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Author Topic: Kahless as a religious figure?  (Read 19133 times)
qurgh_
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« Reply #50 on: 11 08, 2010, 04:48: AM »

qoSagh vIparHa'qu'bej! (qoSagh is great)

qoSagh's post is spot on! They are the three main replies to the original topic:

1) Kahless was a pretty good warrior but he has no religious value
2) Kahless was a pretty good warrior and a religion grew around him
3) Kahless is/was a supernatural being and very much a religious figure

I believe that during TOS and the start of TNG the intention of the writers was to tend toward option 1. Once DS9 started, the writers moved slowly to 2 and even hinted towards 3. I believe that 1 should be the canon default within Star Trek, but that doesn't remove the possibility of in-universe groups that believe that 2 or 3 are true.

In the Star Trek universe there are no gods, just really powerful aliens. This doesn't prevent religion within the universe, we've seen it many times on the show, it just says that religion isn't supernatural. Supernatural events don't occur, everything is explainable with science. That's how Roddenberry designed it, in my opinion.

Whether or not the concept of "Supernatural events don't occur, everything is explainable with science" can be extended to our own, real, universe has the ultimate debate between religion and science since Pythagoras said the world wasn't flat. I'd like to believe that humanity will eventually understand more about the universe than I could ever imagine, but that day won't be any time soon.

@Kehlan

I have no issues with anyone believing in anything they want. Be it monotheism or believing that undead aliens created the world out of cats (or that we're all really Klingons), it's all fine by me. I don't apply respect to belief systems though, as I respect individual people based on their actions. A couple of my good friends are pastors and we often have some very good conversation. I respect them very much.

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qoSagh
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« Reply #51 on: 11 08, 2010, 02:58: PM »

Thank you for the compliment.

I think the answer is #2 not #1, because we have seen evidence of a religion that has grown up around Kahless. The monks at Boreth were part of that religion, possibly even most of it, but the religion was there. Based on what we saw in the (non-canon) book Kahless, this religion was not even envisioned by Kahless. Now I must take exception to the idea that TOS is at all relevant to any of this. I have said elsewhere and I will disagree vehemently with canon on this one, Emperor Kahless never appeared in TOS. General Kahless did. While on reference book says they were one in the same, the preponderance of evidence (albeit mostly non or former canon)  clearly goes the other way. It is my belief, especially after what we have seen in Enterprise and what is rumored to be in the upcoming Kitumba, that General Kahless was a 22 or 23 century warrior named after the Great Emperor. So to apply answer #1 to the Emperor based on the actions of the General does not work. We have seen nothing that implies answer #3 has ever applied.

The universe is a vast place and Star Trek, even outside of canon, has not explored it all. So we really can not authoritatively say that there are no gods or religions there. Roddenberry was an atheist, and as such spend a great deal of time reminding the viewers that all religion was just primitive people thinking a special rock made the sun rise and fall. Then the federation would ride in on their white steeds and rescue them from their sad little belief systems. While TOS started this pattern, it was really well developed in TNG.

A truly open mind must admit at least the possibility that science along with everything else was created by God. Otherwise we place an artificial limit on that future potential understanding. I to think there is more to be discovered and learned, but like the babel fish, what if that more is absolute proof of God, would you have us take a step back to the last godless point and stop learning simply because the result was not what you expected or wanted?

I rarely discuss my personal religion in Klingon circles, mostly because I have found that it is not a welcome topic. However who I am is largely based on my upbringing, whi9ch although not as much as some, included religious instruction. It is this real life person who sought out Klingon fandom and ended up developing characters like qoSagh and Beragha. One reason why I find it so hard to switch between posting in character and out of character is that I play all my characters based on my opinions of Klingons. Those opinions are based on who I am and how I respond to the Klingons we have seen in all the various media. So while you say you have no issues with anyone believing what they want, I would bet you would have an issue with my beliefs which are likely very similar to Kehlan's. However it is impossible to think that qoSagh vIparHa'qu'bej without realizing that qoSagh is made up by and of a real person, who subscribes to a real religion revealed by the real God. Such things can not be detached from our personalities. As I said before that is why I would leave this thread as is. The various arguments about Kahless would not work without the supporting data, which comes from who we are in real life.
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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« Reply #52 on: 11 08, 2010, 07:17: PM »

The Kahless seen in the original series, may very well have been the same Kahless... or at least, Captain Kirk's idea of who or what Kahless was.  If I remember rightly, (and Ive not seen it for years) the bad guys in that episode were taken from Kirk's mind.  So what we saw was Kahless as Kirk, with his limited access to Klingon stories and legends, would have seen him.

qosagh's option number two, is what Ive been trying to say... Kahless as an ordinary man (ordinary in that he was not a god, but a mortal Klingon male), albeit a powerful, charismatic man who through design or accident became a great leader and role model and about whom, a religious movement built up after his death, maybe even before his death although I do not think he would have encouraged that or have been comfortable with it.
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qoSagh
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« Reply #53 on: 11 09, 2010, 02:30: PM »

