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BSG's Theology

Posted in Personal by Will on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 ~ 3pm

The attempt to retrofit humanity into a race that doesn’t believe in spirituality is manifest in Wired reader’s reactions to the Battlestar Galactica finale. Many of the tech-heads are angry that the series included forces of a spiritual nature. More of the same over at TV Guide, best summed up in the comment “Here’s an idea: Edit the entire series and delete all the religious crap and you will have a far better series”.

The writers are unabashed about this, and why shouldn’t they be? They were trying to make the series feel real, and reality includes the spiritual. Even if you simply believe that the spiritual is an element of ourselves that appears to be external. Wired readers are wrong to dismiss this element as “superstition” — it is either part of our nature, or part of nature itself, and thus open to being depicted.

A nice passage from a Discover magazine interview with the cast and producers:

Q: In the last scene, are “Head Six” and “Head Baltar” angels or demons?

A: Ron Moore: I think they’re both. We never try to name exactly what the “Head” characters are—we called them “Head Baltar” and “Head Six” all throughout the show, internally. We never really looked at them as angels or demons because they seemed to periodically say evil things and good things, they tended to save people and they tended to damn people. There was this sense that they worked in service of something else. You could say “a higher power” or you could say “another power,” [but] they were in service to something else that was guiding and helping, sometimes obstructing, and sometimes tempting the people on the show. The idea at the very end was that whatever they are in service to continues and is eternal and is always around.

One Wired reader noted the many anti-spirituality replies (which dismissed these elements as “superstitious” and “lame God-did-it” storytelling) and commented:

“I loved the finale, but it seems many American SciFi fans have completely lost any sense of mystery and of the spiritual, and expect everything to have a simple, comprehensible conclusion without any ambiguity… new for you chaps, life just isn’t like that, and stories that recognize that fact are better for it. –Posted by: XFactor “

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  1. Lou said,

    on March 30th, 2009 at 7:47 am

    That photo is obviously an allusion to The Last Supper. Didn’t anyone think the show would have religious overtones?

  2. Will said,

    on March 31st, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Yeah clearly! The last couple seasons had some problems, but the religious angle was not one of them, imo.

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