Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Trek: Great Movie, but Why Inject Religion?

Ok, it was subtle reference, and didn't detract from the movie, but why is there any reference to God in a Star Trek movie?

If you're a Trekkie, and haven't seen the new movie yet, you'd better go soon, or you'll be the last person on the planet, and maybe off-planet too, who hasn't seen it yet.

Even with with modern filmmaking techniques and great special effects, it is amazingly true to the original concept. I thought the new actors for the most part did a fabulous job recreating the original roles. Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban ("Bones" McCoy), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) were remarkably true to the original characters, yet brought fresh blood to the concept. But Chris Pine (Kirk) was the star, he was true to Shatner's original character, but without the over-the-top Shatnerisms that we know and love.

And the screenwriting was great, special effects and editing, all marvelous. I was a happy Trekkie!

But they had to throw in that one little line, "Godspeed." I can't even imagine why. Why not "Good Luck," or "Take care of yourself"? I suppose it's because the writers, actors, and director, unlike the advanced, highly-scientific civilization they portray, are not themselves scientists. Good writing and good directing are not related to good science or a rational view of the universe.

It was no big deal, but it was completely out of place in a movie about a future that has moved past illogic and superstition.


  1. I don't consider the word "godspeed" to be religious, even if it originated in that way. I enjoyed the movie and this didn't cause me to raise my hackles.

    Here's a question from one atheist to another. Have you ever cried out "Ohh, God," or "Godd*mmit?"

    Another question, perhaps with an interesting answer: is godspeed supposed to be capitalized? :)

  2. > is godspeed supposed to be capitalized?

    At the beginning of a sentence, yes.

  3. Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    A Star Trek quiz...Boldly going where no quiz has gone before
    By David Buckna
    Special to ASSIST News Service

    A Heavenly Enterprise

    'Star Trek'
    By Ann Hornaday
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, May 7, 2009

  4. "Star Trek: Great Movie, but Why Inject Religion?"

    Religion has always been injected into Star Trek, from the very beginning. It's the religion of secular humanism.

    "Strange New Worlds: The Humanist Philosophy of Star Trek" by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.

  5. Michael, I see your point but I don't quite agree that "godspeed" is in the same category as using God's name in a curse.

    Anon - great essay by Bowman, thanks for sending it. I enjoyed it a lot.

  6. I think godspeed is actually a naval term...much less religious as it is historically nautical.

  7. Did anybody say "goodbye" in the film? That's even more theistic!

    Really, this is a bit silly, don't you think?

  8. I am one of the 27 people left who have not (yet) seen the movie, but I think this commentary is a bit silly. So the Trekkies can't believe in God? The writers?

    Did anybody use warp speed? Did anybody beam from one place to another? We KNOW those technologies don't exist, at least now -- and they're probably impossible. Why not rail against that?

    Intolerant much?

  9. didn't Picard say godspeed once in the Next Generations?

  10. get over it already,it's a movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I didn't notice it, but by including it, they probably kept the rabble quiet, unlike the Golden Compass that clearly singled out religion as a villain by using easily recognized architecture. Hollywood or not, producers still need to make concessions to get their works distributed, which shows how much freedom we really have in the U.S.

  12. And lets not stop there: what about the name "Christopher" Pike. As we all know the name Christopher derives from a word meaning to bear Christ. Eh? Eh?

    In all seriousness, though, I'm inclined to agree with the anonymous commenter who pointed out godspeed is more a naval phrase than a religious one.


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