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Old July 16th, 2004, 11:04 PM   #31
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I wasn't specifically debating anyone's position in this argument. I was just adding background material. (for the most part)

Though I noticed and agreed with how the beliefs of BG could conflict with some people's fundamental religious views. After all... we still get that one couple standing on the roadway protesting every christmas. Since SANTA and SATAN have the same letters.


But I stand by my statement. Agreed, the colonials are honest in their believing, but that belief is still a lie.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 12:15 AM   #32
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The belief is not a lie if Earth really exists.
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Old July 17th, 2004, 02:38 AM   #33
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I still consider that a lie.IMO. If you know something is false when you tell it, then its a lie. Therefore it IS and always will be a lie. And people who believe it are following a lie.

And that's the premise Moore has set up.

If I was a famous basketball player who was a free agent and setting competing teams against each other seeking the highest bid...And if I told the lousy Clippers that I would most definitely sign with them to raise the other bids even though I NEVER will in a million years sign with the Clippers...then everyone who believes me is believing a lie. Even if by some weird freak turn of events I am forced on the Clippers.

And besides that, Husker didn't just say that there was an earth. He said that he as one of the highest military leaders was privy to the location of earth.
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Old August 26th, 2004, 12:10 PM   #34
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I still consider that a lie.IMO. If you know something is false when you tell it, then its a lie. Therefore it IS and always will be a lie. And people who believe it are following a lie.

And that's the premise Moore has set up.

If I was a famous basketball player who was a free agent and setting competing teams against each other seeking the highest bid...And if I told the lousy Clippers that I would most definitely sign with them to raise the other bids even though I NEVER will in a million years sign with the Clippers...then everyone who believes me is believing a lie. Even if by some weird freak turn of events I am forced on the Clippers.

And besides that, Husker didn't just say that there was an earth. He said that he as one of the highest military leaders was privy to the location of earth.
It's not a lie if it's not a lie. I know this is circular but consider this:

What if Adama DOES know that Earth exists and the information was imparted to only Commanders of the fleet by the President. At the time that Roslin discussed this with Adar, she was a beauritic subordinate. She would never had been privy to this information due to its sensitive nature (possible future plotlines for a conspiracy here). Once she became president under extreme circumstances, there was no one left to give her such privileged knowledge EXCEPT Adama.

It was made painfully clear that Adama does not trust Roslin. Nor does Roslin trust Adama, as implied by her question to him towards the end of the second ep, asking if he was going to stage a military coup. If he is the only one left with the Earth knowledge, I think Adama would give that knowledge to Apollo before he imparted it to Roslin. So, to buy him time to sort things out between him and Roslin in this new fleet that he had just become responsible for (because of Roslin), he told Roslin what he thought she wanted to hear.

I suppose some folks here would think that RDM could never think that far in advance and that I'm giving him too much credit. Although I will always be more of a fan of the original than the neo, I still maintain that some people aren't giving him enough credit.

Only time will tell.
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Old August 26th, 2004, 01:34 PM   #35
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"I suppose some folks here would think that RDM could never think that far in advance and that I'm giving him too much credit. Although I will always be more of a fan of the original than the neo, I still maintain that some people aren't giving him enough credit."

Yes, I think you are giving RDM way too much credit, because that whole argument you're putting forth makes no sense whatsover. If Adama *really* knows of such an Earth, then there is no point witholding that knowledge from Roslin no matter what he thinks . of her. Telling the population this is their goal means there is no reason to withhold any knowledge of it from any body.

Bottom line, this was Ronald Moore serving up the anti-religious mindset of how faith in something is always manufactured by people for the gullible to believe in. There is no other explanation for this preposterous and pointless plot device.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 07:22 AM   #36
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I think religion and faith play a similar role in the new series as they do in our world today, since that is the model that RDM used. Therefore, there will be those who believe in the literal interpretation of the Book of the Word, and those who do not. The Colonials will have dogmatists, pragmatists, atheists, evangelists, and every other kind of –ist associated with religion.

