Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, was an open atheist who often questioned the existence of an “all-knowing” being. And while the new Star Trek: Discovery TV series will continue exploring strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, the cast will have to accomplish these voyages without uttering the word “God” on the set.
While Trekkies (or Trekkers) are gearing up for the launch of the next Star Trek iteration aboard the U.S.S. Discovery starship, swooning over new and hot cast members and bracing for some “hard PG-13,” a discussion about God (or the lack thereof) is taking place.
Apparently, actor Jason Issacs (Harry Potter, The OA, Batman) received a hard lesson on Star Trek dos and don’ts that have been practiced since Roddenberry conceived of the sci-fi series. One of the “don’ts” is simple: refrain from using God, as it is banned from scripts.
Entertainment Weekly observed the production of a scene in Star Trek where the crew of the “Discovery” came under attack by Klingon vessels, according to Comic Book. During the take, Issacs, who plays the part of Captain Lorca, took part in a bit of improvisation using the word God on the ship’s bridge.
“Lock on the Bird of Prey! Basic pattern Beta 9. Hard to port! Fire at something, for God’s sakes!” Lorca screams under stress. The scene came to a full stop when the director and series writer Kirsten Beyer signaled for a halt in the action.
“Wait, I can’t say ‘God’?” Isaacs asked, with confusion over perceived censorship by “Discovery” officials. “I thought I could say ‘God’ or ‘damn’ but not ‘goddamn.'”
Beyer explained that the exclusion of the word God in the Star Trek franchise is a practice Gene Roddenberry put in place decades ago that focuses less on religion than on people and their impact on the universe. In short, she added, the banning of God is “not a standards and practice” issue, but is meant to parallel Roddenberry’s vision.
“How about ‘for f**k’s sake’? Can I say that?” Isaacs quipped. “You can say that before you can say ‘God,'” Beyer retorted.
Fans immediately chimed in, and a charged debate over religion and references to God took place. Some pointed out the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of the modern “Discovery” version; characters from vintage Star Trek episodes “routinely” used the word “God damn.” As noted, Captain Kirk makes references to God and gods (Who Mourns for Adonais).
Gizmodo writer, Katharine Trendacosta, raises further questions about “Discovery” production officials’ decision, suggesting simply because the utopian universe of people have moved beyond belief in religion and have embraced atheism, it’s not conceivable they would not use the colloquial form of the word.
“We say all sorts of things collegially that we don’t believe in… I fully believe that ‘god’s sake’ would still be an interjection in the future devoid of any actual religious belief.”
Multiple sources agree that the “Star Trek” mastermind was raised in the Baptist Church but held a disdain for religion. Most specifically, Roddenberry identified with Humanism, as the site Adherents conveys.
“In 1986, he [Gene Roddenberry] joined the American Humanist Association and remained a Humanist throughout the rest of his life.”
A writer with Creators opined about the complex debate, saying that while Star Trek executives appear to be nitpicky, the franchise is not averse to religion.
“Roddenberry’s rules were meant to be inclusive, and rather than being anti-religion, the Federation is a place where anyone can belong. Roddenberry’s principles are a huge part of what made the franchise groundbreaking, and why it has been adored by fans for over half a century.”
What are your thoughts about banning the use of God in Star Trek: Discovery?
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS and CBS All Access on Sept. 24, 2017. Check your local listings for more information
[Featured Image by CBS]