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Old September 26 2013, 03:31 AM   #1
oddsigve
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Location: Norway
The question of God or a higher power in ST

The question of a "higher power" have been tackled in different ways in the different series/movies. Too me the whole notion seems redundant in a Star Trek universe with species like Q,"wormhole aliens", Okampans, etc.

These are some of the questions i ask myself:

-A problem with the English language? Phrases like"Oh, my god" are hard to avoid.
-Being produced in the US
-Producers afraid of alienating religious people?
-Are they conducting a thought experiment so the viewer ends up pondering his/her beliefs?
- If there is a god. Are the klingon, human etc. the same god or what? What`s beyond a species like the Q considering they are already omnipotent.

I`m wondering what you think?
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Old September 26 2013, 03:33 AM   #2
R. Star
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

Kassidy mentioned her dad wanting her to be married by a minister so... they're still around even if not given the spotlight, I'd say.
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Old September 26 2013, 04:08 AM   #3
oddsigve
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

R. Star wrote: View Post
Kassidy mentioned her dad wanting her to be married by a minister so... they're still around even if not given the spotlight, I'd say.
Yes, that`s true. It seems like they treat it like an obscurity and use other races religion to "discuss" the matter. Which is probably the "safe" way to tackle the question. Though the lack of references(?) to other religions on earth seems bias.
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Old September 26 2013, 04:46 AM   #4
teacake
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

Humans are snobs, hence the looking at races with religious beliefs as backward.

The real question to me comes out in DS9. If there are gods or a god what makes this any different than vastly superior aliens we've already seen?
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Old September 26 2013, 05:09 AM   #5
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

they've referenced Earth religions or beliefs before. In "who mourns for adonais" Kirk seemed to identify himself as a monotheist. STV: TFF was full of speculation on God, and the Eden myth was referenced there as well as(of course) in "way to Eden." Chakotay has his spiritual beliefs too, of course. I would guess the idea is that Humans mostly are very private with their beliefs in the Trek future and that it is no longer quite the source of divisiveness and conflict that it was.
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Old September 26 2013, 05:41 AM   #6
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

Klingons killed their gods.
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Old September 26 2013, 06:12 AM   #7
CorporalCaptain
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

The chapel on the Enterprise seen in TOS: Balance of Terror had what appear to be religious symbols at the altar.

In TNG: Pen Pals, the question of whether there is a "cosmic plan" seems to be one that the senior staff deems worthy of serious consideration:

PICARD: It is no longer a matter of how wrong Data was, or why he did it. The dilemma exists. We have to discuss the options. And please talk freely.
WORF: There are no options. The Prime Directive is not a matter of degrees. It is an absolute.
PULASKI: I have a problem with that kind of rigidity. It seems callous and even a little cowardly.
PICARD: Doctor, I'm sure that is not what the Lieutenant meant, but in a situation like this, we have to be cautious. What we do today may profoundly affect upon the future. If we could see every possible outcome
RIKER: We'd be gods, which we're not. If there is a cosmic plan, is it not the height of hubris to think that we can, or should, interfere?
LAFORGE: So what are you saying? That the Dremans are fated to die?
RIKER: I think that's an option we should be considering.
LAFORGE: Consider it considered, and rejected.
TROI: If there is a cosmic plan, are we not a part of it? Our presence at this place at this moment in time could be a part of that fate.
LAFORGE: Right, and it could be part of that plan that we interfere.
RIKER: Well that eliminates the possibility of fate.

[etc.]
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Old September 26 2013, 06:37 AM   #8
C.E. Evans
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

"We make assumption you have a deity or deities or some such beliefs which comfort you."
--Balok, "The Corbomite Maneuver"

To me, this sums up the whole issue of God, religion, and faith in Trek. I think Trek acknowledges that people believe in a wide variety of things, including a higher power as well as no higher power. Somehow, Trek has managed to have people of very different creeds not only co-exist peacefully together, but also prosper together. It seem to boil down to an idea of "if it works for you."

The only real problem seems to be with societies which are based upon the worship of an artificial construct (i.e., a super computer), where their lives are governed by the electronic whims of a device, IMO.
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Old September 26 2013, 07:34 AM   #9
David.Blue
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

oddsigve wrote: View Post
The question of a "higher power" have been tackled in different ways in the different series/movies. Too me the whole notion seems redundant in a Star Trek universe with species like Q,"wormhole aliens", Okampans, etc.

