Friday, April 04, 2008

It's Been A While

But better late then never.

So I've been watching Battlestar Gallactica now for about 3 weeks and have just begun Season 2.5.

I will admit, I found the show a bit slow to start off. But where I am now, watching it in the context of the show in its entirety, I'm sure I will feel differently about that when I start the series all over again one day.

Anyways, the show is interesting because it asks questions that shows usually refuse to ask. They don't ask them because they fear that the ratings will be low. And, in a certain sense, that's probably true.

The beauty of Science Fiction, the undeniable quality it has that is lacking from any big time show is precisely the fact that it can ask the tough questions, those that are the most important and central to who we are as human beings.

The interesting thing is that the show does not attempt to just throw the questions out there. It is not some intense philosophical discussion with no plot. Rather, it does things in the manner that I know J.R.R. Tolkien would approve of. They do it in the form of myth, of, if you will, a space fairy tale. It asks the important questions, but in a way that it is central to the story as a whole. These questions do not force themselves into the plot line, but rather, they are weaved in a way that they are essential for the plot line to move on.

There are many interesting questions the show raises. Are Cylons people? Can Cylons love? There are many others as well. But the most important, and definitely the most human one, is the one that gets to the core of our humanity. It seems that the Cylons attempted to destroy mankind because they felt that they were not deserving to live. They kill each other, and, well, if you can name a bad act, man does it. They don't seem deserving of life.

So, in my opinion, the central question of the show is "what makes humanity worthy of life". After watching Resurrection Pt. 2, I think I have come to the answer. And it came with such a simple, and yet profound, display of humanity. Adama, shaken up by the death of Admiral Kane, knowing that it was almost him who ordered her death, ends it all with a kiss with President Roslin. The range of emotions is truly remarkable.

But what finally hit it for me, what finally got me the answer was that very display. What makes man worth of life is that which makes him man! Humanity is worthy of life precisely because it's human. Or, as the quotable Del Myers puts it much more precisely "Man is worthy of redemption because he is capable of it". Our strength, our weakness, the wholeness of what makes us human, that is what makes us worthy of life. We are worthy to walk this Earth precisely because of our mistakes and triumphs.

To me, that is an utterly Christian outlook of the world, because it is the core of the message. Christ comes to redeem, but He cannot redeem those who feel they have nothing to redeem. That is the trait that is different between man and they Cylons. Man is able to make mistakes, but the Cylons refuse to. Number 6 would not kill herself because it was a sin. She refused to accept her weakness. That is the true weakness, when we are unable to accept our weakness, for it is only when we accept our weakness are we able to be made strong in Christ.



gabriel said...

BSG is also one of my favourites.

Two more questions for your consideration: Leaving aside the genocide against man, the Cylons have a near-sinless existence: we hear (perhaps later in the series than you have gotten to) that one incident was the first example of Cylon-on-cylon violence. Is there a sort of "original sin" in the attack on mankind?

Secondly, BSG treats religion seriously. There are prophecies and visions, a pilgrimmage to Earth, prayers and devotions. The Cylons are monotheistic- Mankind polytheistic- what kind of resolution is going to be made? Will religious belief finally bridge the divide between Cylons and Man?

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