Susan Sackett - The Secular Humanism of Star Trek

May 29, 2009

Susan Sackett began an association with Gene Roddenberry, creator of the television legend Star Trek, serving as his personal executive assistant for over 17 years until his death in October 1991. She also served as his production assistant on the first Star Trek film and worked closely with him on the next five Star Trek movies.  In addition, she served as Production Associate during the first five seasons of the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation.  She is the author of 10 books about the film and television industry. In 1994, Susan left California and relocated to Arizona, where she got involved with the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, for which she has been president since 2000. Since 2005, she has been on the Board of Directors of the American Humanist Association, and currently serves on the Executive Committee as Secretary.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Susan Sackett recounts her history with Gene Roddenberry, and the influence he had on her, especially regarding the development of her secular humanist worldview. She talks about Roddenberry's unshakable optimism about humanity's future, and how that was expressed in his creative efforts. She discusses social justice and political messages written into the original 1960's Star Trek series, such as racial and gender equality, and allegories about the United States' involvement in Vietnam. She talks about explicitly secular humanist themes throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, specifically in episodes like "Who Watches the Watchers". She debates other topics addressed within the various Star Trek series, such as distribution of wealth, overpopulation, and the end of the nation-state, and whether or not there was a Marxist bias in the shows. And she reveals her favorite Star Trek episode, and why it is her favorite.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:


Related Episodes

Tom Flynn - Science Fiction and Atheism
December 26, 2008

Comments from the CFI Forums

If you would like to leave a comment about this episode of Point of Inquiry please visit the related thread on the CFI discussion forums

I was horrified by what I saw as complete betrayal of humanist virtues Roddenberry advocated and what has been put forward by the less educated and less focused while producing later Treks. 

In DS9 and Voyager, there was significant and increasing effort to rationalize faith in immortal souls.  The introduction theme song to Enterprise featured lyrics extolling “Faith of the Heart”.  This is profoundly offensive to those of us working toward “education of the mind”, especially when pitted against massive corporate and military interests which are threatened by free and open inquiry of rational, well-educated masses.  Using Star Trek as a tool of propaganda like this is profoundly offensive, and motivated a blog series on Abrams’ film called “Star Trek by the Minute” at http://structureddream.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-take-on-star-trek-2009-001.html

I would really appreciate feedback from people who felt this movie was “great”, which seems to be a frequent reaction.

Posted on Jul 06, 2009 at 7:34am by BurntSynapse Comment #1

Yes, even I was disappointed by the latest Trek.  To me, it’s not Trek, even though some people insist it is.  It’s more like Star Wars.

Even so, I can’t wait to get home tonight from work and listen to this podcast.  :)

Posted on Jul 06, 2009 at 7:54am by Mriana Comment #2

As I ask in the blog, has there ever been a film with more errors and self-contradiction that ST 2009?

Posted on Jul 06, 2009 at 8:02am by BurntSynapse Comment #3

No, I don’t think there ever has been.  It was pretty bad and I don’t care what anyone else says.  They can even accuse me of not being a true fan, if they want, but the truth is, that wasn’t Trek.

Posted on Jul 06, 2009 at 8:05am by Mriana Comment #4

This was a great podcast!  I never knew that Gene Rodenberry had purposely implemented secular views on the “..Next Generation.”  Now I know why I was so addicted to that series when I was younger.  I hope that future Star Trek movies will continue to be and remain secular.  After all, isn’t this what Gene wanted his creation to be? Consequently, isn’t that why everyone loved the series so much?  “Numbah-One, Engage!”

Posted on Jul 07, 2009 at 6:17pm by tcm92678 Comment #5

No, I don’t think there ever has been.  It was pretty bad and I don’t care what anyone else says.  They can even accuse me of not being a true fan, if they want, but the truth is, that wasn’t Trek.

Mriana, anyone who is as passionate about Trek as you are could never be accused of not being a fan. I may not agree with what you’re saying completely but I understand your point of view and respect it. A healthy debate about what is or isn’t Trek helps keep the subject interesting.

Posted on Jul 08, 2009 at 6:36am by macgyver Comment #6

No, I don’t think there ever has been.  It was pretty bad and I don’t care what anyone else says.  They can even accuse me of not being a true fan, if they want, but the truth is, that wasn’t Trek.

