Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
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# 1 Religion after First Contact
08-15-2013, 02:52 PM
I've been mapping out a few things I'm trying to cover in my script, one area I want to talk about is religion on a world that has recently made first contact (Bajor is a bit of an exception as their gods were actual aliens). I noticed a few foundry authors state they're religious (somewhat of a novelty to me as a Londoner, the only Christians I know round here are from in the Afro-Caribbean community, not Trekkies, besides that all the other religious people in my area are in the Muslim and Hindu communities) so I was wondering if I could tap that reserve, so to speak.

I'd like to get some insight from those people who are Trekkies and religious. As someone who is a Trek fan, and hence has thought about life on other worlds and interaction between humanities culture and religion and the cosmos in the event of contact with life beyond Eden... how do you think human religions and religious people react to First Contact? What do you think would change, how would views and teaching change, if at all?

Note: I do not want to start a religious debate. Historically, I've found these discussions can quickly degenerate into arguments on the basis one of mis-understood statement. I ask anyone who replies to please not debate who is right and who is wrong and so on.

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Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 2
08-15-2013, 04:02 PM
Well, one example is the Malcorians. Their ideology was so screwed up that there would have been planet-wide riots if the public had found out that they had been visited by people from another planet.
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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Oct 2012
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# 3
08-15-2013, 05:29 PM
Historically speaking, religion will find a way to survive. It is a human constant that has provided for as many positive as negative inputs into world history...although it is often en vogue to portray those who would have faith as stupid, backwards, etc. An objective look at religion is fairly kind to it...and most of the evils ascribed to religious intolerance origins are almost always actually originated in some other socio-economic factor(s.)

So that being said, religion will find a way...it may not exactly *look and sound* like religion today, in fact our religions today (in the west at least) have only a rudimentary resemblance to the practices (and sometimes even beliefs) of the originators.

Thus it can be stated, with just a hint of irony: religions evolve. faith evolves.

In the Trek universe there are clearly cultures that have faith, Klingons, Vulcans, Ferengi. Their faiths are often (on the surface) any more rational than your run of the meal belief system anywhere on current Earth.

In our current world, there would be relatively little religious-sourced rioting to alien contact. I know this will not be the opinion of those who knee jerk belief those with faith to be backwards cave dwellers...but it is more the truth than expecting the world to erupt with faith-based rioting to alien contact.

That isn't to say there wouldn't be rioting and unrest, but not because some homocentric religious concept has been overturned -- 99% of that kind of reaction is gone from western and most asian cultures with faith. However, you would get rioting and unrest in some quarters due to anxieties about world impacts, at least after the initial shock of the contact has abated.

Also, you could actually see an uptick in faith after first contact (again counter-intuitive to anyone who hasn't paid any attention to how humans deal with uncertainty...but faith is turned to after momentous uncertainties, sometimes its the only base-point tool to reference a feeling against, or marshal emotional recovery around.)

I would think first contact would be a point of evolution for faiths. There would be questions to ask, but none of those questions would deal with the appropriateness of maintaining faith.

Immediate questions would arise, such as:

1) Do the aliens have faith(s)?

2) Do any extant alien faiths relate to extant human faiths?

3) Do the aliens have a "soul" concept, reincarnate or otherwise?

4) Does the alien "soul" count within the human understanding/religious framework (i.e., "If Arex dies, does his soul also go to/eligible for Heaven as one of Gods creatures?", etc.)

Longer term issues, such as working out accommodations for aliens, and how the alien presence and cosmology impacts current religious facets would likely occur via councils of various kinds. A real life example of religious evolution would be the First Council of Nicaea of 325 which under Imperial mandate created a unified creed (the Nicene Creed)

I doubt First Contact would be a catalyst for a "unified" Human faith.

Eventually, religion (as all facets of human politics, geopolitics, commerce, society and culture) would come to terms with the realities of alien life. Simply because aliens show up does not mean that humans stop being humans...if one thing is certain, regardless of Gene Roddenberry's dreams, humans will persist on being the Hobbesian creatures that they are (in the overall.)
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Captain
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# 4
08-15-2013, 06:41 PM
Yes humans are spiritual beings. As the old saying goes "there are no athiests in the foxhole" and even the soviets found it difficult to motivate there troops without getting the orthodox church involved. Organizations such as alcoholics anonymous teach that belief in a higher power is needed to beat powerful addictions. It is ironic that modern Britain is so agnostic when their head of state (the Queen) is also the head of the church of England and they claim to ultimately be ruled by God.


On a side not the explorers of the new world found new civilizations with new religions including the Aztecs who used the cross n their worship and believed that Cortez was a returning god fulfilling prophecy.
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Last edited by lincolninspace; 08-15-2013 at 06:46 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
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# 5
08-15-2013, 07:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by realmalize View Post
Historically speaking, religion will find a way to survive. It is a human constant that has provided for as many positive as negative inputs into world history...although it is often en vogue to portray those who would have faith as stupid, backwards, etc. An objective look at religion is fairly kind to it...and most of the evils ascribed to religious intolerance origins are almost always actually originated in some other socio-economic factor(s.)

