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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 7 2013, 03:14 AM   #1
Zameaze
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Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain. --Gene Roddenberry


Does anyone know how Gene Roddenberry, an atheist, came to write the teleplay for "Bread and Circuses," where the bridge crew stood around fawning over the fact that the planet's residents weren't worshiping the sun, but rather the Son of God. It always seemed rather strange to me.
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Old June 7 2013, 03:16 AM   #2
Praetor Baldric
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

There is another allusion to monotheism in Who Mourns for Adonais, when Kirk refers to the one god being sufficient, or something to that effect.
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Old June 7 2013, 03:28 AM   #3
Zameaze
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Big Daddy wrote: View Post
There is another allusion to monotheism in Who Mourns for Adonais, when Kirk refers to the one god being sufficient, or something to that effect.
Yes, that surprised me, too, however, I put it down to appeasing the bible thumpers. But "Bread and Circuses" had Christianity as the denouement.
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Old June 7 2013, 03:34 AM   #4
BillJ
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Just playing to the audience. No matter his thoughts on religion, the audience was still predominately religious in the 1960's.
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Old June 7 2013, 04:01 AM   #5
Zameaze
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

BillJ wrote: View Post
Just playing to the audience. No matter his thoughts on religion, the audience was still predominately religious in the 1960's.
It seems like it, but they asserted that religion was not going to be a part of Star Trek. Here is a quote from Memory-Alpha: Brannon Braga said that "In Gene Roddenberry's imagining of the future [...] religion is completely gone. Not a single human being on Earth believes in any of the nonsense that has plagued our civilization for thousands of years. This was an important part of Roddenberry's mythology. He, himself, was a secular humanist and made it well-known to writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and superstition and mystical thinking were not to be part of his universe. On Roddenberry's future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And that world is the better for it.”
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Old June 7 2013, 04:14 AM   #6
sbk1234
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

I think it could be that they were simply surprised that even an Earth religion such as Christianity would also be duplicated on that world, even though 2000 years later than on Earth. Depending on your perspective, it wouldn't necessarily mean an acceptance of that religion.
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Old June 7 2013, 04:35 AM   #7
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Zameaze wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Just playing to the audience. No matter his thoughts on religion, the audience was still predominately religious in the 1960's.
It seems like it, but they asserted that religion was not going to be a part of Star Trek. Here is a quote from Memory-Alpha: Brannon Braga said that "In Gene Roddenberry's imagining of the future [...] religion is completely gone. Not a single human being on Earth believes in any of the nonsense that has plagued our civilization for thousands of years. This was an important part of Roddenberry's mythology. He, himself, was a secular humanist and made it well-known to writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and superstition and mystical thinking were not to be part of his universe. On Roddenberry's future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And that world is the better for it.”
You realize that Braga's involvement with Trek and Roddenberry began decades after TOS ended, right?

Roddenberry's original proposal for Star Trek included a one or two line story premise ("The Coming") about a planet with its own Christ, which may have evolved into "Bread And Circuses."
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Old June 7 2013, 04:44 AM   #8
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Brannon Braga is no spokesperson for Roddenberry's intent for ST as originally developed. The quote is dripping with the kind of revisionist, agenda-driven hatred of religion not seen or suggested in TOS.
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Old June 7 2013, 05:01 AM   #9
Zameaze
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
Brannon Braga is no spokesperson for Roddenberry's intent for ST as originally developed. The quote is dripping with the kind of revisionist, agenda-driven hatred of religion not seen or suggested in TOS.
When Roddenberry spoke for himself, he said things like: "I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will--and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain," and "We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."
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Old June 7 2013, 06:13 AM   #10
Santa Kang
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Zameaze wrote: View Post
Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain. --Gene Roddenberry


Does anyone know how Gene Roddenberry, an atheist, came to write the teleplay for "Bread and Circuses," where the bridge crew stood around fawning over the fact that the planet's residents weren't worshiping the sun, but rather the Son of God. It always seemed rather strange to me.
Perhaps that was contributed by the co-writer, Gene Coon. The episode is based on a story by John Kneubuhl.
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Old June 7 2013, 06:32 AM   #11
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

I chalk it up to it being the 1960s.

In Simpsons season 3, in 1991, they did an episode where it was a moral tragedy that Homer wanted to stop going to church.

Ten years later they did an episode where the church sold out and Lisa converted to Buddhism.

Before the 90s everybody on TV was Christian unless proven otherwise. Around the mid nineties religion started being an aspect of a person's life rather than the defining element of culture. In the 80s you couldn't address religion on TV without flaunting Christianity. In the 60s they pretty much had no choice.
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Old June 7 2013, 06:50 AM   #12
prizzm
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

But remember the chapel in Kirk's Enterprise? And didn't the girl who was going to get married in Balance of Terror come into the chapel and kneel for a moment as if in prayer?
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Old June 7 2013, 06:58 AM   #13
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

prizzm wrote: View Post
But remember the chapel in Kirk's Enterprise? And didn't the girl who was going to get married in Balance of Terror come into the chapel and kneel for a moment as if in prayer?
I'm sure the chapel was non denominational. I grew up in the military. The base chapel was used by all faiths.
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Old June 7 2013, 07:20 AM   #14
prizzm
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Yes, the chapel was nondenominational. In Kirk's opening remarks at the wedding, he mentioned "our many beliefs." Seems to me that would imply that some of the crew had some sort of spiritual beliefs, maybe even religious beliefs.
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Old June 7 2013, 07:23 AM   #15
Silvercrest
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Right! So obviously not everyone is an atheist.


Edit: Gaaah! Ninja'd!
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