Mriana, anyone who is as passionate about Trek as you are could never be accused of not being a fan. I may not agree with what you’re saying completely but I understand your point of view and respect it. A healthy debate about what is or isn’t Trek helps keep the subject interesting.

Thank you. Some have all because I won’t accept and swallow this new movie.  :roll:  All silly accusations aside though, you are right healthy debate is good and keeps the subject interesting.

Posted on Jul 08, 2009 at 6:43am by Mriana Comment #7

As a DS9 fan I feel I must present a vigorous defense to the charges made against it in the interview.  First, I think it is unfair of Susan Sackett to say that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have liked DS9- since she admits in the interview that she has never watched an episode. The claim that DS9 promotes supernatural or religious belief is patently false, at no time are the Prophets, Bajoran Prophesies, Orbs, ect. ever regarded as supernatural in origin by the Federation.  If anything DS9 is the most outright anti-religious of all the Star Trek series, particularly its portrayal of Bajoran religion and the Vedic Council.  Every negative aspect of religious faith, from terrorism to fundamentalism and anti-science, was showcased in many episodes.  Some people seem to think that merely having characters who subscribe to a supernatural or religious belief on the show is somehow a betrayal of Genes humanist values, not so.  The thing Star Trek is great at is engaging viewers in critically examining our beliefs as individuals and as a society, and I submit that DS9 does this very successfully with the issue of religion. 
Lastly, the new movie did indeed suck.

Posted on Jul 10, 2009 at 10:25pm by Rev. JeffroBodean Comment #8

As I ask in the blog, has there ever been a film with more errors and self-contradiction that ST 2009?

It was definitely not GREAT.

This may sound contradictory but it was not quite as good but slightly more interesting than WRATH OF KHAN.  It isn’t interesting enough to study for contradictions though.  It is the kind of flick you mostly have to turn your mind off to enjoy. 

It is certainly funny to now have two different Star Trek movies in which the planet Vulcan was destroyed.  As Spock would say, “Fascinating!”  :lol:

You can never have few enough Vulcans.

psik

Posted on Jul 11, 2009 at 1:38pm by psikeyhackr Comment #9

Or Betazoids.  :-D

Posted on Jul 11, 2009 at 3:54pm by Mriana Comment #10

Now I know why I was so addicted to that series when I was younger.  I hope that future Star Trek movies will continue to be and remain secular.

Sadly, there’s not much chance of that, TCM.  Paramount just wants to squeeze as much money out of the “franchise” as they can, and if that means competeing with every Hollywood blockbuster that comes along, so be it.  They will dump out every ounce of the Humanism if it means appealing to the mass market.

Every time I hear someone struggling desperately to justify the New Movie (notice I don’t even call it “Star Trek”), I am irresistably reminded of the line from the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales”—

“Senator, don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”  ;)

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 at 7:22am by Advocatus Comment #11

Too bad their son Rod can’t buy it back and make movies right.  He thinks Star Trek needs a rest for a few years and I’m beginning to think he is right.  Until someone who know about Humanism and can keep it in the show, there is no point in having any Trek movies or series.  It is not Trek with what they have done to it.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 at 7:36am by Mriana Comment #12

True to the “faith” or not, the collective personal opinion of two very long time fans here is that the most recent movie rates as the best.
The real question is, “Will Spock ever actually die and not come back yet again?”
Spock has already been reincarnated once and now has even outlived his own home planet!
And what’s with always wearing a robe…
does that make Spock a messianic figure or what?
He’s looking a lot like a Jedi to me.  Is that the next surprise?

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 at 1:43pm by gray1 Comment #13

The claim that DS9 promotes supernatural or religious belief is patently false, at no time are the Prophets, Bajoran Prophesies, Orbs, ect. ever regarded as supernatural in origin by the Federation. 

Every negative aspect of religious faith, from terrorism to fundamentalism and anti-science, was showcased in many episodes. 

The thing Star Trek is great at is engaging viewers in critically examining our beliefs as individuals and as a society, and I submit that DS9 does this very successfully with the issue of religion. 

