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Author Topic: Kahless as a religious figure?  (Read 18731 times)
qurgh_
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« Reply #25 on: 09 29, 2010, 08:33: PM »

To quote Kahless:

"Kahless left us -- all of us -- a powerful legacy... a way of thinking and acting that makes us Klingon. If his words hold wisdom and his philosophy is honorable... then does it really matter if he returns? What is important is whether we follow his teachings... perhaps the words are more important than the man."

Kahless is not the important factor, his is just a man. His teachings are the most important factor. His words are more important than the man.

I have yet to see evidence of Klingons building temples, there is one on Borath, but that's it. People don't pray to him, they meditate on his teachings (pray implies asking for a deity to intervene for you in the physical world, meditate implies simply thinking about and trying to understand). I don't see the average Klingon as considering him divine (he is not considered a supreme being). There is no evidence that he actually traveled between planes of existence, these stories are all legends (as Worf, Gowron and all the Clerics showed, there are obviously some within the Empire who understand this truth).

I would modify your statement to:

A man, to whom many supernatural legends are attributed, developed a philosophy that is taught by clerics. His followers meditate on his teachings to gain guidance and wisdom. He is seen as the highest source of morality and the worthiest source of emulation. His name is evoked in blessings and understanding of him is sought in dreams. His followers see his teachings as guiding their daily lives. Legends of his deeds include travelling to other planes of existence and returning to this one. His legends say that when he died he traveled to the afterlife of the honored, promising to return one day. His people maintain a firm belief in his teachings, seeing his word as the final authority on what is considered morally right, and some believe that his clone is the real Kahless returned.

While this man is not a religious figure, his teachings contain a strong moral and life guide.

(Edit: Qapla'! We made it to page two Smiley)
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qoSagh
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« Reply #26 on: 09 30, 2010, 12:02: AM »

I am surprise to see so many say that Klingons do not believe in gods. One of the central stories to Klingon spirituality is the killing of the gods. If there are no gods then who exactly was it that was killed? One of the works that we came up with for the beginnings of the qaptaQ, prior to Worf saying the gods were killed, was that of them being vanquished, however even vanquishing requires one to be vanquished. The gods existence (at least at one time) is not really in question.

As for the definition of Cleric, the idea that they are there to perform sacraments for the church is a narrow view at best. In a non Klingon forum I go to we have been talking about the nature of the Priesthood versus Ministers in both sacramental and non sacramental Christian churches. The word cleric is not the key factor, the specific nature of the cleric in question is. Being that we have only seen the clerics of Boreth once, we have no real idea if they are sacramental clerics or not. I for one doubt that they are, but that also comes from our initial work with the qaptaQ where we have made a point of not having and sacramental power as part of our ceremonies.

Then there is the temple, which I will say was not built by Klingons at all. I would say instead that it was discovered by Klingons. Boreth was chosen because it orbited the star that Kahless pointed to when he said he would return. I have a feeling that prior to space travel this order of clerics was quite a different group of people, as they were focusing on an intangible place. With the dawn of space travel all of a sudden they could go to that star. Then they find a planet orbiting it, and probably out of necessity settled in preexisting caves rather than build a settlement, much less a large temple.

I actually see the cloning as the result of that process. In the first wave of Kahless-ism, we had the warrior himself and the things he said first hand. Then he left and we were left with the recollections of those that heard his words first hand. Then was the long second wave, where it was just Klingons that had never met Kahless but had read his written words. The idea that after unifying the home world he might come back and kick some Hurq 'o' provided hope during the occupation. However once the occupation ended and Klingons found that space travel was indeed possible, which lead to the trip to Boreth. The third wave was centered around Boreth, pilgrims came and went, the Clerics enjoyed some notoriety for finding the sacred caves. However eventually the subsequent generations of clerics needed something of their own to be noted for and that is what lead to the cloning experiment.

As for the writers, they are important because they wrote what we are debating, but we will likely never know what they were thinking as they wrote. Did they base this on known human religions? Probably. Did they show a certain disdain for religion, absolutely, however that is par for the course with Trek and even Hollywood in general.
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« Reply #27 on: 09 30, 2010, 12:34: AM »

I have yet to see evidence of Klingons building temples, there is one on Borath, but that's it. People don't pray to him, they meditate on his teachings (pray implies asking for a deity to intervene for you in the physical world, meditate implies simply thinking about and trying to understand). I don't see the average Klingon as considering him divine (he is not considered a supreme being). There is no evidence that he actually traveled between planes of existence, these stories are all legends (as Worf, Gowron and all the Clerics showed, there are obviously some within the Empire who understand this truth).

The one one Borath is really the only one that matters, and yes it is very likely it is the only one. It is like the Klingon Mecca. As for praying, "Rightful Heir" indicates that Klingons have been going there for at least 1,500 years to see a vision of Kahless and ask him questions. According to the Clerics, the only way a Klingon warrior could find the answers they sought was to: "Open your heart to Kahless, ask him your questions, let him speak to you with your mind unclouded by doubt or hesitation. Only then can you find what you are looking for." That sounds like orison to me, since prayer is simply communication with a deity (though that communication is usually used either to placate said deity, make a request for insight or intervention or ask a question). Everything Moses, Krishna or Thor ever did is a legend. There are many who believe unquestioningly in their alleged actions. The existence of a few doubters within a society does not diminish a religion's validity. And whether or not evidence exists as to Kahless traveling dimensions is irrelevent. The belief is all that matters. If religion required proof to be valid, there would be no religion.

