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

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Old June 7 2013, 07:57 AM   #16
prizzm
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

So even if Roddenberry did intend for earth people not to be religious, it looks to me as though some references to belief in a god slipped through the cracks.

But as to the original question of why Roddenberry mentioned Caesar and Christ in Bread and Circuses -- beats me. Maybe he wrote a rough draft of the screenplay and it was edited?
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Old June 7 2013, 09:15 AM   #17
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Or maybe all his anti-religious rhetoric came after the series?
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Old June 7 2013, 09:31 AM   #18
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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
Do you happen to know from what time period this quote comes?

Roddenberry's beliefs changed over the course of the years, the quote from the OP perhaps does not reflect Roddenberry's thoughts at the time of the episode.

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Old June 7 2013, 12:04 PM   #19
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

The episode doesn't posit that the deity they believe in is real. The most you could say about it is that Kirk and co. preferred religiosity to the cruelty and oppression of the status quo, playing into Gene's idea of human progress towards a more compassionate future. This, of course, ignores the negative influence of Christianity over time (like the crusades, inquisition, or most relevant-- resistance to science, of which, we're still suffering).
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Old June 7 2013, 12:40 PM   #20
TREK_GOD_1
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Zameaze wrote: View Post
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."
Advocates of the "Roddenberry=atheist" missed the following along the way:

In the book Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation (pg. 99), Scheimer recalled something telling, which the hardline, "Roddenberry=atheist" group did not know, or choose to ignore:

Gene got to be close to us all at Filmation. I remember when he and Majel barret had their little baby, Eugene Wesley Roddenberry jr., they invited us to the christening. He had a rabbi there, and a Catholic priest, and a Protestant reverend. He said, "There is no way that this kid is not going to go to heaven."
That was not a joke or stunt. Even if one argues that GR's invitation to the reverend, rabbi and priest implied he was not sure--he still moved in a conscious direction of faith the atheist would not even entertain.

With EWR, jr. born in 1974--long after TOS and just at the end of TAS' production. Roddenberry's statement--at one of the most important moments of his life--paints a clear picture that he was not the atheism cheerleader of latter day revisionist accounts, and certainly not during TOS' production. This explains the direction of the closing lines in "Bread and Circuses," which never read like the mere offering of opinion on a parallel event (in the way one would say, "oh, they just invented the car--cool!"), but some kind of deeper recognition/connection.

GR clearly did not like the false god types (Apollo, Gary Mitchell, et al), but TOS was not anti-God, or the series characters having no belief in God (ex. Kirk's line "We find the One quite adequate").

Braga's agenda had him talking out of his ass, an agenda which ignored experiences and 1st hand accounts where GR expressed faith--in order to paint him as the TV producer version of Dawkins.
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Last edited by TREK_GOD_1; June 7 2013 at 01:04 PM.
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Old June 7 2013, 01:17 PM   #21
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Maurice wrote: View Post
Or maybe all his anti-religious rhetoric came after the series?
Yes, that's what people seem determinedly unable to get, here.

What Roddenberry believed at a given time and what he was willing to publicly espouse through Trek were two different things.
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Old June 7 2013, 01:46 PM   #22
TOSalltheway
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Speaking as an athiest myself it always bothers me when I hear M5 saying that "murder is contrary to the laws of man and god".
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Old June 7 2013, 02:10 PM   #23
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

prizzm wrote: View Post
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.
Whatever GR personal beliefs, I think he was a smart enough writer to create characters that didn't share those beliefs. Life, both fictional and real would be pretty boring if everyone was the same.
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Old June 7 2013, 04:09 PM   #24
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

TOSalltheway wrote: View Post
Speaking as an athiest myself it always bothers me when I hear M5 saying that "murder is contrary to the laws of man and god".
It bothers you that someone thinks differently than you do? M-5 essentially had Daystrom's personality.
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Old June 7 2013, 04:22 PM   #25
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

BillJ wrote: View Post
TOSalltheway wrote: View Post
Speaking as an athiest myself it always bothers me when I hear M5 saying that "murder is contrary to the laws of man and god".
It bothers you that someone thinks differently than you do? M-5 essentially had Daystrom's personality.
Does it bother you that he's bothered? That bothers me.

