Pearls of Wisdom

From the Reverend Wolfpatty

Reverend Wolfpatty

“toH qo’ muSHa’pu’qu’mo’ JoH’a’, wa’ puqloDDaj nobpu’ ghaH ‘ej ghaHbaq Harchugh vay’, vaj not Hegh ghaH, ‘ach yIn jub ghajbeH ghaH.” John 3:16, from the Klingon Language Institute’s translation of The Bible.

Now, we’ve all come to accept that the Holy Scripture is the Word of God, that is to say that the authors of The Bible were divinely inspired by God and given the power of the Holy Spirit which enabled them to transcend human fallibility in order to create a Good Book that was, and remains today, the perfect, infallible, testament of God to humanity.

It’s reasonable to assume that God didn’t only intend his Holy Word to be infallible and correct in the ancient Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. In order to protect the one true Gospel, God would have worked to inspire the translators; those people like Wycliffe and Tyndale who worked to create the vernacular translations that would bring God’s power to people that backwards Alcuin’s Vulgate could never get within a mile of.

So then a question arises; when does God reach out and divinely inspire translators and when does God not really give a good gosh-darn? The translation of the Holy Scripture into the fictional Star Trek Klingon language poses an interesting question; would God divinely inspire the translators of a non-spoken language so that their version of The Bible could be infallible?

Klingon Jesus

Is it worth God’s time to worry about Klingon Bibles when everyone who speaks Klingon already has an available Bible printed in their native language? Surely God has better things to do; saving children from drowning, curing cancer, helping winning Super Bowl teams, stopping war for starters. But, I suppose the question could be phrased as; if it brings one Trekkie to Salvation is the Klingon Bible worth it?

I would have to answer yes. Star Trek presents a future devoid of religion and God. Unlike Babylon 5, with its many Christian, Jewish and Foundationist characters, all the characters in Star Trek are atheists. We never see Data go to Church, nor do we see Kirk or Spock partake of the Sacraments. Perhaps Trekkies think this atheism is normal. Maybe the Klingon Bible will help them come to Christ. For their sake, I hope it saves them from eternal hellfire.

To them I would quote Mark 2:17:
“QoyDI’ yeSuS, chaHvaD jatlh: pIvwI’vaD ‘utbe’ Qel. ‘ach ropwI’vaD ‘ut. mutlha’meH quvwI’pu’ vIra’meH jIghoSta’be’. ‘ach yemwI’pu’ vIra’meH jIghoSta’.”

8 Comments

  • Delton Wilsonn
    September 25, 2009 - 2:45 am | Permalink

    Hello Reverend,

    You wrote that the Klingon Language is not “non-spoken language”, my dear friend, I do beg to differ. Klingon is definitely a spoken language. I am a Klingon language instructor, so I teach other people how to read, write and speak the Klingon language. Klingon is more widely spoken than both Navajo and Esperanto combine (both of which are “real languages” themselves). At the same time, the number of Klingon Language speakers are growing.
    Yes, while it is true that Klingon is a made up language, was not English also at one point in time a “made-up” language as well. Someone had to come up with how to speak the words, how to put them together to for “correct” sentences, and even how to speak all those words we now know today. The English Language is growing even to this day as some words that once were slang a mere 10-20 years ago are becoming so commonplace that they are even finding there way into our English dictionaries.
    When you stop to think of it all language on the face of this planet were at one point in time made up, weather by god trying to split up man so that he would go forth and populate the Earth instead of building a single tower to live in (The Tower of Bable), or if it was man himself trying to start somewhere new and over time change the way they speak, or even for that matter, man just simply trying to make a new language just so that others outside of their own group could understand as in a code.
    Which by the way, a code is also a form of made up language. Weather to confuse an enemy, or to use to program a computer. Today we are surrounded by made up languages, all spoken by their own groups, individual people and technology alike. We have everything from computer languages such as Cobol, BASIC, Java, HTTP, and the like to lingo used by people to speak to each other while texting or in e-mails. We even have shorthand which is even a form fo language in and of itself. And at one time all these were also made up languages as well.
    Forgive me for seemingly getting up on a bit of a soapbox here, but I look at it this way. If god didn’t want someone to use this language to translate (and perhaps also spread) the Gospel, God would not have inspired someone to take this extraordinary leap, this difficult task of translating the Bible into this made-up language in the first place. Some people might look at this as an extremely good thing instead of, “oh, look at what these kooky old Trekies are doing now. Yes it may sound wierd ot most, but what does this really and truely hurt? The more important question is, what and who does this help? It is a way to get the Klingon language out in the public eye and it promotes Christianity at the very same time.
    It is not for us to determine weather or even what God thinks if this is a colosal waste of time as we do not know the mind of God, We could not even begin to as God was the creator of ALL things and He alone will be the judge of what he thinks is a waste of time and what isn’t. We may try to understand what he inspired other men long ago to write, but we can not begin to know Gods ways or plans. Perhaps this is all a part of his grand design? who knows. I don’t and I’m not about to try, but I will also not begin to question anyone else for doing something that may have even an inkling of good to it. We must not judge others unless we want ourselves to be judged in the same light, by man or by God himself.