But just as in our real world, faith is not always enough for hope. Husker gave them hope by giving them the suggestion that at least part of their religion is factual. Now they have fact and not just faith to give them hope.

I don’t think painting religion in this light is pointless. It is closer to the way our world works. It also gives tremendous potential dramatically for a great deal of angst, zeal, guilt, self-realization, and exploration.

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Old August 27th, 2004, 09:30 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by justjackrandom
I think religion and faith play a similar role in the new series as they do in our world today, since that is the model that RDM used. Therefore, there will be those who believe in the literal interpretation of the Book of the Word, and those who do not. The Colonials will have dogmatists, pragmatists, atheists, evangelists, and every other kind of –ist associated with religion.
I saw no such diversity in Moore's universe, and only saw religion used as a crutch by those who don't let it define their lives (Stardoe) and those who believe its role is to cynically manipulate the masses through lies (Adama). The only ones presented who took their "faith" seriously was the enemy.

"But just as in our real world, faith is not always enough for hope. Husker gave them hope by giving them the suggestion that at least part of their religion is factual. "

In order for this point to have validity, we would have to start from the premise that the core religious doctrines of faith put forth by people were all knowing liars, because that is what Adama is in this context. A liar. He has made something up to provide a false hope, and this is Moore taking the idea that religious faith is rooted only in shadowy myths manipulated for the gullibe to believe in. That is a far cry from those of true faith like in TOS and in real life for that matter who base their faith because of its revelation in actual history.


"It also gives tremendous potential dramatically for a great deal of angst, zeal, guilt, self-realization, and exploration. "

I have see enough one-sided anti-religious perspectives in sci-fi, which unfortunately is the norm. Galactica offered something different by presenting a positive faith-based universe, and when that is removed from something called Battlestar Galactica, there isn't a single positive thing that can be said about it.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 06:28 PM   #38
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This afternoon, after I again closed this thread, the other mods and I had a conversation.

I won't go into detail, but the upshot of that conversation is that religion in the context of Battlestar Galactica is, indeed, a valid subject of discussion for this forum.

However, insults and derision aimed at an individual and their personal views are not. This is true regardless of the subject being discussed, and it is a rule we enforce throughout CF. And the individuals who participated in such an exchange today know that full well.

So here is what we have decided to do.

We are reopening the thread for continued discussion. The posts which violated the rules have been removed; if you missed them, well, gee, sorry. That's not what we're about here.

If you wish to discuss the religious influences of either show, feel free. But keep the discussion on subject: the religious undertones - or overtones - of the respective shows. Comparisons, personal opinions, fine and dandy. Deviations into negative personal comments, no.

We think we are adult enough to carry on reasonable conversations, even if the subject is controversial. Right?

Carry on.



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Old August 27th, 2004, 08:05 PM   #39
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Yeah! And anyone who don't listen to the Dawg gets his head up his butt on a special avatar!!!!! LOL
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Old August 27th, 2004, 08:14 PM   #40
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You wouldn't? Would you?

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Old August 28th, 2004, 06:22 AM   #41
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It also gives tremendous potential dramatically for a great deal of angst, zeal, guilt, self-realization, and exploration.
I have to agree. Speaking strictly from the standpoint of character development, having, say, Adama-the-unbeliever offers a lot more possibilities than the original's Adama-the-Patriarch. We already know how the latter would deal with proof the 13th Colony is real: see, told ya so. But no one in the new series is going to be more surprised by evidence that those moldy old scrolls might actually be true than Adama. How will he react? Will he have a road-to-Damascus "conversion experience" at some point? Will he try to explain the evidence scientifically? Will he simply discount it as coincidence?

If evidence of Earth's reality comes to light, how will he deal with the inevitable blossoming of reverence aimed at him? Evidence that Earth exists will surely make some of the survivors see him as a righteous believer; of course, he knows he's no such thing. Does he admit that to his new "disciples," or does he keep quiet -- or even encourage them -- in an attempt to build up hope and morale?

