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

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Jennifer E. Porter, Darcee L. McLaren
SUNY Press, Nov 18, 1999 - Performing Arts - 315 pages
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Drawing on a number of methodologies and disciplinary perspectives, this book boldly goes where none has gone before by focusing on the interplay between Star Trek, religion, and American culture as revealed in the four different Trek television series, and the major motion pictures as well. Explored from a Trek perspective are the portrayal and treatment of religion; the religious and mythic elements; the ritual aspects of the fan following; and the relationship between religion and other issues of contemporary concern.

Divided into three sections, this detailed study of religion, myth, and ritual in the Star Trek context extends the boundaries of the traditional categories of religious studies, and explores the process of the (re)creation of culture. The first section explores the ways in which religion has primarily been understood in the Star Trek franchise in relationship to science, technology, scientism, and ‘secular humanism.’ What do Star Trek and its creator Gene Roddenberry have to say about religion, and what does this reveal about changing American perceptions about the role, value, and place of religion in everyday life? Section Two examines the mythic power and appeal of Star Trek, and highlights the mythic and symbolic parallels between the series’ story lines and themes taken from both western religious tradition and the scientific and technological components of contemporary North American Society. In the final section, contributors discuss the mythic and ritual aspects of Star Trek fandom. How have Star Trek fans found meaning and value in the television programs, and how do they express that meaning in their lives?

Contributors include Robert Asa, Michael Jindra, Larry Kreitzer, Jeffrey S. Lamp, Peter Linford, Ian Maher, Anne Pearson, Gregory Peterson, and Jon Wagner.
 

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Contents

Introduction Star Trek Religion and American Culture JENNIFER E PORTER AND DARCEE L McLAREN
1
Religion in Star Trek
11
From Thwarted Gods to Reclaimed Mystery?An Overview of the Depiction of Religion in Star Trek ANNE MACKENZIE PEARSON
13
Classic Star Trek and the Death of God A Case Study of Who Mourns For Adonais? ROBERT ASA
33
Religion and Science in Star Trek The Next Generation God Q and Evolutionary Eschatology on the Final Frontier GREGORY PETERSON
61
Deeds of Power Respect for Religion in Star Trek Deep Space Nine PETER LINFORD
77
ReCovering Sacred Ground New Age Spirituality in Star Trek Voyager DARCEE L McLAREN AND JENNIFER E PORTER
101
Religious and Mythic Themes
117
Biblical Interpretation in the Star Trek Universe Going Where Some Have Gone Before JEFFREY SCOTT LAMP
193
Religion and Ritual in Fandom
215
Star Trek to Me Is a Way of Life Fan Expressions of Star Trek Philosophy MICHAEL JINDRA
217
On the Edge of Forever Understanding the Star Trek Phenomenon as Myth DARCEE L McLAREN
231
To Boldly Go Star Trek Convention Attendance as Pilgrimage JENNIFER E PORTER
245
TV Episodes and Movies Cited
271
Bibliography
279
List of Contributors
297

Intimations of Immortality DeathLife Mediations in Star Trek JON WAGNER
119
Suffering Sacrifice and Redemption Biblical Imagery in Star Trek LARRY KREITZER
139
The Outward Voyage and the Inward Search Star Trek Motion Pictures and the Spiritual Quest IAN MAHER
165

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About the author (1999)

Jennifer E. Porter is Assistant Professor of Religion and Modern Culture at Memorial University, and Darcee L. McLaren is former Adjunct Professor at McMaster University.