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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    That would depend on what part of Roddenberry's life you're referring to, it would be more accurate to say Gene Roddenberry was a atheist at times. The smallest amount of research would reveal that Roddenberry wasn't "always" a atheist.

    On August 6, 1969, Majel Barrett married Gene Roddenberry in Japan, in a traditional Buddhist-Shinto ceremony. At that time, Roddenberry in multiple interviews professed to being a Buddhist.

    There no indication that Roddenberry was an atheist during the creation, or production run of TOS.

    I mentioned before that the novelization of ST:TMP included that Vulcans have the ability to perceive a oneness with The All, the universe's creative force, or God. According to Susan Sackett , who was Gene Roddenberry's personal executive assistant for seventeen years, that part of the novelization came from Roddenberry's own belief in "The All" during the late seventies. (Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry)

    Roddenbery's belief in atheism would appear to have been during the last years of his life. His atheist influence upon TNG faded after his death.

    Problem there is that while Star Trek is Gene Roddenberry's original idea, it really never was solely "his show."

    The idea that assembled into the Star Trek we all know, came with considerable help from others. Roddenberry came up with several story ideas, but (as noted previously) actually wrote very few of the scripts. And really the show was as much Gene Coons creation as Roddenberry's. Without Herb Solow's molding of Roddenberry's early nebulas ideas, the show wouldn't have been able to advanced to the pilot stage. Robert Justman also one of the pioneers producers of the show. So it was never "just" Roddenberry's vision of the future on screen at any point.

    More accurate would be Chaplains are usually from one organized religion, but routinely hold multi-denominational religious services. And provide spiritual support to people who belong to many different religions, denominations and spiritualities.

    And what happen to the JemHadar fleet in Sacrifice of Angels?

    Sisko: "You want to be gods? Then be gods, I need a miracle, Bajor needs a miracle, stop those ships."

    Okay, let's slide this back somewhat towards the OP shall we?

    From what we've seen on screen, there are people within the Star Trek universe who seriously believe that prayer can achieve a positive result. Praying to the Christian God like Angela at the end of Balance of Terror. Rhada and the Hindu symbol. Chakotay talking to his ancestors. Bajorians and the Prophets. Vulcans and their gods, shrines, temples and monasteries. For these people, the presence of a Chaplain aboard ship would be of service.

    There are people in the Star Trek universe with whom we don't know one way or the other what they believe. A Chaplain and a ship's chapel might have no place in their lives, but neither would it be of a detriment to them if both were presence somewhere on the ship.

    :)
     
  2. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think we are going to find a common ground.

    To me Star Trek represents (and should represent) sort of evelved humanity that has no use for religion. They solve their problems with reason. Superstition just do not fit that worldview.
     
  3. DanCPA

    DanCPA Admiral Admiral

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    Wow. Just wow.
     
  4. commanderkai

    commanderkai Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well, you have Kira, who was extremely religious, and Sisko did become more involved in the religious aspect of his role as Emissary.

    I don't see how having some religious characters be some horrible thing to Star Trek. It didn't destroy Babylon 5. They don't need to beat you over the head with a Bible but it certainly would be a beneficial change to highlight the diversity of humanity.
     
  5. Solarbaby

    Solarbaby Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I would love to see a Chaplain in Trek. It would bring a modern day issue to the franchise that has not been seen before. Imagine the stories of conflict it could provide. Especially religion over science to explain the unknown.

    Regarding the Katra side discussion. Perhaps it isn't a case of the Katra is a spirit or it is a scientific process the Vulcans understand. Perhaps it is something the Vulcans cannot explain. They are ware of it and how to collect and preserve the spirit but not actually what it is. There was no evidence to suggest that they had any doctors who knew what was happening. How could you scan the Katra with a tricorder? It probably doesn't even read as a second brain wave on tricorder scans.

    That it exists - but there is no explanation makes it either a pre-paradigmatic psi-science or a spiritual oddity.
     
  6. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    Star Trek has had shows where the issue has been approached. Usually the religion is seen as superstition and scientific reality is the truth. 'Who Watchers the Watchers' is a good example.

    Bajoran religion is portrayed in more positive light. Their gods are real and Federation sees them as an advanced sort of an alien. Still, Bajorians revering them is not shown as purely a bad thing, even though more dogmatic side of their religion sometimes is. Still, I'm sure Picard wouldn't approve, afterall, it's same thing as Mintakans worshipping him or if Federation started to worship Q. If Federation people truly were religious, they would approach prophets and other god-aliens differently. They would consider the possibility that these obviouly divine beings would have important spiritual messages for them. They don't. Were Starfleet to meet Jahve they would classify him as an non-corporeal energy being and ask him to explain the holocaust at Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Why people assume Vulcans don't understand Katras? It is represented as mysterius to evoke suspense in the movie, but whole Vulcan telepathy thing is quite odd from modern perspective, but that's not magic either.

