Why are the wormhole aliens called "Prophets"?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by ComicGuy89, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I saw this question on tumblr and it stumped me:

    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: Sep 7, 2013
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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. :wtf:
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "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.
     
  4. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Another good observation! Funny Bajorans.

    I like that explanation and it makes a lot of sense. Thanks.
     
  5. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not to be confused with the Ferengi profits..
     
  6. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.

    .
     
  7. VXX

    VXX Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    not every religion has to have a god.
     
  8. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    It does indeed. Chris has that quality of making a lot of sense in his comments. ;)
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I'd agree with Christopher as well, that was always my understand of the Bajoran Prophets.
     
  10. CmndrSela318

    CmndrSela318 Trek BBS Commander Number 318. Premium Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  11. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say that's the commonly accepted view.
     
  12. Ziz

    Ziz Commodore Commodore

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    It's amazing how much sense people make when they have a working knowledge of the English language.
     
  13. Sigokat

    Sigokat Commander Red Shirt

    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.
     
  14. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.

    .
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    What doesn't make sense is why Bajorans didn't jump into their ships en masse, zip up to the wormhole, and then just sit there clogging it up and hoping for an audience.
     
  17. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    Why do you think there were all those Bajorans coming and going to DS9?

    Also, they already have the orbs, which apparently are(/were) relatively easy to gain access to. Why take all the trouble to go into space when there are at least a couple places right on Bajor (and more coming all the time) where one can go to seek an audience with the Prophets - a method proven to work, whereas one almost has to be the Emissary for the wormhole method to matter at all.
     
  18. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    One other point don't know if it's been mentioned but isn't the word 'Prophet' in English just a transaltion of a Bajoran word. So perhaps Prophet is just the closest word rather than an exact translation.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Bajor was recovering from a brutal planetwide occupation that stripped their world of resources and left its people impoverished and starving. I doubt they had that many ships in the first place, unless you count whatever run-down fighters the resistance had left. And if they'd all flown out to the wormhole, who would've grown the crops?

    There was a shrine on the Promenade, one with its own Orb, and the Temple/wormhole was visible right outside the Promenade windows. I'm sure it was a popular pilgrimage site for those Bajorans who were able to afford the journey.
     
  20. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This could be an interesting point. The difference between god and God as it were even if the proper word has another meaning.