Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gaius Baltar is Not Jesus

NOTE: If you haven't watched the first four episodes of Battlestar Galactica and don't want to be spoiled, please read no further.

I had a comment on my previous BSG post (if you could call it a full post) from Kat Coble about my thoughts on what the show is doing with the religious aspect. Kat herself has posted some thoughts which I think are well worth reading.

A couple of years ago, I pointed out that the current iteration of BSG has added religion as a facet of the show, where the Colonials (good guys) are polytheists, modeled after (or modeling, depending on if you think the show is in our past or our future) the Greek pantheon and the Cylons (bad guys) are monotheists. In the show's current season (the fourth and final) traitor Gaius Baltar has become a primary evangelist for monotheism, gathering to himself followers, many of them nubile young women who like the chance to "experience" the love that is Gaius Baltar. At any rate, in the last episode, Baltar was beaten bloody as he preached a message of God's love and acceptance for people and that because God loves them, they are all perfect.

Do I think that the producers and writers of BSG are trying to accurately represent Christianity. No, not any more than they are trying to accurately represent the worship of the Greek pantheon. I think to most of them, the two are equal, quaint superstitions. It's just that one is still active. I think the parallels are interesting and it can certainly make it difficult to not sympathize with some of the Cylon's motives, even if I can't with their actions to support those motives. To me, the religion aspect of the entire show as been a great addition to the overall "mythology" of the show. Do I think some aspects of the Cylons' attempts to spread "God's love" are similar to some of what Christianity has done historically? Perhaps, but what I also hope is that people will watch and recognize the differences between fact and fiction. For myself, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what they do with this in the future episodes.

4 comments:

PatricktheRogue said...

"I think to most of them, the two are equal, quaint superstitions. It's just that one is still active."
-Exactly. I have yet to see a good explanation from a Christian as to why so many aspects of their faith are adopted from other sources, that would go a long way to convincing those of us who agree with the show's writers.

Ben Dench said...

I think Baltar is an intentional re-imagining of Jesus. The biggest confirmation of this IMO is the fact that they compared his cult to Mithraism, Christianity's lead rival during its ascent to popularity in Rome. I think the monotheistic Cylons versus the polytheistic humans is also an intentional reference to Nietzsche's discussion of Master Morality (exemplified by the Romans) versus Slave Morality (exemplified by the Jews). I explain this better in my post on the subject:

http://bendench.blogspot.com/2008/04/nietzsche-jesus-and-battlestar.html

Thanks for posting on this topic!
Ben Dench

Burro said...

Watch Season 4, specifically Episode 4 and one may be reminded of a time when Jesus stormed (can I use stormed and not be criticized) a temple of non-Christian worshipers....

Daniel Rusek said...

Ben Dench, I would very much like to read that blog post, but it seems that its closed to readers. Can you send it to my email rusek.dan@gmail.com in case that its no longer possible to view online?

I will very much appreciate it


Daniel


Re:
Blogger Ben Dench said...
I think Baltar is an intentional re-imagining of Jesus. The biggest confirmation of this IMO is the fact that they compared his cult to Mithraism, Christianity's lead rival during its ascent to popularity in Rome. I think the monotheistic Cylons versus the polytheistic humans is also an intentional reference to Nietzsche's discussion of Master Morality (exemplified by the Romans) versus Slave Morality (exemplified by the Jews). I explain this better in my post on the subject:

http://bendench.blogspot.com/2008/04/nietzsche-jesus-and-battlestar.html

Thanks for posting on this topic!
Ben Dench

3/22/2009 11:18 PM

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