This science fiction story called “The Star” has many religious and spiritual overtones which makes the theme of the story ‘There always has to be one to save all” more obvious. From the first to the last sentence the theme was built throughout to be a parallel experience of what has happened to the people before the great flood. Like many great science fiction stories this one shares a great message of hope in the unknown and to be glad that we have been so lucky to survive whatever we were supposed to have survived. This story was written in the late 1970’s because of the reference to the Mark VI computer.
In the first paragraph there is brief indication of religious symbols such as three thousand light years to the Vatican and Crucifix. The first of the two symbols I point out is the reference of their time in accordance to our time. The setting of this story takes place three Thousand light years to the Vatican. The great distance these travelers have to travel before they reach the greatest holy place for Catholics will happen three thousand light years. Take away the word light years and you are left with three thousand years which in this instance shows not only how far they are from their spiritual guidance but their distance their personal distance from God. The word crucifix means as it is used in the context of hope that the Catholic doctrines which most of the crew once believed in no longer rings true for them because they’ve seen so many merciless acts of destruction on the part of God that they ended up thinking he never existed for if he did exists they pose the question, “then why did he allow this to happen?”.
The narrator of this story is a priest or spiritual advisor who helps the crew of this ship whose mission it is to see how the universe was created to make sure their moral stays up so they will not commit suicide. He too like many of his fellow crewmates questions God role in the universe. The role many religions play in today’s society is to give hope to those people who have nothing to look forward to. Because of democratic change in the world’s political landscape and the practice of many of these religious groups catering to the whims of their followers by tell them the things they want to hear. For instance no one wants to hear that there will only be certain number of people who will be saved in God’s second coming. They want to think that God will save us all and all we have to do is believe that he exists and do good works. The experience of these travelers can be likened to the post war trauma of soldiers. They come out of the mission holding a very cynical view of the world and in the process lead a life of pure pessimism, which can lead to suicide and many other unusual acts of violence.
The find of a new planet where it’s inhabitants left a visual record of their existence before surrendering to their forthcoming demise seemed very troubling to the crew. The past inhabitants chronicled their life in a time capsule. They witnessed a kind of people, which enjoyed the same atmosphere as their own back on earth but unlike them they knew of their black fate before it happened as it was shown through their drawings.
The reader is left with a sense of injustice because he is so enraged by what happened to the people of this former planet that it makes the reader see the true irony in this story. That being the people of this world back in the ancient times looked to a savior named Jesus to save them from the impending judgment. The flood that drowned many of earth’s first dwellers was drowned for no reason than to replenish the earth of all evil people. But even back then to the people that suffered through all the death and destruction of the flood it didn’t make any sense for they too lost many love ones who they mourned deeply about after the great flood. Like the people back then we too have no hope in a savior. And that is ironic for it says in the bible that only God’s people will be saved. It’s ridiculous to realize that we all still think that includes us.
Arthur C Clark, 1970, The Star