I love Star Trek. Thankfully, so does my family. At the moment we are watching Deep Space Nine and we just finished the episode “Cardassians” (S2E5).
The episode, while a good story, got me thinking about the whole point of SciFi and how it relates to religion.
I’m sure this is not an original thought, but it occurred to me that many species in Star Trek, and indeed in other SciFi franchises, can be conceived of as a projection of some aspect of humanity.
The Vulcans are the logical side of humanity. The Ferengi are the greedy side of us. And the Cardassians, I think, represent the ruthlessness of humanity and the willingness to kill for an ideology.
It is in how the human — or at least Starfleet — characters deal with these other species which provides a good object lesson on humanity’s past and what we can become.
Anyways, this idea brought me back to Feuerbach — who by the way has a cool last name: fire + stream.
His arguably most famous book is The Essence of Christianity, in which he states:
“[T]he object of any subject is nothing else than the subject’s own nature taken objectively.”
“The essence of faith … is the idea that that which man wishes actually is: he wishes to be immortal, therefore he is immortal; he wishes for the existence of a being who can do everything which is impossible to Nature and reason, therefore such a being exists.”
To put it simply Feuerbach believes that God is a projection of our human desires.
I think there is some truth to this. Namely due to the countless denominations in Christianity and also all the different religions in the world.
It could be as the Rig Veda says “The Truth is One, though the sages call it differently” or it could be that different cultures project their beliefs onto whatever God is like an artist upon a blank canvas.
The thing is though, you don’t often realize that you are projecting, either upon God or upon other people. And when you buy into a narrative, unless you stand back and critique that work, you don’t often see the projection.
I very seldom watch a movie and deconstruct it. Maybe I didn’t like it, but I don’t immediately critique the plot and am able to see where the screenwriters went wrong.
Because I generally don’t watch a movie to critique it, but to be entertained. And perhaps this is the distinction between those who love to critique religion and those who simply want to be swept up in it.
I’m convinced that those are just two different modes of being, and it is healthy to wear the skeptic hat sometimes and it is healthy to wear the spiritual and religious hat at other times.
Until next time, live long and prosper!