To quote Kahless:
"Kahless left us -- all of us -- a powerful legacy... a way of thinking and acting that makes us Klingon. If his words hold wisdom and his philosophy is honorable... then does it really matter if he returns? What is important is whether we follow his teachings... perhaps the words are more important than the man."

That statement was a shift in the Klingon view of Kahless. It helped do in the wizard. Basically, by saying that, he caused a shift from the way I see things (Kahless is a near deified religious figure) to the way you see things (Kahless is simply a philosophic pioneer). But that is a slow process, because Klingons still revere him as supernatural, evidenced when Martok shouted "Kahless is divine!" in "Tacking into the Wind." Of course, "Rightful Heir" itself is about a crisis of faith.

Also, congratulations qurgh, for bringing us to page 2!
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« Reply #28 on: 09 30, 2010, 08:27: AM »

While this man is not a religious figure, his teachings contain a strong moral and life guide.

Actually, like it or not, he IS a religious figure.  He was a man not a god, but in the years since his death, he has very definitely become a religious figure.  Over the years, legends and myths built up around him and he was magnified into something much more than he really was.  Klingons... some klingons at least, pray to him.  Now that in itself does not make him a god... in Terran religions there is a parallel... Catholics (and maybe other religions as well but I dont know enough about them to speak for them) pray to the saints.  When they do that, they are not worshiping the saint, theyre basically saying, "Hey, you were a really great and holy person while you were alive.  Now that youre in heaven with God, would you do me a favour and have a chat with the Boss on my behalf?"  In the words of a very famous Christian prayer, the Hail Mary, "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death"

Maybe its in the same way that Klingons pray to Kahless.

Ive got a few more comments to make on the subject but have just realised what time it is and I'm running late, so my apologies for not finising this post properlyl, but I'll be back later.
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« Reply #29 on: 09 30, 2010, 08:49: AM »

Catholics ask the saints to pray on their behalf. And if they pray to Kahless in the same way, then who does Kahless pray to on the behalf of the requesting Klingons?
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« Reply #30 on: 09 30, 2010, 09:47: AM »

...Catholics (and maybe other religions as well but I don't know enough about them to speak for them) pray to the saints.  When they do that, they are not worshiping the saint, they're basically saying, "Hey, you were a really great and holy person while you were alive.  Now that you're in heaven with God, would you do me a favor and have a chat with the Boss on my behalf?"...

...And if they pray to Kahless in the same way, then who does Kahless pray to on the behalf of the requesting Klingons?

I was going to ask the same question. This delves into the question of Klingon gods and what actually happened to them. However not as much as you think. Since most if not all of those who are likely to be praying to Kahless already assume the gods to be dead, they are very unlikely to be asking Kahless to "have a chat with the boss". Now the only example of a vision of Kahless that I remember is Worf's although over 1,500 years there have probably been quite a few. In Worf's he was seeking guidance and got his answer. This is would seem to go more towards Kahless being a philosopher or teacher and less of a god. He is simply telling Worf what actions he should take but not taking any action (supernatural or not) of his own to give Worf something.
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« Reply #31 on: 09 30, 2010, 10:14: AM »

Worf is just one Belarusian. Not everyone seeks the same thing. Granted, Worf's is the only one depicted, but the clerics indicated more versatility in this communion:

Quote
"Open your heart to Kahless, ask him your questions, let him speak to you with your mind unclouded by doubt or hesitation. Only then can you find what you are looking for."
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« Reply #32 on: 09 30, 2010, 11:33: AM »

Catholics and Klingons aren't the same situation, youre quite right, I just thought there was a similarity.  On the one hand we are told that the gods are dead, and then we have Martok in 'left hand of destiny', obviously beleiving in at least one deity, some sort of goddess of fate I think.

As a catholic, a comment I get alot is "You guys worship the virgin Mary"  To which my response is "Erm, no actually, we don't"  and the reply usually comes back "Well you have statues and pictures of her and you pray to her"

We sort of pray to the saints to intervene for us, but also to offer guidance and insight within their area of remit (by which I mean if its travel related you'd ask Christopher, if youve lost something its Anthony if its hopeless its Jude you'd ask etc etc)

el Payaso Malo said "This is would seem to go more towards Kahless being a philosopher or teacher and less of a god. He is simply telling Worf what actions he should take but not taking any action (supernatural or not) of his own to give Worf something. "  I agree, thats actually a pretty good description of a saint's job as well.

It just seemed to me that the situation with Kahless and praying to him was sort of very similar to that.  Ok, he may not be interceding for us with a higher being as a catholic saint might... but the concept of asking him, as a great and mighty man who has passed over into the afterlife, whatever that afterlife might be, to give us a bit of guidance and insight isnt drastically different to the catholic analogy. 
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« Reply #33 on: 09 30, 2010, 01:55: PM »

I was going to ask the same question. This delves into the question of Klingon gods and what actually happened to them. However not as much as you think. Since most if not all of those who are likely to be praying to Kahless already assume the gods to be dead, they are very unlikely to be asking Kahless to "have a chat with the boss". Now the only example of a vision of Kahless that I remember is Worf's although over 1,500 years there have probably been quite a few. In Worf's he was seeking guidance and got his answer. This is would seem to go more towards Kahless being a philosopher or teacher and less of a god. He is simply telling Worf what actions he should take but not taking any action (supernatural or not) of his own to give Worf something.

