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 Religion in SciFi, spinoff from Kerra's B5 philosophy topic
MadAmosMalone
Posted: Jan 18 2008, 05:48 PM
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Never saw that ep, Dennis. Considering how long it's been available to view I'd have no problem spoiler-wise about an open discussion of it.


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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 18 2008, 11:07 PM
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QUOTE (MadAmosMalone @ Jan 18 2008, 05:48 PM)
Never saw that ep, Dennis. Considering how long it's been available to view I'd have no problem spoiler-wise about an open discussion of it.


Generally, I want to show how prevalent "religious" themes are in scifi. For most of the themes, I'm happy to discuss. This one, I'm content just to say it's there and leave it at that. Truly, some of what "Emanations" touches on is just too delicate.

SG-1 Spirits http://www.scifi.com/stargate/episodes/season02/0213/

Voyager Emanations http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/seri...sode/68836.html

The links above are for the two eps already aired.

The links below are for the next eps I know the air date for. I think these two eps will be less delicate and hence more readily discussable. I had only seen "Emanations" once and vaguely remembered it. I sort of dismissed it the first time around.

02/01 SG-1 The Other Side http://www.scifi.com/stargate/episodes/season04/0402/

01/27 The 37's http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/seri...sode/68858.html

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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 19 2008, 10:26 PM
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QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Jan 18 2008, 11:07 PM)


Generally, I want to show how prevalent "religious" themes are in scifi.  For most of the themes, I'm happy to discuss.  This one, I'm content just to say it's there and leave it at that.  Truly, some of what "Emanations" touches on is just too delicate.

True, "Emanations" has its delicate moments, but maybe by breaking this thing up into three posts, those moments can be negotiated . . .

One of the interesting interludes in "Emanations" is when bodies are first discovered. A pure element heavier than any previously known to the Federation is detected. The search for that element leads to the discovery of the bodies.

Janeway recommends passive tricorder scans only.

Chakotay ups that to eyes only.

Kim and Belana are appalled.

Chakotay shares with Kim an experience where he had unknowingly desecrated a burial site in earlier years . . . His "eyes only" decision grew out of that experience.

Burial is a "rite of passage". Respect for burial sites is a continuation of that rite.

Chakotay is portrayed as a spiritual person in other eps.

His "intuition" seems to be proved right when "neural energy" is observed transfering from newly arrived bodies to rings surrounding the planet where the bodies are on moons. The suggestion is this neural energy is what makes the unnaturally heavy stable element . . .

Alchemy . . . ?! (I digress)

Janeway's decision to go to passive scans only seems to have been based in Federation protocols - a collective doctrine to which she strongly subcribes . . .

And to which Chakotay also subscribes - but the influence of Chakotay's personal experience leads him to decide on an even less obtrusive investigation . . .

Ethics - acceptable behaviour . . .

Religion - response . . .

How Chakotay decides to respond to this situation reflects what is acceptable to him . . .

Actions speak louder than words . . .
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 19 2008, 10:36 PM
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Relating to ritual sacrifice from Sagan's list . . .

In one of the storylines - After hearing Kim's story about the bodies on the asteroid, a Vhnori man named Hatil who was about to submit to euthanasia to ease his family's burden in caring for him changes his mind about dying.

Hatil's contemplated end is not unlike what happened in the ST:TNG episode "Half a Life" http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/seri...sode/68498.html

The Voyager episode names the ceremony where the aliens place themselves in a pod which kills them just before a naturally-occurring phenomenon occurs and transfers the body to another place. Ordinarily, this ceremony is a rite of passage from Sagan's list.

In Hatil's case, it has aspects of ritual sacrifice . . .
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 19 2008, 10:52 PM
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Ptera's "adventure" is another storyline in this ep.

In Hatil's case, he is deeply affected by hearing Kim's account of what happened . . . a secondhand account that is decidedly different from what Hatil believes.

Imagine Ptera who actually experiences SOMETHING herself - firsthand. And that firsthand experience is decidedly different from what Ptera believed.

Ptera is highly perturbed. All she wants to do is get back to her life.

The Voyager crew offer her a chance to do that with no guarantees - she agrees to try it - it fails - she dies.

