When I was young I grew up watching Star Trek. One of my earliest memories was sitting next to my father on the floor watching the awesomeness that is Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). I had only a basic understanding of what I was seeing, being that I was only 5 or 6, but it was enough to captivate me. Each week I’d watch, learn, and be inspired. The characters became like fIgures from ancient myths. You had the impossibly old and wise teacher, the artificial being striving to become human, lovers torn apart and reunited, the warrior outcast who finds a family, hell, even a blind man that can see! And of course, a powerful but companionate leader. I followed them all for years, never missing an episode. Then came a fateful day when their adventures came to an end. “All Good Things…”, the last episode of TNG to air. It was a very emotional experience for me, bringing me to tears. I then realized what had happened.
I had a religious experience. It was all so clear now. Star Trek was my faith.
I was no longer a Trekkie, but rather a Trekkist, with a new religion, Trekkism. I never grew up with organized religion, despite the fact I was baptized Catholic, so I never understood what it was like to connect to a higher power. In that moment of revelation, I now knew why so many people find religion to be so appealing. The overwhelming feeling of safety, comfort, and guidance is highly desirable. Watching Star Trek: TNG opened my eyes to this, but it made me wonder. Where did it all begin?
My father watched the first episode of Star Trek on his small black and white TV on September 8th, 1966 (He still thinks it is the best sci-fi on TV). This day is in fact the holiest day in our religion, not unlike Christmas is to the Christian faith. My exposure to Star Trek, the original series (TOG) was after watching TNG. By that point, it had been in syndication for years and was played nightly on my local channel 36 at 10pm. So staying up well past my bedtime, I began to engulf myself in what we now call the Book of Roddenbery.
Comparing Star Trek to Christianity, you could compare Star Trek, TOS to the Old Testament. Whereas Star Trek: TNG and the following series would fulfill the role of the New Testament. JJ Abrams’ recent continuation of the franchise might be confused as a breakaway sect, but that would be a mistake. It’s clearly more of a retranslation, something not uncommon in other regions. I break them down into the following “Books”, differentiated by their underlying philosophies and authors responsible for their creation:
- The Book of Rodenberry – Star Trek, TOS/ Star Trek 1-6
- The Book of Berman – The Next Generation/Deep Space 9/Voyager/Enterprise/Star Trek 7-10
- The Book of Abrams – Star Trek (2009)/Star Trek Into Darkness
Each represent a different phase in the evolution and development of Trekkism. While
the Book Berman is the most extensive, don’t underestimate the power the others hold.
As time has progressed Star Trek has, too. The series has introduced new captains, new ships, new challenges. Yet the core principles remain the same:
- All humanity must unite to survive in a utopian-esc world.
- Money only breeds greed.
- War is only needed to combat tyranny.
- Peace, tolerance and technological advancement are our destiny.
While these principles are noble in their own right, it has often needed a voice to give them true meaning, a prophet or messenger: a person who appears or is mentioned in all of the religious scripture a religion might have. In the case of Trekkism no other stands out more clearly than his holiness, Spock.
Spock is without doubt the voice of everything Trekkism stands for. He represents the best in all of us and clearly delivers a message in all he says. He, thoughout the franchise, has maintained a large and loyal following that looks to his interpretation of long held beliefs. Spock has even died and has risen from the grave! And his primary word of Logic is conveyed in a strangely compassionate way. If that doesn’t constitute a holy figure, then I don’t know what does.
Still the greatest thing about Trekkisum is that by its very principles, it must be open to all other theological ideas and ways of thought. So you can be a part of any other religion you want and still be a Trekkist. If you have never seen the show, enlighten yourself and join the faith. Also be sure to pick up a copy of our holy book (The Star Trek Encyclopedia). You may also wish to follow our Ten-Forward Commandments in order to live a life dedicated to Trek.
Follow these principles and I can guaranty you will “Live long and Prosper”.
- Thou shalt attend a Convention within one’s life.
- Thou shalt not take the name of Spock in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Day of the First Broadcast.
- Honor your father and mother and non-gender specific parent or omnipotent being.
- Thou shalt not Kill, thou shalt use Stun setting instead.
- Thou shalt not watch other Sci-fi at the same time as Star Trek.
- Thou shalt not pirate Star Trek.
- Thou shalt not side against Star Trek when comparing it to other Sci-fi.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s girlfriend (assuming they neighbor is lucky enough to have one) .
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s Props, Replicas, or Cosplay Uniforms.