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Old June 4 2009, 01:45 AM   #1
donners22
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Star Trek as anti-religion

I came across a curious article in a newspaper. It is a regular religious column which had a shot at Star Trek about a decade ago, and has covered it again with the popularity of the new film.

Here's a key section:

Perhaps the myth of a future alternative society without God is what makes Star Trek appealing to those who have been disappointed by traditional religions.

The churches have been too ready to proclaim doom for all those who do not believe in their view of the universe.

But Star Trek makes the converse error. It supposes man alone will sort out all the problems.

Star Trek supposes, without any real evidence, a future of morality without spirituality. Its appeal as a viable philosophy relies on the false belief in humanity's steady and inexorable moral advance.

It's a myth perpetuated by Hollywood's penchant for feelgood fantasy movies.
The full article is at http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...-24909,00.html

I suppose the immediate counter to that would be the Bajorans, who managed to survive a dreadful occupation at least in part due to their faith. However, in general it is true that Star Trek features little in the way of religion.

Is it generally accepted that religion has been left behind, or is it simply something not openly portrayed? I know some novels feature religious characters, and there's no shortage of religious references in TOS (though often as "mythology").

This seems a quite depressing approach taken by the writer, to suggest that we are dependant on "God" (whether that is supposing a single God or each individual's religious beliefs) to progress any further, and that morals cannot develop without religion.

Is Star Trek necessarily in conflict with religion, as the writer seems to think?
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Old June 4 2009, 01:51 AM   #2
Da'an
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

This is why I like Babylon 5, and to a lesser extent, Farscape.

Is Star Trek necessarily in conflict with religion, as the writer seems to think?
I think it depends on which religion, but surely anything science fiction show with aliens is at odds with religion by the vary nature of explicitly stating Earth isn't the only place in the Universe with life.
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Old June 4 2009, 02:01 AM   #3
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

Da'an wrote: View Post
This is why I like Babylon 5, and to a lesser extent, Farscape.

Is Star Trek necessarily in conflict with religion, as the writer seems to think?
I think it depends on which religion, but surely anything science fiction show with aliens is at odds with religion by the vary nature of explicitly stating Earth isn't the only place in the Universe with life.
However, there are many religions which do not state such specifically. For example, Christianity, which only speaks of life on earth. There are many Christians who believe that life exists elsewhere in the universe. I'm one of them.


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Old June 4 2009, 02:10 AM   #4
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

donners22 wrote: View Post
This seems a quite depressing approach taken by the writer, to suggest that we are dependant on "God" (whether that is supposing a single God or each individual's religious beliefs) to progress any further, and that morals cannot develop without religion.
That definitely is a rather questionable viewpoint to have. Also, the last part (only people who practice a religion can have morality) pretty much sums up the problems I have with organized religion.

It's also interesting that this writer confers a doctorate on Spock and re-baptizes his own president with a new name.
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Old June 4 2009, 02:16 AM   #5
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

NCC-1701 wrote: View Post
donners22 wrote: View Post
This seems a quite depressing approach taken by the writer, to suggest that we are dependant on "God" (whether that is supposing a single God or each individual's religious beliefs) to progress any further, and that morals cannot develop without religion.
That definitely is a rather questionable viewpoint to have. Also, the last part (only people who practice a religion can have morality) pretty much sums up the problems I have with organized religion.

It's also interesting that this writer confers a doctorate on Spock and re-baptizes his own president with a new name.
As a Christian and one who interacts with people of various faiths, philosophies and beliefs, I can vouch for that. Morality does not a religion make, and neither does religion make morality. One does not have to be of a faith to be moral and ethical. True ethics and morals start inside and work their way outward. Anything else must be learned.


