Friday, August 29, 2008

Dreaming of Battlestar Galactica (and what Secularism has got to do with it)

The second half of the final season of the best thing on TV, Battlestar Galactica, will start January 2009. I am already dreaming about it. Literally, I had a dream about the show last night, in which I was Adama, and had to command my ships against Cylon base ships to find earth. After reaching earth, I led a search effort into the underground caverns where we found human survivors from thousand of years ago. Fascinating dream.

One of the reasons I love BSG is that it can discuss contemporary issues pretty openly, as it is set in the future in an imagined society. So there is no holding back due to concerns of "hurting" certain group of peoples feelings.

In the episode The Woman King, a group of Saggitarians -an imagined nation in BSG, is taken on board the Galactica. Then a deadly epidemic breaks out. However the interpretation of Saggitarians of their holy texts forbids them from using modern medicine. The show opens up with a woman's struggle with her faith and the pain of the possibility of losing his son. As with all BSG episodes, the end decision of what is right and wrong is left to the viewer, and the modern medicine is not left without its share of critique.

Now almost a year after its airing, a similar thing happened in Canada, where a Christian groups refusal to vaccinate may be linked to the recent spread of mumps disease. Without revealing my judgment, I welcome you to watch this great episode and reflect on the border between the religious freedoms and public health.

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