The fact she could have made it back led me to begin speculating about what the effect of her return would have . . . but Ptera had not been told of the transfer of neural energy to the rings . . . I think the crew may have discovered THAT when Ptera died . . . She would not have known when she got back . . .

This gave me mixed feelings about her not getting back . . .

Ptera's experience would have only added to any doubts about what they believed by what Kim was telling them. The transfer of neural energy could have made everything the Vhnori believed true . . . The ep leaves that an open question . . . That is part of what gives this ep such a wallop . . .
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 19 2008, 10:57 PM
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I suppose another story line is Kim's efforts to get back . . .

NOTE: I've often said there are 3 kinds of people in this world - them that can count and them that can't!

Kim gets in the ceremonial pod, knowing it will kill him!

Why does he do this?

It is strongly suggested that the Vhnori are about to vivisect him!!!!!

The Vhnori's willingness to "examine" Kim this extensively makes a nice comparison to Kim and B'lana's willingness (desire even) to use "active" tricorder scans on the bodies . . .

Ethics? The sanctimonious Vhnori are willing to do this?!
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 23 2008, 10:35 PM
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My bad!!!!

Turns out, Voyager's The 37's will air tomorrow. I'm really unsure how I got that date wrong, but there it is.

I'll make my points about the ep following the airing.

Also, Initiations will be aired, which tangentially is related to one of the items on Sagan's list.

AND . . . I see Cosmos is airing again. For those of you unfamiliar with Sagan's work, this is a good series to follow . . . It's on the "premium" Science Channel on my local cable . . . Airs Tuesday evenings - appropriate somehow . . .
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 24 2008, 04:08 PM
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Okie dokie . . .

The 37's involved the following 3 issues from Sagan's list . . .

Slavery

The Role of Women

Idolatry

More later . . .

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Kerra
  Posted: Jan 24 2008, 07:31 PM
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QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Jan 23 2008, 09:35 PM)

AND . . . I see Cosmos is airing again.  For those of you unfamiliar with Sagan's work, this is a good series to follow . . .  It's on the "premium" Science Channel on my local cable . . .  Airs Tuesday evenings - appropriate somehow . . .

Is that because the original airing of Cosmos was on Tuesdays? I remember watching it but it was so long ago my brain hurts trying to recall such details. rolleyes.gif


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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 24 2008, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE (Kerra @ Jan 24 2008, 07:31 PM)
QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Jan 23 2008, 09:35 PM)

AND . . . I see Cosmos is airing again. For those of you unfamiliar with Sagan's work, this is a good series to follow . . . It's on the "premium" Science Channel on my local cable . . . Airs Tuesday evenings - appropriate somehow . . .

Is that because the original airing of Cosmos was on Tuesdays? I remember watching it but it was so long ago my brain hurts trying to recall such details. rolleyes.gif


I was referring to the lyrics of the Moody Blues song Forever Afternoon cited in this thread - questing and all that . . .
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 26 2008, 01:09 PM
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SGA Harmony prominently involves a rite of passage. The journey to the ancient temple is a trial.
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 26 2008, 01:13 PM
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Voyager Initiations also obviously involves a rite of passage. Kar's assignment to kill "Federation" (Chakotay) is a trial.

Less obvious is mediated or direct access to deities. Twice, Chakotay performs the Ah coo chee moya ceremony. In it, he addresses "the spirits" (loosely, deity) directly. He is alone, there is no intermediary.
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 26 2008, 10:34 PM
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Upcoming episodes germane to this article are as follow:

01/30 Voyager Tattoo

02/01 SG-1 The Other Guys

02/04 (Marathon) SG-1 Meridian

02/08 Voyager Innocence

02/27 SG-1 Maternal Instinct
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 30 2008, 06:55 PM
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Several details of this Tatoo go to direct or mediated access to deity from Sagan's list.

The details include Chakotay's visions (multiple at different moments) of the face. Apparently, Chakotay can "see" this spirit - which tends toward direct - not mediated - access.

The "Sky Spirits" (or were these guys the Inheiritors?) showed intolerance toward other "world views" (loosely religions) in as much as they attempted to ward off Voyager's crew from landing on the planet, using transporters, shuttles, or even the ship itself.

