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#DS9 and Secularism vs. Religion

I’m on the final episodes of the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Vedec Winn appears (boo hiss) and raises a bit of trouble on the station. I’d always noticed in all the modern incarnations of Trek (TNG, DS9, Voyager… and to a point, Enterprise, but I’m not going there), that there were hints of dealing with struggles, whether they were aliens or the crew, that related to our own modern times here in the 21st century on Earth. One of those really hit home this evening, as I’ve been binge-watching DS9 slowly.

“In The Hands Of The Prophets” is one fine example. Vedec Winn is rather conservative and even a smidge radical in her views of how the Prophets are to be worshipped and how Bajorans interpret their faith. Winn is displeased with how Keiko runs her school and the fact that she doesn’t teach religion and faith in her schooling. She keeps to a secular curriculum, much as our public schools here in the U.S. by way of keeping religion out of schools (the whole pledge of allegiance thing with “Under God” is a whole other HUGE topic, and not something for this post, sorry).

Keiko’s school teaches core subjects that should be known to all. Science, math, language, history, but when Vedec Winn challenges her, such as in the snippet of dialogue below, children are pulled out of her school and fanaticism and violence ensues.

Vedek Winn: Do you believe the Celestial Temple of the Prophets exists within the passage?

Keiko O’Brien: I respect that the Bajoran people believe that it does.

Vedek Winn: But that’s not what you teach?

Keiko O’Brien: No, I don’t teach Bajoran spiritual beliefs; that’s your job. Mine is to open the children’s minds to history, to literature, to mathematics, to science.

Vedek Winn: You *are* opening the children’s minds – to blasphemy. And I cannot permit it to continue.

These are words that can be altered ever so slightly to modern times and we see conservative homeschooling and the fights to have prayer in classrooms, which should be secular, appear. If people want their children to learn about their faith, then send them to either a private academy according to their faith or to after school or Sunday programs (assuming Christian). Leave the public schools secular and keep faith separate.

In the episode, it appears that the violence and animosity toward the secular school was a ploy to get Vedec Bareil to the station for an assassination attempt. But the animosity between secular schools and religion is still an apt observation.

I look forward to more observations via DS9.




Creative Geek Of All Trades. Do you really need me to explain that one?

One thought on “#DS9 and Secularism vs. Religion

  1. its interesting because later on in the show, she uses science several times to delay the prophesied fight between the prophets and the pa wraiths (when she uses radiation to force the beings out of jake and kira). Or at least once it was her, but I remember it happened several times.

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