Rev, I read 3 factual assertions in your post, extracted above. 
In the first, you refer to “Federation” judgment on what are seen as religious elements, but even if we assume a single opinion for the Federation, such as some “official” position, that is not the issue to which anyone objects; Certainly I don’t.  Rather it is the explicit support of religious faith by means of fallacious “reconciliation” which apologists use to maintain faith as a “virtue”, when it is painfully clear such belief is foolish only in the most benign scenarios, and is only maintained by fallacies.

You claim that “every negative aspect of religious faith is showcased”, and you provide what you many consider examples, which I will address separately.  I recall an exchange between Kira and Odo in which Sisko was declared not to be what I will call The One. (I forgot his messianic title.)  Odo was troubled that the previous day, Sisko was regarded by Kira as The One, and today this was a different person.  She claimed that her faith followed these rules, to which Odo replied something like “Major, they can’t both be true.”  Kira replies something like “if you have faith, no proof is needed.”  The skeptic (in this case Odo) bows his head respectfully at this shameful fallacy in support of deliberate self delusion. 
“Terrorism”, “fundamentalism”, and “anti-science” are merely symptoms of problematic thought processes, but hardly require religion.  Atheist and religion-free reasoning can justify each of these crimes as “self-defense”, “ethical morals”, and “open mindedness”.  In the case of terrorism, I would like to know of any historical case where perpetrators of terror did not claim it was self-defense.

What makes DS9 supportive of religion is the steady, sympathetic portrayal and repeated justification of faith itself.  What was lacking was any clear, logical refutation of the core fallacies used for supporting faith – which would justify claims of “successful” treatment.  In the above example, Odo does not answer Kira’s fallacy of distraction and changing the subject.  He does not point out her unethical faith as contrary to her rational values, nor compare faith-based decisions with rational study of available evidence, and the list goes on and on.  Combine this gaping absence with explanations that the Prophets are entities outside of time, etc., and the increasingly frequent appeals to “neural energy” as an equivalent for “soul”, and I would have to say that the DS9 criticism is sustained.

This brings us to your 3rd point, which claims in summary that DS9 critically examines religious faith well.  Unless there is a great deal that I’ve missed which refutes what I recall as the overwhelming themes of prophecy, spirits and the idea that faith is a virtue, I think it fair to judge DS9 as generally pro-religion, in spite of the associations with “a few bad apples” in many episodes, like the terrorists you mention.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:59am by BurntSynapse Comment #14

Gray1,

I would like to ask again: “Why was this a great movie?” and assuming some justification, “Do plot or dialogue need to make any minimum of sense for a movie to be categorized as ‘great’?”

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:38am by BurntSynapse Comment #15

What makes DS9 supportive of religion is the steady, sympathetic portrayal and repeated justification of faith itself.  What was lacking was any clear, logical refutation of the core fallacies used for supporting faith – which would justify claims of “successful” treatment.

I agree with you, BurntSynapse.  I was never a really big fan of DS9, but I remember one episode where Bajoran parents were pulling their children out of Keiko’s science classes because she was teaching them about evolution and not that they were “created” by “the Prophets”.  I sat up and payed attention, because I thought we would finally get a good discussion of the topic.  I seem to remember an exchange where Keiko said that it was not her job to teach them about religion.  Kira replied to the effect, “Some would say you can’t teach anything without reference to religion.”  And this was respectfully taken as the last word on the subject.  Ultimately the problem just “went away” and was never refered to again.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:42am by Advocatus Comment #16

I was horrified by what I saw as complete betrayal of humanist virtues Roddenberry advocated and what has been put forward by the less educated and less focused while producing later Treks. 

I am a moderator on a Star Trek forum, and I am becoming increasingly disheartened that no one knows or cares about this.  Newer members call themselves “Trekkies” because they saw the New Movie, but they seem to judge a movie by how many space battles are in it.  Even long-time Trekkies on our forum, if they notice the Humanism at all, go out of their way to ignore it.  Not long ago I started a topic on the fourth season Next Gen episode “Devil’s Due”, and one very obvious question that came up was, “Why do you think Picard wouldn’t accept that Ardra was a supernatural being?”  Two members of the forum (Christians) immediately said they had always assumed that since the Federation believed in evolution, it was “officially atheist”!  I asked them why in the world they had ever assumed that, because I thought it would make a great conversation.  Silence.  They don’t want to talk about it.

I suppose I need to look for a Star Trek forum made up primarily of Humanists or atheists!

