In the Star Trek II movie “The Wrath of Khan,” the opening scene is a failed military engagement in the Klingon neutral zone. The Federation ship is destroyed and the crew dies. Not only that, it will likely spark a war between two empires. The audience doesn’t know until the end of the scene that it is just a training simulation.
[for more info refer to: Kobayashi Maru, Wikipedia]
Here is the training scenario. If the captain is obedient to the law, they must let 400 people die who are begging for help in a failing ship. The ship is accidentally stranded in a forbidden area. If the captain breaks the law to save the lives, a vastly superior enemy force comes out of hiding. They kill the captain and their crew. The officer in training has two choices. Both result in failure as a captain.
Captain Kirk, as a cadet, supposedly cheated on his third attempt at this simulation by finding a way to hack the computer and alter the rules. He was not punished for his violation. He was given a commendation for such a creative solution. He did not believe in no-win scenarios.
Three lefts make a right. Do three wrongs make a right? God sure seems like a Star Trek fan sometimes.
Take the Plan of Salvation for instance. We agreed to come down to earth and be tested. The whole point of being here is to pass the test. The problem? It is a Kobayashi Maru simulation. None of us Star Fleet cadets pass the test.
Jesus passed the test, but you could also argue that he hacked. He was at least half-God, and he also built the simulation. I don’t want to belabor that point or diminish his divinity. He passed. He’s the man! What about the rest of us? Nobody else passes and nobody else can hack the simulation.
I tried very hard to look this reference up, but I could not find it. I recall from my youth hearing over and over that there is no trial or temptation too great for us. We will never be tested beyond our abilities. I always had a hard time with that. Everybody is tested beyond their abilities! The proof? Every single person fails at least once; therefore, it was beyond their ability to resist at that moment.
The other aspect of this thought is the breakdown of right vs. wrong. In primary I was taught to “Choose the Right.” Now I’m an adult. I find myself with complex decisions. I make painful choices between wrong and worse. I have to choose sometimes between good and better. Right and wrong are not always available options.
I’ll give a very personal example. My wife has left the Church. She was very angry about the Church for a while. My oldest son wanted to have Family Home Evening one night. I could see it was very important to him, and he was upset about the situation with his mother. I pushed the issue. I got everyone together. We barely got through it, and it ended up setting off an argument between my wife and I for the rest of the night. The Spirit totally left my home. It was a very bad argument, and she talked about our marriage perhaps not lasting.
I had two choices:
Disobey the law and no longer hold Family Home Evening in my home. The benefit was keeping peace in my home and the possibility of the Spirit. I keep my family together. In the Kobayashi Maru simulation, I went into the Neutral Zone and saved the 400 passengers. Are the Klingons going to kill me now for disobedience?
*Valoel looks up at the sky nervously for cloaked ships*
Obey the law and hold Family Home Evening. The consequence was to lose the Spirit and peace in my home and probably lose my family. In Star Trek terms, I obey the law and let the 400 people die.
I chose family unity. I believe that God wants me to stay with my wife. My role as a husband and father is a very important task for me in my journey. I love her too much anyways. I pray and ponder a LOT about this general concept.
Can you boil specific choices down into a relative right vs. wrong? Maybe a single decision has a right or wrong that applies only at that moment. Or does an absolute, universal truth apply at all times?
Is life a no-win game, the test being one of character? That’s what the Star Trek simulation was about. They wanted to know how the captain would handle losing. It wasn’t a test of ability. It was a test of character.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this life is just a one-time pass/fail course. Do what is right, let the consequence follow. Some people say that.