Chakotay had rejected his father's efforts to introduce him to the Rubber Tree People on Earth. Following his father's death fighting Cardasian's (storyline intersects somewhat with Wesley Crusher's Journey's End), Chakotay tried to reconnect with his father. His efforts come to fruition in the delta quadrant.
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Dennis10458
Posted: Jan 31 2008, 09:25 PM
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SG-1's The Other Guys will be aired at a peculiar time. 1am ET Saturday morning, 02/02. The 02/01 date in my previous post was lifted straight off the SciFi Channel schedulebot . . . (The SciFi Channel doth moveth in mysterious ways!)

Set your vcr's tivo's and super-duper cell phones accordingly! tongue.gif
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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 1 2008, 09:37 AM
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QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Jan 31 2008, 09:25 PM)

SG-1's The Other Guys will be aired at a peculiar time.  1am ET Saturday morning, 02/02.  The 02/01 date in my previous post was lifted straight off the SciFi Channel schedulebot . . .  (The SciFi Channel doth moveth in mysterious ways!)

Set your vcr's tivo's and super-duper cell phones accordingly! tongue.gif


My bad!

The Other Side is the ep title I meant to refer to. This particular ep does not show up on the schedule anywhere at this point.
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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 12 2008, 08:29 AM
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SG-1 Meridian

Notes to self - burden, evil, reincarnation . . .

Concerning reincarnation - Daniel's journey involve disincorporation, sort of opposite of reincarnation. Also, reincarnation typically is thought of as occurring on Earth . . . Daniel seemed to be headed to an extra-terrestrial "alternate plane of existence"

Regarding the origin of evil, Oma DeSalla tells Daniel each of us only has one true power and that was the power to decide to be good or evil. According to that, origin of evil is a choice (or choices) made by individuals . . .

Which sort of leaps to the SG-A episode where Sheppard gets into this time-accelerated zone created by the Ancients to help them elude the Wraith AND to achieve ascenscion. (The accelerated time frame almost worked for the replicators in SG-1, but they weren't trying to ascend. They had other aims.) But, even in this acclerated time zone, the occupants failed to achieve ascension. They could not put down their burden, which was the "beasty" special effect thing at the end. Once they dealt with that, they ascended . . .

To the frustrated ancients, the aspect of their existence that blocked their ascension must have appeared "evil". Once light was shed on it and ascension was achieved, it looked different . . . Anybody besides me see any ST:TOS metaphors in this?
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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 12 2008, 08:35 AM
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ST: Voyager Innocence

I suppose this episode could be subtitled ST:Voyager Meets "Mork & Mindy"

Of course, this episode deals with an alien culture's rites of passage surrounding death. The alien race's unusual aging patterns help conceal what is going on to Tuvok and the viewer and add impact to the story.

In addition to the rites of passage issue from Sagan's list, I will also cite the phrase "underlying psychological resonance". Think of it, Tuvok's Vulcan logic, a product of the alpha quadrant, works very well in this "religious" situation in the delta quadrant . . . Apparently, the "underlying psychological resonance" extends beyond Earth . . . to say the least . . .
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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 12 2008, 08:38 AM
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SG-A Trio

Think of the rope that Rodney was suspended from as an umbilical cord . . .

And then there's this tunnel leading to the light . . .

Rebirth?

Deliverance . . .

Maybe we're being told to expect significant changes in Rodney's character . . .

Then again, maybe I have too much free time!!!!
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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 14 2008, 07:53 PM
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ST:Voyager Sacred Ground airs tomorrow. This ep seems promising for this topic. Sorry I didn't catch it sooner.
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Kerra
  Posted: Feb 16 2008, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Feb 12 2008, 07:38 AM)

SG-A Trio

Think of the rope that Rodney was suspended from as an umbilical cord . . .

And then there's this tunnel leading to the light . . .

Rebirth?

Deliverance . . .

Maybe we're being told to expect significant changes in Rodney's character . . .

Then again, maybe I have too much free time!!!!

LOL!!! Perhaps!

I did not get the whole umbilical cord thing from this because little Miss Newbie Doctor went down first, but I suppose since she became a lot more brave and adventuresome in this episode it could have signified her rebirth or coming out of her shell.

