God, the Ori, and Stargate

It’s no secret, I’m a fan of sci-fi. One show I really like is Stargate-SG1. Those who are movie-purists don’t like the show, but I bridged the gap. All of my watching has been done in reruns. The show was on for 10 years and it’s spin-off, Stargate Atlantis is in it’s fourth and final season. Late in the SG1 story line, after beating the original bad guys (the guys I can’t spell), and after beating the next bad guys (the replicators), they introduced a whole new kind of bad guy. After all, an adventure show needs bad guys for the heros to beat. These bad guys were called the Ori.

They are supernatural being. They ascended from a physical form to an energy form and live forever. They send out missionaries called Priors to the planets of the galaxy to spread Origin, the teaching of the Ori. What is the Gospel of the Ori? The Ori are good, loving, and benevolent beings who alone hold the truth of reality. They want to share their love, their truth, and the ability to ascend with all who would follow them, those who would devote themselves to worshipping them as the only true gods. If people don’t, they they will be punished forever with fire. This sounds familiar…

The first time I saw these guys I was irritated. Supernatural being of “love” who have the only teaching on the truth, and if you reject it you die and spend eternity in fire. That’s essentially what I believe to be reality. These guys were being portrayed as the bad guys. But there was something wrong. There was something missing. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. This is right, but it is missing something. What is it?!

Then it occurred to me. Actually it was probably the Holy Spirit speaking to me. The Ori, representing Christianity, were delivering a “turn or burn” message. Receive God’s love or perish. It was a matter of choice. The heros of the show tell people that that isn’t so, that people have a choice and those choices need to be respected. It’s like going to a world-view buffet; it’s all good, chose what you want. But in reality it isn’t a matter of choice. I’m not talking about predestination vs. free will, that’s another issue. I’m talking about the fact that we don’t believe in God because it’s what we have chosen to do, it’s what we need to do.

We don’t need to choose to believe in God simply to avoid Hell. We need to choose God because we need to be saved. The Ori approach, which is nearly a mirror image of how the world sees things, is like this. We are all on a ship. Christians (the Ori) are running around the ship throwing life vests at everyone saying, “You’re drowning! Take the vest or you will drown!” when, according to their view, everyone is chilling in deck chairs working on their tan, or playing volley ball, or taking a nap. No one is in the ocean, no one is drowning, no on needs saving. That’s how the world sees itself. That’s how the heros of Stargate see things.

The reality is that the world is in the ocean, it is in danger of drowning, it does need saving, it does need to chose to believe in the one true God because only He can save them. How is the world in the ocean? It’s a question of nature. Mankind is not basically good, it is basically bad. The Bible calls this the sin nature, or the flesh. Because of this nature we are separated from God. Because we are separated from God, if we die in that state, we will go to Hell because God is perfect and He cannot coexist with sin, with imperfection. God isn’t the Ori, trying to make followers because He gets thrills off of it or something. God went way out of His way to save us. He did something that was totally unfair for Him to do; sacrificed His Son to pay the price for our sinful nature, to give us a new nature. To replace our fallen, sinful, flesh nature with His perfect, just, and holy nature.

God’s message isn’t only “turn or burn”, but “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Cor 5:17+). The Ori really are the bad guys. But I can’t help notice that they are a characterization of Christianity boldly claiming that they are the only way to eternal life. They are a counterfeit. I just had to point that out. The reality of Christianity, the reality of the Bible, is not the fiction of the Ori. It isn’t about what we do, it’s about what God has done.

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

  1. after beating the original bad guys (the guys I can’t spell)

    Goa’uld. Intelligent symbionts originally from the world designated by the SGC as P3X-888.

    I’m here to help.

  2. I was just too lazy when I was writing it to look it up. But thank you. I am a fan, but that doesn’t mean I can spell anything.

  3. The episode with Orlin clearly states that the Ori started with best intentions in mind,but went ballistic because Aincents thought it was all B.s

  4. Corby, you only endear yourself to me more and more by using anything Stargate to communicate a truth. I had no idea that Mike was as insanely geekish as the rest of us!

