Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is Star Trek a religion?

Trev thinks so. Consider:
--It has dieties (it is probably polytheistic).
--It has rituals (conventions, role-playing games).
--It has relics and iconography.
--It has sacred texts (the original series, maybe Next Generation).
--Many Trekkers have formed groups that engage in social activism.
--All are welcome, misfits fit in.
--It has a utopian vision for humankind's future.

I would argue that Star Wars, while more blatantly religious, is not a religion, though it borrows from another one. The Force is just warmed-over California Buddhism. And I don't think Star Wars inspires in the same way.

When pondering this question you may wish to view the film Trekkies. (I notice Blogger underlines Trekkies as a misspelling, but not Trekkers. Interesting.) We first saw Trekkies at the Tanforan Theater in South SF, years ago. I don't know if it still exists; back then it was in post-apocalyptic decline, with upturned buckets of popcorn in the bathroom and drifts of it in the aisles. Not only did your shoes stick to the floor, they came off when you tried to lift your feet. The projectionist started screening the wrong movie, then the aspect ratio was off so everyone looked like an ET; finally they got the film going but never centered it on the screen and all the informative text (like who was speaking) was cut off. It was perhaps the greatest movie-going experience of my life.

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