But seriously, as someone who doesn't even remotely believe in the divinity of Jesus, the Son worship of "Bread and Circuses" doesn't bother me at all. It's just the product of what the creators believed in/thought the audience wanted to see. If Turkish Star Trek had an episode where Uhura pontificated about there being one true God and one true messenger of said God, that wouldn't bother me either, even though it doesn't reflect my own convictions.

I don't need Trek as my personal philosophical echo chamber. I need it to entertain me.
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Old June 7 2013, 04:39 PM   #26
Doug Otte
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

mos6507 wrote: View Post
The episode doesn't posit that the deity they believe in is real. The most you could say about it is that Kirk and co. preferred religiosity to the cruelty and oppression of the status quo, playing into Gene's idea of human progress towards a more compassionate future. This, of course, ignores the negative influence of Christianity over time (like the crusades, inquisition, or most relevant-- resistance to science, of which, we're still suffering).
Well said (written). Thanks.

I don't even think we can infer that they "preferred religiosity." They just seemed interested in how the myth would evolve on that world. Would history there diverge from Earth's history after Christ's time, or would it be the same?
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Old June 7 2013, 06:54 PM   #27
AtoZ
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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.
There's more than a few ways to view matters. Roddenberry may have claimed to be an "atheist", among other things, but one view is he was in a sense very religious, with his god being himself, his ego and the extreme's he'd go to feed it. Another was his pursuit of humanism. In a sense, he was a high priest and Star Trek was his vehicle.

Or some of you could label me for my submission, given my proposal.

"Bible thumpers" was among a few of the responses on this thread. Interesting label that says much. Does tolerance only apply to some and not to others?

Or was Roddenberry strictly stroking a specific sector of the viewers?

Regardless, Gene was certainly smart enough to know what he was doing (when not blinded by certain vices....like any of us)...and me thinks he was particularly adept at reaching people and pushing buttons.
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Old June 7 2013, 07:01 PM   #28
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

AtoZ wrote: View Post
"Bible thumpers" was among a few of the responses on this thread. Interesting label that says much. Does tolerance only apply to some and not to others?
Whoever told you that indiscriminate tolerance is the highest of values?

As far as political ideologies or philosophies are concerned, I know of none that explicitly elevate tolerance of ignorance to a virtue.

I'm not talking about IDIC, but about ideologies that actually exist and matter.
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Old June 7 2013, 07:21 PM   #29
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

That's rather offensive, Dennis. It's pretty damned sad when Christians are all lumped together with the extremists in what is a very large diverse group.

To me, as a Christian, being called a "Bible thumper" is a pejorative, along the lines of calling a Moslem the "R" word or a Jew the "K" word.

None of these designations should be acceptable, even if the three groups involved have elements in them that are undesirable at times to others (and even to those in said groups, if truth be told).

Even if one disagrees with another person's religious leanings (or lack thereof), it's only common decency to avoid stereotyping.
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Old June 7 2013, 07:47 PM   #30
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Uh-uh. Sorry, but one person here used the phrase "appeasing the bible thumpers" in passing while discussing GR's genuflection toward belief in a 1960s TV show, and AtoZ chose to inaccurately describe that as "among a few of the responses." There's no basis in what Zameaze or I posted for deciding that anyone was "lumping all Christians together" with the "extremists," nor any excuse for AtoZ being victimy about it.

"Bible thumper" is most commonly defined as someone who is aggressive in imposing Christianity on others or uses biblical literalism to attack and condemn people. You know what? I don't like bible thumpers. I have no patience with the several who approach me on the street to proselytize, as they frequently do in the commercial downtown blocks of my neighborhood. You can call that a slam on "all Christians" if you like, but it's not. It is, however, the truth.

TREK_GOD_1 is entirely wrong, BTW, in suggesting that Braga misrepresented Roddenberry's expressed opinions about religion during the time that they would have worked together on TNG. GR was not at all shy about expressing his complete disdain for all forms of religious belief and practice during that period of his life. Trying to drag the "Braga is suspect" meme into this discussion is a non-starter.

Last edited by Admiral Buzzkill; June 7 2013 at 08:09 PM.
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