|Alien religions: Are they convincing?
||[Jul. 25th, 2006|07:08 pm]
Religious Themes in the Shows We Love
What are folks' thoughts on space-opera/outer space travel shows? Specifically, do you believe that religions concocted for SF media are too one-dimensional and flat, or that they have a convincing richness?|
Let's consider it with an example. In the Farscape ep "Suns and Lovers", a local cult believes that the surrounding empty space, dubbed the Sacred Stillness, is a sort of holy ground that should not be entered. (SPOILER WARNING) When that holy place is disturbed by commerce and industrialization, the cult uses a homing device to lure electromagnetic storms to the space station, attempting to destroy the place and thus purge the intruders. There's definitely a strong sense of ownership, territory, purpose, and method behind their actions as baddie-of-the-week.
Spock's religious beliefs are another good example: his people (which we could understand as more of a national identity than a species) attempt to purge themselves of all emotion, seeking logic and reason as much as possible. They undergo cleansing rituals to advance towards a cold enlightenment. At the beginning of Star Trek: the Motion Picture, we see Spock trying to complete the last bit of one such ritual. He is about to receive the honor of having completed kolinahr, or total discipline over emotions, but he reacts emotionally to the news of V'Ger, the machine-entity, and its destructive wake. This invalidates him from receiving the distinction of kolinahr.
What are some examples of relatively shoddy alien religions? Of religious organizations that are poorly thrown together, lack verisimilitude, or pursue a single trait with unrealistic specialization (militarism, racial superiority, pacifism, etc.)
Aside from the somewhat tacky religions/cults that focus far too much on some prophecy (such as a messianic religion with *no other qualities*) and are thereby extremely short-lived in a series, I think that more religions than not are actually pretty well developed, or at least explained well enough to have some meaning and color.