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:50am by Advocatus Comment #17

Advocatus,

My fiance just asked me to see if you had checked out my blog:
http://structureddream.blogspot.com/

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:54am by BurntSynapse Comment #18

True to the “faith” or not, the collective personal opinion of two very long time fans here is that the most recent movie rates as the best.

Sorry, Gray1, but as an extremely (more than “very”) long time fan of Star Trek (I was distressed after I watched the pilot and it wasn’t immediately picked up for a year), I have to say that the latest “Star Trek” movie, other than stealing the character names, was horrible and completely at odds with the philosophy of Roddenberg and the entire TOS and TNG series.  I feel they could be sued for libel for even attaching the name, Star Trek, to that movie. 

Occam

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 12:57pm by Occam Comment #19

*applause*

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 1:28pm by BurntSynapse Comment #20

They haven’t made a decent movie in a long time. As soon as all this Comp. Animation, and effects came along, out went the creativity, and in came the Fluff. And I mean big time Fluff. Producers used to get into their movies, and actually build sets, and props, and film on location etc.. This went hand in hand with normally exceptional directing, acting, and cinematography. Now..?
Forget about it! Garbage.
Film used to be art, or darn close to it…now it is contrived, hackneyed offal.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 1:39pm by VYAZMA Comment #21

Vyazma, I have to agree totally with you, unfortunately.  My wife and I used to go to a movie once a week, then we cut back to once every two weeks, now we are skipping quite a few weeks because there is nothing but trash out there.  The problem is, as you pointed out, that all the computer graphics substitute for meaningful plot or story line, so what we get is kids’ cartoons that make believe they are adult movies.  The other problem is most of the present day “comedians” who substitute stupidity for humor. 

What really nauseates me is that the films all of the critics rate as the worst are the ones that end up attracting huge crowds of movie-goers.

Occam

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 3:45pm by Occam Comment #22

There’s no doubt about it Occam. If someone wants to say the Medium is changing, then OK. But if someone says that this is still the same industry, the same medium as Motion Pictures(with sound), then I think we can objectively say that the Medium is Crap.
I think in another 3 months they’ll have finished releasing every last remake of every last film ever made, then they’ll start remaking the remakes. They’ll lightly pepper in some Pixar movies.( this ones about a zebra and a starfish searching for home, this ones about a Pterodactyl and a child with a magic soapdish searching for home…etc..)And some situational Romantic Comedies- that have turned into nothing more than Feature Length Motion Picture Versions of “Friends” or “Desperate Housewives”.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:57pm by VYAZMA Comment #23

BurntSynapse-  I simply don’t see the “explicit support of religious faith” in the series.  I’ve watched the entire series a couple of times beginning to end and just never got the impression that it was anything but skeptical of religion. I’m willing to concede that Kira’s statement is a huge logical fallacy.  However, within the universe of the show the worm hole aliens/prophets are manifesting entities with measurable, discernible qualities and therefore aren’t supernatural.  To me, the fact that the Bajorans believe these creatures are supernatural despite the scientific evidence (again within the context of the show) is a subtle but clear indictment of religion by the writers and producers.

I completely agree with you about about terrorism, ect. not needing to be religiously motivated, but my point was that there are episodes of DS9 that deal specifically with religiously motivated terrorism and religious fundamentalism, for example “In the Name of the Prophets”.  So I’m not sure why you bring up justifications for terrorism, when that has nothing to do with what I was saying.

Again I simply don’t see what you describe as “the steady, sympathetic portrayal and repeated justification of faith itself”.  Yes, there are characters who have faith and supernatural beliefs on the show, but that is not an endorsement of religion.  The Vedics and Kai Winn are repeatedly shown as cynical and corrupt, preying on the gullibility and faith of the believers.  The Founders genetically modified the Jem’Hadar to worship them as gods, if that isn’t thinly-veiled indictment of religious indoctrination then I’ll eat a tribble.  I’m not saying that every episode was an atheist screed, or that religious accommodation was completely absent.  I’m saying that overall the series took a dim view religion and in particular religious institutions.

I think every Star Trek series (and other Sci-Fi shows as well) are guilty of the “soul” charge.  The “mind switch/body switch” plot is simply a convention of the genre.  I’m not saying that I like or agree with the concept of separating the consciousness from the brain, I don’t, I’m just pointing out that DS9 isn’t the only show guilty of this. 