    Just my own thoughts on this matter.

    Qapla’ jupwI’
    (Success, my friend,)

    Lt. Col. j’rel Kor
    (Delton Wilson)
    CO of the KPV Battle Fury (Klingon Assault Group – KAG)
    Klingon Language Instructor
    betleth Drill Team Instructor
    ___________________
    Jedi j’rel Kor (The Jedi Assembly)

  • September 25, 2009 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    There are a some fundamental misunderstandings in both the original post and j’rel’s comment.

    “we’ve all come to accept that the Holy Scripture is the Word of God” – You may believe that, but many of us think of the Bible as a collection of short stories written by Humans for Humans in an attempt to place a moral code within society. God had nothing to do with it.

    “would God divinely inspire the translators of a non-spoken language so that their version of The Bible could be infallible?” – Since the bits of the Bible that have been translated where translated by a couple of Jews and a bunch of atheists I doubt anyone was “inspired”. They did it because it was a challenge to their language skills, not to bring the “word” of a fictional creature to the “masses” of Klingon speakers.

    “We never see Data go to Church, nor do we see Kirk or Spock partake of the Sacraments” – Data is a android, he knows who his creator is. Spock is an alien who worships logic, not metaphorical deities. Kirk is an enlightened Human who knows that if God does exist he doesn’t care about what Humans do.

    “Klingon is more widely spoken than both Navajo and Esperanto combine” – This statement is based on joke comments from the Onion years ago, it has no basis in reality.

    “all language on the face of this planet were at one point in time made up” – Natural language evolves, just as animals do. They are not made up, they simply change slowly over time.

    As a final note, I have even translated bits of the Bible. Not for some divine reason but simply because I can. I’m not religious at all so, to me, most of this conversation is as based in fantasy as the Klingon language is.

  • Helen
    September 25, 2009 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    have this mental image of missionaries knocking on doors to bring to god book to the Klingon People. LOL
    Nothing like shoving apples in the mouths of other scocieties and informing them they are naked… wait thats Betazed.

    For me the largest portion of this article that I find fault with is the worry over translation at all. In any language you will fine that certain words do not exsist, Translators are then forced to come up with that languages closest approximation. In some cases our words have more than one meaning, so that translators are forced to choose a meaning in order to translate the word.

    This having been done so many times over, in conjunction with the various people throught history who have edited out things from the Bible, can we really as an educated people claim that this is still a divine work? Can every version be the right one? Which version did god make sure was kept true to his word?

    If it was indeed written by man divinly inspired by God to be infalliable, is it not far beyond it’s origional? How many times can you pass on information through man and not distort it somewhat. There are far too many translations that differ for them to all be right.

    Like the childrens game “Telephone”. Or perhaps the Grimms fairytales. Have you read the originals ? Rape, death, horror, They are indeed grim.
    And someone has edited them a little here and a little there until they are the stories we read to our children each night.

    If you think of it realistically, someone has done the same with the Bible already, King James being among them.

    How much of it survived through the years? Certainly not it’s whole collective works.

    I feel that the moral teachings in it are well worth the effort for the translation for those who wish to read it in their language or rather prefered language. I personaly am not worried about if it’s okay with God. I don’t really get the reference to God having better things to do either. I rather feel like that God being a divine power would be everywhere, everything, everyone, all knowing, infinite, and unbound by our human concepts of time. I don’t worry that God has better things to do with his time.

    I don’t consider myself be any certain religion, I find it to be far too limited to grow and expand and change if I close myself off to the posibilities of truths here but not there. But at it’s core, the concept of Being Klingon in this human world, holds far more for some than you may realize.
    Moral lessons can come in many forms. To me thats what StarTrek is. Moral lessons wraped in a plot. We see other species on the series display their faith. For me thats a huge step. So rather than worrying about whos 100% right, for I’m fairly sure no-one is I say we take a page from startrek.

    Accept the things others want in their own lives, be it Klingon or Elvish bibles. And just attempt to live as best you can in the most peaceful way possible. We cannot be perfect, but we can try to do as little harm to each other as possible. Follow what we feel is right, and allow others to do the same.

