TV & Movies

Perhaps the most beloved humanist shows of their time are the Star Trek series. From its inception, Star Trek has portrayed religion in a neutral light. Rarely religious ceremonies appear in the original series, and when first instructing the writers for the initial show, Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry (and noted humanist) insisted that every character was at least a functional atheist.

 

Religion and superstition were not to be promoted by any means. This attitude of skepticism and inquiry is best found in Mr. Spock, the second in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Relentlessly logical and committed to the scientific method, Spock explicitly rejects religious explanations for scientific phenomena; instead, he strives to articulate an unsentimental view of the universe. The unusual trichotomy of Captain Kirk, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and Mr. Spock is often regarded as a continuum of logic and emotion; on one pole, “Bones” appeals emotionally to the common bonds among everyone, and on the other Spock offers a cold and dispassionate view of the universe. In the middle lies Kirk, who is often forced to mediate between these two extremes. In this conflict the show makes explicit the contradictions and conflicts within every person’s character—the continual battle between emotion and logic. Later the cerebral Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation rails against religion on numerous occasions, disdaining of a society’s descent into irrational devotion to superstition."

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