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Old June 4 2009, 02:19 AM   #6
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

If you ask me ST:TMP is a very Christian allagory. It is about someone seeking his God but looking for something specific and then shocked to find out who God really was and then accepting Him.
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Old June 4 2009, 02:22 AM   #7
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

J. Allen wrote: View Post
As a Christian and one who interacts with people of various faiths, philosophies and beliefs, I can vouch for that. Morality does not a religion make, and neither does religion make morality. One does not have to be of a faith to be moral and ethical. True ethics and morals start inside and work their way outward. Anything else must be learned.
Yes, I know that. And I'm glad you look at it the same way. But I have met many people who were shocked to learn that I don't believe in something (God, that is).
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Old June 4 2009, 02:37 AM   #8
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

I think religion is still around in Star Trek, but I think it's much more of a personal thing, and not something that's shoved down everyone's throats and you're considered an amoral thing if you don't believe in it like it is in many places today. Parts of America, not the least of which.
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Old June 4 2009, 02:39 AM   #9
Da'an
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

J. Allen wrote: View Post
As a Christian and one who interacts with people of various faiths, philosophies and beliefs, I can vouch for that. Morality does not a religion make, and neither does religion make morality. One does not have to be of a faith to be moral and ethical. True ethics and morals start inside and work their way outward. Anything else must be learned.
It's been my personal experience that Spirituality encourages morality while religion hinders it.

This has even been shown in Star Trek on many occasions where the dogmatic aliens are the bad guys and the spiritual aliens are the enlightened ones.
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Old June 4 2009, 03:16 AM   #10
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

It depends on which show/episode you watch as to whether ST is "anti-religious" or not. There was the TOS episode "Bread and Circuses" which had a reference to Christ. (Hope I named the right episode..) Although Jean-Luc was more anti-relgion - he talks about it as backwards thinking or immature for a society to 'still' be religous. Interestingly enough Jean-Luc does seem to reflect a more contemporary French point of view (Interesting book: Man Made God by Luc Ferry) However, the Bajorans and Klingons especially demonstrate that relgion is still there. Even though the Klingons brag about killing their Gods - it does seem quite relgious. Perhaps what makes Star Trek appealing lies in how it allows for the variety of human experience - a future with "infinite possibilities." Now that I've sprained my brain - I think I'll lie down...
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Old June 4 2009, 03:39 AM   #11
SFRabid
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

I think the bottom line is Star Trek avoids religion to broaden the possible market.

Da'an wrote: View Post
It's been my personal experience that Spirituality encourages morality while religion hinders it.

This has even been shown in Star Trek on many occasions where the dogmatic aliens are the bad guys and the spiritual aliens are the enlightened ones.
That is a perception only available to one who believes spirituality and religion are separate and incompatible. I'm not sure what the basis of that belief could be. More often they go hand in hand.
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Old June 4 2009, 03:44 AM   #12
Lightinspire
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

Religion is legalism..do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that..the keeping of rules and rituals..Christianity isn't religion, it is about having a personal relationship with Christ..anyway, remember what Kirk said in Star Trek V, talking about God may not be out there but in here "pointing to the heart"..I believe that is what Trek is trying to portray, that God is in every human heart...Of course StarFleet acts like humans are God..they achieved all they did without the need of God.
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Old June 4 2009, 03:50 AM   #13
RandyS
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

I think that, yeah, to a certain extent, Star Trek IS anti-religious. How many episodes were there on both TOS and TNG that had the Enterprise crew meeting "God", only to have that God proven false? I don't remember the exact number, but it was a common theme.
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Old June 4 2009, 04:54 AM   #14
Da'an
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

You mean Enterprise crew meeting "God", only to have that God not be what the crew had in mind?

Like the Q for example, what makes the Q not-Gods, apart from "not our definition of God"?
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Old June 4 2009, 04:55 AM   #15
Da'an
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Re: Star Trek as anti-religion

SFRabid wrote: View Post
I think the bottom line is Star Trek avoids religion to broaden the possible market.

Da'an wrote: View Post
It's been my personal experience that Spirituality encourages morality while religion hinders it.

This has even been shown in Star Trek on many occasions where the dogmatic aliens are the bad guys and the spiritual aliens are the enlightened ones.
That is a perception only available to one who believes spirituality and religion are separate and incompatible. I'm not sure what the basis of that belief could be. More often they go hand in hand.
Actually I regard them as like two sides of the same coin, equal yet opposite.
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