I guess VDCNI's
problem isn't religion in the novels per-se, but rather sympathetic characters being portrayed as practicing religion.
If I'm honest I can sort of understand the gut reaction; there's the old saying about hero characters in serial fiction being a little like visiting with friends, and while I have some close friends who are religious, as an opinionated atheist myself it's rather in spite of their beliefs than something I am naturally comfortable with (and certainly has made for some very heated debates over the years, initiated by both sides). Especially if it's a late reveal for a character, it may well require a bit of swallowing and thinking.
But that's a big part of the point of Trek
, isn't it? It's saying we manage to get along eventually, and we get there from here
, so anything that touches on the how
is potentially interesting. And challenging an audience to work through that personally is, too.
I think in general it's usually a missed opportunity to get pissed-off at what a novel is doing and better to try to get something interesting out of it somehow ... if a novel introduces an element that adds something or challenges something about our notion of the 24th century, it's much more fun to examine how to integrate that.