what they wrote. We can read “it” in tablet form, projected form, or printed form.

    In AD 1859, a Dr Tischendorf, visited the convent of St Catherine on Mt Sinai. He discovered there an ancient manuscript of the complete New Testament in Greek, and 43 parchment leaves of the LXX (Septuagint) koine Greek translation of the Hebrew bible. Known now as the Sinaiticus Codex, it was hand written most likely in the fourth century AD, and is the oldest known extant manuscript copy of the New Testament.

    In the Doctor Who episode Cold Blood, the Doctor urges Amy to remember Rory, and recall through oral tradition (“tell me”) by making an effort in concentrating on him in her mind:

    DOCTOR: It's going to be hard, but you can do it, Amy. Tell me about Rory, eh? Fantastic Rory. Funny Rory. Gorgeous Rory. Amy, listen to me. Do exactly as I say. Amy, please. Keep concentrating. You can do this.
    AMY: I can't.
    DOCTOR: You can. You can do it. I can't help you unless you do. Come on. We can still save his memory. Come on, Amy. Please. Come on, Amy, come on. Amy, please. Don't let anything distract you. Remember Rory. Keep remembering. Rory's only alive in your memory. You must keep hold of him. Don't let anything distract you. Rory still lives in your mind.

    Ref: Cold Blood, (Doctor Who episode) © BBC, written by Chris Chibnall, starring Matt Smith as the Doctor, and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, first aired 29th May, AD 2010

    For Amy, losing Rory was a tragedy:

    “When the feelings gone and you can’t go on
    It’s tragedy
    When the morning cries and you don’t know why
    It’s hard to bear
    ...With a yearning that won’t let me be
    Down I go.”

    Ref: Tragedy, Bee Gees, written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, Label RSO, released February, AD 1979.

    In the episode the Lie of the Land, the Doctor urges Bill to concentrate on thoughts of her mum:

    DOCTOR: You have to keep thinking about your mum, the memory you created. Her voice, her smile. The Monks can't get near it. Fill your mind with it! Push it into every corner.

    In the Star Trek:Enterprise™ episode The Forgotten, Trip Tucker makes a recording for the parents of a co-worker, Jane, who was dear to him and who had been recently killed:

    TUCKER: Computer, begin recording. Mister and Mrs. Taylor, by the time you get this, Starfleet will have already told you about Jane. Since I worked so closely with her, I wanted to add my personal condolences. I have to confess, I've been putting off writing this for a while. I convinced myself that my duties on Enterprise took precedence. But the truth is I didn't want to face the fact that someone so young, with so much promise, could just be gone. But I'm facing it now, and I find myself thinking how important she was to me. She was a great engineer, and she was my friend. She won't be forgotten.

    In the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, after Spock had passed away after giving his life to save the many, McCoy in a conversation with Captain Kirk, equates memory with “being alive” (not dead).

    McCOY: He's really not dead. As long as we remember him.

    In a similar sentiment, Captain Sisko of Deep Space Nine, comments about the ongoing “existence” of people in other’s memories, after people they met on a planet were made “not to exist”:

    DAX: Everyone we met, they never existed.
    SISKO: They existed. As long as we remember them, they always will.

    The apostles still had the memory of Christ which was passed on to others. They had not forgotten. For the disciples who knew Jesus, Jesus was not lost. The tragedy of His death did not last. The gospels did say Jesus rose from the dead. The apostles did commit some of Jesus’ words and actions to writing.

    “But the truth is”... they did remember. They could do it, and they did do it. Today, like for the disciples, Jesus is not just “alive in our mind- as long as we remember Him” as a kind of inherited memory, or “something” we just concentrate on in our mind.

    Geza Vermes was a scholar at Oxford University, England, who was famous for his English translation of the Dead Sea scrolls. In his book, The Resurrection, (Doubleday), Geza tried to paint the idea that Jesus did not rise from the dead, and lived only on the memory of His followers. He tried to make us believe that the bodily resurrection of Jesus was mainly an idea promulgated by the apostle Paul. However, reading all the gospels and New Testament letters, it is clear it was not an idea from Paul’s mind. The message of the risen Christ was not peripheral to the message passed on by all the apostles, not just Paul. The risen Christ appeared to Peter (Cephas) and the other disciples while Paul was still a Pharisee who did not believe in Christ. The message of the risen Christ was before Paul (then called Saul) had even turned to Christ.


