I’ve got religion on the brain today. I woke up with the idea in my head for a series of educational kid’s books looking at world religions and important religious figures from a sociological, cultural, historical, objective view point. The more I think about it the more complex and ambitious it seems, but also the more it feels like a really good idea. Despite undergoing hints of the slight gradual drift from the political left to the political right that comes with the aging process, I remain an idealist. I see a better world where segregation is gone; children are not indoctrinated (they are taught how to think, not what to think); religion or lack of is a personal matter and is taught as sociology and literature; and humanism, environmentalism and innate human morality affect politics replacing theocracies the world over.
If science fiction has taught me anything (and it has) it’s that these dreams will only be fulfilled after 2063 when Zefram Cochrane builds and successfully tests our first warp drive engine. A passing Vulcan cruiser detects the warp trail and initiates first contact. This starts a chain of events leading to the eventual unity of humanity; huzzah! Ninety years later the first Earth star ship, Enterprise, will set off to explore space. At this point no rules for space diplomacy have been codified, so Captain Archer and his crew must improvise based on their own intuition. As a result of the first Enterprises mission humans, Vulcans and a number of other species form the United Federation of Planets, a socialist utopia dedicated to protecting the galaxy. 100 years later the Enterprise is captained by James T. Kirk whose official mission is to ‘explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no man has gone before’. His personal mission seems to be to scrap and shag his way across the galaxy while disregarding as many Starfleet regulations as possible. Seventy years later and now Jean Luc Picard captains the Enterprise. Times had change and Captain Picard always strove to follow the principles of diplomacy and tact, while not being afraid to fight to defend the values of the Federation when necessary.
And there we have it: a future utopia where religion is a personal thing (like in Voyager when Commander Chakotay visits his Native American ancestor spirit guide), diplomacy rules interstellar relations, and science and exploration are the prime goals. Although we rarely see the lives of normal, non-Starfleet, humans I would assume that their Religious Education is part of Cultural Studies or Alien Befriending, or whatever they do at school. Maybe when the real future gets here my books will be stored on their futuristic educational devices and the Starfleet database, to be studied by generations of eager new recruits and experience Tactical Officers alike.
Yes, that will definitely happen.