Why Not A Starfleet Ships Chaplain As A Main Character?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Knight Templar, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Chaplains are specifically trained in multiple religious practices, and to help service members in their religious activities, even if these activities are not the chaplain's own.

    Some of the services I attended on military bases through the years were, to be honest, quite generic.

    If the Vedek were trained as a chaplain, then yes. To assist a particular Starfleet member with their religious need, the Vedek might have to briefly excuse themselves and consult reference materials. The Vedek would as part of their chaplain training, be instructed in basic religious concepts outside their own beliefs.

    In time the Vedek would come to know the members of the crew, and the details of their religious needs. As I stated earlier, not all religion is do it yourself.

    Kind of be hard to do your own Bris.

    And how would this be different than one of the doctors (except the EMH) having to consult medical references, prior to treating a species that was known to the Federation, but they themselves had never treated before?

    :)
     
  2. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Neither of these comments make any sense. It's like being for science but against facts.
     
  3. Jimi_James

    Jimi_James Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's not like that at all. Many people consider there to be a clear and distinct separation between spirituality and religion, particularly now that organized religion has evolved into its current state. The difference comes down to seeing religion as the belief in a specific God, where as spirituality might include some belief in a larger or unexplained existence beyond what mere science can explain, or really any greater moral or philosophical identification. In some cases this is seen as nothing more than beveling there is a God, but not having anything to do with what is commonly seen as the less than pleasing parts of organized religion.

    However you personally define it though, it's not uncommon, as Takeru pointed out, for people (myself included) to identify themselves as spiritual but not religious.
     
  4. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But this just betrays an ignorance of what both words mean. Religions need not be monotheistic or even theistic. Buddhism, for exame. Organized religions can even be very flexible and nondogmatic- Unitarian Universalists, for example. So yes it is a pretty fallacious claim.
     
  5. Core

    Core Ensign Red Shirt

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    You could probably make it work, a chaplain as a character, although I have my doubts that you could wrap a whole show around one.

    To be honest, I'd be disappointed though. I found DS9 way too steeped in the Bajoran mythology, it became really tedious to watch. I kept wanting to skip the episodes focusing on all the praying and the priests with the earrings bickering amongst themselves.

    I like exploration shows, whether it's technology, politics, science, culture. But religion? I think it's best left to a private dialogue between a person and whatever they choose to believe in. I don't find it interesting enough to tune in week after week to see how many different ways people in space can think of to pray.
     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think anyone is suggesting have the show be based upon a single character and their career field, just that they would be part of the mix. An aspect of Starfleet/Federation life that hasn't been explored in depth.

    The Federation has (hopefully) more than a single mono-culture, religion is one way of peering into a culture and society. The crew of a starship can do more over the course of an episode than "talk shop."

    The character of the Chaplain can be used to explore the societies of the various Federation members.

    :)
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    This is correct. My father was an army chaplain during WW2, stationed at various posts in the Pacific Theater between 1942-1945 (including Okinawa). He was Southern Baptist, but conducted services for Methodists, Catholics, Jews, and whoever else was in his congregations. He had an official chaplain's manual that I saw, which covered specific rites and rituals for several religious affiliations. He acted as counselor, confessor, administered last rites, conducted worship services, funerals, and even weddings-- one young lieutenant married a native girl, which eventually resulted in a murder-suicide.

    One of his criticisms of how clergy are presented in film though, was that unless a character was a Roman Catholic priest, they were usually played as buffoons.
     
  8. commanderkai

    commanderkai Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm not sure if it could work as a main character, but a Chaplain supporting character would be quite interesting, and I would say, a positive benefit for the show. Brother Theo on Babylon 5, although not an official crew member, still played an enjoyable role in the series.

    Either having a specific military chaplain for the crew, or, if it's actually diverse, and not 98% human, 1% Vulcan, 1% everything else, have a theologian out to explore and understand both human and alien religions, be it existing Federation members, or undiscovered aliens.
     
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Theo was only in, like, 3 episodes. I don't think he even constitutes a "supporting" character at that point. Sadly, if he was supposed to have an arc, it never really went anywhere either.
     
