Religion & Star Trek

by Jimmy Akin

in Film and TV

Some folks have been questioning the status of religion in Star Trek.

This is a complex subject.

The fact is, religion is not given a consistent treatment in Star Trek. Sometimes it’s treated positively, sometimes neutrally, sometimes negatively. One can’t draw simplistic conclusions about how Star Trek regards religion. Star Trek has produced over 700 hours of material, and in reality how religion is treated has do to with who was writing those individual hours.

This is true from The Original Series onward.

In The Original Series we had some episodes, that spoke respectfully of religion. For example, there was "Bread and Circuses," in which the crew visited a parallel planet where the Roman Empire never fell and there were televised gladitorial matches and such. During the episode they learned of an underground group of sun worshippers and were perplexed by this as ancient Rome <false claim>didnt’ have a lot of sun worshippers</false claim>. At the end of the episode, Uhura informs them that she’s been listening to the planet’s broadcasts and that the sun worshippers don’t worship the sun in the sky, they worship the Son of God, and the show closes with a direct allusion to Christianity and the possibility God is incarnating on other planets.

(It also, apparently, indicates a problem where the Universal Translator gets confused with homophones. Where’s Hoshi when you need her?)

OTOH, there were episodes of TOS that were very disrespectful of religion. The worst was "Return of the Archons" where a parody of the Christian religion is at the center of the episode. In this one, they visit a planet controlled by a being known as Landru, who is in total mental domination of the inhabitants, whose are "absorbed" by lawgivers (priests) into Landru’s "Body" and become smiling, 19th century zombies totally given over to "the will of Landru" in a stultified society that never makes any progress and that represses the violent and sexual urges of the people to the point that they have to have a bacchanalia evey year to blow off steam.

"Landru" is lader found out to be a 6,000 supercomputer programmed by a(n ostensibly) altruistic guy who, in Kirk’s words, nevertheless could not give the computer "his wisdom" and so the society he created to save his planet from the ravages of war ended up being not such a paradise after all.

This nice-talk about the historical Landru is a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys meant to deflect charges that the episode is anti-Christian, because the truth is that Landru is a cipher for Jesus, the lawgivers are ciphers for priests, and the "Body" is a cipher for the Church, which Roddenberry (who wrote this episode) mocks by presenting us with a repressed, totalitarian, society of smiling fuddy-duddy zombies.

This was not the only time Roddenberry let his anti-Christian streak show. Multiple episodes (and the first Star Trek movie) are all based on the idea of going into space and symbolically finding God and finding out that he’s a fraud, or an alien, or a child, or a computer, or insane, or some combination of these. The two twin themes Roddenberry felt drawn to were "God is unworthy of worship" (for one reason or another) and "There ain’t no paradise except the Federation" (all other paradaisical societies having some horrible hidden flaw).

Paramount didn’t let Roddenberry go whole hog on these themes, so he had to mask them (with things like Landru), but they’re there. In other episodes (even ones Roddenberry co-wrote, like "Bread and Circuses") religion is treated more respectfully.

When it was time to make Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Roddenberry’s original treatment included the idea that the V’Ger machine was really behind Jesus Christ (another God as childish supercomputer theme)–a fact that would have been made explicit to the audience by the V’Ger (briefly) projecting an image of itself as Jesus Christ.

Paramount totally nixed that idea.

Roddenberry was thus suitably enraged when Bill Shatner got to incorporate an explicitly God-oriented (and braindead) plot in Star Trek V: The Search for God (or whatever it was called).

Things got worse when Roddenberry got to do Next Gen, in which he had far fewer shackles on his secular humanism compared to what he was allowed to put on television in the 1960s. Not only were the episodes in which Picard gleefully proclaimed that humans are merely electro-chemical machines, there was also the awful "Who Watches The Watchers" episode in which the ship finds a planet of primitive proto-Vulcans and accidentally starts a religion among them, leading to a prime-directive violation in order to stamp it out. Secular humanism is in full force in this episode, and religion is treated very disrespectfully.

Roddenberry’s secular humanism was one of several dumb things he imposed on the series. The idea that the Federation was a paradise and didn’t have money were others.

But this wasn’t the end of the story.

Roddenberry died, and afterward the franchise passed into other hands. These folks, whatever their flaws, tried to undo some of the conceptual damage that Roddenberry had done and loosened the ideological straightjacket into which he had put certain elements of the show.

The franchise then got more friendly toward religion. In fact, the next two series–Deep Space 9 and Voyager–both contain episodes that are extensively devoted to and positive about religious themes.

Deep Space 9 has three major religions in focus: Bajoran religion, Dominion religion, and Klingon religion. It never proclaims any of them true (and in fact, it’s quite clear that the Dominion religion is false), but it offers the show extensive changes to discuss things like the value of faith, the role of evidence for faith, what the prerogatives of God are, how one may need to sacrifice personal power and prestige in order to embrace true spirituality, how seeminly unconnected events can be part of a divine plan, how the loss of faith and the betrayal of faith are bad things.

