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

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Old June 9 2013, 07:09 PM   #76
stj
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Seska wrote: View Post
...Kirk has his epiphany that what he just went through on planet 892-IV with its own Ceasar and Christ echoes the religious persecution our own human ancestors experienced. I think that is the big take-away from Bread and Circuses, with Capt. Merik's folly and the slave love of Kirk/Drusilla added in for good measure.
In this interpretation, "us" being the persecuted Christians, our visiting heroes not only do nothing to help "us," but don't even recognize who "we" are till the denouement? What a dull story that was. Even with the jokes about television.

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!

...There were religious motivations to the Crusades, to be certain, but no real tenet or article of Christian faith commanded the invasions of the Holy Land....The Inquisition did not come about from any genuine Biblical imperative.... Scientific models are changing all the time, so it's not like it would be "anti-science" to refrain from putting all of your faith into any of those models. Noting that science has no application to the unobservable or the incalculable is not resistance, it's actually like Chapter 1 in our grade-school science texts, called "The Scientific Method"....
It is an increasingly accepted misconception that atheism is the lack of religion. Lack of religion is irreligion. A • the • ism is not only an ism, but distilled to its purely dissected form, literally means a belief in no god (i.e., a = no • the = god • ism = belief in). It is still a system of beliefs, faith-based, just like any other religion.
I do not accept that an anonymous internet poster has the divine authority to assure us as to the nonChristianity of the Crusades and the Inquisition. It is to be sure part of atheism to deny that religion has any magisterium, a task reserved to reason. The positive content of atheism is philosophical materialism. However, since the facts uncovered by science do not change, philosophical materialism is an evidence-based belief system, not a faith. It should not be surprising that textbooks present these matters in such fashion as to foster confusion to the benefit of religion. This is sort of off topic.

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.

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.

....Kirk is in fact a Christian, who embraces that growth comes no other way but through "The Struggle."

Hardship is normal for the Christian life, it's how we improve ourselves.
And we have another anonymous internet poster speaking ex cathedra. I'll kiss your ring when Your Holiness pokes it through my monitor.
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Old June 10 2013, 02:54 AM   #77
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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.
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Right! So obviously not everyone is an atheist.
That statement does seem to indicate not that people aren't religious, but that people are free to believe or not believe what they like without fear of persecution. My reading is that in Kirk's time there are religions, both Earth based and those of other planets, and that people do believe in deitys etc... but just that the people who believe and the people who don't believe aren't in conflict with each other anymore. Everybody just respects everybody else's P-O-V.

Also in "The Final Frontier" it seems clear that Bones believes in God. Or at the very least he wants to believe: "Jim, you don't ask the Almighty for his ID!"

Certainly by TNG, Roddenberry's ideals against religion (no doubt informed by the height of the televangelist craze of the 1980s) had become much stronger and definitely influenced the production. So 24th century humanity professes to not believe in religion at all, although I do imagine they would always be tolerant and accept it in purely scientific/historical terms (cf. "Haven" or even "Who Watches The Watchers", where the 1701-D crew have an appreciation for these cultures openly believing in Gods while still having no direct religious belief themselves). This is further enhanced in Deep Space Nine, where the Starfleet crew often appreciate Bajor having such strong faith while not actually worshipping at the altar of the Prophets themselves.
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Old June 10 2013, 04:43 AM   #78
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

stj wrote: View Post
In this interpretation, "us" being the persecuted Christians, our visiting heroes not only do nothing to help "us," but don't even recognize who "we" are till the denouement? What a dull story that was. Even with the jokes about television.
It may be dull to some, but it was not my mere imagining that Spock, the sciency-est one of them all, got it wrong about Septimus and Flavius based on the facts he just observed on the planet below, until Uhura finally set him straight about the Son at the episode's conclusion.

stj wrote: View Post
The positive content of atheism is philosophical materialism. However, since the facts uncovered by science do not change, philosophical materialism is an evidence-based belief system, not a faith.
Seeing as we both agree that atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?