I always considered the "death of the gods" as a metaphorical story of some past point in time when Klingons reached an enlightenment and realized that there were no gods, as many humans are coming to realize on Earth. Religion is a hang over from a more primitive time of human evolution and is rapidly being replaced by Science. I compare it to when DNA was discovered and many scientists claimed "God is dead".

They didn't literally go to some plane of existence and kill a god (because gods aren't real),  they just reached a point in their societal evolution where gods became unnecessary or irrelevant. Maybe there was an atheist faction of Klingons who killed off all the god worshipers.

I've always thought that those visions were psychosomatic, generated by either chemicals in the caves or extreme stress. I've seen things in vision during rituals, but I know they generated by my mind and not an external force. There are scientists that can put you in a chair, hook up some electrodes and make you believe that God is in the room with you.

Roddenberry was a secular humanist and he passed that onto Star Trek. He often had stories exposing creatures that purported to be Gods (eg Who Mourns for Adonais?). Since Roddenberry didn't want any of the advanced species to be religious, I'd say that he'd agree that Klingons are intended to be atheist, but he'd probably also see that other writers have injected religion into them (probably based on their own religious viewpoints).

I also don't understand why people can't separate mortal icons and religious figures. Is Elvis a religious figure? No, but he is/was worshiped. Is Beowolf a religious figure? No, but he was emulated and considered a example of a great hero. Is King Arthur a religious figure? No, even though he is considered the greatest English King to ever live. Is Lady Gaga a religious figure? No, but she has fans that treat her that way. Is Gene Roddenberry a religious figure? No, but we worship him everyday we play in the Trek universe. You can worship and praise someone without it getting into the realm of religion.

I think this is probably going to come down to this: If you are a religious Human, the Kahless is a religious figure, if you're not a religious Human, then Kahless is not a religious figure.

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« Reply #34 on: 09 30, 2010, 05:35: PM »

I do not agree that the sensation felt towards entertainment figures like Elvis, Lady Gaga or even Gene Roddenberry is anywhere near the level of the worship one has for God. They are two very different things in all but the most extreme cases.

That being said, I can not see how the Klingon gods being dead or vanquished could be metaphorical. If we go back to your DNA analogy, we do not speak of that discovery in the same reverent tones that Klingons speak of the killing of the gods. Now that could be because it was an opinion that did not catch on quite as much, but I doubt it. When Worf told Wesley about the gods being killed, he despite being a modern Starfleet officer, talking to a kid with advanced scientific knowledge, did not say we discovered them to have always been non-existent, he said we killed them, they were more trouble than they were worth. That definitely sounds like they existed.

Now back to Kahless for a moment, this bring up an interesting historical bit. Based on what we have seen in the wedding snippet, the Klingon gods were killed a long long time ago. The one time we met Emperor Kahless (or at least his clone) he never mentions the gods. The stories he was given as memories were all about himself. Where does this put Kahless in the time line of the gods? I am thinking they were already vanquished by the time he left, although in some of the earlier qaptaQ writings we theorized that he might have been the warrior who did battle with them. I am thinking they were out of the picture before he was born, based on two things. One he does not speak of them reverently as a worshiper would. Two he does not speak of the derisively as the first few generations would after the vanquishing.  The gods seem to be a non-issue to Kahless, leading me to believe that he was born quite some time after they stopped playing an active role in Klingon society. I also think that if Kahless had been alive very soon after the loss of the gods, it would have been far less likely that he would be treated as reverently. Old wounds take a while to heal and I can see there being a great deal of mistrust to anyone trying to assume (or even acquiring unwillingly) godhood, right after the vanquishing of the gods.
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« Reply #35 on: 09 30, 2010, 08:04: PM »

I do not agree that the sensation felt towards entertainment figures like Elvis, Lady Gaga or even Gene Roddenberry is anywhere near the level of the worship one has for God. They are two very different things in all but the most extreme cases.

Is it really that much of a stretch? I've been to Christian gatherings where people are screaming, crying and collapsing on the floor. I've been to rock concerts that have the same thing. From a psychological point of view, the subject of worship has nothing to do physical/psychological responses that the worshiper experiences. It's purely based the level of psychological investment the person makes. I've seen people do rituals to Cthuhlu that have had the same effect on the practitioner as a Qabbalistic ritual has. Even though one is to a known fictional creature and the other is to a possibly fictional creature. I would recommend the works of Peter Carroll, a couple of his books go into detail on the concept of religious paradigm shifting and belief.

That being said, I can not see how the Klingon gods being dead or vanquished could be metaphorical. If we go back to your DNA analogy, we do not speak of that discovery in the same reverent tones that Klingons speak of the killing of the gods. Now that could be because it was an opinion that did not catch on quite as much, but I doubt it. When Worf told Wesley about the gods being killed, he despite being a modern Starfleet officer, talking to a kid with advanced scientific knowledge, did not say we discovered them to have always been non-existent, he said we killed them, they were more trouble than they were worth. That definitely sounds like they existed.

