Paganism: What We Can Learn From Star Trek

We all know the jokes. Heathens are Klingons, Recons are Vulcans, and oh, there are a lot of choices for the Borg nowadays. Back when I first heard the joke, Llewellyn was the Borg, but Witch School might make as amusing a candidate nowadays.

Jokes aside, I think there are a lot of similarities between Modern Paganism and the Star Trek canon. The United Federation of Planets, and it’s exploration/peacekeeping/diplomatic arm Starfleet, aims to promote peace, justice, liberty, cooperation, and by it’s actions, tolerance towards all people.

Strength in Diversity

The Federation’s goal is not to change the cultures it encounters, even those within it’s republic. The goal of the Federation is not to promote human values on alien civilizations, or to civilize aliens according to human standards. Starfleet keeps the peace, encouraging different races and species to live and let live and leading the way for advancing knowledge of the universe.

Paganism’s goal is for all faiths to live in peace together, for religious freedom for all and for spiritual knowledge and understanding to be readily available. When you consider all the religions falling under the Pagan umbrella, particularly when you use the term in it’s broadest sense, Paganism as a movement contains at least as many religions as the Federation contains planets.

The Federation makes mistakes, and sometimes the Prime Directive isn’t followed to the letter. Sometimes it happens that the Federation butts in on a primitive civilization or has to take military measures to prevent injustice. Sometimes toes get stepped on, sometimes you end up on the wrong side of the neutral zone and sometimes you’re just plain wrong.

We have a choice. We can remain separate. We can each form our own boundaries and defend them ourselves, or we can cooperate in the name of liberty. Like the Federation, we can work together, knowing we will make mistakes but that ultimately our higher ideals will always prevail. There is no problem that we cannot solve better together, and no Pagan leader that doesn’t have a Spock, McCoy, Sulu and Uhura backing them up.

Conflict is nothing more than a test of character, and just like in space, in a world where religious freedom is a precious thing, we need each other to survive.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

    Please don’t compare my religion to fiction.  It improves neither, at best.   Paganism is not a happy ship exploring together. 

    • Modwitch2000

      Like religion should hold us to a higher standard, I think this reminds of that. If you look at the mess this country is in right now, I think we could all use a reminder of that. And it’s my religion too and I DO not find anything wrong with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

    Please don’t compare my religion to fiction.  It improves neither, at best.   Paganism is not a happy ship exploring together. 

    • Modwitch2000

      Like religion should hold us to a higher standard, I think this reminds of that. If you look at the mess this country is in right now, I think we could all use a reminder of that. And it’s my religion too and I DO not find anything wrong with it.

  • Syna

    This was heartwarming. Thank you!

  • Syna

    This was heartwarming. Thank you!

  • kenneth

    There is, of course, a more literal connection between paganism and Star Trek. If you go to any Ren Faire, you find that it is the nexus in time and space where all of our various subcultures meet: sci-fi, pagans, swingers/poly, BDSM, online gamer, RPG and IT geeks, etc. Most of us hold credentials in two or more of these various groups! :)

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      The initiation seal the men in my trad wear slightly resembles the Starfleet logo. I don’t think it was done on purpose, but I know some of the guys really dig the design!

  • kenneth

    There is, of course, a more literal connection between paganism and Star Trek. If you go to any Ren Faire, you find that it is the nexus in time and space where all of our various subcultures meet: sci-fi, pagans, swingers/poly, BDSM, online gamer, RPG and IT geeks, etc. Most of us hold credentials in two or more of these various groups! :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      The initiation seal the men in my trad wear slightly resembles the Starfleet logo. I don’t think it was done on purpose, but I know some of the guys really dig the design!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Though, I strongly suspect that the leaders in a great deal of modern paganism are not at all like Kirk, and are far more like Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, Chekhov, and Uhura (and Data, Neelix, and any number of the other non-command characters from the various series)–with the recent difficulties of the Paganistan Sacred Paths Center, I think it was more the Scotty type of leadership saying “I’m givin’ her all she’s got!” that has started to pull them out of their sustainability problems.  Sometimes, the most discerning and honest leaders are the ones who are brave enough to say “Dammit, I’m a doctor not a ___,” and to not try to live up to all of the assumptions that people have of a “pagan leader” as ritualist, pastor, spiritual director, scholar, activist, and community social secretary.  I think that as time goes on, we’ll see more and more value in these other types of leadership, and the necessity of promoting them, in order for this entire project of religious diversity, but also true community, to become a reality.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Dammit Phil, I’m a blogger not a leader!