    While he was alive on earth, Peter always wanted to remind Christians, and keep on reminding them, that God had cleansed them from the guilt of their sins through Jesus Christ. He wanted them to continue to remember...

    “Therefore I will always remind you of these things- even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life. So I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.”

    Clement who was a bishop after Peter, also encouraged the Christians in Corinth to remember:

    “You know, beloved, you know full well, the Holy Scriptures, and having thoroughly searched the oracles of God: call them therefore to your remembrance.”

    This Clement may be the same Clement that Paul mentions in his letter to the Philippians, when he mentions two ladies- Euodia and Syntache, who:

    “worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers.”

    The Good News has been passed on down the years to now, through the hard work of others- both women and men.

    F.F. Bruce, a New Testament scholar noted-

    “The earliest propagators of Christianity welcomed the fullest examination of the credentials of their message.”

    Ref: F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? 6th edition (Downers Grove, IL, Intervarsity Press AS 2001) p 122.

    This message originally came from Christ, who performed miracles, “not in a corner” as Paul highlighted to the Jewish king Agrippa in a court in Caeserea.

    So we can love Christ now, even though we have never met Him in the flesh.
    The apostle Peter, who was a disciple and friend of Christ, wrote:

    “You love him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him: and rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.”

    The early disciples, who were the apostles, did make sense of whom they saw as the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was not being cruel to His disciples. He did not fool them by getting them to hope in nonsense or just an idea. He was not lying by deliberately trying to deceive, or making an “honest mistake.”

    The apostles were not passing on an opinion. They were passing on facts of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    Mark Day, a modern journalist, lamented that facts get mixed up with opinions in today’s media.
    He said:

    “Truth today is discretionary – it’s an emotional decision. It’s what you choose to believe. And that’s a worry... Even after the facts are checked, people don’t want to believe it.
    Increasingly, opinion is what carries the whole thing. When that happens, people are invited to choose to believe you or not to believe you because it’s an opinion – you can have your opinion and I’ll have my opinion. But the facts, they should be sacred, but the facts go into the same basket as opinions and, therefore, you choose your facts as well and that’s where the whole thing breaks down. You need opinions to provide context but you don’t often get past first base.”

    Ref: Mark Day , Q & A, The Misinformation Ecosystem, ABC TV, Monday 20th March, AD 2017

    Tertullian wrote against those who adulterated (faked) the truth of the Gospel with their own opinions:

    “Nor can one wonder if the ingenuity of the philosophers has perverted the Old Testament, for certain men of their stock have, by their own opinions, adulterated even our New Testament also, in order to bring it into accord with their philosophic doctrines; and have cut many oblique and intricate paths away from the one way.”

    In the Star Trek:Deep Space Nine episode called Second Skin, the character Major Kira, is not fooled by fake reports, knowing her memory of particular events in her life:

    ODO: If your memory and these prison records don't agree, then one of them must be wrong. Either the records or
    KIRA: My memory is fine. I know exactly where I was that week.
    ODO: After ten years?
    KIRA: I spent the entire winter with my Resistance group in the Dahkur Hills. We had no power cells for our phasers, very little food, and we spent most of our time in caves hiding from Cardassian sensor sweeps. Believe me, it was very memorable. These records are fake. The only question is, who faked them and why.

    In an episode of Class, a Doctor Who spin off series, the characters discuss a type of heaven, being a belief only, but as a belief having a strong hold in reality:
    QUILL: Metaphysics? Metaphysics aren't real, it's just thought.
    DOROTHEA: Thought, yes. Everything in the universe is conserved. Everything, even belief. Get millions of creatures believing something strongly enough for long enough, and even space responds. You are quite right that the Arn weren't exactly wild creatures, but parts of them were and they dream like us of what comes after.
    QUILL: I'm sorry, are you actually saying that we are stood in Arn heaven?
    DOROTHEA: Don't be ridiculous.
    QUILL: Good, because
    DOROTHEA: We're in the idea of it. The belief itself, making it so.

