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MediaSavant
August 7th, 2006, 08:52 AM
Found this Stargate mention.


The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York)
August 6, 2006 Sunday

HEADLINE: SCI-FI'S RELIGIOUS FRONTIER;
THE BEST SHOWS DRAW INSPIRATION FROM THEOLOGY
BYLINE: By William LaRue Staff writer

BODY:

On television's "The Twilight Zone," a character calls out to God, offering to trade his life to save that of his son.

In "Star Trek," viewers see the Christian quality of mercy whenever Capt. Kirk spares the life of a vanquished opponent.

Even on "The X-Files," a series steeped in paranormal and alien encounters, a poster reading "I Want to Believe" could be seen as a longing for traditional faith.

People often think of science fiction as ray guns, spaceships and bug-eyed monsters. But among TV's best sci-fi shows, episodes also turn to religion or theological themes for inspiration, according to State University College at Oswego English professor Thomas Bertonneau.

Bertonneau is co-author of "The Truth Is Out There: Christian Faith and the Classics of TV Science Fiction" (Brazos Press, $18.99). Published in late June, the book focuses on six shows no longer in production: "The X-Files," "Babylon 5" and "The Prisoner" and the original runs of "The Twilight Zone," "Star Trek" and "Doctor Who."

Unfortunately, Bertonneau says, he and his co-author, Iona College religious studies professor Kim Paffenroth, couldn't find any current science-fiction shows delving into religious, moral or philosophical issues with any depth.

"I watch "Stargate Atlantis' and the new "Doctor Who' and the new "Battlestar Gallactica.' And it strikes me that they are basically action-adventure stories with fairly impressive pyrotechnical special effects," Bertonneau says.

Paffenroth, responding by e-mail to questions about the book, says the fantasy of science fiction happens to be a great way to tackle "touchy" issues of theology and morality because the stories don't have to involve real religions or real events.

The fact there aren't any new shows doing this doesn't mean it won't happen again, he says.

"We can probably only hope for that happy coincidence once every few years, but we may well be due for another one soon," Paffenroth says.

Now 51, Bertonneau (pronounced BER-TON-OH) grew up reading lots of science fiction and enjoying the episodes of "Star Trek," "The Twilight Zone" and "The Prisoner" during their initial runs on TV in the 1960s.

But it wasn't until the mid-1980s - as he began to seriously study religion and faith - that he joyfully discovered that many of his favorite science-fiction shows are embedded with moral and spiritual themes, including good and evil, love and redemption. He thinks these moral questions help to explain the enduring appeal of these shows.

Among instances cited in the book:

On "The X-Files," one motto of FBI agent Fox Mulder is that "The truth is out there." Series creator Chris Carter has acknowledged, the authors note, that the show's obsessions with "what might lie beyond the everyday world and its conventions is essentially a religious one."

In one of many stories dealing with moral issues on British series "Doctor Who," which ran continuously from 1963 to 1989, The Doctor and his companions travel back in time and witness the sacrificial religion of the 14th century Aztecs.

Some of the overt Christian themes on "Star Trek" are found in the episode "The Empath," which finds Kirk and crewmates Spock and McCoy each offering to die to save the other two. The episode begins with a quote from the Old Testament and ends with one from the New Testament.

"I think that the moral seriousness of the stories (in "Star Trek') is self-evident," Bertonneau says. "Gene Roddenberry (series creator) ... created these characters and found actors to play them who could represent his moral convictions. The cleverness of the writers is that they knew how to use humor to deflate pretension that might develop out of the moral earnestness."

Cazenovia resident Robin Curtis, who played a Vulcan in the third and fourth "Star Trek" films, and an alien ambassador on "Babylon 5," says fans of both shows often point out to her additional meanings in scripts that she never was told about at the time of filming.

However, Curtis says she's not certain people aren't reading more into these stories than were intended. Quotes she has read from Roddenberry before his death in 1991 indicate he never wanted "Star Trek" to be seen as promoting a supreme being or a particular faith.

"I was amused to learn the network (NBC) wanted a chaplain aboard the ship, and Roddenberry said, "Absolutely not.' The whole notion of a chaplain would be absurd because that would imply one religion had survived (in the future) above all others," she says.

Bertonneau and Paffenroth began writing "The Truth Is Out There" about two years ago, inspired by many conversations on these issues since meeting in 1997 while participating in Heritage Foundation fellowships in Washington, D.C.

Despite the book's subtitle, which Bertonneau notes was suggested by the publisher, the authors don't see religion's influence on TV science fiction being limited to the Christian faith.

Although the book is largely Judeo-Christian in outlook, Bertonneau says, the authors include references to Buddhism, Confucianism and even Greek philosophical monotheism.