Would you agree that the Trek fosters notions of diversity and inclusion?

stj wrote: View Post
It should not be surprising that textbooks present these matters in such fashion as to foster confusion to the benefit of religion. This is sort of off topic.
That was not the surprising aspect to me. I was more astonished that you seem to be making the claim that the scientific method has application to the unobservable and the incalculable. As Dr. Lester might say, "are you prepared with an example? One will do."

I doubt the thread would be too hijacked, as its topic is broad enough to encompass touching on the intellectual pursuit of comparative religion, a subject of advanced academic study. Besides, stj, our posts are prolix to most, so kindly allow me to leave you with a set of not-so-dull facts to subject to your own analysis and reason.

You know, a few of the arguments I've read upthread, I've also heard before, on Donahue. Nobody, and I mean nobody, could preach atheism as eloquently and succinctly as Madalyn Murray O'Hair. In fact, old Madalyn is probably still the most famous atheist in America today. So once upon a time, one of Madalyn's sons (the one who sued to get prayer out of schools) converts to Christianity, and Madalyn, the loving atheist mom she claimed to be, disowned him for it. The way he tells the story, I think now a pastor, mom was pretty selfish and a little too into the materialism. One of her fellow atheists became disaffected, kidnapped Madalyn, and her atheist other son and granddaughter, and slowly murdered them all with a pair of pliers. They were all buried in a shallow grave, in tiny pieces. The end. Like Job's wife is reported to have said, "curse God and die". Maybe she knew what she was talking about. Maybe you can chalk it up to a fairy tale. The Vulcan proverb might be that "the beginning of wisdom is logic", but the Solomonic proverb is "the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God."

If history has shown us anything, it is that mankind has never been master of the universe. If all preceding generations never fully realized the big picture (so far as we know), what makes you think this generation has somehow acquired the knowledge of everything? Until we have that Grand Unified Theory licked as a simplicity, I doubt any of us is in a position to state what the full immutable facts of the universe are or aren't, and even then...

stj wrote: View Post
And we have another anonymous internet poster speaking ex cathedra. I'll kiss your ring when Your Holiness pokes it through my monitor.
We all come here to read what anonymous internet post-ers write. Pretty much everybody here, including yourself, is an anonymous internet post-er. Being the subject of frocks and genuflection does not better qualify a person to speak the truth, imho.

Anyway, stj, thanks for the good discussion so far. Please take my little diatribe with the love, acceptance, and sincerity with which it is offered. So, howz about a little love back? Like Madalyn once said, "An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god." And like Shakespeare said, "Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee; Corruption wins not more than honesty."

T'Bonz wrote: View Post
I'm SO using this quote against the throngs that wish I'd shut up and go away.
Thongs are no match against Romulan Commander.
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Old June 10 2013, 04:52 AM   #79
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Seska wrote: View Post
atheism is a belief system
As already stated in this thread, not believing in a deity is not a belief system.

If you wish to accord those who do not share your beliefs some respect, how about starting by not misrepresenting their position?
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Old June 10 2013, 05:19 AM   #80
Seska
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

I would amend my question, by instead asking:

Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
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Old June 10 2013, 05:24 AM   #81
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Seska wrote: View Post
I would amend my question, by instead asking:

Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
What beliefs are those? I don't know of any beliefs associated with being an atheist.

I suppose that would depend on what they believe and how they express it.
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Old June 10 2013, 05:29 AM   #82
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Ah, but their wedding was Buddhist-Shinto, or Shinto-Buddhist. It wasn't just pure Buddhist and Shinto is a recognized religion.

Whatever that's worth.
Buddhist-Shinto doesn't really mean anything. I'm guessing it was a traditional Japanese wedding conducted by a Shinto priest and had a smattering of Buddhist elements as is typical with everything in Japan.
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Old June 10 2013, 06:15 AM   #83
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Seska wrote: View Post
I would amend my question, by instead asking:

Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
For the zillionth time, there is no affirmation of any belief, when not believing in a deity. It really can't get any clearer than that.
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Old June 10 2013, 06:43 AM   #84
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Well, to make it clearer.