    Ref: Class episode, The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did, BBC, written by Patrick Ness, starring Pooy Quensel as Dorothea, Spencer Wilding as Quill, first aired 26th November, AD 2016

    The reality of Jesus coming, dying for our sins, and rising again, is not a made up collection of ideas, opinions or beliefs only, “making it so.”

    These events happened in time and relative dimension in space, and on Earth.

    The apostles passed Good News on, called the gospel, which does reach us today. The message I believe in today of Christ is the same one Timothy, Eunice and Lois believed in.

    BTW- 1979 was a good year for songs, as I remember :)

    Andrew, can you also do a post about how eyewitness accounts of Haile Selassie led to Rastafarianism?

    @Andrew Eastman
    Sorry, but this is a tl;dr situation. I also find church history incredibly boring. It's the reason that I never finished The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    And about Paul. He had quite a few opinions:"Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord." or "Slaves are to be under the control of their masters in all respects, giving them satisfaction, not talking back to them or stealing from them, but exhibiting complete good faith, so as to adorn the doctrine of God our savior in every way."

    This one I really like from Peter :"Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse."
    Important life lessons from Saint Peter.

    Let's keep in mind that the bible was put together by a bunch of men who lived in a slave based society that was also autocratic and extremely misogynistic.

    @ Booming

    You wrote on Mon, Apr 24, 2023, 6:26am (UTC -5)

    "First of all, anything in the gospls was written down decades later by people who never met the persons who allegedly saw something. We actually even don't know anything about the people who wrote the four gospels who were just given certain names much later. Which means we have second hand accounts."

    The point of my lengthy post was to show evidence showing people like Matthew, John and Peter were real people who met the real person Jesus Christ, and were the respective authors of gospels in relation to Matthew and John, and the epistles of Peter, and the epistles of John. As such, in relation to the topic of the beliefs in the after life, or rather after death, which the episode Emanations looked at, their testimony as eye witnesses of meeting with the person of a risen Christ is valid and relevant. Their testimony is not based on a "heavenly vision" or "God told me," and told me to tell you.

    You speak of Paul the apostle being a real person- the account of him meeting Peter and John in Jerusalem, contradict the statement that the writers, such as John the apostle, were "just given certain names much later."

    "The point of my lengthy post was to show evidence showing people like Matthew, John and Peter were real people who met the real person Jesus Christ, and were the respective authors of gospels in relation to Matthew and John, and the epistles of Peter, and the epistles of John."

    Biblical scholars, Christian and otherwise, broadly agree that the gospels were written in 70-110 AD and they are at best second-hand accounts. They could very well be real people but we don't know any of their actual names. If you think your treatises above can stand up to scrutiny, why haven't you gotten your Nobel Prize for proving Christianity is true?

    @Jeffrey Jakucyk
    Thu, Apr 27, 2023, 4:53pm (UTC -5)

    Concerning the Gospel writers you said " They could very well be real people but we don't know any of their actual names."

    The idea that apostles like John and Mathew were not witnesses to the risen Christ and also did not write about such experiences has already addressed with evidence from writers such as :

    Clement 1, - " The Apostles...went abroad publishing..."

    Serpion of Antioch- "knowing the writings which have been handed down to us" and rejecting those eponymous writings with names falsely attributed to the apostles they know were not from the apostles.

    Origen, - "that the first (Gospel) was written by Matthew."

    Eusebius- also on the Gospel of Matthew: "he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue (Aramaic)."

    Iraneaus the Bishop of Lugdunum,- wrote:

    “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their dialect"

    Papias wrote:

    “Therefore Matthew put the logia in an ordered arrangement in the Hebrew language.”

    As Papias also wrote concerning the "Lord's disciples...sayings... by John or by Matthew"
    that they as disciples were named persons "who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord. "

    (The names of such disciples are listed for us in Acts, - Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James, plus Matthias.) Acts 1:13

    Such disciples did not give second hand accounts. They were with Christ. Of course we do not have records of all the disciples of their evidence of their eye witness accounts- but the message of the risen Christ still comes to us today.