Several years ago, in a tongue-in-check sketch on "Saturday Night Live," William Shatner, who played Kirk, pleaded with the show's most die-hard Trekkies to "get a life" beyond the show.

While Bertonneau says it's "regrettable" that a few fans have treated the mythology of "Star Trek" as a substitute for religion, he doesn't join those who make fun of anyone moved spiritually by a fictional TV show about a starship crew.

"These are people who have some kind of faith in something, after all," he says. "My notion of science fiction might be larger than theirs, but I think that basic faith deep down is probably shared. It's not a bad thing to have faith in powerful moral stories that are structured by convictions."

prion
August 7th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Link for article is

http://www.syracuse.com/poststandard/stories/index.ssf?/base/living-2/115459557787190.xml&%3bcoll=1

BJX
August 7th, 2006, 09:49 AM
What a load of crap. He clearly hasn't done his work or chose to simply ignore SG1 because he didn't like what he saw with regards to religion.

Also, the only show I watched on that list was The X-Files and I don't see why he's picking that one out as pro-religion. He's totally twisted the "I Want To Believe" thing in a whole new direction. The was with regards to the existence of extra-terrestrial life, not God. The UFO above the tagline probably should have given it away. Besides The X-Files was quite anti-God, in a way. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, the two guys who ran the show, are atheists. Mulder was a strong atheist and ridiculed Scully unmercifully for her belief in God especially how it was in contradiction to her scientific skepticism towards the paranormal. Hell, in the X-Files universe God dosen't even exist. Life came about through evolution and began by panspermia, and all religions were nothing but a construct from aliens. CSM said it himself.

CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: To possess it is to possess the answer to all things. Every possible imaginable question.

MARITA COVARRUBIAS: To God?

CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: There's no God, Marita. What we call God is only alien-- an intelligence much greater than us.


The only thing remotely religious about it was the existence of life after death, but it didn't have anything to do with God.

Actually I tell a lie, there was an episode in the final year where Burt Reynolds played a character that may have been God. So there it is. Burt Reynolds = God.

warmbeachbrat
August 8th, 2006, 06:32 PM
What a load of crap. He clearly hasn't done his work or chose to simply ignore SG1 because he didn't like what he saw with regards to religion.

Also, the only show I watched on that list was The X-Files and I don't see why he's picking that one out as pro-religion. He's totally twisted the "I Want To Believe" thing in a whole new direction. The was with regards to the existence of extra-terrestrial life, not God. The UFO above the tagline probably should have given it away. Besides The X-Files was quite anti-God, in a way. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, the two guys who ran the show, are atheists. Mulder was a strong atheist and ridiculed Scully unmercifully for her belief in God especially how it was in contradiction to her scientific skepticism towards the paranormal. Hell, in the X-Files universe God dosen't even exist. Life came about through evolution and began by panspermia, and all religions were nothing but a construct from aliens. CSM said it himself.

CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: To possess it is to possess the answer to all things. Every possible imaginable question.

MARITA COVARRUBIAS: To God?

CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: There's no God, Marita. What we call God is only alien-- an intelligence much greater than us.


The only thing remotely religious about it was the existence of life after death, but it didn't have anything to do with God.

Actually I tell a lie, there was an episode in the final year where Burt Reynolds played a character that may have been God. So there it is. Burt Reynolds = God.

I don't know--the very last scene of the very last episode at least seemed to be open to the idea:


SCULLY: You've always said that you want to believe. But believe in what Mulder? If this is the truth that you've been looking for then what is left to believe in?

MULDER: I want to believe that the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us as part of something greater than us - greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen to what's speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves.

SCULLY: Then we believe the same thing.

(SCULLY watches MULDER intently . MULDER looks like he Believes. SCULLY smiles at MULDER. MULDER reaches over and lightly picks up SCULLY'S cross. He reaches up and caresses her lips.)

(MULDER gets off of the floor and settles himself in bed next to SCULLY. He wraps himself around her, so that they are now holding each other closely.)

MULDER: (whispers) Maybe there's hope.

Ivegottheskill
August 9th, 2006, 03:30 AM
Every season of SG-1 has been completely based in religion.

First it was the people of the Milky Way being forced to worship false gods, to the Ori killing those who do not "convert" (somewhat representative of religious extremism in todays world)

Not to mention the storylines involving the Ancients and ascension (which therefore includes pretty much all of SGA as well)

:mckay:

NiGHTMARE
August 9th, 2006, 05:43 AM
If this guys honestly believes the new Battlestar Galactica doesn't dwell on religion, either he's lying when he says he watches it, or he has the sound on mute.

The colonial religion vs. the cylon religion is one of the most fundamental aspects of the show.

warmbeachbrat
August 9th, 2006, 06:11 AM
Do you suppose he means actual Earth religions, rather than fictional ones?