  5. Seriously?

    You’re too stupid to realise the Ori are a giant copy paste of Christianity in every way? Their believers seriously think they are doing the right thing. They believe they’re going to ascend with the Ori. They believe if they are bad, they will get burnt at the stake.

    Sounds familiar. Too familiar.

  6. Funny, you oh so politely kinda make my point in that there are many out there on the Christian side of things who live like the Ori, and I never said there were not parallels. There are many. They took all the bad examples and interpretations that are sadly lived out and put them on TV. My point is that it is an inaccurate representation, though it is the representation most people have in their heads.

  7. Corby I noticed the flawed parallel as well, and it irritated me to the point that I stopped watching the show for awhile. Thanks for posting this. God Bless 🙂

  8. Thanks, Chu. It’s funny, it really irritated me for a while because I couldn’t figure out where the difference was. I knew it was a clouded representation. The key difference is that the Ori give a standard to be lived up to, a rule book to follow, whereas Jesus lived up to the standard for us, we just have to receive His grace by faith. God went out of His way so that people wouldn’t have to spend eternity separated from Him. What more can we ask of Him?

  9. Thanks for posting this! I was having issues watching seasons 9-10 because it seemed like they were just picking at Christianity. I just look at the Ori as a comparison to Christian fanatics/extremists, which I would say 99.9% of Christians are not. Yes the Ori are another attack on Christianity, but for me to not get so offended I compare the Ori to that sect of Christianity I do not follow anyways.

  10. Hey Mike, thanks for the comment. In truth is it doesn’t just seem like they were picking on Christianity, they absolutely were. The Ori are an incomplete depiction of the gospel. To make it more complete, the Ori would bear the price of the sins of others to make the way of salvation, not require their followers to work hard enough to one day maybe ascend.

    Don’t you just love the gospel?

  11. The show offered you a different way to see the Church and theocracy. It is too bad you were unable or unwilling to see a new perspective.

  12. Kathic, I think you missed the point. I saw the perspective all too well. But when I compared it to scripture, it didn’t match up with the way scripture tells us that the Church and theocracy are supposed to be. It’s newness or uniqueness don’t validate it. Our liking it or not doesn’t validate it. Jesus’ own words are what validate. His perspective is the only one that matters. Not mine, not yours.

  13. Hi Corby,

    Here cometh I, as late as possible. Thank you for this post that honors our Wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Did you catch the post of this guy?

    http://www.teleological.org/blog/2006/02/05/stargate-sg-1-joins-the-attack-on-christianity/

    Or the wikipedia post on the Ori?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ori_(Stargate)

    Well, I loved the Stargate Children of the God’s movie, with all of the Ancient Egyptian mythology parallels. It was so entertainingly epic. Daniel Jackson was my favorite character in the movie. I really couldn’t wait to get to know him better in the future. But, when the series started, I hated to hear the sound of people whose voices sounded like demons, and I was disappointed in the development of Daniel Jackson character, so I quit watching it in disgust.

    Fifteen years later, in this riches to rags, defunct American Dream, American economy, due to my inability to continue to afford my cable TV, or even my downsizing to satellite TV, anymore, I was at the library catching up on all the MacGyver episodes I missed as a child, When finally I ran out of MacGyver episodes I hadn’t seen that were available for check out, I checked out Stargate SG-1, even though I knew I hated it the first time.

    The demon voices and anti-Christian parallels were still annoying, but I decided to accentuate the positives and minimize the negatives. I decided to pretend that the G’ould were like demons possessing people, the Tollan were like being filled with the Holy Spirit, and Nox were like the Amish. It was a flimsy imaginary rewrite at best, especially for some episodes, but it worked for me, and I felt bless by some of the resulting story messages. The codes of conduct was disciplined, noble, and righteous, (like the military), the characters were engaging and the real characters even mentioned having some respect for the Bible in a couple of episodes. I had a really good time.