But in this episode I find very little religion per say and a lot of human courage and ingenuity. I did really enjoy the way in which all the ideas were presented and used or explored, but I just don't get a religious connection.


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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 17 2008, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE (Kerra @ Feb 16 2008, 09:48 PM)
QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Feb 12 2008, 07:38 AM)

SG-A Trio

Think of the rope that Rodney was suspended from as an umbilical cord . . .

And then there's this tunnel leading to the light . . .

Rebirth?

Deliverance . . .

Maybe we're being told to expect significant changes in Rodney's character . . .

Then again, maybe I have too much free time!!!!

LOL!!! Perhaps!

I did not get the whole umbilical cord thing from this because little Miss Newbie Doctor went down first, but I suppose since she became a lot more brave and adventuresome in this episode it could have signified her rebirth or coming out of her shell.

But in this episode I find very little religion per say and a lot of human courage and ingenuity. I did really enjoy the way in which all the ideas were presented and used or explored, but I just don't get a religious connection.


I suppose it's a bit of a stretch, but the "flash scene" sort of goes to "the role of women", does it not?
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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 17 2008, 04:39 PM
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Regarding ST:Voyager Sacred Ground . . .

I had forgotten the episode frankly . . . When I scanned the episode summaries for promising stories, the detail about Kes getting injured when entering an alien shrine sort of led me to expect the ep to be something about "intolerance of other religions" or "group of beings to whom special ethical considerations are due".

It was neither!

At one point, aliens comment that Janeway continues to show confidence (faith) in her technological devices even though it is plain those devices are failing her! So that line takes me to the religion/science/agricola aspect of this thread . . .

This episode also takes me to the "needs that are fulfilled by religion" aspect of the paragraph in which Sagan's list appears . . . What did Janeway want or need so badly as to go through all of this?
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Kerra
Posted: Feb 17 2008, 05:36 PM
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QUOTE (Dennis10458 @ Feb 17 2008, 03:32 PM)
QUOTE=Dennis10458,Feb 12 2008, 07:38 AM] [SIZE=4]
SG-A Trio

I suppose it's a bit of a stretch, but the "flash scene" sort of goes to "the role of women", does it not?

I can agree with you on this Dennis but I still don't see the religious aspect. I only see three humans trying to find a way out of their predictament, and writers trying to get the point of the value of every human being across.

Am I missing something?


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Dennis10458
Posted: Feb 17 2008, 09:18 PM
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QUOTE (Kerra @ Feb 17 2008, 05:36 PM)

I can agree with you on this Dennis but I still don't see the religious aspect. I only see three humans trying to find a way out of their predictament, and writers trying to get the point of the value of every human being across.

Am I missing something?




Consider the following 5 items from Sagan's list:

the role of women;
ritual sacrifice;
slavery;
intolerance of other religions; and
the community of beings to whom special ethical considerations are due.

Each of these issues has somehing to do with the value of every human being.

Struggle is a common religious theme. True, not the type of struggle that can be resolved in a single episode, usually, but struggle. Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica both have elements of individual and collective struggle spanning several episodes, and in the case of Babylon 5 the entire series. With Battlestar Galactica, it appears likely that conflict(s) set in motion in the premiere episode will still be influential during the series finale'.

Courage!

What puts the ape in apricot?! Courage!

etc.

On a more serious note, I once heard a sermon with the theme, "Courage is the virtue that underlies all other religious virtues." This implies that courage itself is a religious virtue. Oddly enough, that speaker's definition of courage was repeated virtually verbatim in Tinman, the recent remake of The Wizard of Oz.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the capacity to act in spite of fear.

Yes, in Trio, the characters showed courage and determination. They tried and tried again. Was it the 4th or 5th approach that worked?

You say "you only see three humans trying to find a way out of their predictament, . . . "

If you choose to see only that - you are the viewer, that is your perogative . . .

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Persig advances two world views - one Romanic (no "t") and the other Greek. Romans were pragmatic, just the facts please. Show me the controls and I'll drive the durn car. Greeks wanted to know what was going on under the hood . . .

Me, I wanna' know what's going on under the hood. I wanna' know what lets Rodney act like this . . . etc. Not that we didn't sorta' already know, but we got let in on what he thinks of Carter . . .

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