I'd say that you can't talk about the "death of Gods" in a purely scientific way because there is no science to Gods. He could have said, "We stopped believing in them", but that doesn't sounds very Klingon. Klingons kill things they don't like so the metaphor works very well for them. If, in 2000 years, Humanity is still around, there may be people who say, "We killed God in 2157. He was just getting to be too much of a pain in the rear", even though they would really mean that science go to a point where is was obvious to everyone that God could not exist. Since the definition of a God is something that is timeless and omnipotent, it's impossible for a biological creature that is within the universe (created by a God) to kill a God that exists outside the universe except in a metaphorical sense.

Now back to Kahless for a moment, this bring up an interesting historical bit. Based on what we have seen in the wedding snippet, the Klingon gods were killed a long long time ago. The one time we met Emperor Kahless (or at least his clone) he never mentions the gods. The stories he was given as memories were all about himself. Where does this put Kahless in the time line of the gods? I am thinking they were already vanquished by the time he left, although in some of the earlier qaptaQ writings we theorized that he might have been the warrior who did battle with them. I am thinking they were out of the picture before he was born, based on two things. One he does not speak of them reverently as a worshiper would. Two he does not speak of the derisively as the first few generations would after the vanquishing.  The gods seem to be a non-issue to Kahless, leading me to believe that he was born quite some time after they stopped playing an active role in Klingon society. I also think that if Kahless had been alive very soon after the loss of the gods, it would have been far less likely that he would be treated as reverently. Old wounds take a while to heal and I can see there being a great deal of mistrust to anyone trying to assume (or even acquiring unwillingly) godhood, right after the vanquishing of the gods.

The Klingon gods were killed off long long long long ago. Long before Kahless and long before the Hurq. I'd suggest that it happened once Klingons started to philosophize, which requires a stable society, so I would have expected it to have happened when Klingons were at the same kind of technological point as the ancient Greeks, Romans or Egyptians. The Gods are a non-issue to Kahless, as they were irrelevant in his original time period.

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« Reply #36 on: 09 30, 2010, 09:30: PM »

The gods were killed by Kortar/Kotar and an unnamed female, the FIRST Klingons. The gods did not exist long enough to be worshipped, just long enough to make stuff and get pwned.

I don't really see Klingons saying "We killed them" instead of "We stopped believing in them." They are straightforward and don't like to beat around the bush.

The Klingon creation story is just like the Abrahamic religions' creation story, except Adam and Eve rise up and kill God before Cain is born, and then Adam is banished to Gehenna (be apparently no one) to ferry souls across a river as punishment.
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« Reply #37 on: 10 01, 2010, 03:26: AM »

The first Klingon story is one of the biggest wholes in the mythos. I have always taken that title not to mean literally the first two genetic Klingons but to be the first who called themselves Klingon. This would put it after developing language, after becoming self aware. Since Paraborg doesn't give squat about continuity, each episode writer is left to invent what they want and subsequent writers do not have to be bound by it. However if we put the battle with the gods that far back to a Klingon Adam and Eve, it is far less likely that death was due to a lack of followers. At that point in Klingon development there was likely no science to discover a lack of gods.
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« Reply #38 on: 10 01, 2010, 05:57: AM »

I just had an odd thought:

What if the gods were aliens that genetically engineered Klingons, and the Klingons turned on them? Possibly they were even the Hur'q. Then the Hur'q sent a convoy to check on their progress after several thousand years, found them missing, and conquered the planet, only to be overthrown again. Just a theory.

Back to the discussion. Barring my above theory, the stories of the gods are obviously legends to me, unverifiable by science. Of course, anything that can be scientifically disproved, I see the Klingons as not believing in it. They seem practical in such matters. But seriously, what isn't possible in Star Trek? One culture's gods are either elevated legends, ways to explain natural phenomena or a more advanced race of beings that they can't fully comprehend.
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« Reply #39 on: 10 01, 2010, 06:07: AM »


I think this is probably going to come down to this: If you are a religious Human, the Kahless is a religious figure, if you're not a religious Human, then Kahless is not a religious figure.


I'm carefully staying away from your comments on God not existing.

however, the above statement, I do disagree with and will comment on. ITs got nothing to do with whether you are religious or not. Your own lack of beleif is irrelevant, its others belief that counts and while others do beleive, religion will have an influence. A  religious movement built up around Kahless, therefore he is a religious figure.  He didnt plan it that way or intend it but it happened.  I dont think you could deny that people like the Pope or Mother Teresa are religious figures.  Equally, I am not buddhist and have no beleif in that system, but I would never try to deny the Dalai Lama and his impact on society.

to compare people like Lady Gaga or even Elvis, is quite frankly ridiculous.  Regardless of what sort of wound up fervour people get into at concerts etc no-one seriously worships them as a god.  No-one gets down on their knees every night and prays to them  "Dear Elvis/Lady Gaga/Mr Roddenberry....." (although havent said that, I seem to remember reading about some wierd Vulcan church somewhere in the States)

I can;t help wondering (in a joking sort of way) if Terry Pratchett didnt get it right when he suggested that gods etc exist because we beleive in them. in other words, that our beleif makes them exist/gives them life.  (hence the sock monsters that come pre-installed in all washing machines)  so in this case, it would open a real can of gagh for the Klingons.  We do not beleive in gods so we claim we killed them.  but to kill them they must have existed.. so a form of beleif is there, so the gods must exist... except we killed them...

