Earlier tonight I was watching a BBC4 documentary which explored some of the effects science fiction has had on modern society. One interviewee described what he saw as the impressive moral values of Star Trek: tolerance of other races and kindness towards all are important aspects of the show. I knew that this wasn’t surprising as Gene Roddenberry was both an atheist and humanist, and the Star Trek universe is very much based around humanist philosophy. The interviewee who mentioned this turned out to be a vicar. Obviously there’s not necessarily any conflict here, and I’m sure I would have much in common with somebody who seemed to be a nice guy. Nevertheless, I can only assume that he would, if questioned, claim something like:
The science fiction universe of Star Trek has explorers traversing the galaxy, using their extensive experience of the universe to reason out peaceful solutions to problems while demonstrating a tolerance and kindness towards all people of all races. Of course, here in the real world I get my moral guidance from a magical being in the sky whose son came back from the dead.
I suppose this is why I find the psychology of religious belief so interesting, as I’d find such a statement very difficult to comprehend.