How will Apollo deal with having a father, from whom he has been estranged, who many come to view as some kind of prophet? How will the Viper pilots react if they begin to be seen as Adama's holy warriors? How will Adama deal with those who think he's full of it and just manufacturing evidence? He can't just tell them, hey, I was skeptical to begin with, too!

I think that religion and spirituality will become one of the driving themes of the new series. Moore to me just appears to be starting at the bottom, in cynicism and disbelief, and building up to faith, instead of starting with a widespread, established faith. (And note that if he wanted to be anti-religious, that would be a much better place to start from, since all you can do with something that's fully developed is knock it down!)
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Old August 30th, 2004, 04:36 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by PingPongBallEye
(And note that if he wanted to be anti-religious, that would be a much better place to start from, since all you can do with something that's fully developed is knock it down!)
The original series, I would think, already disproves that premise completely.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 10:22 AM   #43
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The original series, I would think, already disproves that premise completely.
I’m not sure it really disproves the premise as much as not treating the premise at all. Religion in TOS was never dealt with as subject, except perhaps marginally in Lost Planet and War of the Gods. And in those, what we saw was a reinforcement of the idea that much of the Colonial religion was more ancestor and ancient technology/astronaut worship than deity worship. With the exception of the occasional reference to God, we saw little that was faith-based. The religion was never “attacked” dramatically because it was a given, and not something that had to be taken on faith. It can be argued that TOS position on religion is VERY anti-religious.

There are hints that the ideas of religious strife in Colonial society did enter Larson’s thoughts early in the show’s creation, as indicated by the pilot. The subject never came up again, however, probably because it was a bit too extreme for television of the period.


Glad you re-opened the subject Dawg, and thanks for the policing.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #44
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It can be argued that TOS position on religion is VERY anti-religious. There are hints that the ideas of religious strife in Colonial society did enter Larson’s thoughts early in the show’s creation, as indicated by the pilot. The subject never came up again, however, probably because it was a bit too extreme for television of the period.
Agreed. I've always thought that in regards to religion (specifically, contemporary Christianity), classic BSG was one of the most subversive shows ever to air, presenting as it did a cast of "virtuous pagans" whose "gods" turned out to be highly evolved and technologically advanced aliens. (Note: I'm not passing any judgements on pagans here, the term is borrowed from Tom Shippey's The Road to Middle Earth, in which he discusses Tolkien's & C.S Lewis' differing treatments of the ultimate fate of non-Christians in LOTR & Lewis' Narnia stories)

On that note, I'd add that while I would love to see the new series revisit some of the original's storylines, god-is-an-alien isn't one of them. Given how integral it is to the Galactica mythos, I have no hope it can be avoided, but personally I have had it up to my non-pointy ears with the "god is an alien/alien race" bit. I know, I know, classic BSG was probably the first SF series to make such a concept so central to its storyline, and it isn't BSG's fault that the theme has been done to death since. But IMHO it's going to be tough to find some take on the idea that hasn't been throughly plowed under by the likes of DS9, B5, or Stargate SG1.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:01 AM   #45
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It can be argued that TOS position on religion is VERY anti-religious.
Well let's see now. We have (1) explicit references to God, treated as real by the lead character (Adama) on more than one occasion and (2) we have the presence of a Good-Evil struggle within the Universe with a being clearly meant to be the traditional form of the Devil responsible for the creation of the very race responsible for humanity's destruction among other things. The argument that TOS is "anti-religious" strikes me as a very dubious one, especially if used to suggest that Moore's universe is somehow not anti-religious.

I also reject the premise that Galactica is in anyway "subversive" with regard to those of a traditional Judeo-Christian background because for all the uneasiness of certain aspects of Mormon doctrine, which is the true genesis behind Galactica religion that most non-Mormon Christians have, the bottom line is that that traditional Mormon philosphy is rooted in the Judeo-Christian background to begin with. Plus, if these were "pagans" then that wouldn't square with the multiple references to a single God as was done by Adama, the spiritual leader of the entire Fleet. The danger is in confusing the SOL beings as the highest form, when in fact Adama's charcterization of them as "angels" in WOTG properly places them below the stature of God Himself, just as the fallen angel Iblis, like Lucifer/Satan in the Bible, was a fallen angel too.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:03 AM   #46
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JJR, I've got to disagree. Religion was omnipresent in TOS - after all, Adama was a warrior-priest, and the entire journey was predicated on what he knew from holy text ("The Book of the Word").