    So evidence John and Matthew wrote what they spoke. That is the Gospel verbally transmitted by eye witness' to the risen Lord Jesus, as well as written down by such eye witnesses.

    The apostle John it is recorded that as a disciple he saw Christ in person :

    "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory."- John 1:14 (ESV- 2016)

    Later in his Gospel John wrote concerning himself:

    "This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things..." John 21:24 (ESV- 2016)

    Again the message he wrote is the same as what he spoke, as recorded whilst he and Peter were before Annas the high priest and Caiaphas, that God raised Christ from the dead. Peter and John may not have been "Biblical scholars " in the modern sense of the phrase, but they were confident they were speaking the truth concerning them being witness to the risen Christ, as the leaders then saw:

    "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. "

    - Acts 4:13, (ESV, 2016)

    The apostle John died around AD 99.

    That is all good and well but in the Silmarillion it is written:"There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made."

    The Silmarillion never mentions the apostles. Therefore they didn't exist. That is evidence and also evident.

    I understand that the author /writer of The Silmarillion, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, knew what he wrote was myth, but also believed that the apostle Peter was not a myth, and also whom Peter wrote and spoke about was not a myth, but historic. As Peter wrote:

    "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." 2 Peter 1:16 (ESV, 2016)

    The Apostle Paul once met with John and Peter in Jerusalem. His message that Christ did not stay dead was the same as Peter and John. It corroborated:

    "I explained to them the message that I tell the non-Jewish people. I also met alone with those who were considered to be the leaders. I wanted to be sure we were in agreement." Galatians 2:2 (ERV, 2006)

    Paul did not invent a myth that just happened to be the same "myth" that John, Peter and James taught about a risen Christ. That did not collaborate a lie.

    Peter, John and James recognised Paul, who was once an "outsider" and persecutor, now taught the same thing:

    "In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers." Galatians 2:9 (NLT, 2009)

    The reality is, all the apostles taught a risen Christ, affirming they had met with Him.

    I do understand the difference between types of writing: legend, myth and and what is reported as history. Yes I do choose to believe the words of the apostle Peter as to the reality of a risen Christ, yes, from his testimony as a witness, which corroborates with other witnesses, but also as one whom I understand was willing to die for belief that he knew was not a lie- that Christ did rise again.

    AMY: Scared? Who’s scared. Geronimo.
    DOCTOR: Ha! Oi!

    (Asylum of the Daleks, BBC, written by Steven Moffat, first aired 1st September, AD 2012, starring Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond)

    DOCTOR: Ha, ha! Whoo hoo hoo! Ah! Geronimo!

    (The End of Time, part 2, BBC, written by Russell T. Davies, first aired 25th December, AD 2009, starring David Tennant as the Doctor)

    American army parachute troops training in the early 1940s in Georgia, USA, started to use the cry “Geronimo!” when they jumped out of planes.

    There are different stories of how and why they yelled this, but one is that the troops had watched a movie which was a western featuring the American Indian Geronimo, the night before an initial jump to test the parachutes. It was said that one private used the name Geronimo to prove to his mates that he would not be so scared so as to forget his own name .

    Geronimo (AD 1829-1909) was an Apache Indian, from the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, who was made famous by his legendary fighting abilities against Mexican and American troops.

    Geronimo was fuelled by “blood lust” of revenge after his first wife, three children and mother, had been killed by Mexican marauding troops on March 5th, AD 1851. One account has that Geronimo derived his name from hearing scared Mexican troops crying for St Jerome when Geronimo attacked.

    The stories of how Geronimo was used as an exclamation originally cannot be proved, but factually, it is sometimes used as an exclamation widely when someone makes a jump or leap of faith, trusting that they will survive.

    Jerome, the historical person, born AD 347 in Dalmatiae, was an historian and scholar living in the fourth century AD who knew the Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages. He translated the original gospels into the Latin language. (Matthew from Hebrew, and Mark, Luke and John from Greek) He was commissioned initially by Damasus 1 in AD 382 to revise the old Latin gospel texts from the best Greek texts. Jerome also translated the Jewish canon (39 books) into Latin, as part of his role to:

    “hand over to our hearers a translation of the Pentateuch in the Latin tongue from the Hebrew words.”