    Then came the Ori and the blessed messages began to be severely hindered! No matter how I tried to imagine it was rewritten! I really wanted to have a forum in which I could write or email the producer, but of course I was so late in seeing it that such an opportunity had already ceased. So it good to see someone else had my concern and this is my chance to tell somebody.

    What is missing from the Ori cartoonizing of Christianity and Islam, as all the same blasé repent or die, shove it down everyone’s throat stuff that the universe would be better without? Just as you said (and that other technological.org guy said in so many words), what is missing from every cartoonizing of every serious thing, only a cursory understanding of the subject; an attempt minimize or erase the positives and accentuate the supposed negatives.

    As many a good preacher has said, most Atheist can’t attack real Christianity with any real veracity, so they attack a superficial version instead. (I can tell the author is Atheist because his Ori is the personification of militant Atheist beliefs about Christianity and Islam—the end of the world is going to come because we won’t quit fighting each other…) What they are really mad about is that they aren’t allowed to keep sinning and still go to Heaven. Many a preacher has said, that if you debate long enough with an Atheist and get them to acknowledge that they are cartoonizing Christianity, they eventually admit to some sin they are unwilling to give up, ever.

    Did you notice how with the Ori came the attempt to shove down our throats the idea of a a nymphomaniac (Vala) as a healthy normal person? Well, in later episodes they admitted that she wasn’t so healthy after all. But, that probably wasn’t what the producer wanted to do. Someone probably made him do that.

    Really what Atheist are trying to do is tell God the same thing that Satan tried to tell God. I don’t like your rules. I don’t like the way you run the universe. I can run the universe better than you can and I want this one sin of mine to be not a sin forever because I like it, and I don’t care what you have to say about it, God. Whatever that sin is. Looking at Vala, and how she started out so over the top and then got tamed down, we can all guess what sin it is for this producer.

    What they really don’t understand I think is best depicted by a Star Trek episode of two immortal races who looked almost just alike. They hated each other even though one was white on the right side of the face and black on the left side of the face, and the other was black on the right side of the face, and white on the left side of the face. The were always at war, and couldn’t be killed, so when they blew all of each other up, they would just resurrect and start fighting all over again. They were doomed suffer like this for all eternity. I LOVED that episode! Too bad no Stargate episodes were THAT good.

    Anyway what Atheist don’t understand is that sin, in all of its forms, causes death, either literally and physically, or spiritually and in relationships. If we insist on hanging on to our sin, we condemn ourselves to an eternity of suffering and death, whether we understand that or not. Hell is simply a place where tjeu don’t have to put up with the Presence of God, nor His Rules for his creation, anymore. And since there is no other Creator, they also can’t enjoy any of the benefits of creation anymore. Even if there wasn’t a Hell, like the moral of the Star Trek episodes says, this producer would have already condemned himself to an eternity of addiction to pleasure, which is a hell in itself. For an eternity, he would be an addict, crying, being rejected, being lonely, being sick, and suffering, and watching other people cry, get rejected, be lonely, and have sickness and suffering. But he would have not let go of his love for his sin, (even though without creation he couldn’t do it anymore), so he would probably still tell you it was heaven. But in the real Heaven there are no more tears, no more good byes, no more loneliness, no more sickness, and no more suffering, neither is there any blemishes, and we get to enjoy creation without blemishes (Revelations 21: 4). (I don’t have time to look up all of there references.)

    So, in summation, they can say that God his evil because He says He is Love, but kills people instantly and throws them in Hell if you don’t agree with Him all they want. Really God is Good because He gives us a lifetime to decide whether or not we want to follow his rules for His Creation, and He give nations generations upon generations to decided, and if they don’t want Him or His Rules, he lets them go onto an existence without him or His Creation. That is what they wanted.

  14. Oops. My apologies. I made several typos on my post. (I was in a hurry). The worst being —

    ‘Just as you said (and that other technological.org guy said in so many words), what is missing from every cartoonizing of every serious thing, only a cursory understanding of the subject; an attempt minimize or erase the positives and accentuate the supposed negatives.’

