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We see that in DS9 the Bajoran religion is alive and kicking, but I've never seen any mention of a religion that came from Earth, or one practiced by humans.

Are any of Earth's religions still practiced in the current setting for Star Trek in the 23rd 24th century, or have they all died out? If they have 'died out', is this ever mentioned?

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What about evolving? Would you count a religion that changed over the time as dead? –  bitmask Mar 21 '12 at 20:47
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@SachinShekhar to my knowledge TNG, DS9 and Voy' all take part in the 23rd century, but I may be off. –  Pureferret Mar 21 '12 at 21:33
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It actually all takes place in 23xx, which is the 24th century. See the timeline on Wikipedia –  bitmask Mar 21 '12 at 21:41
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"Why would God need a starship?" –  fluffy Mar 22 '12 at 5:43
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@fluffy Islamic texts make one or two references which may be interpreted as advocating space exploration. So the answer is: To get His people into space. –  Pureferret Mar 22 '12 at 8:11
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5 Answers

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I can't give you a page or a reference or link, but I can tell you this was told to me by Ronald D. Moore, under a professional situation.

When I was pitching to Star Trek: The Next Generation I had a couple stories that dealt with the effects on the Enterprise crew due to the religious beliefs of other beings. In one case, I had a story I pitched about an off-shoot of the Betazoid race I temporarily called the Gammazoids who were very religious and superstitious and considered Troi, for several reasons, an abomination.

Ron's response was that something to the effect that (and this is NOT an exact quote), "In Gene Roddenberry's universe, people will have outgrown religion and the problems it causes and live with the need for it." There was a little more to it than that, but that summarizes it. Now, remember, Ron went on to do Battlestar Galactica and has shown he sees the importance of religion as a motivating factor in human behavior. I think that shows he was not talking about his views as a writer, but was speaking specifically of the "rules" of the Trek universe.

Roddenberry did not have a kind view of religion and on that story pitch (and one other) Ron was clear to draw that line and say there was no religion -- not only for our characters, but for other species as well. Roddenberry wanted a universe devoid of religion.

However, in Star Trek (the original), we do see in Balance of Terror there is a ship's chapel, but we see it used for a wedding service and we don't see any hint of it being used for worship. We do see, in Bread and Circuses, a parallel Earth where Rome never fell and Christianity is just starting to spread in their equivalent of our 20th century, but none of the crew members on the Enterprise claim any affiliation with Christianity when religion is discussed.

But before anyone gets going on Sto-vo-kor or anything else like that, I'll point out that I was pitching before Gene Roddenberry died, and for reference, he died just about the time Unification, Part I aired. Note that after Roddenberry's death, we did learn about some Klingon beliefs (including Sto-vo-kor) and we also saw, in Deep Space Nine that the Bajoran religious beliefs played a major part of the storylines and, as pointed out in the other answer, Chakotay's Native American spiritual beliefs were referenced in Voyager.

So, while Gene Roddenberry didn't want religion as a part of, at least, Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was discussed in one episode of the original series and there was a ship's chapel (which we only saw used for a wedding). We also see that after Roddenberry died, while Earth religions were avoided, religion did start to enter into the storylines after Roddenberry's death.

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Religious themes and overtones existed in several TOS episodes, so it seems odd that it would be Gene who didn't want religious focused episodes in TNG. –  Xantec Aug 24 '12 at 16:02
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Don't try to understand Gene Roddenberry. Trust me on this one. I didn't see much of the inner workings of Trek, but enough to see there were a number of contradictions emanating from on high. –  Tango Aug 24 '12 at 23:30
    
“an off-shoot of the Betazoid race I temporarily called the Gammazoids” — possible alternative name: the Gimpazoids. Just throwing that out there. –  Paul D. Waite 17 hours ago
    
This seems to make sense to me. "In Gene Roddenberry's universe, people will have outgrown religion and the problems it causes and live with the need for it." In other words, though religion has largely been outgrown as a necessity for civilization, the individual need for religion is still accepted, if not openly discussed. Like many things that exist and aren't objected to in Trek, it'd be like someone making a big deal today about wearing a purple shirt because it's reserved for nobility - nobody even remembers today that there was ever any conflict about it. –  Zibbobz 10 hours ago
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Religious belief/observance was clearly NOT widely practiced, and was negatively viewed by many.