I do think its a good possibility that killing the gods is a metaphor for simply not beleiving in them any more... to put the Pratchett analogy into Klingon terms, they were killed by lack of beleif.

On a slightly irrelevant note to this thread, Ive never quite understood the Kortar mythology.  Ok, he killed the gods and a punishment was condemned to pilot the barge of the dead... this is a guy who just killed the gods... who is strong enough to enforce that sort of punishment on him.

come to that, can there even be an afterlife if there are no gods?
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« Reply #40 on: 10 01, 2010, 06:11: AM »

el Payaso MAlo posted at the same time as me, so please forgive what seems to be a double post...

the Klingon gods being advanced beings, maybe the Hurq, is very possible.  Isnt there a saying that any science/technology that is sufficiently advanced could appear to be magic?  the same could be said of advanced beings.  Vulcans had space travel well over a thousand years ago.  Now if they had landed on Earth at that time, they would have been perceived in a very godlike way by the humans of the time.
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« Reply #41 on: 10 01, 2010, 07:43: AM »

Kortar did not do it alone. It was the two Klingons together who had the power to vanquish the divinity. But a lot about the Klingon creation myth is missing. Who punished Kortar? The gods are dead. What happened to his mate? From whence came the Fek'lhr?

By the way, the whole, "Klingons have no devil" thing; I have something to say about it. Fek'lhr is obviously a devil analogue. However, the "devil" position implies temptation of some kind. Satan, Iblis; whatever, they all attempt to lead mortals astray. As far as I know, Fek'lhr does not attempt to lead Klingons to dishonor. In that respect, "Klingons have no devil." He fills a position similar to Pluto. But he is still a devil analogue, and the only being with a supernatural origin in Klingon mythology said to still exist or live or whatever.

Kahless is said to lead the Black Fleet, yes? Could he have other responsibilities in "Klingon Heaven?" Perhaps as a judge, or whatever? No one else oversees the place. However, something akin to angels (perhaps Klingons would be more comfortable with Valkyries) were left behind who take care of that stuff. That sure would fill in some gaps.
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« Reply #42 on: 10 11, 2010, 04:35: AM »

I think this is probably going to come down to this: If you are a religious Human, the Kahless is a religious figure, if you're not a religious Human, then Kahless is not a religious figure.

     If your religion(hypothetical you) is atheism, and make no mistake that atheism is a religion, as an atheist has a belief system held with unshakable reverence and is not open to entertaining or accepting that other beliefs my be legitimately held, then yes, I can see how you would claim that Kahless could not possibly be a religious figure.   Those who are agnostic, who know that the universe still has secrets even the best scientists haven't yet discovered, then you are more likely to say that there are some tests that indicate he could be.  By Scientists I mean people who embrace the scientific methodology that everything should be tested and nothing should be held as unquestionable.  Far too few people today who say they are scientists are actually practicing Science.  It is sad.

     As for me, I've long since lapsed of any honest belief I had in the religion I was raised in, that is if I ever had any.   I don't subscribe to any organized religion, but on the other paw I see how religions are almost always a net positive influence on the people who do.  There are few exceptions, people who abuse their power and use religion or religious symbolism to spread hate.  If anything, I would describe myself as a Rationalist, distrusting anything presented as an emotional appeal, including "Come and hate all organized religion with me".
 
    Religion is too important in Hyoomin Psychology to deny yourself access to it in writing a story.  It's possible not to have any firm beliefs that you are unwilling to defend

I always considered the "death of the gods" as a metaphorical story of some past point in time when Klingons reached an enlightenment and realized that there were no gods, as many humans are coming to realize on Earth. Religion is a hang over from a more primitive time of human evolution and is rapidly being replaced by Science. I compare it to when DNA was discovered and many scientists claimed "God is dead".

Roddenberry was a secular humanist and he passed that onto Star Trek. He often had stories exposing creatures that purported to be Gods (eg Who Mourns for Adonais?). Since Roddenberry didn't want any of the advanced species to be religious, I'd say that he'd agree that Klingons are intended to be atheist, but he'd probably also see that other writers have injected religion into them (probably based on their own religious viewpoints).

     But then in Balance of Terror Kirk presides over a wedding in the ship's chapel [If everyone is an atheist, why is there even a permanent chapel, if only needed for special events like weddings, wouldn't they reserve pat of the rec deck or some other part of the ship?]  When the wedding is interrupted and the groom is killed, the bride is kneeling and genuflecting before the altar, not something an atheist would do. In another episode, Kirk is quoted as saying "We don't believe in gods, the find the one sufficient", speaking on behalf of humanity, if not all of the Federation that monotheism is still the norm.  There were still other religious references even before the Bajoran religion became a major plot point in Deep Space Nine.  It is not nearly the cut and dried atheistic universe as you claim it to be.