It's not like Atheists don't believe in anything. We believe many things.
Some beliefs may be a direct result or strongly correlated to atheism as far as you can call it an ism.

Basic atheistic worldview just means it is the default position on the existance of a god.
Being a sceptic means you are technically open to believe it if you are presented sufficient evidence.

Now there is also the position of strong atheism, or anti-theism, which I happen to hold and which overlaps with basic or weak atheism, and which actually is the believe that no gods exist.
Can I prove it to absolute certainty? No. But I also don't need to to reject your claim of a god unless you can provide sufficient evidence.

A good example is the bubblegummachine.
There is either an even number of bubblegums in it or an uneven number.
One of those must by definition be true.
Short of opening the machine and counting them doesn't give you a way to know and it would be silly to believe in either before that.
That and nothing more is the basic atheistic position.

Or the courtroom analogy:
In a trial a jury or a judge rule guilty or not guilty. They don't vote innocent.
The defendant can be innocent but that is irrelevant to a ruling of not guilty, because guilt has to be proven first no matter if he actually committed the crime or not.
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Old June 10 2013, 06:48 AM   #85
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
That and nothing more is the basic atheistic position.
Well, I'd say that it's safe to say that you aren't speaking for all people who consider themselves atheists.

To clarify, I don't think your bubblegum machine analogy fully captures the situation, and nor is it best to approach the situation by analogy.
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Old June 10 2013, 06:54 AM   #86
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

As it has been put wonderfully elsewhere:

"If atheism is a religion, not collecting stamps is a hobby."
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Old June 10 2013, 07:06 AM   #87
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
That and nothing more is the basic atheistic position.
Well, I'd say that it's safe to say that you aren't speaking for all people who consider themsNot the topic here.)es atheists.

To clarify, I don't think your bubblegum machine analogy fully captures the situation, and nor is it best to approach the situation by analogy.
That really depends on if you are talking about strong or weak atheists.
Rejecting the believe in god without evidence is enough to be the latter, without making a claim of it's own.

Doesn't mean you can't also be a strong atheist at the same time, but arguing for that position is futile because can't prove the non existance of a deity. (doesn't mean you can't disprove a specific god claim, but that is not the topic here.)
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Old June 10 2013, 07:26 AM   #88
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
That and nothing more is the basic atheistic position.
Well, I'd say that it's safe to say that you aren't speaking for all people who consider themsNot the topic here.)es atheists.

To clarify, I don't think your bubblegum machine analogy fully captures the situation, and nor is it best to approach the situation by analogy.
That really depends on if you are talking about strong or weak atheists.
No, it really doesn't. Your bubblegum machine analogy falls short, no matter what.
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Old June 10 2013, 10:19 AM   #89
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Seska wrote: View Post
I would amend my question, by instead asking:

Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
Atheism, or more accurately perhaps, viewing life through a materialistic and empirical framework is only a belief system in an extremely narrow solipsistic sense sense that one can only know what you directly experience with your senses. However, that is physical and independently verifiable by others. It is in no way a belief system like any religious sense which posits a metaphysical reality. There is no way to verify any metaphysical reality. That is completely a belief of faith, which has no way to be assayed, described, or tested independently or observed and verified by any means. Any metaphysical reality is as right and wrong as any other. God has no more claim to reality than Batman and Wonder Woman. To claim 'belief in the physical world is equally a position of belief/faith as 'belief in the metaphysical' is patent foolishness. That is the claim that too many entertain as a valid argument allowing Creationism in the classroom. It's absurd.
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Old June 10 2013, 12:50 PM   #90
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Lance wrote: View Post
My reading is that in Kirk's time there are religions, both Earth based and those of other planets, and that people do believe in deitys etc... but just that the people who believe and the people who don't believe aren't in conflict with each other anymore. Everybody just respects everybody else's P-O-V.
This is one of the most accurate assessmens of religion among humans in TOS as i've read on the board.

Also in "The Final Frontier" it seems clear that Bones believes in God.
Yes, and that was clear throughtout TOS, as he was not shy about making Biblical references in way more rooted in belief than in a random historical observation.
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