There’s one moment in a DS9 episode in which the Kai (the main Bajoran religious leader) discovers that someone close to her has embraced the Bajoran equivalent of Satanism and, stunned, her instant reaction si to slap him very hard and cry "Heretic!"–and the thing is, you agree with her! He is a heretic! He needs to be slapped! The Kai (for once) did the right thing.

Sure, the moment is masked with the trappings of an alien religion, but how often do you find a moment on television that affectively conveys to the audience the horror of what heresy is.

This is something that simply could not be achieved without the sci-fi setting. If you had the pope slapping a Satanist here on Earth and yelling "Heretic!" at him, the audience would be pulled into all kinds of analysis and introspection about Christian history and "oppression" and violence and love and compassion and such and the emotional horror of heresy would be muddied.

But in the sci-fi setting, even secular members of the audience are on the Kai’s side, cheering her on, making the moment a protoevangelium for them.

Unfortunately, the Kai’s resolution is fleeting and she subsequently succumbs to the same heresy herself, only to find redemption (another religious theme) later on.

Even when we know the religion we’re being shown is false the series still manages to pull out interesting insights. For example, there is one episode in which the Dominion character Weyoun, who has been genetically programmed to worship the Founders of the Dominion, is discussing the matter with someone who points out that the Founders have controlled the development of his species so that he worships them.

Weyoun replies: "Of course! That’s what gods do!"

(Think: Genesis.)

In another episode, Weyoun is chuckling to himself about how silly and superstitious the Bajorans’ worship of the Prophets as gods is and another character points out that Weyoun himself worships the Founders as gods.

Weyoun instantly becomes very serious and says: "That’s different."

"How so?"

"The Founders are gods."

We, the viewers, know that Weyoun’s religion is false, but they still admire Weyoun for sticking by his beliefs. He may be immoral in other ways, but he’s going to stick by the priciples of his faith even if others don’t, and you respect him for that.

There is even a very touching moment when Weyoun dies (one of the times he dies) in which he knows he may have sinned and is extremely anxious to receive his god’s "blessing" (read: "absolution") before he passes into the next world. Weyoun is genuinely fearful of what may happen to him if he isn’t absolved before he dies, and it is a moving moment.

Star Trek Voyager also has significant exploration of religious themes. In this show we finally get a human character who is overtly religious (Chakotay, who follows a religion based on the beliefs of Native Americans), and there are episodes that directly imply (in a variety of different contexts) that matter is not everything and that there is a spiritual dimension to the world that we need to pay attention to and that we may need to rely upon for help.

There is even an episode ("Barge of the Dead") that warns that we need to take the possibility of going to hell seriously. In this episode, the half-Klingon B’Elanna Torres experiences has a near death experience in which she is made to understand that, if she says on her current path, she will go to hell (albeit a Klingon-themed hell).

The current series–Star Trek Enterprise–has also touched on religion in non-dismissive ways.

In a first season episode the alien Dr. Phlox comments positively about his study of Earth religions, mentioning in particular his visit to India to learn about Hinduism and his attending Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

This season we got to see the Vulcan equivalent of the Reformation take place (though the differences are enough that there is no Catholic-bashing message here; it’s just a Reformation-like event on another planet), and afterwards the Vulcan first officer T’Pol is shown spending a lot of time reading a book that is explicitly referred to on screen as a "Vulcan ‘Bible.’"

Who’da thought we’d see a character doing the sci-fi equivalent of Bible study on Star Trek?

So, while Star Trek has many flaws, and while Gene Roddenberry was an anti-Christian secular humanist, it is not accurate to portray the series as if it was uniformly hostile to religion. While there are anti-religious episodes, there are an increasing number of positive and even interesting treatments of religion on the show.

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{ 51 comments }

Paul Smith May 9, 2005 at 1:14 pm

Don’t forget the episode “Who Mourns for Adonais”) in the original series. After they find the alien who the Greeks knew as Apollo, he informs them that will reside on his planet and worship him as their god. Kirk responds, “Man has no need for gods. We find the one quite sufficient.” (Or something close to that.)
I always liked that line.

Barbara May 9, 2005 at 1:17 pm

On the original Star Trek show, there was an episode called “The Apple”, which had vague parallels to the Deuterocanonical chapter of Daniel 14.
“Stardate 3715.0: An Enterprise landing party beams down to an edenic planet, where Kirk discovers that the people living there are still primitive, all progress held in check by an enormous ancient computer known as Vaal, which also demands sacrifices of food by the natives. Vaal detects the Enterprise in orbit and begins to drain it of its power, and Kirk realizes that he will have to destroy Vaal to save the Enterprise, but the surface dwellers’ lifestyles will be changed forever if Vaal is removed.”
Compare that with the story of Bel and the dragon.