    I also don't understand why people can't separate mortal icons and religious figures. Is Elvis a religious figure? No, but he is/was worshiped. Is Beowolf a religious figure? No, but he was emulated and considered a example of a great hero. Is King Arthur a religious figure? No, even though he is considered the greatest English King to ever live. Is Lady Gaga a religious figure? No, but she has fans that treat her that way. Is Gene Roddenberry a religious figure? No, but we worship him everyday we play in the Trek universe. You can worship and praise someone without it getting into the realm of religion.

    I think that there are several people who treat Gene Roddenberry as a cult hero and religious figure, though they of course would deny it vigorously.  Nichelle Nichols wrote and sang a poem, a hymn no less to Gene Roddenberry as the focal figure of the religion where Gene is the Great Bird of the Galaxy of his creation.  How his vision changed the world and created hope and dreams and opened people's eyes to a new life...    Before this thread started I had been considering detailing this as an in-universe meta-religion for my Furry Star Trek universe.  Great Bird Worship and Aslanity being two of the more prominent religions for anthropomorphic animal people.
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« Reply #43 on: 10 11, 2010, 04:24: PM »

    If your religion(hypothetical you) is atheism, and make no mistake that atheism is a religion, as an atheist has a belief system held with unshakable reverence and is not open to entertaining or accepting that other beliefs my be legitimately held, then yes, I can see how you would claim that Kahless could not possibly be a religious figure.   Those who are agnostic, who know that the universe still has secrets even the best scientists haven't yet discovered, then you are more likely to say that there are some tests that indicate he could be.  By Scientists I mean people who embrace the scientific methodology that everything should be tested and nothing should be held as unquestionable.  Far too few people today who say they are scientists are actually practicing Science.  It is sad.

Atheism is not a religion. In fact it is the lack of religion. Atheists are very open minded, they just require empirical proof of a statement before it becomes factual. Religion, by it's very definition, has no proof and therefore requires faith that a statement is true. Atheists know that the universe holds many secrets and we wish to find those secrets, no matter how it could change our understanding of the universe. We specifically question things so that we may better understand them. Religion is the opposite. Everything is set in stone and it cannot be changed. God has spoken and that it that. You cannot question the divine word, even when it obviously contradicts itself.

Agnosticism is also not a religion in itself. It is simply the persons uncaringness about the existence or non-existence of God. It's often the first step to Atheism for formally religious people, especially for people within Scientific fields. As they understand more of the Universe and realize it's much more impressive than any man-made God could ever be, they come to the conclusion that if God does exist, he doesn't hold us in any special regard. This is a being that can manipulate the universe at a level far beyond our understanding and would care about us as much as we care about bacteria living in a slime pool. This concept then destroys all the stories that form the basis of religion, since God isn't a being that would use his time dealing with bacteria when he has the whole universe with it's billions upon billions of galaxies, each one containing billions upon billions of stars, with many more billions upon billions of planets circling them. As more knowledge is gained, it's seen that God isn't even necessary for the creation of the universe, and none of the systems within the universe require God to keep them running. The universe would be here without God and the universe has yet to suggest that anything God-like exists. If God had a hand in the universe, there would be some proof left over, yet there is nothing. In fact, there is the opposite. The universe, as we see it today, was created because of random fluctuations in the dense soup that existed after inflation had occurred. This allowed gravity to start shaping the universe into the planets, stars and galaxies.

But then in Balance of Terror Kirk presides over a wedding in the ship's chapel [If everyone is an atheist, why is there even a permanent chapel, if only needed for special events like weddings, wouldn't they reserve pat of the rec deck or some other part of the ship?]  When the wedding is interrupted and the groom is killed, the bride is kneeling and genuflecting before the altar, not something an atheist would do. In another episode, Kirk is quoted as saying "We don't believe in gods, the find the one sufficient", speaking on behalf of humanity, if not all of the Federation that monotheism is still the norm.  There were still other religious references even before the Bajoran religion became a major plot point in Deep Space Nine.  It is not nearly the cut and dried atheistic universe as you claim it to be.

Because back then Atheism wasn't as mainstream as it is today. The writers had to go by what they knew. The Enterprise was modeled around Human military ships, which often have a chapel in them. In TNG the weddings occurred in Ten-Forward and followed whatever system the bride/groom chose to go by. To me this sounds like the Federation simply allows anyone to follow whatever path they wish, but they know there isn't a God as defined by the religions we see today. The Federation is basically an agnostic organization which allows each individual the freedom to do as they please. Even the Bajoran religion is proven to be a fake-religion. Since they are worshiping super-powerful aliens and not Gods. Gene seems to have followed Clark's "advanced enough science is magic" concept to say that Gods are just aliens (EG Q).
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« Reply #44 on: 10 15, 2010, 08:32: AM »

     Atheism is not the lack of religion, it is the opposite of theism, belief in gods.  Atheism is the belief in no gods, but it is still a belief, an article of faith of a tenant by it's definition cannot be proven.  You can no more prove god doesn't exist than a religious believer can than gods do exist.  Atheism is a religion, it may not be an organized religion, but it is still a system of belief requiring faith.   You aren't arguing like a scientist.  You aren't questioning and looking for where gods may or may not exist.  You seem settled firmly in your mind to the non-existence of gods, closed to the possibility of an Intelligent Design hypothesis.  That is not metaphysical science.  You choose to see only the bad and don't look to see what good religion, both organized and folk religion has in society, that is a failure of social science.  How can you claim to be openminded when in order to avoid opinions and facts that don't agree with your own, you half-quote definitions and over narrowly interpret them.