    Jerome, Prologue to Genesis (Translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb, AD 2006)

    Jerome called this Hebrew translation “iuxta Hebraeos” meaning “close to the Hebrews”. This translation is credited as being the first translation from the Hebrew Tanakh rather than from the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the original.

    His biblical translation became known as the Vulgate. (Greek for common Latin) Jerome wrote that what he translated from the Hebrew. He saw in the fulfilment of Jesus as the Christ, predicted by the prophetic word in the original Hebrew, as written down by the gospel writers. Jerome translated after Christ had fulfilled His ministry, which was also after the original Hebrew had been written. Jerome wrote:

    “We write after His passion and resurrection, not so much prophecy as history. For in the one are told what things we heard, on the other what were seen.”

    Jerome, Prologue to Genesis.

    Andrew, we get it. You are one of those. Believe whatever you want, but don't trick yourself into believing that any of this is actually proven.

    @Booming
    Fri, Apr 28, 2023, 8:03am (UTC -5)

    Booming, of course I can never prove Jesus rose from the dead, but that does not mean I have been tricked, which implies a level of believing a deception. Nor does a lack of empirical proof mean that He did not rise from the dead. You have certain beliefs about Jesus, as I do. You come to those beliefs from the data presented to you. From the data presented to me, I believe He was raised. This data I do consider as evidence. Most people I know want clarity and understanding of truth. There is a truth about Jesus, including His identity. I interpret the data differently to you.

    In the Star Trek:Enterprise episode, Cold Front, Captain Archer is asked if he follows any specific faith:

    SONSORRA: I understand Vulcans are a deeply spiritual people.
    T'POL: Our beliefs are based on logic and the pursuit of clarity.
    SONSORRA: Do you follow a particular faith, Captain?
    ARCHER: I guess you could say I try to keep an open mind.

    In the same episode T’Pol the Vulcan made a comment about having an “open mind”:

    TUCKER: I thought you scientists were supposed to keep an open mind.
    T'POL: There's a difference between keeping an open mind and believing something because you want it to be true.
    TUCKER: What the hell's that supposed to mean?

    Ironically, using an "open mind", my "spiritual" belief about a risen Christ, comes from what happened to the body of Christ. I read the Gospels not from a basis of "wanting it to be true" , but rather being convinced from the data, it to be true.

    @Andrew Eastman
    "Booming, of course I can never prove Jesus rose from the dead, ... but rather being convinced from the data, it to be true."
    The problem is that the data aka the bible is not proof of anything.
    And that is the difference between you and me. There is a book and people told you that the stories in this book are true and you believed that. Based on those unverifiable stories and the morals they imply or sometimes demand you chose to follow a certain moral system. A system constructed more than 2000 years ago with all the shortcomings one would expect in such an ancient moral code. That is irrational. I base my worldview on empirical results and reason. That might be less comfortable but it is certainly far more logical.

    "Nor does a lack of empirical proof mean that He did not rise from the dead. You have certain beliefs about Jesus, as I do."
    Of course it is possible that it happened but so is anything else. The opposite is equally possible.

    @Booming

    "anything else...is equally possible."

    And that is where we ultimately disagree concerning the resurrection of Christ. Unless you believe that Jesus did not go to the cross at the hands of Roman soldiers, such as Him not existing at all, there are only a few scenarios as alternatives to what happened next, such as the apostles stole the body of Christ and then claimed He was alive, or the idea Jesus was crucified but was not killed,but revived after the crucifixion - the so called swoon theory.

    I appreciate you do not accept the testimony of John and Matthew and Peter as evidence as witnesses, but again that is where we differ. The actual apostles have been linked to the written accounts under their names, from the extra biblical evidence mentioned.

    I "believed that" about the risen Christ not because "people" told me to, but I made up my own mind concerning the data/evidence using my own "sensor readings" concerning knowledge.

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