      I have a soft spot for McCoy. :)

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Me, too…

        The original Star Trek is one of those things I’ve always known about, back to my earliest memories (along with Star Wars and some King Arthur and Greek myth stuff), and funnily enough, I thought when I was 3 and 4 that Bones and Spock were actually related somehow–they looked like they could have been to me.  Then, I met a very good friend in Ireland (who is Irish-American) whose surname is McCoy, and he looks like he could have been the love-child of Bones and Spock!  ;)

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Me, too…

        The original Star Trek is one of those things I’ve always known about, back to my earliest memories (along with Star Wars and some King Arthur and Greek myth stuff), and funnily enough, I thought when I was 3 and 4 that Bones and Spock were actually related somehow–they looked like they could have been to me.  Then, I met a very good friend in Ireland (who is Irish-American) whose surname is McCoy, and he looks like he could have been the love-child of Bones and Spock!  ;)

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Though, I strongly suspect that the leaders in a great deal of modern paganism are not at all like Kirk, and are far more like Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, Chekhov, and Uhura (and Data, Neelix, and any number of the other non-command characters from the various series)–with the recent difficulties of the Paganistan Sacred Paths Center, I think it was more the Scotty type of leadership saying “I’m givin’ her all she’s got!” that has started to pull them out of their sustainability problems.  Sometimes, the most discerning and honest leaders are the ones who are brave enough to say “Dammit, I’m a doctor not a ___,” and to not try to live up to all of the assumptions that people have of a “pagan leader” as ritualist, pastor, spiritual director, scholar, activist, and community social secretary.  I think that as time goes on, we’ll see more and more value in these other types of leadership, and the necessity of promoting them, in order for this entire project of religious diversity, but also true community, to become a reality.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Dammit Phil, I’m a blogger not a leader!

      I have a soft spot for McCoy. :)

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Me, too…

        The original Star Trek is one of those things I’ve always known about, back to my earliest memories (along with Star Wars and some King Arthur and Greek myth stuff), and funnily enough, I thought when I was 3 and 4 that Bones and Spock were actually related somehow–they looked like they could have been to me.  Then, I met a very good friend in Ireland (who is Irish-American) whose surname is McCoy, and he looks like he could have been the love-child of Bones and Spock!  ;)

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    There are two serious books on Star Trek as the various series touch on issues of religion and spirituality.

    Religions of Star Trek

    Ross S. Kraemer, and Williiam Cassidy, and Susan L. Schwartz, 
    Westview Press,  2003

    Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture

    ed. by Jennifer E. Porter, and Darcee McLareState University of New York Press,  1999

    I’ve often wondered if one part of the popularity of the shows is a subconscious sense of appeal in its portrayal of what might be humanity living in a “Partnership Culture,” after a transition from today’s “Dominator Culture.”

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    There are two serious books on Star Trek as the various series touch on issues of religion and spirituality.

    Religions of Star Trek

    Ross S. Kraemer, and Williiam Cassidy, and Susan L. Schwartz, 
    Westview Press,  2003

    Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture

    ed. by Jennifer E. Porter, and Darcee McLareState University of New York Press,  1999

    I’ve often wondered if one part of the popularity of the shows is a subconscious sense of appeal in its portrayal of what might be humanity living in a “Partnership Culture,” after a transition from today’s “Dominator Culture.”

  • http://twitter.com/atheris415 Atheris

    I guess we need to start The United Federation of Pagans. We can also establish the Monotheist Neutral Zone. This would act as a buffer so that the Federation can expand its numbers without resistance and allow defectors from either side to cross safely to their adopted territories freely.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      The UUA might make a good Neutral Zone!

  • http://twitter.com/atheris415 Atheris

    I guess we need to start The United Federation of Pagans. We can also establish the Monotheist Neutral Zone. This would act as a buffer so that the Federation can expand its numbers without resistance and allow defectors from either side to cross safely to their adopted territories freely.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      The UUA might make a good Neutral Zone!

  • Modwitch2000

    I miss Star Trek and I really appreciate this blog. I believe this series was as popular as it was because it struck a truth, we all needed to be allowed to live! 

  • Modwitch2000

    I miss Star Trek and I really appreciate this blog. I believe this series was as popular as it was because it struck a truth, we all needed to be allowed to live! 


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