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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old September 7 2013, 01:51 AM   #1
ComicGuy89
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Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

I saw this question on tumblr and it stumped me:

Why are Bajor’s gods called the Prophets? In human culture, prophets are people who bear the word of a divinity, much as the Emissary does in Bajoran faith. Is this ever explained?
I agree, a prophet is usually seen as a subordinate to a deity. The term "Founder" for the Dominion's gods accurately reflects their authority, but why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

Last edited by ComicGuy89; September 7 2013 at 04:01 AM.
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Old September 7 2013, 02:17 AM   #2
Tosk
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

We'll just have to chalk it up to slight deviation in word use in an alien language.

Those wacky Bajorans. After all, they also refer to an hourglass-shaped object as an orb.
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Old September 7 2013, 02:18 AM   #3
Christopher
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

"Prophet" also means "someone who foretells the future." Think of "prophecy," whose primary meaning is a prediction of future events, usually divinely inspired, e.g. the alleged prophecies of Nostradamus. The wormhole aliens exist outside of time, perceiving past, present, and future as one, and thus they can reveal the future (or the past) to the Bajorans through Orb experiences, i.e. prophecies.
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Old September 7 2013, 04:02 AM   #4
ComicGuy89
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

Tosk wrote: View Post
We'll just have to chalk it up to slight deviation in word use in an alien language.

Those wacky Bajorans. After all, they also refer to an hourglass-shaped object as an orb.
Another good observation! Funny Bajorans.

Christopher wrote: View Post
"Prophet" also means "someone who foretells the future." Think of "prophecy," whose primary meaning is a prediction of future events, usually divinely inspired, e.g. the alleged prophecies of Nostradamus. The wormhole aliens exist outside of time, perceiving past, present, and future as one, and thus they can reveal the future (or the past) to the Bajorans through Orb experiences, i.e. prophecies.
I like that explanation and it makes a lot of sense. Thanks.
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Old September 7 2013, 11:54 AM   #5
teacake
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

Not to be confused with the Ferengi profits..
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Old September 7 2013, 01:11 PM   #6
lvsxy808
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

I didn't realize there was question on this - Christopher's explanation has been the obvious one to me all along. They are Prophets... because they prophecize.

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Old September 7 2013, 04:18 PM   #7
VXX
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

not every religion has to have a god.
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Old September 7 2013, 06:13 PM   #8
jpv2000
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

ComicGuy89 wrote: View Post
Tosk wrote: View Post
We'll just have to chalk it up to slight deviation in word use in an alien language.

Those wacky Bajorans. After all, they also refer to an hourglass-shaped object as an orb.
Another good observation! Funny Bajorans.

Christopher wrote: View Post
"Prophet" also means "someone who foretells the future." Think of "prophecy," whose primary meaning is a prediction of future events, usually divinely inspired, e.g. the alleged prophecies of Nostradamus. The wormhole aliens exist outside of time, perceiving past, present, and future as one, and thus they can reveal the future (or the past) to the Bajorans through Orb experiences, i.e. prophecies.
I like that explanation and it makes a lot of sense. Thanks.
It does indeed. Chris has that quality of making a lot of sense in his comments.
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Old September 8 2013, 12:26 AM   #9
MacLeod
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

I'd agree with Christopher as well, that was always my understand of the Bajoran Prophets.
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Old September 10 2013, 01:40 AM   #10
CmndrSela318
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

The ancient Greeks had GODS-as in more than one GOD. Let me think...there was Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite, Hera, Nyx, Erebus, Artemis, Hermes, Prometheus, Poseidon, Ares, Hades...and no telling how many more I didn't name.
Maybe the Bajorans have multiple GODS and they call them prophets instead of GODS. And maybe those GODS live in that wormhole because that's their Mt. Olympus or their Heaven. Has anyone considered this?
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Last edited by CmndrSela318; September 10 2013 at 02:28 AM. Reason: A little re-wording. Nothing to sound red alert over.
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Old September 10 2013, 01:44 AM   #11
iguana_tonante
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

I'd say that's the commonly accepted view.
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Old September 10 2013, 04:03 AM   #12
Ziz
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

jpv2000 wrote: View Post
ComicGuy89 wrote: View Post
Tosk wrote: View Post
We'll just have to chalk it up to slight deviation in word use in an alien language.

Those wacky Bajorans. After all, they also refer to an hourglass-shaped object as an orb.
Another good observation! Funny Bajorans.

Christopher wrote: View Post
"Prophet" also means "someone who foretells the future." Think of "prophecy," whose primary meaning is a prediction of future events, usually divinely inspired, e.g. the alleged prophecies of Nostradamus. The wormhole aliens exist outside of time, perceiving past, present, and future as one, and thus they can reveal the future (or the past) to the Bajorans through Orb experiences, i.e. prophecies.
I like that explanation and it makes a lot of sense. Thanks.
It does indeed. Chris has that quality of making a lot of sense in his comments.
It's amazing how much sense people make when they have a working knowledge of the English language.
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Old September 10 2013, 04:54 AM   #13
Sigokat
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Re: Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

Thanks for this thread!

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.

Maybe I just need to rewatch DS9 again.
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Old September 10 2013, 08:13 AM   #14
lvsxy808
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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.

Well, that's just all a matter of interpretation, isn't it? Who are you (or we) to say that being a sapient extra-terrestrial race who reside in an extra-dimensional realm that is accessible via an event horizon in the Denorios Belt is sufficient to disqualify that race from divinity?

If the Bajorans believe they are gods, then to them they are gods. It doesn't matter what we think.

I'm sure some individual Bajorans did react as you describe, but others would see the discovery of the wormhole aliens as validation, as concrete proof of their gods' existence. As was shown several times through the show and the books, there is nothing in the Bajoran religious interpretation than necessarily contradicts the Starfleet scientific interpretation. It's all just a matter of perspective.

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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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