So that being said, religion will find a way...it may not exactly *look and sound* like religion today, in fact our religions today (in the west at least) have only a rudimentary resemblance to the practices (and sometimes even beliefs) of the originators.

Thus it can be stated, with just a hint of irony: religions evolve. faith evolves.
History will not necessarily dictate what the future will bring. Statistics show that religion is dwindling in many countries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by realmalize View Post
In the Trek universe there are clearly cultures that have faith, Klingons, Vulcans, Ferengi. Their faiths are often (on the surface) any more rational than your run of the meal belief system anywhere on current Earth.
It's "run of the mill".

Quote:
Originally Posted by lincolninspace View Post
Yes humans are spiritual beings. As the old saying goes "there are no athiests in the foxhole" and even the soviets found it difficult to motivate there troops without getting the orthodox church involved.
First of all, that saying is demonstrably wrong. Second of all, if we're talking about IRL here, you need to demonstrate that spirituality has any foundation in the real world at all. Until then, we cannot presuppose your premise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lincolninspace View Post
Organizations such as alcoholics anonymous teach that belief in a higher power is needed to beat powerful addictions.
That doesn't mean that they are in the right, or that method is the best to offer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lincolninspace View Post
It is ironic that modern Britain is so agnostic when their head of state (the Queen) is also the head of the church of England and they claim to ultimately be ruled by God.
It is not ironic. England hasn't progressed to having church and state separation yet, simple as that.


Regardless, this is a fiction, so religious doctrines can be portrayed as factual and demonstrable. But so far, Star Trek seemed to have been going for the 'religious beliefs are BS' direction. Do we even know that humanity still clings to religion in the Star Trek continuity?

Assuming that Terran religion isn't dissolved by first contact in the Star Trek continuity, I see that things like the most religious people might view the Vulcans as demons or their religion's equivalent... it will be very bad for a lot of beliefs. Most religious people will either develop a more open mind, or they'll start riots and attempt to assassinate Vulcan dignitaries.


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Last edited by orangeitis; 08-15-2013 at 07:47 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Oct 2012
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# 6
08-15-2013, 08:08 PM
the op explicitly requested not to do exactly what you just did orangeitis
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Rihannsu
Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 8
08-15-2013, 08:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangeitis View Post
And what exactly might that be? D:
Quote:
Note: I do not want to start a religious debate. Historically, I've found these discussions can quickly degenerate into arguments on the basis one of mis-understood statement. I ask anyone who replies to please not debate who is right and who is wrong and so on.
Anyways, One thing I thought of about the Malcorian example, is that the Malcorian beliefs were very inflexible and (from an outside point of view) illogical, but they were not inherently religious. The Malcorians treated their bizarre beliefs as scientific fact.

Truthfully, in this sort of scenario, it doesn't matter whether an ideology is properly defined as a "religion" or not. It is the nature of the ideology that determines the outcome.
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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 9
08-16-2013, 12:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by isthisscience View Post
I've been mapping out a few things I'm trying to cover in my script, one area I want to talk about is religion on a world that has recently made first contact (Bajor is a bit of an exception as their gods were actual aliens). I noticed a few foundry authors state they're religious (somewhat of a novelty to me as a Londoner, the only Christians I know round here are from in the Afro-Caribbean community, not Trekkies, besides that all the other religious people in my area are in the Muslim and Hindu communities) so I was wondering if I could tap that reserve, so to speak.

I'd like to get some insight from those people who are Trekkies and religious. As someone who is a Trek fan, and hence has thought about life on other worlds and interaction between humanities culture and religion and the cosmos in the event of contact with life beyond Eden... how do you think human religions and religious people react to First Contact? What do you think would change, how would views and teaching change, if at all?

Note: I do not want to start a religious debate. Historically, I've found these discussions can quickly degenerate into arguments on the basis one of mis-understood statement. I ask anyone who replies to please not debate who is right and who is wrong and so on.

Honestly, this wouldn't really have to be around religion. Religious or non-religious, I would view people going from extreme to extreme. You would have:

Types that welcome with arms wide open
Those who would devote the new comers like royalty
Types who want to take advantage (like learning technology to gain power or wealth)
The violent types who think the worst
And you have those who are scared and hide for weeks, months, even years.


Now with your story, you just focus around your alien culture and what type of personalities they would have.

For instance, Klingons likely would've been confrontational to newcomers. Vulcans would've been very welcoming. Romulans would likely welcome you and then try to control you. And Ferengi would've tried to make a profit.
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# 10
08-16-2013, 06:28 AM
Not sure about religion always going to survive as some have said

Many experts in socioeconomic circles have been expecting, and witnessing on the whole a decline in the uptake of religious Beliefs

The more technologically advanced we become as a species the more and more we put our faith in sciences, on the list of techonologically advanced nations, the highest are the most Post-religious, while they may keep their religions label as a cultural identty, its become much less common to believe the Scriptures as a literal truth, and most orthodox religions are having to adapt to modern life, or they will die out

The grasp of organised faith systems is failing, being replaced i think in most people with a mush more personal spiritual belief( or in many cases a total rejection of belief entirely) , which in the context of First contact could become something of a mess, people don't look to a figure head, but instead to their own beliefs making a somewhat chaotic response to the aliens rather than a unified one


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