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Old September 10 2013, 12:54 PM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

Sigokat wrote: View Post
It always confused me as to why, after the wormhole aliens were discovered, the Bajorans still believed in their "Prophets" or gods. I thought it was pretty clear that when they were discovered that they weren't gods, just...well...wormhole aliens.

I would have thought that would have convinced the Bajorans that their "Prophets" were not what they thought they were.
That's because you're approaching it from the perspective of Western civilization, which has this idiosyncratic notion that the physical and the spiritual are two completely separate and incompatible things, and that if something has measurable, physical existence, it can't be divine. But many other cultures on Earth, maybe most, have traditionally seen the physical and the spiritual as parts of the same whole. In animistic cultures like the Native Americans and the Japanese, every tangible, physical entity or place is considered to possess divinity. A god or spirit can be the animal you hunt (or are hunted by), the river you swim in, even a person who seems to have special knowledge or power. In traditional Asian medicine, treating the body and treating the spirit are considered integral parts of the same process -- a principle you also see in feng shui, the idea that the physical arrangement of a place influences its spiritual balance. It's only we eccentric Westerners who perceive the spiritual as something fundamentally divorced from the physical, something residing high above us rather than part of our everyday world. So there's no reason to assume that Bajorans would embrace the same worldview.

Particularly since Bajoran religion has always been based on the concrete reality of the Orbs -- objects with a provable, tangible physical existence that give them a link to higher beings and glimpses into the past and future. Given that history, it's natural that they would've always thought of their gods as having a measurable physical reality. Besides, remember, in "Emissary" Kai Opaka told Sisko to find the Celestial Temple before the Cardassians did. She, and thus the Bajoran clergy as a whole, already thought of it as a physical place that could be discovered, even by nonbelievers. The tangible existence of the Temple was already part of their belief system, so discovering the wormhole only confirmed their existing beliefs.
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