Although this gets away from the religion topic, and I have posted it elsewhere, the idea that Kirk had limited knowledge of Klingons has since been refuted by Enterprise and almost by the new movie. The idea that the current Captain of the Enterprise (Kirk) would not have access to all the logs of a previous Captain (Archer) is just plain dumb. The only reference of the two being the same comes from a reference book published prior to Enterprise and it was written by the Okudas, who were graphic designers not script writers. The two had very different personalities. The idea that a religion like that that formed around Emperor Kahless could have formed up around General Kahless is a stretch.
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« Reply #54 on: 07 03, 2011, 09:27: AM »

Although this gets away from the religion topic, and I have posted it elsewhere, the idea that Kirk had limited knowledge of Klingons has since been refuted by Enterprise and almost by the new movie. The idea that the current Captain of the Enterprise (Kirk) would not have access to all the logs of a previous Captain (Archer) is just plain dumb. The only reference of the two being the same comes from a reference book published prior to Enterprise and it was written by the Okudas, who were graphic designers not script writers. The two had very different personalities. The idea that a religion like that that formed around Emperor Kahless could have formed up around General Kahless is a stretch.

Okay, Kirk had access to Archer's logs about Kahless. What would make Kirk believe what the enemy of the Federation believes about their greatest philosopher or god or what have you? Federation propaganda could very well have played a part in how he envisioned Kahless, or the fact that Klingons were seen as warmongering, dishonest cowards by the citizens of the Federation in the 2200's would lend people to believe that the one being that they all revere the most would be just like that or even worse. The Vulcans followed the teachings of their greatest philosopher and try to emulate the things he taught, so believing that the Klingons would be the same way with their greatest philosopher is not much of a stretch. Even the humans have a similar arrangement with Zephram Cochrane. They all believe him to be a curious genius who just wants to explore and understand everything and they likewise tend to be that way, with most humans idolizing him (even though their view of him doesn't match reality). In real life, we've seen plenty of examples of propaganda during wartime that shapes one's impressions of the people with which one's nation is at war. The World War I posters depicting Germans as near subhuman savages bent on relentless destruction, urging the viewer/reader to join the army and "Beat back the Huns!" So Kirk, who was always very distrustful of Klingons and saw them as vicious cutthroats, no better than glorified pirates, would likely not believe this hooey about Kahless being a courageous and honorable man who taught honesty, honor and respect and lived his life accordingly. He would see him as a brutal tyrant who would cause any amount of suffering to keep his race at the top, and himself at the top of that.


Pictured: Kirk's view of Kahless
« Last Edit: 07 03, 2011, 11:26: PM by El Payaso Malo » Logged

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qurgh_
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« Reply #55 on: 11 07, 2011, 04:56: PM »

It's been a while since anyone posted to this thread, but I have new information on the topic from the introduction of paq'batlh: The Klingon Epic that I thought might add to the conversation:

Quote from: Marc Okrand-paq'batlh
The figure of Kahless has had a profound impact on Klingon culture. His teachings of honor and tradition form the basis of modern Klingon philosophy and culture. Kahless is still worshiped as a semi-divine figure by the Klingons of today. The stories of Kahless are known across the Klingon Empire, passed down from generation to generation, reminding the Klingon people of what they are and whence they came.
In Klingon culture Kaghess figures both in a legendary and historical context, and these two personas tend to merge in the manner in which he is approached in Klingon texts. Kahless the legendary figure is possibly the more prolific of the two. As such he has taken on a semi-divine status incomparable to any other figure in Klingon culture. The Klingons stopped worshiping supernatural deities at some point in their history. By doing so the Klingons took responsibility for their own existence and rid themselves of any external authoritative power

Marc then goes on to talk about the paq'batlh itself:

Quote from: Marc Okrand-paq'batlh
There is a general misunderstanding surrounding the paq'batlh as being a Klingon Bible or Qu'ran, containing a coherent set of rules by which one ought to abide. However, the paq'batlh as transmitted through it's textual tradition is a collection of stories recounting the life and deeds of Kahless the Unforgettable without any supplementary analysis or formulation of a clear code of conduct. The deeds of Kahless provide a level of moral guidance for Klingon society without being explicitly moralistic. Every Klingon should draw his or her own conclusions from Kahless's deeds, and carries the responsibility of finding a personal way of applying these conclusions to his or her own existence. So Kahless the legend has a sustained, almost personalized role in Klingon culture, guiding warriors through life to the gates of the Klingon Valhalla, Sto-vo-kor (Suto'vo'qor), which he guards.

From this, I would compare Kahless to someone like Buddha. A person who was known to exist and who's life is studied and revered for what he taught through his action as opposed to a figure who simply gave out rules that are followed without discussion because they came from a higher source (ie Kahless was made into a semi-divine entity by his followers over the years, instead of directly claiming divinity (Jesus) or divine inspiration for this actions (Mohammed/Moses/Joseph Smith/etc)).