    I didn’t mean that a cursory understanding is missing. I meant a deep understanding is missing and only a cursory understanding remains in its place. And that this cursory understanding is usually intolerant; accentuating the negatives and minimizing or erasing the positives.

  15. This show is very thought provoking and makes us all think and that is a good thing. I believe the Ori storyline is my favorite of all.

    I see parallels with christianity all over the show. But not just it, other religions pop up all over the place.

    The Ori are meant to represent fundamental christianity, this to me is clear with the story. Book of Origin is their bible with stories just like the bible. Meant to guide people down a path of righteousness and when created I do not believe was ever meant to be used in the manner the Ori used it for in the end. However the Ori after ascension realized they could gain more power by sapping believers power. The original meaning for the religion was to help lower beings on the path to ascension, but that changed when they realized this and were looking for further enlightenment. Thinking they needed this power to ascend further.

    I dont think Christianity is bad, however there are some things to think about.

    Many Christians believe they will go to heaven, and I (who does not believe in god) will go to hell. Burn in the fires of hell for eternity… They do not need to kill me off because they believe their God will do that for them when I die. Even my grandmother believes this about me… There is no grey… its black or white. They may not go out and hunt down unbelievers like the Ori, but they do most believe that unbelievers will be dealt with and burn in hell.

    While the show clearly had Christianity in mind when setting up the Ori, I think it could be talking about any religion in the world today… They had to use Christianity as the scapegoat of the show because if they had used any other religion… could you imagine if they had the Ori call a Jihad instead of a Crusade? They would have had major problems keeping it on the air. Christianity is much less sensitive to people misrepresenting their beliefs. As proof of this, your blog post here. You may draw conclusions and not like what is said, but you wont be bombing their studio over it. Nor will Christians stop watching.

    The difference i see in religions today is really only one thing. Some accept others beliefs with the understanding that their god will sort it all out when they die. Others think they must do the judging now to show their god they are good. Either and all of them punish unbelievers.. some while alive, some when dead.

    Most Christians today fall into the first category. Although some are waiting for this rapture thing… not sure if this is them wanting to rid the world of evil non believers… or???

    I do wonder though… If a person(such as Jesus) came onto the scene today with some proof that god demands us to worship him… and stated all who dont believe needs to die.

    What would true Christians do? Would they obey? Would they change their beliefs? Would they kill unbelievers? I wish I could say they would ignore this person, however I cant say that for sure.

    Even the most honest and trusting Christian still has their belief that God is everything, and I am not sure even my grandmother could be convinced that I dont need to die in such circumstances.

    When i hear her speak of the good merits of Christianity I listen, and agree with 90% of what she says. Its a good religion(as they all are at their core, even Origin) but even she talks of hell, and eternal damnation when i speak of things she thinks are sins. My grandmother has never harmed a fly, but if her religion told her too… she would. Not because she is evil, but because she has faith that her god is always right and will NEVER lead her astray.

    This is what i call “Blind Faith” and this is where the Ori come in. They asked for this faith, and many gave it because of their powers. Many followers of many religions around the world do the same today… and its scary. Not because of some powers or beings, but because of the idea that we will go to hell if we dont follow. Their belief is soooo strong that they can be convinced to do anything in the name of that belief.(Ori)

    Vatican, is a power… they hold power by how?? By blind faith. Not by killing, not by attacking, but by scaring people into thinking they must be good and believe or eternal damnation.

    I have never needed the threat of burning in hell to stop me from doing bad things. If we as a society need that threat to stop us from all being murderers well… that is really sad. I don’t think we do any more. In middle ages they would kill you for not believing, now because of laws they cant do that so they instead say you will burn in hell. (another threat)

  16. Ryan, your post kind of make my point. The version of Christianity of which you are being critical, the one that the Ori portray, is a false version, and unbiblical version.

