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Star Trek as an RE Resource?

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by Kittyhime, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Earlier this evening my partner (an RE trainee) and I (an RE NQT) were watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when we suddenly realised that this particular episode was discussing some pretty interesting theological ideas. In the episode Kahless (Klingon religious figure head) returns as prophesied, but is later revealed to be a clone, created by the religious leaders in an attempt to end the 'decadent' modern ways, arguing that maybe this was the way in which Kahless was meant to return... As you can imagine there were some certain similarities with various world religions, and some very interesting views on theological issues.

    This got me a thinking about other aspects of Star Trek that cover or touch upon religious or philosophical ideas. The existence of Data, the android, who is able to learn, create, dream, and eventual to 'feel' emotions, questions how we view life (there is an entire episode dedicated to the question of if Data is indeed a 'life form' or simply a machine). A majority of episodes of Deep Space 9 deals with the philosophies and beliefs of the Bajoran people. And for classic Trek fans, there is the issue of the (mainly forgettable) 5th film which involves an actual search for 'God'.

    Has anyone else ever used Star Trek within an RE or Philosophy lesson? Or am I merely a Trekkie with way too much time on my hands?
  2. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Yes. I've used Star Treck and Star Wars clips. They both explore many important ideas. As a teen myself, when the first Star Treck series came out, my friend and I would watch them and take notes about all the interesting philosophical ideas. Then we would spend our lunchtimes discussing them.

    If you include posters from Star Treck and Star Wars (Lord of the Rings is also another 'tale' which has deep philosophical links) on the walls of the RE classrooms, they can stimulate some excellent discussion. RE is about life, about death, about good and evil, about meaning and purpose, about choices and consequences. All of these come up in the great stories. Star Treck (particularly early series) and Star Wars are really rooted in this.

    Up the 'Treckies' We need to pass this wealth on to the new generation.
  3. veni_vidi

    veni_vidi New commenter

    I used clips from the next generation, where the doctor has created a holographic family, which are too perfect. Then when they are made more realistic they are arguing and one of them dies. The lesson was another teacher's but worked well to highlight parts of marriage and the family.
    About 5 in one class said 'yesss, star trek', but most said 'what is this, ha ha'.
  4. Well I think you've both convinced me to go ahead and try to incorporate Star Trek (and other nerd franchises) into my lessons :D
    Although having said that, when I was working with the AQA Religion and Pop Culture spec last year most of my AS class weren't too keen on Lord of the Rings... this made me very sad... but on the upside the vaast majority were all very keen to watch and discuss Harry Potter.

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