As to your last point about my last point,  I can only say that I disagree.  I don’t see the “overwhelming themes of prophecy, spirits and the idea that faith is a virtue” as being the overwhelming themes at all.  Yes, Bajorans believed that those things were supernatural, but the point is there was a natural “scientific” (fictional Star Trek science, obviously) explanation.  And it is the natural, not supernatural, explanation that the philosophy of the series is based on.  Further, I think the fact that this discussion is going on at all, goes to the real point I was making- and that is that DS9 is successful at fostering debate and critical thinking about religious issues.

Posted on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:29pm by Rev. JeffroBodean Comment #24

What makes DS9 supportive of religion is the steady, sympathetic portrayal and repeated justification of faith itself.  What was lacking was any clear, logical refutation of the core fallacies used for supporting faith – which would justify claims of “successful” treatment.

I agree with you, BurntSynapse.  I was never a really big fan of DS9, but I remember one episode where Bajoran parents were pulling their children out of Keiko’s science classes because she was teaching them about evolution and not that they were “created” by “the Prophets”.  I sat up and payed attention, because I thought we would finally get a good discussion of the topic.  I seem to remember an exchange where Keiko said that it was not her job to teach them about religion.  Kira replied to the effect, “Some would say you can’t teach anything without reference to religion.”  And this was respectfully taken as the last word on the subject.  Ultimately the problem just “went away” and was never refered to again.

I’ll have to watch that episode again.  I don’t recall any mention of evolution.  As I recall Vedic Winn objected to ‘The Prophets” being called “Wormhole Aliens.”

Kaco was putting The Prophets in a scientific perspective rather than a religious one.

The point of the story was that Vedic Winn was deliberately creating an incident where she could have her competition for the Kai assassinated.  Religion was the backdrop of the story not the center of the story.  It sounds like you want Star Trek to be humanist propaganda.  I think DS9 was the best of the Treks.  TNG was too goody two shoes for me.

psik

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 at 5:13am by psikeyhackr Comment #25

Advocatus,

My fiance just asked me to see if you had checked out my blog:
http://structureddream.blogspot.com/

Oh, yes!  I think you’re spot on target.  The whole move was a mess from start to finish!

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:28am by Advocatus Comment #26

The point of the story was that Vedic Winn was deliberately creating an incident where she could have her competition for the Kai assassinated.  Religion was the backdrop of the story not the center of the story.

I agree that religion was being used as an excuse here for a political maneuver.  But they definitely were pulling students out of science classes because the teacher wasn’t teaching them religion, which is exactly the reason Creationists on Earth use to oppose evolution.  I wasn’t expecting “humanist propaganda”, but did expect the issue to be intelligently addressed.  It wasn’t.

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:32am by Advocatus Comment #27

I agree with you, BurntSynapse.  I was never a really big fan of DS9, but I remember one episode where Bajoran parents were pulling their children out of Keiko’s science classes because she was teaching them about evolution and not that they were “created” by “the Prophets”.

My point was that the conflict was not started about evolution.

The script of the episode is here:

http://ds9.trekcore.com/media/scripts/120.txt

There was one mention of evolution but it was after the conflict was already started.

              WINN
        Let me be the one to make the first
        concession.  I will no longer request
        that you teach anything about the
        celestial temple.

  A beat.  More murmers of surprise… Keiko glances at O’Brien.

              WINN
        Just don’t teach anything about the
        wormhole at all.

              KEIKO
          (reacts)
        Ignore it… ?

              WINN
        Find other things to teach the
        children.

              KEIKO
        And when we get to theories of
        evolution or the creation of the
        universe,
what then…

              WINN
        We’ll face those issues when we come
        to them.

              KEIKO
        I’m a teacher.  My responsibility is
        to expose my students to knowledge. 
        Not hide it from them.  The answer
        is no.

The episode is anti-religion in that it is an exposure of the evil done by some people in the name of the religion.  Kind of like a documentary on the creation of suicide bombers.  I think it was much more sophisticated than any creationist vs evolution polemic.