If you want to get a copy of the paq'batlh for your own studies, you can head over to http://www.uitgeverij.cc/publications/paqbatlh/
« Last Edit: 12 05, 2011, 08:23: PM by qurgh_ » Logged

qoSagh
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« Reply #56 on: 11 08, 2011, 10:00: PM »

I love rehashing old topics.

Well the reason I think that Federation propaganda would be somewhat limited in regards to Emperor Kahless is simply the age he lived in. By the time Klingons and Humans meet this is a very long time ago. By the time Humans learn of Klingon legends they have already met and dealt with numerous Klingons and have formed opinions of those they know. For that matter they have likely formed opinions about those that they do not know also. However even those Klingons that do not follow the ways of Kahless and may have a less reverent opinion of his stories still are unlikely to dispute the stories themselves. Likely the only thing to be disputed are the historical or scientific facts surrounding those stories. The stories that humans would have heard may come with cometary but are likely unchanged from the original.

Now this new book does indeed shed some light on a couple of things, some of which fly in the face of the script writers. I think that is actually a good thing. Too often writers trek writers use aliens (including Klingons) to show how all religion is stupid and the members of said religion are doubly so. This was very prevalent in TOS and remains although often in a softer delivery in TNG & DS9. So in order to use very thinly veiled allegory, they made Kahless into a Christ like figure. This I think ws both for the reason I just gave but also out of laziness. In the book Kahless by Michael Jan Friedman, he just took a viking story and changed the names of people and places to something Klingon sounding. Really nothing new is created in either process. The end result is Klingons being rather two dimensional counterparts to whatever group they are copied from. This is what lead to Klingons as glorified pirates.

I am glad to see the paq'batlh being specifically said to not be a Klingon bible. I think the best and most creative angle is to create something and let it stand on its own. However this is the most difficult and to some extend comparisons are inevitable. Yet when Kahless is copied from a specific religious figure it is hard to debate his status without also copying that from the figure he is copied from. This thread has done a good job of fixing that, even when so much of our source material is tainted.
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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« Reply #57 on: 11 12, 2011, 05:22: AM »

Very interesting topic.. I would agree with qurgh.. I view Kahless as a Buddha like person who learned enlightenment and taught what he had learned to his followers..
The followers then created a quasi religion around his teachings..

It's been a while since anyone posted to this thread, but I have new information on the topic from the introduction of paq'batlh: The Klingon Epic that I thought might add to the conversation:

Quote from: Marc Okrand-paq'batlh
The figure of Kahless has had a profound impact on Klingon culture. His teachings of honor and tradition form the basis of modern Klingon philosophy and culture. Kahless is still worshiped as a semi-divine figure by the Klingons of today. The stories of Kahless are known across the Klingon Empire, passed down from generation to generation, reminding the Klingon people of what they are and whence they came.
In Klingon culture Kaghess figures both in a legendary and historical context, and these two personas tend to merge in the manner in which he is approached in Klingon texts. Kahless the legendary figure is possibly the more prolific of the two. As such he has taken on a semi-divine status incomparable to any other figure in Klingon culture. The Klingons stopped worshiping supernatural deities at some point in their history. By doing so the Klingons took responsibility for their own existence and rid themselves of any external authoritative power

Marc then goes on to talk about the paq'batlh itself:

Quote from: Marc Okrand-paq'batlh
There is a general misunderstanding surrounding the paq'batlh as being a Klingon of Klingon Bible or Qu'ran, containing a coherent set of rules by which one ought to abide. However, the paq'batlh as transmitted through it's textual tradition is a collection of stories recounting the life and deeds of Kahless the Unforgettable without any supplementary analysis or formulation of a clear code of conduct. The deeds of Kahless provide a level of moral guidance for Klingon society without being explicitly moralistic. Every Klingon should draw his or her own conclusions from Kahless's deeds, and carries the responsibility of finding a personal way of applying these conclusions to his or her own existence. So Kahless the legend has a sustained, almost personalized role in Klingon culture, guiding warriors through life to the gates of the Klingon Valhalla, Sto-vo-kor (Suto'vo'qor), which he guards.

From this, I would compare Kahless to someone like Buddha. A person who was known to exist and who's life is studied and revered for what he taught through his action as opposed to a figure who simply gave out rules that are followed without discussion because they came from a higher source (ie Kahless was made into a semi-divine entity by his followers over the years, instead of directly claiming divinity (Jesus) or divine inspiration for this actions (Mohammed/Moses/Joseph Smith/etc)).

If you want to get a copy of the paq'batlh for your own studies, you can head over to http://www.uitgeverij.cc/publications/paqbatlh/

As for the paq'batlh.. I will have to get a copy and read it to see how it differs from the one I created years ago.. and can be found
Here


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« Reply #58 on: 04 15, 2013, 10:57: PM »

i was slightly creeped out when you asked if anyone on here worshiped Kahless. he is not even a god. he is more like budha then a god of any type   Cheesy

and he is a religious figure. at least as much as budha is one  cool

[EDIT: Merged Double Post   - Klythe]
« Last Edit: 04 16, 2013, 02:36: AM by Klythe » Logged
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