Matthew L. Martin May 9, 2005 at 1:39 pm

There were vague hintings that one of the characters on DS9–Kasidy Yates, girlfriend and later wife to Captain Sisko–was a religious believer and even a Christian of some stripe. The scene doing most of the establishing was cut from broadcast, but it remains in the script. If anyone’s interested, I’ll look it up and transcribe the relevant portions.

Thomas May 9, 2005 at 2:15 pm

The book on TOS co-written by producers Robert Justman and Herb Solow mentions (if memory serves) that Roddenberry was an angry lapsed Catholic and recalls how he spoke ill of the Blessed Sacrament to them. Though they did not attempt explicitly to draw the connection, it seemed abundantly clear that his problem with the Church was more related to the teachings about chastity than anything else.

Brian Day May 9, 2005 at 2:24 pm

I always liked the episode titled “Sacred Ground” from ST:V, season 3.
Janeway had to explore her “spritual” side to solve a problem. By no means a great episode, but I remember it as being the first one that I remember as being overtly positive to spirituality/religion.

BillyHW May 9, 2005 at 3:47 pm

“Star Trek V: The Search for God”
Wasn’t it “The Final Frontier”?

Len May 9, 2005 at 4:32 pm

It was “the Final Frontier” and the worst of teh Star Trek movies.

The Inquisitor May 9, 2005 at 5:57 pm

They had some pretty cringeworthy moments on the original Star Trek, alright. One of the worst lines of the Star Trek came out of that episode: “Glory to the Body, and all of its parts”.
By the way, you missed that episode where Kirk and Spock land on an alien planet, only to find the inhabitants in the sway of a Hawaiian like deity(another God-as-supercomputer episode). That was far more explicit in its Anti-God brutality.

Steve May 10, 2005 at 4:33 am

There was also the overpopulation episode (I forget the title), with a pro-contraceptive tone. Kirk is abducted to a replica of the enterprise as part of a scheme to pass a disease to an overpopulated planet where there is no disease or death. When Kirk is made aware of the scheme, he offers federation “assistance” in the form of contraceptives. They refuse, noting that their respect for life would not allow it. All the while, the obvious ‘folly’ of such respect for life is on display in the form of a massively overpopulated planet.
In a surprise twist though, Kirk ends up getting the girl.

Joel May 10, 2005 at 10:02 am

AH — bit of shameless self-promotion… but anyone who has read this far in the comments *might* be interested in my modest efforts at Klingon Biblical Studies – see my podcast:
htt://www.KlingonWord.org – “A Klingon Word from the Word”

Hamilcar May 10, 2005 at 10:57 am

In a Voyager episode, “The Omega Directive”, Seven of Nine sees “perfection” in a molecule or something like that, then goes to the holodeck to contemplate a Crucifix in Leonardo Da Vinci’s house.

The Inquisitor May 10, 2005 at 1:19 pm

Good heavens! Don’t bring up the disgusting abomination that is ST:V! That show is almost single handedly responsible for the death of the Star Trek franchise! And to make matters worse, they had many of the same writers on Enterprise! that said, they did have one interesting episode, where these oracles challenged Janeway’s perception of the universe, and faith in science alone. The problem with the show was that their storylines, especially during the first three to four seasons were either A)borrowed from other series, or B)horrendously written, or C)both unoriginal and horrendously written.

derringdo May 10, 2005 at 1:32 pm

Thanks for giving due props to DS9-it often takes more flak than it deserves overall in the religion department. Partly because of the “space station series wars” and the fact that Straczynski’s 50s Hollywood portrayal (not that there’s anything wrong with that) of the clergy offers an easier handle for fans to say, “hey, look, he doesn’t hate people like us.” Partly because the first two seasons of DS9, when it was still under Michael Piller’s control, were very pro-New Age spirituality and very anti-clerical/anti-organized religion (someone mentioned “Hands of the Prophets”, the first season finale, a couple of threads back-it’s a legitimate source of grievance for us Christian Trekkies). Ira Steven Behr, who became the main show-runner from the third season onwards, was more agnostic about “spiritual experiences” but also seemingly more interested in religion as part of the social fabric-how it affects people’s lives, how it’s important to the community. And for that, you need a more nuanced view of religious *organizations* and the people in them than “reactionaries bad, liberals good.”
Another interesting episode, more relating to Catholic ethics than Catholic theology or Church hierarchy, is “Hard Time” in which O’Brien lives out a thirty year prison sentence in his head in a matter of days (think Philip K. Dick style implanted false memories/illusions). At one point, he kills his imaginary cellmate in a fit of rage: it seems like an interesting attempt to get across the idea of “sinning in thought” or “sinning in heart,” and it was cowritten by a self-described lapsed Catholic (Robert Hewitt Wolfe).

Mary May 10, 2005 at 4:59 pm

False religions in SF can be interesting.
Sharon Shinn’s Archangel has a theocracy whose miracles are obviously (to us) technology — and the theocrats are the good guys.