After that episode Kira was no longer a supporter of Winn.  The entire Bajoran religion business was one of the things that made DS9 much more interesting than TNG.

psik

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:55am by psikeyhackr Comment #28

First, this new story takes us back… starting with a fresh slate at a time when our hero Jim Kirk (the ever indominable force we know and love) was but a wreckless youth having many serious character flaws from being far buried under his famous but resultingly absent father’s shadow.  In spite of the greatest unlikelyhood, this bad boy free thinker, scorner of authority and bar room brawler gets drawn by force of genetic resonance alone into a command position which saves mankind from certain distruction (although too late for the Vulcans). 

Kirk is transformed by his experiences into the man we have loved for so many years and develops the relationships with his ship mates we also love, albiet in a new dimension/alternate universe timeline.

Plus, the young Spock gets laid by a hot Afro chick.

What’s not to love?

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:56pm by gray1 Comment #29

Even the original series’s religious philosophy varied widely.  This was well documented in “Star Trek: Atheist Weltanschuuang or Theistic Conspiracy,” one of my college papers, which unfortunately I’m too busy to scan.  Though probably not too busy to shred,  now that I remember that I still have it.

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 at 6:00pm by josh_karpf Comment #30

First, this new story takes us back… starting with a fresh slate at a time when our hero Jim Kirk (the ever indominable force we know and love) was but a wreckless youth having many serious character flaws…

Uh… no.  This story invents an entirely different “Jim Kirk” in order to hopefully appeal to younger movie-goers who don’t have enough of an attention span to sit still between exploding planets.  Sorry, that’s the way I see it.  :)

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 at 7:44am by Advocatus Comment #31

Even the original series’s religious philosophy varied widely.  This was well documented in “Star Trek: Atheist Weltanschuuang or Theistic Conspiracy,” one of my college papers, which unfortunately I’m too busy to scan.  Though probably not too busy to shred,  now that I remember that I still have it.

Yep, watch the episode Bread and Circuses and see what attitude about Christianity it promotes. 

http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/TOS/episode/68746.html

Then try Return of the Archons.

http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/TOS/episode/68704.html

psik

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 at 8:57am by psikeyhackr Comment #32

Uh… no.  This story invents an entirely different “Jim Kirk” in order to hopefully appeal to younger movie-goers who don’t have enough of an attention span to sit still between exploding planets.  Sorry, that’s the way I see it.  :)

Logical, considering the producers’ hope to attract a new generation (no pun intended) of fans. 

From an “old fart” perspective, however, with a slight stretch I can also see an honest attempt to explain the beginnings of “the Kirk”, our real, somewhat quirky Kirk.  As such I don’t think it was a totally outlandish portrayal, just not perhaps what some of us older fans remember.  Young McCoy’s paranoias was just that, a portrayal of true paranoia which is defined as being an unreasonable fear.  He was being quite unreasonable, but why would anyone expect him to get kicked off of a military shuttle craft which could be expected to be carrying any number of different kinds and/or status of people going up?

Current mores reflected in TV kid shows reflect rude, crude and self-centered selfish behaviour as well as an ongoing process of ridiculing parents and adults in general.  There seems to be some agenda at work, but my own paranoia might be showing.  Perhaps some of this new age kid stuff or agenda rubbed off into our movie?

As far as religion goes, any good movie or series will at some point have an opportunity to reflect the feelings of its creators, this being the crux of most of the concerns reflected herein.  I don’t believe that any thinking person has missed the point that “Star Trek” has always been very progressive and that “religion” when depicted, was presented in a negative light, as something that has been held over from a past status quo or even something that was adopted, often in a state of confusion by groups of people (or aliens) whom both the “wise” Enterprise crew as well as ourselves (identifying with Kirk, et al) naturally considered as poor unfortunate and misled dupes.  “Gods” or the like have also been easily dismissed as actually being some strange, alien life form regardless of their displayed abilities or powers.  Perhaps we will actually come in contact with such one day, then what?

We as viewers and fans are placed on the inside of those particular jokes every time.  “Why does God need a space ship?” realizes Kirk in one episode.  Heck, we now know that even the planet outpost “Holy site” which the ever-spiritual Vulcans claimed most holy was actually a high-tech spy station working against the blue skin bunch while hiding under such a robe.  We’ve also found out several times that the claim “Vulcans never lie” has proven quite false, so who can you believe in?

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 at 1:14pm by gray1 Comment #33