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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Of course there's human religion in Star Trek! Chakotay had that supposedly-mayan-pseudo-native-american belief system with the spirit guides and whatnot.

    Only European-decended humans have no religion in Star Trek. :)
    • An interesting contextual note: one of the main writers for DS9 was Ronald Moore [wikipedia.org] (who apparently has taken to looking hip with his long haior since I last saw him interviewed), who is the executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, which also features a sympathetic portrayal of religion.

      Of course, DS9 had religion prominently featured before he got there, and BSG had religion prominently featured in its first incarnation decades ago, so it's not like it's all him. Here's an interesting quote [liberalvaluesblog.com] from him about BSG and religion, that also gives a clue about why religion plays a small role in Star Trek:
      I sort of felt that as the religious aspects of the show were becoming more common and started to dominate plot lines and certain character attributes, you sort of had to make a choice at some level about whether that was all bullshit or not. Does it mean something? Is all this worship just about talk and about made up religions that don’t mean anything? Or is there the possibility of something greater? These are the existential questions. Is this all that I am? Is there something more? Why am I here?

      If all the characters on the show are asking themselves those questions, I felt that on some level I wanted to give a hint that maybe they’re not all fools. That maybe there’s some greater truth that they’re all struggling toward, that none of them can see perfectly. So I started to feather in ideas that could not be explained by rational means. While never really coming out and saying that God is behind the curtain, I wanted to have elements of it.

      One of the things that I had noticed working on Star Trek, and in science fiction in general, was that mainstream science fiction tended to shy away from this as a subject. Gene Roddenberry felt very strongly that in the future of Star Trek, religions were all gone; that in 300 to 400 years mankind had evolved beyond it; that religions were all superstitions and were things of the past. It was a very secular humanist idea, which I don’t have a problem with philosophically, but I didn’t believe as a storyteller that in just a few centuries we would discard this fundamental thing that had informed our societies for so long.

      So, I just felt that in this world in Galactica, which had nomenclature like Apollo and Athena and all these names of the Greek gods, it beggared the imagination to say that they didn’t really believe in it. And if they did believe it in, I wanted to give it some validity and show that there is something out there.

      • Oh, and while I respect what he did with religion, I do not at all respect what he did wrt the Iraq War in BSG. It was ham-handed nonsense. Basically, if you've not seen it: the humans were the Iraqis who did things like suicide bombs at a police graduation ceremony, and other terrorist attacks, and the Cylon overlords were the evil American oppressors, and it was just really terribly lame.