  10. commanderkai

    commanderkai Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I agree, but the basis for his character in Star Trek would be rather enjoyable. I think his missionary group's purpose was to study the religious faiths and texts of the various alien races on the station. If the next Star Trek is based on a TOS/TNG "Explore New Worlds" format, having a character around to learn and understand the religious and spiritual customs of alien races would be rather interesting.
     
  11. Tetrarch42

    Tetrarch42 Ensign Newbie

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    I think I'd rather see a well done and believable counselor first. Watching Troi in 2012 I can't help but think "wow, this is either psuedoscientific nonsense or completely dated", but that might just be a function of how quickly psychology is developing and advancing as a field.
     
  12. Longinus

    Longinus Captain Captain

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    I am utterly gobsmacked how many people seem to think that this would be a good idea, rather than absolutely ludicrous one. A starfleet chaplain would have Roddenberry spin in his grave fast enough to power a warp drive. Federation is atheistic, there is no religion.
     
  13. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    Admiral Ross to fleet: We engage the massive Dominion fleet in three hours.
    Officer: Fleet's responded, Sir, they are standing by.
    Admiral Ross: Commading officer meeting aboard my ship in 1 hour, followed by preyer service.
    Officer: Yes, sir.
     
  14. st.barthgirl

    st.barthgirl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The Best Ideas Outlive their Progenitors...

    the existence of this thread speaks to Roddenberry's Enduring Genius.

    i see the appeal- roddenberry certainly would forbid it- but DS9's and post-rodenberry treks' journeys into spirituality seem to have struck a chord with their viewers... it's commercially viable, but not worthy of The Man, to be sure.

    A Galactic anthropologist's slightly more objective cataloging of belief systems and their comparisons would be fascinating. Much Grist for the Mill.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  15. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    They conviniently had a 20th century historian aboard Ent-D (even if it might have been his secondary job), I could see an antrhopologist there as well. That character would be interesting.
     
  16. st.barthgirl

    st.barthgirl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Clever...... Is that how transparent i am?
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What do you think of my current signature line? Been using it about a week now.

    .
     
  18. Longinus

    Longinus Captain Captain

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    I've not seen much Voyager, so I don't know the context. It indeed seems a bit odd for a Vulcan to use word 'prayer', even though this particular message do not seem to have any particularly religious connotations.

    In any case, In Roddenberry's vision religion and superstition were things that Federation had evolved beyond, and any Star Trek where that is no longer the case is really not Star Trek any longer to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You might want to view more of the Star Trek universe prior to declaring it "atheistic." While the subject doesn't come up often, when it does, Federation planets do have religion, faith and spirituality. There never been mention on the show of an atheist member world.

    Very obviously Vulcans are people of faith. In the episode Hunters, a message from Tuvok's wife T'Pel included this; "My husband, we have been given the news that you are alive. Your children and I have asked the priests at the temple of Amonak to say prayers for your safe return." In conversation with Neelix, Tuvok stated that the temple of Amonak is one of the most sacred temples on Vulcan.

    Being logical people, of course Vulcans have faith. Spock's family is polytheistic, which might be separate from Tuvok's families faith.

    Kirk is a monotheist.
    Deana Troi believes in the concept of destiny, the finality of events.
    Worf and (less so) Torres embrace Klingon spiritualism.

    :)
     
  20. Longinus

    Longinus Captain Captain

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    Well, it is indeed troubling if Vulcans actually pray. That is not a logical thing to do. Another reason to dislike Voyager, I guess.

    Of main Starfleet personnel I can remember, closest of having religious faith comes Worf, who seems to genuinely believe things about Klingon afterlife (which probably is shown to actually exist or something in some episode or another.) However, even he doesn't worship any gods.

    Gods in Star Trek always prove to be super-aliens/computers/impostors etc, and the Starfleet folks treat them as such, often denouncing them. In 'Who Watches the Watches' Picard is horrified that the Mintakans would revert back to their old superstitious ways, having already evolved past that state. It is clear there that humanity has long ago abandoned any such silliness.