    For in the end, fiction or not, you cannot argue that the basic moral lessons are important to peace. And peace and acceptance in any language should be a good thing. Not something to argue about.

  • Ka-ris
    September 26, 2009 - 6:36 am | Permalink

    Greetings to all who would think

    First some points on my “view” of life and faith. Now, I consider myself a Christian and as such believe in the Holy trinity. That said I also believe that what may be true for me will not be true for everyone. So I would caution that some of my words may offend.

    So first to the question of: Was the Holy Scripture divinely inspired and so the “Word of God”. This leads to questions as with each translation the ‘language’ changes. By this mean that if one reads an English translation from the 1950s and one from today they would be very different. As proof of this I would recommend looking up the 23rd psalm from several sources and the differences will be seen.
    So if this is ‘God’s’ word how could it alter over such a short time? Well for me this shows this is a living work, not simply inspiration for the past but one we can carry forward. Because that is one of the main things the bible is for, inspiring the children we are to apply good values to life. Thus whatever language the work is in and what ever medium it is in matters less than the intent to spread the word.
    The other question that I had struggled with was;’ What about the ‘other’ versions of the bible (the ones used by other sects) they claim mine is wrong, how can this be?
    Well here is where my thoughts get folks angry with me. I have come to realize that just as ‘the Spirit’ inspired people that preaching to people in language they didn’t understand was as useful as preaching to a Cat and so translations occurred. So other ‘way of words’ were made and so reached others and brought them to the fold. For many years I believed that the stories of Buddha and Christ were both based on the life of the same person. I saw parallels between the lives of them. I was mistaken, but the feeling remains, both lived lives of discovery and changed the World’s thinking for centuries after.

    So my position is that the intent of the word is more important than the words used. Oh and before I continue let me add that I KNOW that all works, be they fact or fiction, are inspired by some great spirit. So there is no question of divine inspiration in my mind. So the translation of the word to a ‘fake’ language doesn’t matter to me, because the intent is for others to share and examine the work. Consider how many will read this carefully to check of errors to crow over. Surely in so doing they will be inspired to think about things Godly.

    Now to speak to the question of: “Is it worth God’s time” I would answer YES. I will explain. Yes the other things are useful, but so are many other things. However God is not limited in what ‘he’ can do. A man can only do one thing at a time, he may seem to do many things at once, but really at each instant he does only one action. Now for the Divine this is not so at any instant there are infinite things happening, and God sees and controls all this. Now some would speak of an ongoing process like some great computer program running to some unknown end. This could be so, but if so then the program would need constant monitoring to an infinite level. I don’t know and even were I to see the truth I doubt my mortal brain could deal with the complexity of the answer.

    So here is the strength of the bible, it places the truth in a form that people can understand. Further the changes that seem to happen, Might be like changes to a story written for a Gr-1 child and a university student. But to the “is it worth the time” question I guess the only proof I could offer is that Like the poem ‘For want of a Nail’ A seemingly nothing can lead to a great result.

    In closing I would dispute the words of the Learned Reverend Wolfpatty. He puts forth “Star Trek presents a future devoid of religion and God.” I disagree with this in the strongest possible terms. Yes we never see the characters attending church services as such, but saying this means all are atheists is like saying that because we never see them taking a shower they never bathe. I would also point out that we DID see a chapel in the Original series. While it was not stated in the filming it was in the script that the chapel didn’t have ‘icons’ so that all the faiths the crew followed could use it with out disrespect to others. I have been to hospital chapels and they too are ‘missing’ objects of a specific faith but I have felt the ‘Peace of the Divine’ there. Yes B5 may have placed the religion of the crew ‘in the viewers face’ but that doesn’t mean it was not there in the other show. The message of Trek is one of ‘inclusion’ that “if we can’t take a positive delight in the little differences here, we don’t deserve to go out there and face the differences we will find” (JER 1978)

    Ka-ris
    Ka_Ris@hotmail.com

  • Mika
    September 26, 2009 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Are we all really still talking about this?

  • September 29, 2009 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Francois Marie Arouet (Voltaire) said it best: “God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”

    Enough said, Qapla’

    QatanI’ DevnoH
    Proctor, House DevnoH

  • December 31, 2009 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Jesus is not just a Klingon… He is not a ‘speciesist’…

    http://www.photochopz.com/gallery/data/500/Sleesus_and_theLost_Supper.jpg

    Cheers. Nice blog too

  • Pingback: Chopped Bible Salad #8: The Klingon Bible « A Great Work

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