    I found it troubling that people assume there could be some sort of special sort of mysterious truths that cannot be studied by normal means. That is just not rational. Either so called 'supernatural' things are real, and then can be studied as any other phenomenon, or they are not real and are just imagined. There is no other categories, either in reality or in Star Trek.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In my own mind, the size of the Federation is approximately 800 billion to 1 trillion people, this is the number I use in my head. It is composed of hundreds of intelligent alien species, thousands of worlds and millions of cultures and societal groups.

    I could no more conceive of most of them belonging to the same church, than I could most of them being atheists.

    The people of the Federation probably have a dizzying number of opinions and beliefs on the subject we've been discussing. Atheism would be a part of the overall mix. This in no way changes the Federation into a theocracy, or Starfleet into a group of missionaries. A Chaplain would one character among many on any new show, he or she would be a difference to what has come before, and a exploration of a aspect of Starfleet and the Federation that we haven't seen previously.

    This is Merry Christmas, and I approve this message.

    :)
     
  8. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I find it truly bizarre that Roddenberry being an Agnostic (I'll believe in God when there's proof, but, I won't dismiss the possibility of God's existence either without proof) would mandate all of Star Trek must be Atheist (God absolutely doesn't exist and anyone who believes in a God is a Moron).

    There is so much more room for stories through an Agnostic lens then an Athiest one, why would an Agnostic mandate Atheism in Trek, if he won't even label himself as Atheist?
     
  9. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    ^^^ It is odd, especially considering how J. Michael Straczynski, a self-admitted atheist, was far better able to convey the meaning of spirituality, faith and religion in Babylon 5 in a very convincing and respectful way.
     
  10. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    Eh, the difference between agnostic and atheist is vague one. Absolute hard atheists are exceedingly rare, i.e. 'I am 100% certain that there is no God.' Way more common stance is 'There is no evidence for a God, so I see no reason to assume that one exists.' Even Richard Dawkins is the latter sort of an atheist.
     
  11. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's not Atheism, that's Agnosticism.

    Not sure how you can say the difference is vague between absolute Certainty and Uncertainty?
     
  12. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    Atheism do not require absolute certainty about the non-existence of God, it can be (and more often is) lack of belief in God. These are sometimes called strong and weak atheism.

    I am not 100% certain that ghosts, leprechauns, vampires or invisible pink unicorns do not exist. I merely have no reason to assume that they do exist so I do not believe in them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  13. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    Hmmm...this might travel into the interesting and prickly path of "is atheism in-and-of-iteslf a faith, for lack of empirical evidence for or against its precepts?"
     
  14. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    No. That's not how atheism works. Atheism is lack of belief in God, not faith in non-existence of God.

    Do you have empirical evidence for the existence of leprechauns? Do you believe in leprechauns?

    Most people would say that there is no evidence for the existence of leprechauns and consequently they do not believe in leprechauns.

    Now replace the leprechauns with God, and that's atheism.
     
  15. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dictionary.com disagrees with you.

    Atheism
    1.
    the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
    2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.


    Agnostic
    1.
    a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Synonyms: disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter, skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel, pagan.
    2. a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.

    3. a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality.

    So, Atheism is a certainty of no God or disbelief of God, (IE: Anti-Theist). Agnosticism is a lack of belief
     
  16. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    Dictionary is correct, you interpretation of it is not.

    Anti-theism is not same as atheism. It is active opposition of religion, belief that religion is harmful.

    The dictionary definition 1 of atheism is sometimes called strong atheism while 2 is weak atheism.

    Agnostism means that you admit that you don't know, even that it is impossible to know, that things could be either way.

    Now, back to leprechauns.

    Are you a leprechaunist, aleprechaunist or agnostic towards leprechauns?
     
  17. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Belief in No God and Disbelief in God are the exact same thing. Atheism is a firm conviction, there is no wiggle room of "Maybe". Maybe is Agnosticism
     
  18. Longinus

    Longinus Commander Red Shirt

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    Sindatur, you are just wrong. Sorry. Please think of the leprechauns; it should help to get this.
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't suppose you could provide a source that more explicitly supports your definition? Because otherwise your interpretation is...unique, in my experience.
     
  20. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You can make up definitions all day long, but, if someone doesn't put them in the Dictionary for you, it's unlikely they'll be widely accepted.

    Atheism depends upon a certainty of a side to be taken (Either a Disbelief in the positive or a belief in the negative). Straight up, that's what the definition says.

    Agnosticism is the one that allows you to softly take a side or refuse to take a side.
     

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