BillyHW May 10, 2005 at 6:32 pm

The problem with DS9 was that the cast was just so lame.
And let’s not even talk about Voyager…

Funky Dung May 11, 2005 at 9:02 am

I took a course a few years ago at the University of Pittsburgh called Religion and Star Trek. It was offered through the Religious Studies Department. :)

derringdo May 12, 2005 at 7:17 am

Billy: And the Next Gen cast wasn’t? Hah. :D
Mary: I’d have been more impressed with Sharon Shinn’s books if they weren’t so shallow-there’s some interesting world-building in the background, but it really seems to really only exist to give her a secular excuse to churn out lame romances about Mary Sue-like women and their noble love interests (and yeah, indulge her “winged men” fetish at the same time). And don’t get me started on Jenna Starborn, her outer-space, pantheist feminazi reworking of Jane Eyre. :D

akc July 18, 2005 at 3:14 pm

In my view, Star Trek (in all incarnations) has always been pro-spiritual while being anti-dogmatic mind control (however you take that to mean). Star Trek respects the spirituality of both the main characters (i.e. Chakotay) and of the various races they encounter (i.e. the Talerians in the Next Gen episode titled “Darmok”) while displaying overt distaste for the way worship and/or idolatry can (and does) interfere with the political and rational evolution of a people (i.e. the interference of the kai and the Prophets in the post-war political recovery of Bajor).

Zarove August 9, 2005 at 6:17 pm

Roddenberry was a Lapsed Catholic?
He was Jewish, I thought.

whicky1978 July 11, 2006 at 9:30 pm

Ben Sisko’s Dad quotes from The Bible, and Ben points out how unusual it is. There are other more discrete Bible allusions such as the Merchant searching for the Pearl of Great price.

Anonymous August 4, 2006 at 8:56 pm

found your view regarding Rodenberry’s strong objection to religion rather unsophisticated and unsupported. Quite to the contrary, since his death the clarity of the Star Trek vision of the future has been diluted. One might even argue that without the passing of religion as a major influence on human behavior there will be no human future at all. Just watch the news and examine the current completely negative influence of religion in world politics. Read Richard Dawkins and especially Daniel Dennet’s “Breaking the Spell, Religion as a Natural Phenomenon”. Your views are typical of one lacking in philosophical sophistication and critical thinking skills. Rodenberry is to be applauded for his focused criticism of religion. “Who Watches the Watchers” is powerful and direct; it leaves no doubt about the strength of reason over superstition. And that is all religion is – superstition, plain and simple (with a good dose of ignorance thrown in).

Fred Miller August 13, 2007 at 2:20 am

Roddenberry was a typical secular humanist. He wanted absolute control over society. Nobody was to think contrary to him. Nobody was to act contrary to him. Everyone was to be a monotone automaton reflecting Gene Roddenberry’s dogma of religious intolerance and secular humanist philosophy. Sounds more like Nazi Germany than a Utopian paradise.
The studio understood that Gene’s total vision would not sell. The wonderfully complex and diverse fictional universe that Trek evolved into is largely the work of men and women who did not share Gene’s almost pathological hatred of religion (mainly Christianity).
The funny thing is, is that Gene totally ignores the fact that throughout human history it has been the people of faith (Muslim astronomers, Christian artisans, Buddhist explorers like Zheng He, and others)who have done the most to advance science and society.
But who expects logic from a man like Roddenberry?

Mick August 28, 2007 at 4:39 am

Just some food for thought -
ALIEN? -Jesus said “I am not of this world” (John 8:23)
STARSHIP -”Praise to the Lord, to him who rides the ancient skies above,
whose power is in the skies.” (Psalm 68:33-34)
ORBITAL TRAJECTORY – - “God sits on the circle of the earth” (Isa 40:22)
WARP SPEED – “God rides upon a swift cloud” (Isa 19:1)
CLOAKING DEVICE – “God goes by me but I see him not” (Job 9:10)
TIME DILATION – “With God a thousand years are as one day” (2 Pet 3:8 )
TO BOLDLY GO – Jesus said “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also I must bring..” (John 10:16)
Jesus said “I’ll be back” (Matt 24:30)

Mick August 28, 2007 at 4:43 am

SCHOOLS OUT FOREVER
People wonder why the Old Testament was so harsh. The answer is that God has never changed, but the way he had to package himself to get his message across HAS changed, he had to talk in harsh primitive OT terms to earlier harsh primitive peoples in their own “language” like a strict headteacher to get their attention.
“The law brought us to Christ like a schoolmaster,but now through Christ we are not under that schoolmaster” (Gal 3:22-25)
(Likewise, when Ryker in Star Trek joined Klingon vessel Pagh on an exchange visit as 1st Officer he had to punch and throw stroppy Klingon 2nd Officer Klag across the bridge to get the attention and respect of him and the rest of the crew )
When God felt the time was right to package himself in a softer way to more advanced peoples, he gave us Jesus who came not to abolish the OT wholesale, but to show us how to apply its rules with enlightened goodnatured commonsense.
Jesus said – “It was said ‘eye for eye,tooth for tooth’ but I say turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:38/39)
And people quickly realised – “The covenant of Jesus is superior to the old one” (Heb 8:6-13)
Remember, Jesus saves, not the OT ;)
Right Klag?
“Grrrr…”

