Four fans from different backgrounds discuss their personal relationship to Star Trek’s depictions of religion, including Christian themes in TOS, Picard’s skepticism, Kira’s spirituality, and Vulcan ritual.
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Notes and References:
- Ex Astris Scientia article on religion in Star Trek, including quotes from Gene Roddenberry and Brannon Braga.
Hosts: Sue, Andi and Grace
I always thought it was incredibly weird when Spock would quote the Bible or reference it because he’s Vulcan. My dad always said it was because his mother is human but that doesn’t mean she’s Christian. I just kinda think it’s weird how everyone assumes people are Christian even if they are fictional aliens played by a Jewish actor who was playing his character as Jewish.
As I downloaded this episide, I was worried since many times trekies talking about religion turns out real bad. The introduction of the cast showed me I had nothing to fear. It was a great episode (and on one of my favorite subjects) but I have to comment on the old/new testament equivalence you made. The whole old=evil god, new=loving god is a Antisemetic vilification of Jews and their belief. The Tanach (old testament) has many different stories and different ‘sides’ of God. The unified vision as God in the Tanach as vengeful us a Chrisitian idea and was used as one of the many excuses to oprees/hurt/kill Jews throught the ages. Comapring the Christian God to the good prophets and the Jewish God to the evil founders supports this trope.
Yonadav, I am with you. I have not yet listened to the podcast, but I really dislike any differentiation between OT and NT God that some Christians (and I suspect probably even more, unregenerate people who call themselves Christians) have made. Nowhere in the New Testament is the idea of a “bad” God of the Tanach ever supported. I am a volunteer pastor and I often say it: The God of the NT is exactly the same as the God of the OT. Even a cursory examination of the NT text shows that to be true, and the apostles certainly went out of their way to demonstrate they are talking about “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
I have now listened to the podcast, and really enjoyed the discussion. (BTW, I am both a pastor and a proud-to-call-myself-Trekkie-not-even-Trekker.) While I agree with many of the conclusions – really, regardless of religion or even politics, almost all of us want people to be safe, healthy, happy, and free to believe and say what they think – I disagree most with the underlying idea, stated by one of the women, that whatever you think happens to you when you die, that’s what happens. That’s as absolutist as any Biblical inerrantist (of which I am one) or Muslim. It seems to me that you’re saying that my belief that there is only one God who will judge every one of us is wrong. So, I disagree with some of the points of view, but I am very happy to hear you all talk about it and hope there’s more discussion along these lines. So thank you for it. So much so, I’m going to go support trek.fm right now. 🙂
Having just finished my 2nd listen, Sue paraphrased Terry Pratchett saying that whatever you believe in, that’s where you go when you die. She called it a beautiful statement and all the women agreed. I didn’t take that as absolutist. I interpreted that as all religions are valid. But if you disagree with me, blame Terry Pratchett. Too bad you can’t take that up with him since he’s now dead (he had a humanist funeral).
A minor quibble: the title of the episode “Who Mourns for Adonais”? The final word is pronounced A-don-is, as in the Greek god. Not Ad-on-ai, as in the Hebrew word for lord. It’s a small point, but it catches my attention every time I hear it. Not in a good way.