Religion wasn't portrayed as something to be bolstered or knocked down - it was a given, a fact of life. It was something to draw strength from. Not everyone was the scholar Adama was, however, just as such things are in the real world.

That's not how it was portrayed in the Moore production, though - it was a sop for the humans (I think it was Stalin who claimed religion was an opiate to the masses, or something like that) and ultimate justification for the cylons. This was reinforced by Billy's lie based on religious myth in that final speech; the way I take it is that in this universe - for the moment at least - religion is fine for robots and the unwashed masses.

But - and I can't make this point clearly enough - any kind of portrayal of religion in any entertainment media - BSG, West Wing, Spongebob Squarepants - is going to be interpreted through the filter of our own belief system, which is one of the most intensely personal filters we have. We need to keep that in mind as we discuss this, too.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:18 AM   #47
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I don't think any "liberal" Christian would have too many probelms with religion in TOS.

But, for anyone to think of evolution as a blasphemy, but think it is ok to say "life here began out there" seems to be holding a contradictory stance. Sure, it is only a show, but these were the days of von Daniken, and "Chariots of the Gods."


I find the "flawed humanity" approach of the new show to be more likely to have redemptive themes. With the pagagon of virtue characters in TOS, there is no inner struggle, no coming to terms with faith in the face of catastrophe.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #48
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I also reject the premise that Galactica is in anyway "subversive" with regard to those of a traditional Judeo-Christian background because for all the uneasiness of certain aspects of Mormon doctrine, which is the true genesis behind Galactica religion that most non-Mormon Christians have, the bottom line is that that traditional Mormon philosphy is rooted in the Judeo-Christian background to begin with. Plus, if these were "pagans" then that wouldn't square with the multiple references to a single God as was done by Adama, the spiritual leader of the entire Fleet. The danger is in confusing the SOL beings as the highest form, when in fact Adama's charcterization of them as "angels" in WOTG properly places them below the stature of God Himself, just as the fallen angel Iblis, like Lucifer/Satan in the Bible, was a fallen angel too.
It doesn't -- at least for me -- have anything to do with Mormon doctrine; it has to do with the overwhelmingly materialist and humanist bent of the show. Contrary to conventional Christian belief, the "gods" (or angels/devils if you prefer) are evolved, high-tech aliens, not supernatural beings. And the path to salvation for humanity lies in evolution and technology (what's the line? "As you are, we once were; as we are, you may become."), not through faith. This is a materialist (all things are explainable without recourse to the supernatural) and humanist (humanity is in charge of its own destiny) philosophy, not a "faith-based" one. A few invocations of an undefined deity by Adama hardly counter this, IMHO.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 01:37 PM   #49
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But - and I can't make this point clearly enough - any kind of portrayal of religion in any entertainment media - BSG, West Wing, Spongebob Squarepants - is going to be interpreted through the filter of our own belief system, which is one of the most intensely personal filters we have. We need to keep that in mind as we discuss this, too.
You made the point clearly -- and I think you're on the mark. Having any kind of civil discussion about religion takes great care on the part of all involved. I'll do my best not to declare any jihads!