These are some of the questions i ask myself:

-A problem with the English language? Phrases like"Oh, my god" are hard to avoid.
-Being produced in the US
-Producers afraid of alienating religious people?
-Are they conducting a thought experiment so the viewer ends up pondering his/her beliefs?
- If there is a god. Are the klingon, human etc. the same god or what? What`s beyond a species like the Q considering they are already omnipotent.

I`m wondering what you think?
Boils down to how one defines the word "God" not only in terms of Star Trek but in the RW as well. This routinely comes up for example in Facebook discussions, and certainly in other Trek forums.

Gene Roddenberry's show seemed to avoid the question pretty much whenever possible, save to suggest that one of the worst things being like ourselves can do is to think themselves Godlike. Look at Gary Mitchell, or the Sargonites or even Apollo. Yet one sees very little by way of formal religion in the show. What we do see nearly always is portrayed as superstition, i.e. the Bajorans view of the Prophets, and any religious organization as nearly always inherently sinister. Or vaguely primitive.

Part of this is the notion of God, as a transendance, as something far more than a mere human being. Give Charlie Evans vast power and what keeps him from being a God is his human limits. He lacks understanding. Gary Mitchell was the same, only as an adult he possessed the drives and complexities of a grown man (albeit still a young one). In "Plato's Stepchildren" in particular we see what someone with some genuine wisdom does when offered this kind of power. They refuse it, knowing themselves unworthy.

Yet we have the Q. A seemingly literally eternal race, beings who've always existed and can reshape reality as they desire. Yet are not without limits. Not without room for growth.

If anything, one gets a subtle hint that perhaps if humans are more advanced than (for example) cats, then races such as the Metrons and Organians are even more advanced. Yet further (or if you like, higher) are the Q. Is it really so much to believe something exists beyond the Q, unimaginable to us but as far beyond the wormhole aliens as we ourselves are above a virus?

Personally, I belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church and will expound upon my church's theology at length given a chance. Hence my comments above, vis-a-vis the universe of Star Trek. But I don't believe the two mutually exclusive, even if the notion Jesus or Mohammed or the Buddha were aliens seems utterly unconvincing to me.
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Old September 26 2013, 08:55 AM   #10
Edit_XYZ
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

Bad thoughts wrote: View Post
Klingons killed their gods.
The klingons sure like to think so.
But faith drives their lives to a very large extent - all the Sto'vo'kor, etc beliefs.
The klingons killed nothing; they merely stroked their ego.
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Old September 26 2013, 11:23 AM   #11
Robert Comsol
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

David.Blue wrote: View Post
In "Plato's Stepchildren" in particular we see what someone with some genuine wisdom does when offered this kind of power. They refuse it, knowing themselves unworthy.
ALEXANDER: Parmen, listen to me. I could have had your power, but I didn't want it. I could have had your place right now, but the sight of you and your Academicians sickens me. Despite your brains, you're the most contemptible things that ever lived in this universe.

I think it is not that Alexander considers himself "unworthy" but he is a very smart guy, and the title of the episode is a helpful hint, IMHO.

Plato had recorded the actions of Socrates, and although "Know Thyself" was an inscription of the temple of Apollo (...) at Delphi, Socrates delivered an easy to understand explanation of "Know Thyself".

In the context of this episode, Alexander apparently knows himself well enough (i.e. he is aware of his strength and weaknesses) to imagine how these godlike powers will corrupt him. He realizes that these would make him as contemptible as Parmen and the others which is something he does not want to be happening to him (just drop the "unworthy" and you have the correct interpretation, IMHO).

The delicious paradox is that Alexander's wisdom would make him worthy of such powers but he knows himself way too good that the moment he'd accept he'd be unworthy.

In contrast Riker's acceptance of these godlike powers in "Hide and Q" reveals that he lacks wisdom and self-knowledge. But he quickly realizes with the help of his friends that he is not yet ready for such powers.

