Thy Kingdom Come, My Will Be Done


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Post December 31, 2009, 10:27:53 AM

Thy Kingdom Come, My Will Be Done

One reason I found this story interesting was its premise: religion in space. I'm thinking back on Star Trek, the series, and you don't have a preist sent out with the crew. The closest thing I can think of is Counselor Troy, and even there - she's dealing with emotions more than with any kind of ritual religion. I'd have to be one of the scholars wondering why a preist was onboard, but there it is.
The story was well written, with very tight grammar.
I enjoyed it as a straight ahead work of Science Fiction. Well Done.
Do the rest of you think religions will send representatives along on space expeditions?
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Post December 31, 2009, 11:26:17 AM

Religion in space...

No overt religion in Star Trek? Maybe not among the "enlightened" humans, but the Klingons had a fairly rich mythology and belief in an afterlife (in ST:TNG, ST:Voyager), as did the Bajorans (ST:DS9). They touched on religious themes many times (from Kirk's line "Above all else, a god needs compassion!" ("Where No Man Has Gone Before") to their debunking of various computer-generated "gods" ("The Apple", "For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky", etc.) to Kirk's assertion that humanity had outgrown the need for gods ("Who Mourns for Adonais?") to the classic line from Star Trek V: "Excuse me... I have a question. Why does God (Shatnerian pause) need a starship?").

And remember the Butlerian Jihad (which resulted in the destruction of artificial intelligences of all kinds and the rise of mentats -- human computers) in Dune? And Paul Atreides ascension to God-Emperor?

Harry Harrison (I think) wrote a piece in which a missionary tries to bring Christianity to the native population on a distant world. Being literalists, they crucify him so he can demonstrate resurrection...

Chad Oliver wrote a number of stories with anthropological (or perhaps xenological) themes, including the mess that results when human culture (and religion, whether explicitly depicted or implicit in law and codes of conduct) clash with alien beliefs...

Robert M.
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Post December 31, 2009, 12:26:49 PM

Priests

Hold up now - I know they ran into religious themes - but they carried no one with them to act as a Shaman or Priest ("you can't touch me like that - you're not a priest!"). In the story before us, America sends a pastor into space with the rest of the crew and scholars - to take care of the 'spiritual needs' of the crew. And you see how well that worked out.
And what happened when they finally reached the other civilization? - did they have all the humans step out of the religion-virused ship before blowing the new evangelical devotee to kingdom come? (see how I injected religion in, there at the last with kingdom come)
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Post December 31, 2009, 02:13:31 PM

Cultural imperialism = a religion?

Arguably, the Federation / human* culture was held up as a moral / ethical ideal -- effectively a religion -- if not formally "worshipped". While the Prime Directive theoretically prohibited Kirk and Co. from imposing those patterns on newly-encountered civilizations, a lot of ST:TOS plots hinged on Kirk merrily blowing up the Cosmic Computer (David Gerrold called the oft-repeated plot "Green Goddesses of the Cosmic Computer", with "For the World is Hollow" as a shiny (polished tin, but shiny) example) to free a stagnant culture. Hence KIRK was the Missionary bringing the Light to the heathens of the galaxy -- the Enterprise didn't need a "priest" per se to fulfil the role!

(*Even the demonstrably more advanced Vulcan culture was depicted as primitive in its most deeply held traditions...)

So there. Neener neener neener. (Does Intellectual Superiority dance, freely adapted from Church Lady's Holier Than Thou boogie)
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Post December 31, 2009, 03:53:31 PM

star trek religion

No way, dude. Star Trek was definately anti-religion, often seeing it as a con by false gods and prophets, which held a planet's inhabitants intellectually or physically hostage. This is evident right from the get-go in the pilot - "The Cage" where Captain Pike is "thrown into Hell" mentally by the Talosians - who say the scene was taken from a fable that he had learned in childhood.
Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek was anti-religion.
The story before us is about a 'man of God' being taken aboard a starship "to minister to the crew". I was just wondering what the superior beings in the story did when they encountered this starship that was infested with religion. Three things missing in most sci-fi stories: fine art; pets; religion. What will humanity do with spiritually when we finally take to the stars?
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Post December 31, 2009, 09:43:24 PM

No, silly, secular humanism WAS the Federation religion!

For the Earth-born humans, anyway. "The Omega Glory" demonstrated the idea of a quasi-religious devotion to a document or symbol, even when the meaning of that document or symbol has been lost. Again, consider the Prime Directive -- an edict that, like the Ten Commandments, is greatly revered, but often violated.