    The problem with your assertion that if there is a God, it would be so powerful as to regard us as bacteria, isexcssively anthropomorphic and is a complete logical non sequitor..   in fact, if I had managed to create bacteria from noting, I'd be rather thrilled with them and would have quite a major interest in there survival as proof of what I had done.  Putting your own morals on what you assume a creator's situation would be is irrationally self-centeric, bordering on narcissistic.
   The writers submitted their scripts to the very same Gene Roddenberry for approval...  Gene Roddenberry was on the set, and if an actor misread a line he wrote, as Executive Director, he would have them redo the scene.  your argument that the whole universe must be atheist, because that was what Roddenberry intended falls to pieces by what Roddenberry did allow to be said and shown on screen.   TOS through the first year of TNG, was when Roddenberry had the most control over Trek, after that he was ousted and no longer allowed on the set, so nearly all the canon of Klingon Religion happened Post-Roddenberry.  Is  Star Trek not Star Trek after beloved Gene was given the bum's rush?  After Roddenberry was no longer able to supervise it and give it his "blessing"?  Or is it possible for others to have their own interpretations as long as they are sharing the same canonical facts?
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« Reply #45 on: 10 16, 2010, 05:11: PM »

If the Klingon Gods were aliens of some sort then they must have been pretty weak ones. The story told at the wedding is from long ago in a time when the Klingons did not have much technology, yet we are supposed to believe that they were able to kill some advanced aliens? All this many years before the Hurq showed up? We are also supposed to believe that these alien overlords did not come back with bigger and better weapons? I find that unlikely at best.

I am not surprised at the many attempts to project real life disdain for religion onto Klingons, but really why so many attempts to disprove a pantheon of gods that have no real effect on the population in question? First of all it is (at least to me) clear enough that Klingons did at one point and likely still do believe in the gods that they killed or vanquished. The existence and by extension supernatural nature of the Klingon gods is really not in question. If we believe the wedding story we can also extend this belief to Kahless, who likely knew the stories and held the same beliefs.

Given this, I would say that if he has become a religious figure, that was not his goal and it might be a role he is somewhat uncomfortable with. We will never know because the clone had memories and attitudes installed in his mind by the clerics. I would assume that if they saw him as a religious figure, that opinion would have been part of his mental conditioning. For that matter he may not even have seen himself as a philosopher, in that his words were probably not collected in one place until after his departure.
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« Reply #46 on: 10 19, 2010, 03:05: PM »

    Atheism is not the lack of religion, it is the opposite of theism, belief in gods.  Atheism is the belief in no gods, but it is still a belief, an article of faith of a tenant by it's definition cannot be proven.  You can no more prove god doesn't exist than a religious believer can than gods do exist.  Atheism is a religion, it may not be an organized religion, but it is still a system of belief requiring faith.

No it's not. You don't need belief to know something is not present. I don't need belief to know there isn't a tiger in my office cube, but one does require belief to believe there is one.

If there is a God, then he can come post on this forum and prove his existence. Until he does that, he doesn't exist. I need no belief to know that he won't post on this forum. It's a fact that he won't do it is based on 100s of 1000s of years of human experience. God hasn't involved himself in humanity yet (unless you believe the fairy tales that humans have written, although in my mind if you choose to believe them then you have to believe all of them) and he won't be doing it any time soon either.

If I have any belief system, then it's the belief in logic and provable science. To me it's much more logical to say that the universe happens by itself, that life evolves by itself, that all the photons flying around the universe were created by stars, that gravity formed the galaxies, stars and planets. Instead of having to create some crazy story about a deity who was able to create an entire universe just for the purpose of tricking humanity into believing it wasn't created by said deity. If creationism is true, then God would have had to do some crazy stuff. First he would have to place all the big stuff in the universe. Then he would have to trace lines from all of those bigs things and place long strings of individual photons along those lines so that when the system was started those photons started hitting the earth at the correct time so that it appears that they started traveling more than 6000 years ago. He would also have to make some of those big things appear like they had blown up at some point in the past, before the creation of the universe. He then added bones of creatures that never existed and make they look like they are 65 million years old. He would also have to adjust the carbon decay rate of all these objects so that when we, at some point in the future (from the time of creation), have access to carbon dating we would be tricked into believing that the universe is older than he wanted us to think. Compared to creating a single celled life form these things are far more impressive. We have created single celled life forms, but we can't create Stars. If God is big enough to know and experience the entire universe at one time, then a bit of biological scum is nothing in compassion.

Oh, and the Bible claimed we were made in God's image. I'm not the one that anthropomorphized God, the religions did that themselves long ago. I'm just trying to follow their logic.

To me the overly convoluted nature of creationism is it's greatest weakness (compared to Big bang, expansion, gravity with all it's supporting math). That and I wouldn't want to follow a deity who's entire purpose of creation is to trick his own creations into believing the opposite of what really happened. Why would a benevolent and loving deity want to deceive all his followers...? if anything that sounds like Satan's job, not God's.