I think you bring up a point that relates to the original series, too. Just as we filter anything through our own belief system, the original BSG represents a Biblical story that's been filtered through a science fiction sieve. And when you begin mixing science (no matter how fictional) with religion, conflict is inevitable. One says you can explain everything; the other says you can't, you have to take some things on faith. Thus you get mention of a single deity, presumably the kind of omnipotent, omnicient, omni-etc. God most people are familiar with, yet it appears that the question of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" can be scientifically determined in the BSG universe, since angels are really advanced aliens.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 01:41 PM   #50
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It doesn't -- at least for me -- have anything to do with Mormon doctrine; it has to do with the overwhelmingly materialist and humanist bent of the show. Contrary to conventional Christian belief, the "gods" (or angels/devils if you prefer) are evolved, high-tech aliens, not supernatural beings. And the path to salvation for humanity lies in evolution and technology (what's the line? "As you are, we once were; as we are, you may become."), not through faith. This is a materialist (all things are explainable without recourse to the supernatural) and humanist (humanity is in charge of its own destiny) philosophy, not a "faith-based" one. A few invocations of an undefined deity by Adama hardly counter this, IMHO.

PingPong,

These beings were referred to specifically, by Adama, as angels. If memory serves, Adama made this reference in the closing scene of WOTG, part 2, where Starbuck and Sheba, and to a lesser extent, Apollo, were recounting the visit to the Ship of Lights. This was right before the three of them provided the coordinates to Earth.

Only vague references were made to "God", in the show.

With respect to the present-day understanding of religion and its correlation to the Beings of Light, it may not be blasphemous to suggest that the Colonials could "evolve" into a Being of Light since not many of us, here on Earth, know the entrance requirements for becoming an angel. Perhaps some metamorphosis DOES occur.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 01:52 PM   #51
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Religion was omnipresent in TOS - after all, Adama was a warrior-priest, and the entire journey was predicated on what he knew from holy text ("The Book of the Word").

Religion wasn't portrayed as something to be bolstered or knocked down - it was a given, a fact of life. It was something to draw strength from. Not everyone was the scholar Adama was, however, just as such things are in the real world.
I'm not sure we are actually disagreeing here. What I think I said was that religion was never treated as subject…meaning it was never the central subject of an episode, nor was a crisis or discussion of faith ever a center piece or plot point. The religion of the Colonials was a given…no need for exploration other than to discern clues as to the location of Earth. Religion for TOS Colonials is very much in line with that of the ancient Egyptians, or for that matter ancient Judaism or medieval Christianity. It is based in the realities of history and inseparable from their daily culture and lives. Whether the Book of the Word is actually true or not, the belief upon which the entire Colonial culture is based is that it is. There is very little room here for faith. This concept is somewhat alien to the experience of today’s secular world, particularly those of us who live in the U.S. This is why, from my perspective at least, I found it so intriguing.

I agree that this is not the same in Moore’s galactica, and I think that was what both PingPongBallEye and I were saying. There is more room in Moore’s Galactica for religious revelation and discovery as a dramatic element. It is closer to our own (or at least my) experiences with religion. I also didn’t get the idea that Guillermo was using it disparagingly, but again, that’s just me.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:03 PM   #52
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Not trying to split hairs but, this begs a question or two --

Was not the existence of the Thirteenth tribe, in TOS, a historical accounting of the Final Days of Kobol, and not a product of "religious" writings? In other words, could a Colonial be "non-religious" but, still believe in the existence of a Thirteenth tribe? Personally, I didn't view the belief in the existence of a Thirteenth tribe as being dependent on religious underpinnings.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:05 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by BST
With respect to the present-day understanding of religion and its correlation to the Beings of Light, it may not be blasphemous to suggest that the Colonials could "evolve" into a Being of Light since not many of us, here on Earth, know the entrance requirements for becoming an angel. Perhaps some metamorphosis DOES occur.
Oh, I agree, that's clearly implied by what the "angels" say. Babylon 5, which made the struggle between it's alien-angels-and-devils the centerpiece of the series, shows it explicity in a flash-forward episode (the end of season 4, IIRC). It's just that the method for attaining this "grace" differs depending on whether you discuss it in religious or science fiction terms. In the former, it happens only through God; in the latter, it's a natural process (that all races might not survive to get through).

