A God Needs Compassion, but Not a Starship: Star Trek's Humanist Theology

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Ultimate Star Trek and Philosophy: Ther Search for Socrates




Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's humanism is well known. While it may be that the inclusion of talk about gods reflected the interest in religion in his own time, the way that the show talked about gods reflects a humanist theology that's at least compatible with, and perhaps an expression of, Roddenberry's own vision. If the relationship of Star Trek to humanism has been unambiguous, its relationship to, and view of, posthumanism is less clear. Posthumanism can refer to the notion that an all-embracing ethos of the kind offered by humanism ought to be reconfigured to incorporate other beings besides terrestrial ones. If compassion is the defining attribute of a god, then Star Trek's humanist theology encourages not only to believe that divinity is a real possibility for humanity in the future, but also to recognize it as a possibility in the present.


Version of record can be found through Wiley.