    Heaven is not a reward for good behavior and hell for bad behavior. It’s an issue of nature. Let me illustrate. A person is in the middle of the ocean treading water with sharks circling. The nature of the situation is that they are going to die. They can’t swim to land nor can they fight off the sharks. They need something outside of themselves to save them. That’s what Jesus did. He came along in a boat and offered salvation. He offers a change of nature. That offer can either be accepted or rejected. That is the only “work” one can do to be saved.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it is my grace that we are saved, through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast. It’s a gift of God.

    God never says, “Worship and love me or I’ll send you to Hell.” He died to prevent that from happening. He died and rose again to give us His nature. That what 2 Corinthians 5:17 means when it says “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have past away, behold; all things have become brand new.”

    Good people don’t go to Heaven. Bad people don’t go to Hell. It’s a matter of accepting or rejecting Jesus’ offer of salvation, of a new nature that makes the difference.

  17. While I appreciate your points, I think your way of thinking is not the same as many Christians. Perhaps due to ignorance of their own religion.

    I know many Christians that believe in the black/white.. good/bad way of god. I agree this is not how I see the bible, but that seems to be the problem. People interpret things the way they want to or as they are taught to. Not by thinking about them themselves.

    I do not believe any Christian is the same as another in their beliefs. They all look at things in their own way, but more than that they look at things the way they are taught to look at them. I am sorry to say most that I know subscribe to the bad=hell , good=heaven perspective. This attitude due to ignorance of ones own beliefs is in essence the Ori.

    Most people consider themselves Christian when they dont even know what being Christian is. They are taught what to believe by other humans, not by believing in god. Not by searching in themselves… I do not think religion should ever need to be taught, it should be felt, it should be inside you.

    I wish others would educate themselves on anything they will follow so strongly. I think that was the point of the shows last 2 seasons. To warn people to think for themselves, learn for yourself and dont give out “Blind Faith”

    Teal’c – “to resist the influence of others, knowledge of oneself is key. “

  18. Corby. Why do you think that we are in the water amongst sharks? Yes there are many problems with humanity, but we truly are better off than ever in history. The age of information has brought people more closer than it has divided us.
    Coming from an Eastern philosophical outlook where Heaven nor Hell exists nor matters, I can see why there is a disconnect between my outlook of life when compared to those that have an Abrahamic outlook. Faith is personal, and it should be that way. It is shaped by personal experience and nurture more than anything. If you we’re born in Saudi Arabia into an Arab family, there is an overwhelming possibility that this blog post would be about Islam. Maybe you need to ask yourself why you were instead born in the U.S amongst Christian belief. If all babies are equal in front of God, why do they seem more unequal at birth in front of Religion?

  19. Interesting that you make statements of absolute truth while essentially saying that truth is relative. This is at the heart of the matter really. There can be only one source of absolute truth, otherwise there isn’t one. In fact, there aren’t any sources of truth beyond personal opinion. There is no basis for law let alone right and wrong. It legally protected popular opinion, until the popularity changes which is when the law changes.

    The Bible says that we are in the water amongst sharks. It says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. It is this heart that takes the technology you reference for the information age and finds new ways to profit from it an hurt others. I’m all for technology, don’t get me wrong. It’s how I make part of my living. But it is our nature that is the problem. The Bible is demonstrated to be God’s revelation to us about Himself and about ourselves. There are plenty of places I could refer that to you if you wanted to pursue it. It’s beyond our scope here. He says that the world needs saving, not me. He says that He is the only way, not me. He says that He has offered a way of salvation for us, on our behalf, because we can’t save ourselves.

    It isn’t true because I want it to be true. It’s true because it’s true, whether you or I or anyone else want it to be or not. It has nothing to do with where I was born or the culture in which I was raised. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Jesus is the truth in America, Saudi Arabia, India, Tibet, it doesn’t matter. He loves all of those nations and literally died to bring them out of the darkness and into the light, out of death and into life, out of sin and into salvation. God did all of this not for His own benefit (like the Ori) but for ours. Jesus came down the mountain to get us. It’s pretty radical stuff!

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