Bob
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; September 26 2013 at 11:35 AM.
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Old September 26 2013, 11:48 AM   #12
Bad Thoughts
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Bad thoughts wrote: View Post
Klingons killed their gods.
The klingons sure like to think so.
But faith drives their lives to a very large extent - all the Sto'vo'kor, etc beliefs.
The klingons killed nothing; they merely stroked their ego.
Being atheistic does not preclude having mysticism, mytholgy, superstition or beliefs in an afterlife (or at least a process by which such things as joy and suffering are sorted out). Obviously who are what is a god can be a messy affair, but I don't see why the veneration of Kahless would be much different than of Buddha.
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Old September 26 2013, 12:02 PM   #13
Robert Comsol
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

Bad thoughts wrote: View Post
Obviously who are what is a god can be a messy affair, but I don't see why the veneration of Kahless would be much different than of Buddha.
Maybe Buddha didn't set the pattern for Earth tyrannies?

Excalbian rock: Captain, Mister Spock, some of these you may know through history. ... Kahless the Unforgettable, the Klingon who set the pattern for his planet's tyrannies. We welcome the vessel Enterprise. ("The Savage Curtain")

Bob
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Old September 26 2013, 12:05 PM   #14
JarodRussell
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

teacake wrote: View Post
Humans are snobs, hence the looking at races with religious beliefs as backward.
And you don't do that?

What Trek more than once criticized was mindless faith. When people get completely irrational and utterly stupid in their faith. And Trek was every time absolutely right about that.
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Old September 26 2013, 12:07 PM   #15
Bad Thoughts
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Re: The question of God or a higher power in ST

David.Blue wrote: View Post
oddsigve wrote: View Post
The question of a "higher power" have been tackled in different ways in the different series/movies. Too me the whole notion seems redundant in a Star Trek universe with species like Q,"wormhole aliens", Okampans, etc.

These are some of the questions i ask myself:

-A problem with the English language? Phrases like"Oh, my god" are hard to avoid.
-Being produced in the US
-Producers afraid of alienating religious people?
-Are they conducting a thought experiment so the viewer ends up pondering his/her beliefs?
- If there is a god. Are the klingon, human etc. the same god or what? What`s beyond a species like the Q considering they are already omnipotent.

I`m wondering what you think?
Boils down to how one defines the word "God" not only in terms of Star Trek but in the RW as well. This routinely comes up for example in Facebook discussions, and certainly in other Trek forums.

Gene Roddenberry's show seemed to avoid the question pretty much whenever possible, save to suggest that one of the worst things being like ourselves can do is to think themselves Godlike. Look at Gary Mitchell, or the Sargonites or even Apollo. Yet one sees very little by way of formal religion in the show. What we do see nearly always is portrayed as superstition, i.e. the Bajorans view of the Prophets, and any religious organization as nearly always inherently sinister. Or vaguely primitive.

Part of this is the notion of God, as a transendance, as something far more than a mere human being. Give Charlie Evans vast power and what keeps him from being a God is his human limits. He lacks understanding. Gary Mitchell was the same, only as an adult he possessed the drives and complexities of a grown man (albeit still a young one). In "Plato's Stepchildren" in particular we see what someone with some genuine wisdom does when offered this kind of power. They refuse it, knowing themselves unworthy.

Yet we have the Q. A seemingly literally eternal race, beings who've always existed and can reshape reality as they desire. Yet are not without limits. Not without room for growth.

If anything, one gets a subtle hint that perhaps if humans are more advanced than (for example) cats, then races such as the Metrons and Organians are even more advanced. Yet further (or if you like, higher) are the Q. Is it really so much to believe something exists beyond the Q, unimaginable to us but as far beyond the wormhole aliens as we ourselves are above a virus?

Personally, I belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church and will expound upon my church's theology at length given a chance. Hence my comments above, vis-a-vis the universe of Star Trek. But I don't believe the two mutually exclusive, even if the notion Jesus or Mohammed or the Buddha were aliens seems utterly unconvincing to me.
However, it seems that the ability of anyone being(s) to function as a deity requires them to inspire such things are obedience or devotion. Gary Mitchell and Q appear to approach omnipotence, but they cannot inspire obedience in their absence. If they did, that devotion would be incredibly fragile, based almost entirely on the threat of force for non-compliance. Q, in particular, doesn't seem interested in being recognized as a god. He seems content to making people do things directly, and he even implores Picard et al to pray to their own gods. The Prophets, on the other hand, stand apart from these examples because they inspire devotion through what they give to Bajorans.
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