(To the mods: I'm posting this in the TOS forum, because that's where I usually post. Move to a more appropriate forum if you see fit.)
Whenever I witness one of these doctrinal conflicts within Star Trek (Thread: "Do you believe in the official Chronology" http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=207400
), I’m kind of amused (but also a bit saddened) by how much it resembles conflicts in other “faiths” and belief systems, like religion, science, sports, hobbies, politics, or other entertainment franchises.
Like other faiths, Trek had a core of events, narratives, and values that were later declared canon or apocryphal, celebrated and denounced, and expanded and elaborated upon.
All of us assume familiar roles in this faith which include:
The Priesthood - who have been anointed to have authority over others
The Faithful Flock - who happily accept, without question, whatever the priesthood tells them
The True Believers – who show complete devotion to the faith and allow it to enter all aspects of their lives
Conservatives, who include:
The Fundamentalists - who claim adherence to the faith, as they believe it was in the beginning
The Traditionalists - who prefer the old ways but tolerate the new
The Prophets and Mystics - who claim a direct communication with forces beyond our ken
The Defenders of the Faith - who seek to maintain doctrinal purity and protect the faith from within and without
The Crusaders - who fight other faiths
The Cannibals/Fratricidials - who fight most with those of their own faith
The Scripturists - who pride themselves on their superior knowledge of the faith and canon and use it to lord over other believers
The Archivists – who make detailed records of the people, places, and events of the faith.
The Conspicuous Believers – who make a show of how deeply they believe
The Quietly Observant - who believe (perhaps deeply) but make no professions of faith
The Casual Believers - who pay attention only to the big events
The Grazers - who pick and choose from along the various tenets of this and other faiths
The Intellectuals - who ponder and discuss deeper issues and meanings of the faith and belief
The Artists - who depict and celebrate characters and events of our faith, out of devotion, patronage, or self-expression
The Elitists – who look down upon others for “believing in the wrong way”
Progressive, who include:
The Reformers - who say that problems with the faith or with believers need to be fixed
The Evolutionists - who say the faith is a living, breathing entity that should change with time and the environment.
The Iconoclasts - who attack the faith but provide no solutions
The Provocateurs - who like to stir things up, just for the hell of it
The Apocalyptics - who believe the things are so f*cked up that the end is near
The Splittists – who say that one aspect of the faith should be followed and others abandoned
The Ecumenicals - who try to reach out to other believers and faiths
The Relic Hunters - who search for and collect physical articles pertaining to their faith
The Pilgrims - who travel to sacred places and meet with other believers
The Closeted – who are ashamed of their belief and will denigrate or downplay it, especially before nonbelievers
The Deniers (I couldn’t think of a better term) – who say the faith is not important while always talking about it
The Apostates/Heretics/Blasphemers - who denounce the faith in part or in whole
The Lapsed - who once believed but have since left the faith
The Big-Tenters/Universalist - who believe that all are believers are welcome
TrINO – “Trekkie in name only.” A possibly mythical type who only claims to be a fan for the supposed social cachet (!)
NuTrINO - What fundamentalists call people who like the 2009 movie (I just thought it sounded funny)
It’s a fun parlor game to step back and think about what role or roles you and other fans play. I know that I play several of these roles. While I find some Trek fans annoying on a personal level (OK, I’m an elitist), I think we need all types of fan.
Yeah, Star Trek is “just a TV show.” But it’s one that I’ve enjoyed for most of my life. Trek means a lot to me, but I refuse to get into heated arguments with other fans about their beliefs. Think what you want and let others do the same. As a wise man once said, “Don’t be a dick.” Even as Trek grows and evolves, I will always have some part of it to hold on to. That will never change. It’s only the behavior of other fans that could ever push me away from active fandom (and posting about it on Internet message boards).