Mick August 28, 2007 at 4:45 am

I’M ALL EARS
Here we all are, trapped in these squishy bodies on this spinning ball of dirt sailing through space without knowing how we got here or where we’re going, then a young carpenter guy beams down and says – “I’m not of this world…..I’m the Messiah, the Christ, the Superprophet and the Son of God …..I’ll tell you things hidden since the creation of the world” (John 4:26, Matt 16:17,Mark 14:62,John 8:23, Matt 13:35)
So I for one will listen, how about you Spock?
“Yes Mick I’m all ears”..

Mick August 28, 2007 at 4:47 am

WE’RE BEING PROBED CAPTAIN
We’re ALL under demonic oppression every waking moment, christian or nonchristian or atheist, til the day we die.
Demons are constantly probing us to detect any personality flaws or traits that they can home in on and make flare up.
“You murdering ministers that tend on mortal thoughts” (Lady Macbeth to demons)
Satan even had a go at Jesus, saying “Hungry mate? No prob, just turn a few stones to loaves of bread!”, to which Jesus replied “Take a hike bub”.
The moral? – If you give in to demonic probing you give them a foot in the door of your mind which can lead to eventual possession -
“Don’t give the devil a foothold” (Eph 4:27)
“Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you” (James 4:7)
“Report, Mr. Spock”
“We’re being probed Captain, source and origin unknown..”
“Shields up Mr. Chekov!”
“Aye-aye Keptin”

Mick August 28, 2007 at 4:53 am

HEY SPOCK!
ME – “Hey Spock, how can we make sense of our place in the universe?”
SPOCK -”We cannot, We need input from an external source to help us understand”
ME – “What external source?”
SPOCK – “Someone from outside our plane of existence”
ME – “Like who?”
SPOCK – “An ideal candidate would be the young carpenter from Nazareth”
ME – “But why should we listen to him?”
SPOCK – “Because he had the power to bend the laws of physics at will which marks him out as someone special”
ME – “But he was only human wasn’t he, and not an ‘external source’?”
SPOCK – “Although he adopted human form, he nevertheless said – “I’m not of this world” (John 8:23)
ME – “So you’d listen to him then?”
SPOCK – “Yes I’m all…attentive”

Foxfier August 28, 2007 at 5:24 am

Reminds me of a fan fic I was working on…. Basically, I ended up making the Pope a Vulcan. Seriously, they’d fit in pretty well….

Anonymous August 28, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Ah the Pope, I still can’t believe catholics voted an ex-Hitler Youth member into the job..
I bet if he’s holding a Mass and he hears the siren of a fire engine or cop car going down the street, he habitually yells – “ACHTUNG AIR RAID! Women and children and all priests above the rank of cardinal into the air raid shelter in the crypt, SCHNELL! SCHNELL! Scramble nightfighter squadrons 631 and 29, all flak guns commence barrage with airburst fuses set to 20 thousand feet!”

Mick August 28, 2007 at 6:28 pm

oops forgot to sign for the post above, its my handiwork alright.. :)

Mick August 28, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Ah but I suppose I shouldn’t poke fun at catholics,as most of them are decent caring people -
SCOTSMAN IN CONFESSIONAL -”Forgive me father for I have sinned, I sheltered a shot-down Nazi pilot in my attic in Glasgow 60 years ago in World War 2″
PRIEST – “I’m sure God forgives you my son”
MAN – “But I made him sign an international bankers order to transfer regular payments from his Swiss bank account to mine”
PRIEST – “Oh well I’m sure God forgives that too my son”
MAN – “Thank you father, that’s a weight off my mind, goodbye…oh just one more thing – should I tell him the war’s over?”

MarksMom December 25, 2007 at 9:09 am

Didn’t you notice, the last episode of DS9, when Odo took it upon himself to save “The Link” (which he had described as “Paradise”)…it’s the message of a Savior–one man–who redeemed them all from certain death.
There’s also the scene when Jake gets demon-possessed by a Pai’Wraith and his father “was willing to sacrifice his own son!” (Kira opines) but the Kai interferes and stops it.

peebee March 3, 2008 at 1:05 am

several intresting comments.
But you aint even scraped the surface of religion in Star Trek

Angie February 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Just a note that you all missed commenting on Majel. I always figured she controlled Gene and worshiped herself, since she appeared in every series from the pilot for the Original, through to the computer voice on the last ones. Not sure about Enterprise, and any appearances, I admit. She was a dominating force, always appearing when you least expected it. May she rest in peace, I hope she found Jesus before she passed on.

