My Neighbour: The Universal Question of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Posted: March 27, 2018 by Ty in My Neighbour
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is one of those shows. Moving aside from what you believe about the controversy around it appearing as Babylon 5 (uber-geeks like me get it) or the Avery Brooks could not have a shaved head for a few seasons out of fear fans would see him only as Hawk (Spenser for Hire). It is a show that should be contemplated during Holy Week (and Lent) or really can be used to create a youth group exploration of faith/religion/spirituality/ethics across labels.

How did this happen? trials-and-tribble-ations-07

It is set on a space station that was once used as a key of an occupying species (Cardassians) over an entire planet and species (Bajoran). When the occupation ends, the Federation comes in to aid the Bajorans in rebuilding, claiming the symbol of occupation and re-igniting it as one of hope. There is an intricate religious system on Bajor that sustained the resistance, it is based around the Roman Catholic catechism is you watch closely, but is quite universal. A wormhole opens to a new quadrant, it is seen by believers as a Celestial Temple, with the “wormhole aliens/shape shifters” that exist within seen as Prophets. The Bajoran religion grew out of pantheistic roots to the belief in the tangible Prophets and Pa Wraith demons that were active before the occupation, and are active again. ds93

Commander Benjamin Sisko’s first contact with the Prophets brings him to the intersection of Star Fleet Prime Directive and those he is aiding’s religious beliefs as Sisko becomes The Emissary.

That is enough of an ethical discourse. Throughout though the show looks at race relations; in one episode of time travel it looks at the battle for equality within 20th century America. There is another when as Emissary, Sisko is left on the cusp of death, and his son, Jake, must wrestle through the ethical challenges of medically assisted death outside and inclusive of the ethical foundations he knows as a Federation citizen and the role/beliefs his father had been developing around his life as Emissary.

What is using God’s name in vein? For too long we have said its using God’s name as a swear, this is pure bullocks… it is using God’s name to justify your actions that are wrong (contrary to Love) or it is using God’s name/blessings in your life for your own personal gain instead of just being in awe of the love that has come.
This confirmation lesson was brought to you by the letter L for Love like Jesus, and the number 19 (cause 12 close men, and 7 close women=19, Jesus original inner circle).

-Facebook thought circa 2010

 

There is also the touch on genetic (eugenic) engineering, with Dr. Bashir and the illegal enhancements his parents put him through. But also the quandary that because he could “pass” he was allowed a life. While those that could not were institutionalized. A great allegory to the debate/historic throwback/current existence of persons with disabilities.

The underlying story of transformation of the Ferengi Family and Rules of Acquisition in Quark, Rom and Nog as they become more involved with the Federation. The guard of the “other” being let down. But the tiny ripple effect as the curve ball of the misogynistic capitalist species becomes shook to its core when their Mother decides she should wear clothes, and… make her own money.ds9

Worf coming to grips with being a father, and that his son, needs to be affirmed for who he is, not chase who his father thinks he should be to save his life during the Dominion War.

Love—in all its forms. From Garrick’s (Cardassian tailor/Obsidian order trained killer) fawning love of afar from Bashir. To Worf and Dax (a Trill, with many lifetimes lived), to Kira (a Bajoran survivor) and her love for Odo (a shapeshifter alien) and his love for her. To the argument of what is life, with Vic the hologram becoming sentient. To Sisko working through the grief of losing his wife at Wolf 359 (when Picard was a Borg), and finding love a new. To the unlikely friendship of Nog and Jake that shows being best friends can transcend any barriers. To the Orb journey and did Kira’s mother love Gul Dukat (the lead Cardassian of the occupation?)

The Dominion War story arc that creates the ethical debate of war, invasion, how far will you go, what are ethics in war, blindly following an ideology, why the young are first drafted, fear, death, loss, grief, how allies are chosen…but also the role religion and belief play in the outplay…also in the increasing rise of the story line through their final season to the conclusion that was the ultimate story of redemption, where the answer of the whole occupation of, where were the Prophets? Is finally answered.

If you have seen the series, you may seen the bread crumbs I have laid out. If you have not, I do not want to provide spoilers, but it is well worth exploring. At the least for great writing, characters and science fiction. At most, it is a useful tool for discourse, exploration and growth.

For the show truly challenges the answer to the question:

Who is My neighbour?

Is truly universal…

(Star Trek Deep Space Nine, available for purchase on DVD, Blu-Ray, borrow from a public library, or stream on Netflix)

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