BTW, awesome avatar. LOTR rules!
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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:12 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by BST
Not trying to split hairs but, this begs a question or two --

Was not the existence of the Thirteenth tribe, in TOS, a historical accounting of the Final Days of Kobol, and not a product of "religious" writings? In other words, could a Colonial be "non-religious" but, still believe in the existence of a Thirteenth tribe? Personally, I didn't view the belief in the existence of a Thirteenth tribe as being dependent on religious underpinnings.
Good point. I would agree that believing that there's a 13th tribe doesn't require faith in any deity or deities. But if it's seen as a document of doubtful provenance, lumped in with various other religous/mythological scribblings, that suddenly proves true, it would likely trigger the question, what else in this stuff is worth a second look? Again, I think you have some good opportunity for drama here.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:26 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by PingPongBallEye
Oh, I agree, that's clearly implied by what the "angels" say. Babylon 5, which made the struggle between it's alien-angels-and-devils the centerpiece of the series, shows it explicity in a flash-forward episode (the end of season 4, IIRC). It's just that the method for attaining this "grace" differs depending on whether you discuss it in religious or science fiction terms. In the former, it happens only through God; in the latter, it's a natural process (that all races might not survive to get through).
Precisely. The Beings of Light were just the "messengers". Another "splitting-hairs" type question would be if ANY method of becoming an angel could be considerd "through God" since God created all.


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BTW, awesome avatar. LOTR rules!

Thanks. I really liked the character of Theoden.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:30 PM   #56
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Good point. I would agree that believing that there's a 13th tribe doesn't require faith in any deity or deities. But if it's seen as a document of doubtful provenance, lumped in with various other religous/mythological scribblings, that suddenly proves true, it would likely trigger the question, what else in this stuff is worth a second look? Again, I think you have some good opportunity for drama here.
Agreed. As more of the "Word" is proven, it lends validity to the rest of the writings as being legitimate and "not the product of some half-drunk star chaser".

(Memory is failing a bit on that little quote but, I seem to remember something like it in TOS during a conversation about the Book of the Word. Wait a minute, memory starting to come back -- didn't Baltar say something to that effect in LPOTG when he walked into the burial chamber of the 9th Lord of Kobol?)
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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:32 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BST
Was not the existence of the Thirteenth tribe, in TOS, a historical accounting of the Final Days of Kobol, and not a product of "religious" writings? In other words, could a Colonial be "non-religious" but, still believe in the existence of a Thirteenth tribe? Personally, I didn't view the belief in the existence of a Thirteenth tribe as being dependent on religious underpinnings.
Pete -

If I remember correctly - I remember that Adama said that the 13th Tribe was "referred only thru ancient writings". There was no emphasis on the religious aspect. (If memory serves)

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Old August 30th, 2004, 02:33 PM   #58
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Many religions are based on ancient fact - Christians (and others) believe Jesus of Nazareth roamed Israel 2000 years ago, Islam is based on the writings of Mohammed. It's no stretch to assume that the unspeakably ancient writings of the Lords of Kobol were at least part of the basis of the Colonial religion. Myth is often based on some kernel of truth, after all.

Larson's genius in this regard was the blending of various influences and philosophies into the Colonial faith structure. In Judeo-Christian thinking, we become angels in the next life. The BOL are, in the BSG universe, angels - he made that reference. I'm actually kind of sorry there wasn't greater exploration of the religion during the run; I expect we'd learn that it was the same as ours (and as it is in Richard's books, that the BOL is the next step in human spiritual evolution) - you know what I mean.

Yet another casualty of ABC's rush, I guess.

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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:24 AM   #59
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Good points all, just want to clarify a bit on what Dawg said. Actually, in the Christian faith, we do not become angels in the afterlife. "Angels" are their own entity of being. They are pure spirit who do not have bodies.

Humans have spirit, but as we all know, we also have mortal bodies.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:41 AM   #60
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Early Egyptians considered a person to be made up of a number of different parts, with the soul and the spirit being separate. As for ‘angels’ in Egypt, it is believed by some that the gods of the very early Egyptians were the equivalent, since there is evidence that they were monotheistic.

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