gurnygob February 4, 2009 at 5:58 pm

You people are all f’%*$ng mad. God forgive me. You whin on about Star track. Wake up, look around you. this world is in shit and all you talk is shit. Even when you talk about Jesus you talk shit. You yak on about Legalities you remind me of the Pharisees of old. You yapped on for days about people going to mass with a cold. There were people like you in Palestine when Jesus was eating with sinners, and hugging lepers. Do you remember? Ha, star wars!!!!! Why don’t you all go and find the TRUTH. I will stop here, before my anger gets the better of me. God forgive you. Why don’t you go watch the the Simpson’s, maybe you will find your next exciting thing to talk about?

gurnygob February 4, 2009 at 6:02 pm

ps. this site is for Catholic snobs, and don’t think about telling me not to come back, because you need to here the these words.

The Masked Chicken February 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Dear Gurnygob,
I, for one, don’t mind being reminded that there are really serious matters in life, but even Christ told his apostles to, “Come and rest, awhile.” Jesus blessed the little children and you know, they have a tendency to giggle.
Finding the truth is not always within our command. Sometimes, we have to let the truth find us. Nevertheless, before anyone else should jump in here and shout you down, pleased be assured that I and most people who read this blog take life and God seriously and we take you seriously. People can get too caught up in the fineries of legality, true, but it is exactly at that point that we most need to learn to laugh at ourselves. I am afraid that if we cannot do that, we will never see any truth but our own.
So, forgive us our occasional lapses into frivolity as we forgive you your lapse into anger. Forgive us our concern about the legalities that bind man and we will try not to forget that love binds us to you.
The recent deaths reported on this blog remind me more and more of how much I have lived a Pinocchio existence and that, suddenly, without my permission and without any key to lock the door, that life will be taken away from me. I hope by then I will have grown up into a real human being. I only know that it was because the Pharisees had it backwards that Jesus was angry: they took life frivolously and themselves seriously, instead of the reverse.
So, let’s make a deal: we’ll be more serious if you learn to laugh once in a while. Okay?
The Chicken

Matheus February 4, 2009 at 6:59 pm

…you need to here the these words.

…and you need to be out there, very far from here.

gurnygob February 4, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Okay thats a Deal. I am sorry for my out-burst. Some times I feel like crying. I see the way the world is and I can’t help wondering.
Our Church is Jesus and I just feel that sometimes we miss the point. We should be screaming at the world to stop and listen, rather than bull-shitting each other on the finer details of our faith/religion. I know faith and dogma are important but I just feel that if Jesus was here He would be saying something like, speak up for the oppressed, or seek justices for the orphan and the widow. This site has a big following and it could be put to good use for Jesus.It could be a voice to the world, but all I see when I come here is People talking among themselves about the finer details of the laws of the Catholic Church. That’s for the Vatican to sort out. And by the way, they are not in the full truth either. There are people in HIGH places in our Church that should not be there. Think for a moment about Jesus when He was brought before the High and mighty Priests of His time. How many were willing to speak up for him in the company of the so-called Pharisees/cardinals, bishops and priests of the time. Jesus expects more of us. I am a no-body, I could not hold my own with the likes of Jimmy, or any one of you. I have a blog at ‘The Irish Catholic’….so what, I might as well be talking to myself. This site on the other hand; and the people in it could move mountains if they put their mind to it. Come-on Jimmy, stop talking shop; and get out there where the shit is and get your hands really dirty. Shout from the roof tops. Get these armchair Catholics of their ass’s and planting some seeds.
I know you are good Catholics and in your own way you are doing your bit, but the devil is doing more. He (the devil) is winning hands down at the moment. There is no point sitting there saying, ‘sure we are going to win, cause the bible says so’. If that was the case, then Jesus would have stayed in heaven.
I have tried to bring up some hot topics on my silly little blog and I could not even get people to leave a comment. Guess what, I deleted all my posts because I thought Catholics didn’t care.
The thing is, if good Catholics had left a comment or two on my blog, then my blog would have went up in the Google listings and when people went searching for information on the likes of abortion, my site would have been more near the top rather than the bottom. We need to be a voice crying in the wilderness for the unborn, the oppressed, the down trodden, Mother Theresa, Yes, Mother Theresa. She is getting some bad stick for some mistakes she may or may not have made. Google her name and see what comes up in the first page of links.
“The fanatic, fraudulent Mother Teresa. – By Christopher Hitchens”
This site of jimmies should be a voice to the world, but its not and I know it’s not. Every time I come here all I hear is people talking among themselves. I have looked at a few of the sites they run and they are no more than talking shops same as this.
All of you that comment here, that is you who are catholic should start a blog or two and start talking dirty, yes dirty. get the real dirty truth out there and give links to each other. This is the “Internet”. Millions of lost souls search it every day looking for the word “truth”. Give it to them. If you read the signs of the times then you should know that things are coming to a head. Get out there and flood the world with real truth, not the legalities of cannon law. The common Catholic, coming here, hasn’t got a clue what your on about, never mind a Protestant or a Jew or anyone else. As for Star Wars, well I will not go in to that.
I would like to say I am sorry if I have offended any of you, but I can’t say that. Some times one has to say it as they see it and this is the case with me.
I consider you, my brothers ans sisters in Jesus and I love you for that, if nothing else. God be with you all. Yours in Jesus and Mary. Gurnygob
ps Don’t be a snob, be a commoner. Jesus had more in common with them. WHERE ARE YOU IN HIS EYES??????????????????
By the way. “gurnygob” is an old Belfast word for someone who is always yapping over something or other.

