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Old June 10 2013, 10:49 PM   #105
Shaka Zulu
Fleet Captain
Location: Bulawayo Military Krral
Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

stj wrote: View Post
No, there is a reason there is aMericus on the platform watching the games. (Yes, that is a typographical assist, not a typo.) Formally, the climax is when aMericus sees the light and denies the temptations of empire, even at the cost of his own life. And the jokes about television are a humorous way of identifying their world and the contemporary US. I'm pretty sure everyone making Star Trek identified the guy threatening a special (live torture) if the ratings went down with someone they dealt with in mundane life!
THIS. Tragically, what the Magna Romans will get won't be as good as they think that it will be (eventually) with Christianity.

Christianity in Bread and Circuses is presented almost purely as pacifist, with one stray comment about freedom and brotherhood. None of this is historically accurate. Gibbon popularized the thesis that Christian pacifism undermined the imperial will of the Romans but it doesn't really hold up. A secondary theme, the burdens on the state of Christian episcopacy and privileges (free mail service sticks in my mind for some odd reason?) is a little stronger. In the Sixties everyone was well aware that true Christianity was not pacifist and only cultists like the Quakers or Mennonites held to it.
Plus, most of the mainstream Christian churches were for the Vietnam War, including the Catholic Church (Cardinal Francis Spellman was a backer along with William Douglass of the American Friends Of Vietnam, which was an organization that supported the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem simply because Diem was Catholic and had almost become a Catholic priest as a young man, although he took a vow of chastity and never got married.) When the American Friends of Vietnam realized that Diem was an autocratic ruler and was treating Buddhists badly, it faded away, but the Church never really said anything about how bad the Vietnam War was, or even bothered to join in any condemnation of it (except for a certain Afro-American Southern Baptist minister who did condemn it in 1967.)

T'Girl wrote: View Post
I don't see the culture of the Empire depicted in the episode as representing the culture of the American viewing audience, despite the inclusion of automobiles and "smog." The dissidents opposing the Empire, people seeking their freedom and the growth of the "Son of God" Religion, would more likely be the culture that was to have been representing America.
See the epistle to Philemon. See the church names of the time, such as Southern Baptist Convention or Southern Methodist Church and reflect on their origins. The historical claim that Christianity is about freedom comes from a time when "Christianity" was defined in opposition to Roman Catholicism, the Antichrist. Star Trek wasn't interested enough in religion to tackle the issue of Roman Christianity. If that seems atheistical, so be it.
THIS, again. Plus, the opposite is true; it was secular groups and the Quakers that were the ones most like Septimus and Flavius Maximus in our world during the '60s (and now in the 2010s opposing the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts) in opposing the Vietnam War, plus the certain Afro-American minister I've mentioned above.

....Kirk is in fact a Christian, who embraces that growth comes no other way but through "The Struggle."
Maybe he is, but it may be through something else that he is.

Hardship is normal for the Christian life, it's how we improve ourselves.
For most Christians, maybe. For some in the hierarchy of this religion, not so much.
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