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Babylon 5 -- Believers Ep


Amethyst
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I've been watching Babylon 5, season 1 on DVD lately. I haven't seen it in ages and liked most of the eps. But this ep really, really bothered me. It was about an alien couple whose belief system was mirrored from Earth's religious fundies. Their kid had a blockage in his lungs which was easily operable, but due to their religious beliefs, they were going to let him die. Well, the doctor went to Commander Sinclair to request permission to operate. He didn't get it. He operated anyway. The operation was successful, but the parents murdered the kid in the end because they thought he was soulless.

 

And the whole time there was all this pandering, like "who can say if a belief system is false," etc. by various characters. It was like a slap in the face to anyone who would not let a child die because of moronic superstition. Like saying, your beliefs are less important than theirs, and it doesn't matter if they would harm their kids. The belief system can't be considered harmful, even though the kid died. That's what bothered me about the episode. We should be able to say a cult is harmful, especially if a child is killed by it.

 

I have always liked that show for the most part, and I still do. But the message that we shouldn't criticize religion bothers me, to say the least. If we stay silent when the fundies on our own planet commit atrocities in the name of their religion, it'll only encourage violence.

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Although on the surface it may seem like they are advocating the respect of any belief system, I feel the oposite is actually true. It highlights the absoulute moronic ways that fundyism can warp thinking. There may have been people that were "agnostic" in the episode, but I feel most people will pick up on the fact that an innocent child died because of unfounded beliefs of the parents.

 

I know, for me at least, Sci-Fi played a huge role in my deconversion process. There were episodes like Star Trek TNG "Who Watches the Watchers", were Picard was regarded as a god because he could transport, "cure" the dead, and orbit the planet in a spaceship. There was also a episode of Deep Space Nine (can't remember the title, but I think it was in season 1) that was very similar to what you mentioned. A priestess didn't want the federation to use the wormhole because she thought it was made by the gods or was a portal to heaven or something silly like that. She made a huge stink ala Robertson, and had a following of funies IIRC.

 

Episodes like these helped me to see the idiocy of "the only way" and "the chosen people" ways of thinking, because it highlighted the human arrogance and self-centerness we all seem to be born with, but made it appear foolish because it was aliens that had that arrogance, not humans. These episodes made me rethink the myths I was brought up in.

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Interesting point. I don't think sci-fi and fantasy played much of a role in my deconversion, although it did help me realize that if someone could make up a belief system on an alien planet for a book or tv show or movie, someone could have just as easily made up the Bible.

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I have always liked that show for the most part, and I still do. But the message that we shouldn't criticize religion bothers me, to say the least. If we stay silent when the fundies on our own planet commit atrocities in the name of their religion, it'll only encourage violence.

 

One can also see that ep as carrying the message "a fucked-up belief system will ruin literally everything, no matter how much good is done"... :vent:

But I see your point. It's actually a difficult subject.

Technically, none of us can really know whether deities in general do or don't exist. They might just be hiding from us, and honestly, if you were a deity, would you want to have anything to do with a species as strange as we are? ;)

But we can say with confidence that a specific deity or type of deity doesn't exist if its whole definition is logically absurd to the max... like jehoover or allah.

 

 

Although on the surface it may seem like they are advocating the respect of any belief system, I feel the oposite is actually true. It highlights the absoulute moronic ways that fundyism can warp thinking. There may have been people that were "agnostic" in the episode, but I feel most people will pick up on the fact that an innocent child died because of unfounded beliefs of the parents.

 

Yeah, to me at least the complete breakdown of Doc Franklin close to the ep's end, where he just sits there helplessly crying, speaks much louder than any technical "who knows what's true or false?" previously.

Can anyone remain unmoved seeing this?

Oh well, some surely can be. No doubt about that. But I don't see myself as one of them anytime soon.

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