gurnygob February 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm

pps. If any of you want to speak with me on a more personal level my email is gurnygob@msn.com.
ppps Jimmy I am sorry for your lost. God Bless.

Matheus February 5, 2009 at 2:37 am

Some times I feel like crying. I see the way the world is and I can’t help wondering.

Dear gurnygob
That’s absolutely normal, in these hard times for which we don’t have a magical one-size-fits-all formula. As matter of fact, you could have been more empathetic and consider whether we here haven’t felt like that before. I sure have.

This site has a big following and it could be put to good use for Jesus.It could be a voice to the world, but all I see when I come here is People talking among themselves about the finer details of the laws of the Catholic Church.

You are free to dislike, or disagree with, anything on this blog; that’s quite normal and understandable, too; you’re not the only one unhappy about the state of this blog now, especially compared to its “Golden Age”, 2004-2005 (have you taken a look at the archives?). You should have done a more honest thing and written about your concerns privately to Jimmy or SDG. The truth is that starting to patronizingly judge each other won’t do us all any good, and most possibly scandalize others and repel the very strangers you want to reach.

Come-on Jimmy, stop talking shop; and get out there where the shit is and get your hands really dirty.

That’s presumptive. How can you know for sure that Jimmy doesn’t already do that, or that he’s been absent from the blog for all this time because he’s busy doing that?

I have tried to bring up some hot topics on my silly little blog and I could not even get people to leave a comment. Guess what, I deleted all my posts because I thought Catholics didn’t care.

if good Catholics had left a comment or two on my blog, then my blog would have went up in the Google listings and when people went searching for information on the likes of abortion, my site would have been more near the top rather than the bottom.

If you choose to contribute to this blog as a commenter in a constructive way, I’m sure you will get the attention you desire, if not more. Have you ever heard of the Francis of Sales’ saying?

you can catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrelful of vinegar

J.R. Stoodley February 5, 2009 at 6:06 am

Rembember we also have to be balanced human beings. If you try to live your life always shocked and sad about all the trageties of the world, you are going to burn out quick.
This blog has treated, and continues to treat though at a slower pace, a wide variety of issues. From apologetics to canon law to writers with serious difficulties in their faith life to art to serious or trivial events in the bloggers’ lives to silly science fiction posts and much more. It is something written (I assume) in the leasure time of the bloggers and read in the leasure time of the readers.
And it has done a lot of good. I know it’s helped me in my faith life, and I’ve made use of especially two excelent posts, one on difficult passages in the Old Testament where God seems to order the murder of the innocent, and one giving advice to a young man suffering from same sex attraction but wanting to be a priest, in my Facebook group discussions, which is my main internet Catholic activity these days. I figured Jimmy wouldn’t mind especially since I always cited him and provided a link to his blog. So the wisdom desplayed has extended even beyond the readers of the blog to make a difference in people’s lives.
Concerning the Canon Law stuff, while it may seem trivial it is sometimes very important to people for whom fidelity to the Church means fidelity to Christ. Also some people are simply more intellectual by natural disposition than others, and for people of that disposition what better area to concern yourself with than our Faith and Church? Concerning the silly posts, again you have to allow people to be human and use their leasure time in a leasurely way sometimes. Plus these posts help the reader get to know the bloggers better, which in turn makes the personal and spiritual posts more meaningful.

Tim J. February 5, 2009 at 7:15 am

I wouldn’t be a Catholic today (or perhaps a Christian at all) if not for Jimmy Akin.
You feel no one was listening at your blog? Welcome to the club. You never know who you may influence, regardless of whether they leave comments.
I think one thing the world needs to see a lot more of is Catholics living full, joyful lives, rather than seeing Christians as always forever carping about the immorality of the world and how everything not explicitly Christian is bad and evil.
This is the face of the Church for many people… always popping up with a scowl to say “We do not approve”.
That is why I talk about beer and cheese on my blog with great enthusiasm, and why I am glad to see Jimmy talking about science fiction or square dancing as well as church documents or canon law. Human beings are kind of like that.
Maybe you need to examine your motivations for starting a blog.
“There are people in HIGH places in our Church that should not be there.”
I don’t know anyone who deserves to be a Catholic, least of all myself… yet, here we all are.

gurnygob February 5, 2009 at 7:47 am

You are right of course. Please forgive me. I need to learn to keep my head on.
Yours in Jesus.
gurnygob.

