Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
February 5th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Almost Human, “Unbound” Thoughts – The Same Maker for murderer and lover?

English: Karl Urban at the 2010 Comic Con in S...

English: Karl Urban at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can read a really good synopsis of the episode here. I am not ready to suggest Almost Human is another science fiction show with some social purpose or hidden religious dialogue. Granted, J.J. Abrams is the executive producer, but the closest he flirts with a social/religious commentary was Alias and Star Trek Into Darkness.

However, this episode really stands out with its quasi-religious/philosophical themes of a single Creator and a multitude of creatures. The Creator was a failed one, creating a line of robots that malfunctioned and went astray. To redeem himself, he created something called synthetic soul. The conversation about DNA as the data and the soul as what truly makes a person gets to the heart of many religious conversations; however, this was not the extent of the philosophical make-up of the episode.

After the failed line of robots, the Creator decided to start over with one. Unfortunately, this one was hardwired to be a mass murdered. Rather, there was a glitch in the program which forced the battlebot to become homicidal (although she still liked to receive comments about her physical beauty). The other robots filled with the synthetic soul did not react in such a way.

Indeed, one of the main characters is a robot with a synthetic soul, one of the discontinued line but redeemed through daily interactions with humans. He begins to question how, if he and this battlebot, come from the same Creator, with basically the same programming (neither programmed to kill), could they turn out so vastly different.

If we all have the same creator (and we do), how do we explain the vast differences we see in the ways humans treat one another? We have great artists, lovers, poets. We have sick and twisted killers.

Thoughts?

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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