Belief without knowledge or understanding is, in effect, "faith". Kirk and Co. believed in their particular form of civilization, and only occasionally managed to refrain from "fixing" cultures that worked differently (hence violating one of the few rules of their civilization that had really dire penalties attached).

Thinking that you know what is best for another individual or culture is the basis for many evangelical movements (also Editing).

8)
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Post January 01, 2010, 09:37:39 AM

Mood

Starting a different slant from Star Trek, I found this story to be reflective of an older classic SF style. Dating it is a bit of a challenge... either "40's Golden Age" on the early side, to about the '70's on the late side. The tipoff is that except for a monolithic computer to deal with, the aura of the tale itself feels olde-natural. Conferences, standard crew structure etc. No one is logging into their galactic net accounts to post hypernews feed updates etc.

As for author-influence style, that's equally fun. By now I'm horribly rusty on the classics; I would have been sharper at this 15 years ago. But we see "cerebral concept" rather than space opera. That makes Asimov a candidate.

Hm... not sharp enough for Kornbluth ... my other suggestion for now is Arthur C. Clarke.

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Post January 03, 2010, 09:37:22 PM

This story is a throw-back to older SC/FI from the age of ‘Twilight Zone,’ ‘Science Fiction Theater’ and the beginning ‘Star Trek’ episodes. Oh, how I remember those stories----especially since re-runs of ‘The Twilight Zone’ are appearing on our cable channel -46-during New Years.
Computers and robots were often portrayed as the evil villains who wanted to stamp out the human race like ants.

Religious overtones were never part of the old SC/FI, and it’s nice to read stories today that do interject religion.


The beginning didn’t capture my attention and I found myself forcing my eyes over the words.

The unwelcome presence of Chaplain Luke Orlo could have been much more forceful, and dynamic if the author showed how the Chaplain was unwanted. And showed how the Chaplain held no respect or even moderate politeness with the academia aboard TerraNav.

The story improves after ‘Death and Resurrection.’ The ship’s computer now preaches the word, and all must listen.

A good SC/FI story that gets better as we read it. But I feel that a better intro is needed----more showing and less telling.
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Post January 03, 2010, 11:39:25 PM

Attention

Funny, the story attracted my attention within the first 10 lines. But then, I'm sensitive to the "H:0 -> H:A" Device. (From Statistics, H0 = banal conventional wisdom ... the alternative view H:A must prove itself)

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Post January 04, 2010, 12:38:55 AM

Could you explain the "H:0 -> H:A" Device further and give some examples.
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Post January 05, 2010, 09:21:21 AM

prieeeeests in spaaaaace

Over New Years, our old movie channel was showing The Martian Chronicles - and it did include a couple of priests sent to Mars (one of them being Roddy McDowell). The two end up taking totally different paths, but the infrusion of religion into a sci fi story does have its advantages: Spiritualists are more apt to stray further into the boondocks and might find other lifeforms quicker, for instance. Interesting. Spiritual guides would also bring a distinction apart from technology, often relying upon a simpler lifestyle. As a story telling device, priests in space might be useful.
As far as the computer turning everything upside down in the story before us - this goes all the way back to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein: big, bad technology is evil and will have us all cowering in the corner.
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Post January 05, 2010, 11:15:40 AM

Re: prieeeeests in spaaaaace

bottomdweller wrote:...As far as the computer turning everything upside down in the story before us - this goes all the way back to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein: big, bad technology is evil and will have us all cowering in the corner.


Moreso than religious fanatics with explosive underoos?


:shock:
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Post January 06, 2010, 09:58:09 AM

Megawatts wrote:Could you explain the "H:0 -> H:A" Device further and give some examples.


The important point is the "standard" H:0 isn't supposed to be predjudiced like racial discrimination. It's supposed to be the state of current knowledge *and* stable enough that you're supposed to be able to rely on it.

The coolest example I know of this one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_postulate
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Post January 15, 2010, 10:49:27 AM

This one kind of left me hanging . . . I was expecting it to take one of two conclusions: either the crew figures out how to disable the computer, or some really clever wag figures out how to completely talk it out of its newfound religious convictions and make it an atheist. Instead, we have a third alternative: a fairly clever wag manages to get the machine back under reasonable control. I'd bet that a lot of other readers had similar expectations, since we've seen this before, so the unexpected direction of the story was refreshing, if not exactly encouraging, since the crew (and the readers) still can't fully relax. The root problem still isn't solved, just somewhat contained.

It screams for a sequel, though -- what will the crew do about this problem when they meet ET?

A tough topic, well handled. Good job.

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