Bajoran Spirituality

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Stroudarian, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. Stroudarian

    Stroudarian Lieutenant Commander Premium Member

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    I love DS-9, in my opinion the best character development of any Star Trek series, but does anyone else dislike the whole Bajoran “Spiritual” aspect of the show? The way it is presented and setup, it seems as if they are trying to say that the Bajoran religion is the one "true" faith of the Universe. It is the only aspect and characteristic of the show that I completely dislike.
     
  2. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    No, they consistently make it seem localized, significant only to the people who live in the vicinity of the Wormhole. The Prophets weren't omnipresent, omniscient, or all powerful. They had a hand in the fate of Bajor, its people and the space around the wormhole, little more.
     
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  3. Stroudarian

    Stroudarian Lieutenant Commander Premium Member

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    Ok, that makes a little more sense. Thanks for the insight.
     
  4. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Then there was that time when they manipulated Sarah Sisko way, way, far away on Earth so that she could become the mother of the future emissary.

    Kor
     
  5. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^which also had to do with Bajor's fate; it only shows they can do a lot more, if they want / feel the need to.

    Right now, I can only recall one interfering action that didn't immediately seem to have to do with Bajor, which was the time they changed the Nagus to be more gentle -- and that was because the Nagus sought them out first. (But perhaps there have been more of such actions, which I've forgotten right now).
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  6. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Inhabiting one person on one planet is not that impressive given the number of times that has happened in the series, and it probably wouldn't really be taken as evidence of universal godhood. Compared to what the Q do, it's the small time.
     
  7. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^I'm not trying to argue they are 'gods', but rather that almost everything they do is connected with Bajor in some way ... and no one will deny they are powerful in certain domains, making a huge dominion fleet disappear just like that, for example. The extent of their powers is unclear.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  8. saladdays

    saladdays Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It probably seems like Bajoran faith is the true faith because of how much it is seen on the show compared to how often we see other faiths more than just during the course of one episode (not very much, if at all really). As others have said, it's really not depicted that way on the show.
     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the aspect of the Bajoran faith in the way it leads Sisko to choose between his Starfleet duties and his role as the Emissary, and I like it as a motivational factor for Kira's character, as well as the way it's used as a political tool for Winn.

    I dislike where they took the Emissary storyline from late season 6 to the finale, and I think the prominence of religion led to some dull storylines and dull characters.

    It's true the Bajoran fatih is unique in that it's the only time we see Gods who literally exist and weren't revealed to be just running a big scam. But the show always provides you the alternate secular viewpoint that the Prophets are just 4D aliens who took a particular interest in the planet of Bajor.
     
  10. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What about the Q? Or the Founders? What does it mean to be a god in Trek, and what kind of scam disqualifies them? (Surely only one where it is revealed that their powers are faked.)
     
  11. kkt

    kkt Captain Captain

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    The Organians?
     
  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While there's no evidence that Q does not present himself as a God to anyone (I suppose he's the God of Lies to some), it's not really his MO. In Tapestry he called himself God to provoke Picard. If Q presents himself as a God, it's only to mess with people and he makes it pretty clear he's not by the time he leaves. The Founders, I'm not sure it really counts if all the people who consider you Gods are genetically determined to, it's like if I wrote a computer program with the line System.out.println("Praise JirinPanthosa"). But I guess you're right they're technically worshipped as Gods, and not scamming their worshippers.

    TOS has the classic trope of things representing themselves as Gods but actually being computer programs or whatever. TNG has Devil's Due. Pretty much every being in Trek that represented itself as a God had the intent to manipulate the worshippers for personal gain. The Prophets are the exception that actually does any good for their subjects, and is worshipped voluntarily by people with free will.
     
  13. kkt

    kkt Captain Captain

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    The Organians in TOS were pretty much gods. Not as interested in humans as the gods that humans usually worship, though.
     
  14. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Edo god would qualify too, I think. He (they) might be not be a god according to our standards, but he is to the Edo and he fulfills the other criteria you mention. Being omnipotent /omniscient aren't necessary qualifications for godhood either. Most gods in classical Greece weren't, for example.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  15. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    I would argue yes. Once you cut out the philosophical debate about what makes a truly great deity (being a creator, knowing everything and being eternal), all that is left is whether a group of people revere them, whether they are benevolent or autocratic.
     
  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True, forgot about that one.
     
  17. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Commander Red Shirt

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    Well I never quite got that sense, I felt like they were doing what they do with many other religions on "Star Trek," the sort of "maybe it's real or maybe it's just aliens" type of thing.

    My problem with the Bajoran religion is the idea of an entire planet being one religion. Even if the Prophet aliens were involved in their planet for eons, there still must be many different ways these interactions could be interpreted. I could believe one religion might rule the government, but I cannot buy that all Bajorans are the same religion. I'd love to see more about that in future "Star Trek" works, official or otherwise.
     
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How many planets do we come across in Trek where there's more than one dominant culture to the entire planet though? That's not about religion, that's about Trek's simplification for the audience.

    Also, what makes you think in a globalized planet, multiple religions is the standard just because that's the way it is on Earth? Remember Bajor has been globalized for much longer than it has been on Earth, they have had lightships for centuries. Don't you think centuries of global communication might smooth over the different interpretations a bit? Bajorans also have the benefit of, if they get the wrong interpretation, they will realize it at their next orb experience.
     
  19. kkt

    kkt Captain Captain

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    They did establish that there were different sects of the Bajoran religion, some conservative (including Winn's) and some liberal.
     
  20. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They aren't. As well as the sects kkt mentioned, some worship the Pah Wraiths, and some aren't religious. When the Prophets started sending orbs to the planet 10,000 years earlier I could see one religion taking precedence over others for a lot of people.