Inocencio February 5, 2009 at 7:57 am

gurnygob,
You are in my prayers, please keep me in yours.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Tim Jones February 5, 2009 at 8:30 am

Everyone gets frustrated now and then, but we should be very careful about judging our brothers and sisters in Christ (and others).
“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” – Romans 14:4
I just a bit rocked by the way you let loose with both barrels there, gurnybob.
Anyway, I appreciate the apology. Pray for all of us JA.O bloggers. We could use it.

The Masked Chicken February 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

Obligatory Star Trek quote, from, The Enemy Within:
MCCOY: Jim, you’re no different than anyone else. We all have our darker side. We need it! It’s half of what we are. It’s not really ugly, it’s human.
KIRK: Human.
MCCOY: Yes, human. A lot of what he is makes you the man you are. God forbid I should have to agree with Spock, but he was right. Without the negative side, you wouldn’t be the Captain. You couldn’t be, and you know it. Your strength of command lies mostly in him.
KIRK: What do I have?
MCCOY: You have the goodness.
KIRK: Not enough. I have a ship to command.
MCCOY: The intelligence, the logic. It appears your half has most of that, and perhaps that’s where man’s essential courage comes from. For you see, he was afraid and you weren’t.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken February 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

Obligatory Star Trek quote, from, The Enemy Within:
MCCOY: Jim, you’re no different than anyone else. We all have our darker side. We need it! It’s half of what we are. It’s not really ugly, it’s human.
KIRK: Human.
MCCOY: Yes, human. A lot of what he is makes you the man you are. God forbid I should have to agree with Spock, but he was right. Without the negative side, you wouldn’t be the Captain. You couldn’t be, and you know it. Your strength of command lies mostly in him.
KIRK: What do I have?
MCCOY: You have the goodness.
KIRK: Not enough. I have a ship to command.
MCCOY: The intelligence, the logic. It appears your half has most of that, and perhaps that’s where man’s essential courage comes from. For you see, he was afraid and you weren’t.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken February 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

Obligatory Star Trek quote, from, The Enemy Within:
MCCOY: Jim, you’re no different than anyone else. We all have our darker side. We need it! It’s half of what we are. It’s not really ugly, it’s human.
KIRK: Human.
MCCOY: Yes, human. A lot of what he is makes you the man you are. God forbid I should have to agree with Spock, but he was right. Without the negative side, you wouldn’t be the Captain. You couldn’t be, and you know it. Your strength of command lies mostly in him.
KIRK: What do I have?
MCCOY: You have the goodness.
KIRK: Not enough. I have a ship to command.
MCCOY: The intelligence, the logic. It appears your half has most of that, and perhaps that’s where man’s essential courage comes from. For you see, he was afraid and you weren’t.
The Chicken

(s)(x), s=x->BEAUTIFUL(x) & GOOD(s) February 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

“I wouldn’t be a Catholic today (or perhaps a Christian at all) if not for Jimmy Akin.”
I hope this is hyperbole. FWIW, IMO, such a statement is somewhat blasphemous. One can say one wouldn’t be a Christian if not for god, the holy spirit, etc.
Ultimately since both the first grace of conversion and the grace of final preservation cannot be merited, to credit any part of salvation to anyone other than God is doctrinally problematic. It also plays right into the misunderstandings that many non-Catholics have regarding Catholic doctrine on this matter.
Anyway I hope it is hyperbole/speaking carelessly/extremely loosely. Interpreted under the framework of certain counterfactual analyses similar to that of David Lewis et al, you would be saying that in the nearest possible world in which Jimmy Akin does not exist, that you are not a Christian. Or if “if not for Jimmy Akin” was more restricted in scope to certain activities of Jimmy Akin, then you would be saying that in the nearest possible world in which Jimmy Akin does not do certain apologetics work, that you are not a Christian. But whether or not you are in the state of God’s friendship does not turn on Jimmy Akin’s existence nor on Jimmy Akin’s activities. It turns only on God’s predestination from which flows the unmerited first grace of conversion and the chain of graces til the present time, concluding with the likewise unmerited grace of final preservation. Now, on a Molinist or similar account, you could I suppose work in God’s middle knowledge of how you might respond in certain environments into the mind of God from which the decrees of predestination descend … but I always was under the impression that you do not subscribe to such accounts. But if you do, then the fact they would allow the above statement to be legitimately made (even when interpreted literally) is one of a host of reasons to reject them (Robert M. Adams, PhD, has done good work on middle knowledge if anyone would be interested in this matter)

bill912 February 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Well spoken, Tim.

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