I have a very open mind and I spent the first 25 years of my life searching for an hint of a deity or for anything supernatural. I've participated in many religions (Christianity (multiple denominations), Buddhism, Satanism (both kinds), The Forth Way, Thelma, Wicca) and performed many different types of magickal workings. Nothing, in all of this, has given me any scrap of evidence of the existence of anything supernatural. I would love for supernatural things to exist and I've put myself into all the situations that other people claim to have been in to experience the supernatural. I've searched for UFOs, I've gone ghost hunting in abandoned hospitals and asylums and I've investigated sightings of fairies and other supernatural creatures. I hoped there were Gods and I've tried everything on the planet to get into contact with any of them with no success, even while others around me said that God was right in the room with them. I didn't just one day device to be atheist, it came from two decades of trying to be a theist.

The question I have for all the believers is this: Do you believe in all those other Gods out there that are not included in your religion? No? Well I feel the same way towards all Gods that most people feel towards the majority. No follower of a monotheistic religion is going to say that Thor, Odin, Zeus or Olympus exists. I just add one more God to the list.
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« Reply #47 on: 11 06, 2010, 01:14: AM »


    Now it is my turn to apologize for not only letting, but contributing to steering this thread get so off topic.  If qurgh wishes we'll continue discussing the epistemology and existential properties of potential divine influences, and the nontrivial difficulties in proving a negative.  Is there any objection to cleaning out and breaking off the off-topic tangent?

    Whether or not there are gods is irrelevant to the question of whether Kahless is a religious figure, as mentioned before, there are religions and religious figures that do not have gods.   I think Buddhism is probably the closest Terran Religious analogy to Kahless, even if it is vary arguable that Kahless is written to conform to Christian symbolism.  Perhaps first we need to agree on what a religion is first in order to answer if Kahless is a religious figure...   
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« Reply #48 on: 11 06, 2010, 10:39: AM »

Qurgh does not believe in God and thats fine by me. I respect his right to beleive or not beleive what he wishes.  I do think some of his arguments are specious but won't go into that as its not really relevant.  What I do expect from Qurgh is acceptance that not everyone has the same beleifs/non beleifs as him and to allow our right to those beliefs/non beleifs.  I am a christian and do not beleive in Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc, but can still show respect for those religious systems and the people who follow them.

My point in all that, is that it is very possible that there would be Klingons who feel as Qurgh do, that the whole gods being killed thing is a load of old cobblers... The Klingon Empire is a big place and its very possible that, like Earth, there is more than one beleif system in place.

I would also say it is completely irrelevent as to whether in real life, we think there is a god or not.  The point is, in the fictitious Star TRek universe, various fictitious cultures have varying religious beleifs and that is what we are discusing here.  Isnt it a bit daft to suspend beleif enough to discuss Klingons but not suspend it enough to admit they may have beleifs different to us?

there can be little doubt that Kahless is a religious figure of some sort.  this does not make him a god, although we already know that some Klingons do pray to him (whether that is bcause they think he is a god, or the equivalent of a Christian saint, is unclear)

He is a religious figure because religious beliefs have built up around him.  this is, as someone already stated, something Kahlass himself may not be comfortable with, and its very likely not what he intended.  But it happened and he and the Klingon people are stuck with it.

As for the killing the klingon gods thing... Klingons are pretty straightforward, they say what they think and they dont mince their words.  I think that if they did not beleive in gods, they would say so straight out.  But they dont, they say, "We killed our gods, they were too much trouble"

quite what that means, we may never know for certain, unless the powers that be decide to include Klingon mythology in their next movie (and I really hope they dont as they'd completely mess it up)

how literal the killing of the gods was, is debatable.  Qurgh did make some good points about the likelihood of it being aliens.  However, every culture has stories and we accept that they are parables, that they have meaning other than what is actually said.  We all know the story of Adam and Eve, for example, but of those of us who call ourselves christians, how many of us actually beleive they were a real man and woman that all of us are descended from?  Not many I bet... but the story still has a meaning and a purpose.  It is the same for the stories of the Klingon gods.  It could well be they are not meant to be taken literally but instead have a meaning and purpose that we humans do not yet know and understand.
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« Reply #49 on: 11 06, 2010, 10:41: AM »

I for one would leave the thread as it is for a couple of reasons. First of all it really has not gone too far off topic. In order to consider if Kahless is a religious figure we have three basic options. First that he is just a warrior and has no religious value. Second that he was a really smart guy who figured out a bunch of stuff and a religion formed up around him. Third that he was in fact or at least became supernatural in nature, and was very much a religious figure.

Now as Klingons, including Kahless) are fictional, and we are merely fans playing the great game. In order to discuss the theoretical options above we must have a frame of reference. As humans that frame of reference is the collective religions (or even the lack thereof) that we have come in contact with in real life. For the most part we use these as comparative sources to illustrate our point of view about Kahless. That this thread organically grew and developed as it did is one of the best things about it.

Sure, by all means lets get back on track, but all the posts together show the level of thought that we put into this discussion and I thing are of at least some value to this debate. Even the one I disagree with. I think to break off a few posts into a non Klingon theological discussion might just kill both threads. One of the best things about the KIF is the academic discussions that happen here, that would not even get out of the gate elsewhere.
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