Sometimes Pop Culture Asks Good Questions

A really interesting question (at least to me) has come up on the ABC drama V over the last couple of weeks, and it looks like they’re going to continue to explore it in the future. But first let me catch up the people who don’t watch V

V stands for Visitor. The V’s are aliens who have come to earth for ostensibly peaceful purposes, yet they have sinister ulterior motives. Their leader, Anna, and all V’s loyal to her, do not feel human emotions like love, concern for others, sadness, etc. But those V’s who are not loyal to Anna have begun to develop these human emotions. Over the last couple of weeks they have begun to ask the question, “Is it possible for the V’s to have a soul?”

What I love is that the question posed by V is really part of a larger question – What does it mean to be human? What is it that makes a person a person? Is it something about mental capacity, the ability to process information? If so, what about people who are born with mental disabilities? Does it have something to do with the ability to feel and process normal human emotions? If that’s the case, what about deranged psychopath killers like Jared Loughner? Is it possible to be human at some point in our lives and then lose it, or to somehow develop humanity over time?

Personally, I feel like simply being homo sapiens isn’t enough. There’s got to be something more than simply having 46 chromosomes and the right kind of DNA. I feel like what makes a person a person is that we are created in God’s image. We have the ability to choose whether we will love and care, or hate and destroy. I think that when we choose to hate and destroy, when we give ourselves over to anger, rage, and selfishness at the expense of the good of others, we give away our humanity, our little bit of the divine.

I realize that this sounds a little bit wishy-washy, and also that it doesn’t answer questions about people who have mental disability and truly don’t have the ability to choose. But it’s about as close as I can get to a good answer.

What do you think? What is it that makes a person a person? Let’s put our heads together and solve one of the great mysteries of the universe!




  1. When V came on I watched the first few episodes and was so excited about the return since we had watched the original version as kids in the 80s. I wrote about that and monster cereals at the time ( but have missed most of the show since then. I’ll have to Netflix it soon!

    Brother, you are writing right up my alley. Great thoughts as I like nothing more than combos of pop culture and meaning of life. I believe you’re right, that we are absolutely more than chromosomes and DNA. In other words, we’re more than some random connection of time+matter+chance. We are miracles really, and those don’t just happens.


    • ‘V for Vendetta’ is a fantastic graphic novel that was made into a pretty good movie. ‘V’ was originally a mini-series in 1983, then a short-lived tv show in 1984, then (I believe) a feature-length movie to tie up the loose ends from the tv show in 1985. ABC rebooted the series in 2009. It’s a little cheesy at times, but I like it…


  2. I think you’re asking the wrong question – what makes a person a person? Perhaps you should ask what makes someone or something alive? Because I’d say animals have just as much of a soul as humans do. In Biblical history the word “soul” referred to two things, blood and the animating life force. David would probably know the history better though.
    So I guess if the V’s have blood and/or a life force, you could probably infer they have a soul too.


    • The question of what ‘alive’ means is a good one, too. I guess I draw a distinction between the two, though. Bacteria are scientifically alive, but I wouldn’t consider them to be people. And I think that distinction is important because out of all creation, the only thing that God made “in our (God’s) image” was us.


      • Possibly. The bible does say we are made in God’s image. It does not say we are the ONLY species made in God’s image. How can you say fore sure the phrase “in God’s image” is exclusive?


    • Ah, great point, Eric! What I should have said was, out of all creation on earth, mankind is the only thing created in God’s image, according to the Bible. I’m totally open to the possibility that God created other sentient, self-aware beings out there somewhere…


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