  • Picard exibited typically strong atheism - exhibited for example in TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers"; I'd call it "militant atheism" - he refers to religion in pretty strong negative terms:

    "Horrifying... Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No!"

The reasoning behind that is pretty clearly explained in Tango's excellent answer.


But there were some minor indications that religion was not 100% dead:

  • They had Christmas celebrations

    n 2266, a Christmas party was held for personnel in the science labs of the Federation starship Enterprise. Captain James T. Kirk made an appearance, and ended up spending a romantic evening with Helen Noel after they met, danced and he talked about the stars. (TOS: "Dagger of the Mind")

  • Religious elements in weddings

    At her wedding, phaser specialist Angela Martine genuflected toward the altar of the ship's chapel, (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

    In DS9: "Penumbra", Kasidy Yates mentions that her mother would prefer her to be married by a minister.

  • If you include non-canon (novels), there was at least one Rabbi mentioned:

    David Gold, captain of the USS da Vinci and his wife, Rabbi Rachel Filman, in the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers series identify as Jewish, as do their descendants.

  • In 22d century, Dr. Phlox observs Buddhist monks in a monastery (ENT: "Cold Front")

  • Kirk has said "mankind has no need for Gods. We find the one quite adequate." (TOS: "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

More details can be gleaned from the links at Human Religion@Memory Alpha

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Interesting point about Christmas. I tend to forget things like that because I know many people who celebrate "Secmas," in other words, they enjoy the secular aspects of Christmas, but hold none of the associated religious beliefs. –  Tango Mar 22 '12 at 2:47
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I was just reading TVTropes the other day (WARNING! I only just escaped by moving to StackExchange!), the reliable source that it is, and it mentions that the line about finding "the one quite adequate" was only put in due to executive meddling. –  Kaz Dragon Jun 7 '13 at 14:51
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Data mentions "a celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights" in Data's Day implying that Hinduism is continuing.

However, Christianity does not seem to be faring so well. Katherine Pulaski says, "For much of the history of mankind, the breaking of bread was a sign of friendship and community. Something we have gotten away from in the twenty-fourth century.", in Time Squared.

Perceptive people will realise her knowledge of the purpose of the breaking of bread wasn't that hot, either.

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"Breaking bread" with someone is an English idiom that just means "having a meal with someone", no religious overtones necessary. The difference between "breaking bread" and "breaking of bread" is so slight I would not be surprised that they get combined over 300+ years –  Izkata 20 hours ago
    
@Izkata: you are probably right, your interpretation fits the context better. –  Wikis 19 hours ago
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There are hints throughout the various Star Trek series that religion amongst the Federation worlds is not dead. Indeed, Vulcan as an example has a very strong religious base that is referred to on numerous occasions. As far as earth religions specifically, it has been left quite vague in most instances. The most notable exception I think is Chakotay on Voyager. His native American faith is addressed on multiple occasions, whether you would consider that a religion or not. I can't imagine that it would be the only example of a belief system that survived into the future.

I think this is likely intentional. The two topics that people seem to be the most passionate about are religion and politics and Star Trek would often go out of its way to avoid tackling either one on more than a high level. This despite the fact that they address so many other social issues of the world.

However, I've never seen any canon that directly addresses the question one way or the other.

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I suspected your second paragraph would be true, but the last sentence is what I'm really after. –  Pureferret Mar 21 '12 at 21:35
    
Star Trek would often go out of its way to avoid tackling politics? Did you and I watch different Star Treks? In mirror universe? –  DVK Mar 22 '12 at 0:52
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They did address it from time to time, but I only saw it as a very high level view. Star Trek was much more about social issues, which I view as mostly separate from politics. Yes, politicians use social issues to try and sway us to their side, but I don't view that as the same thing. –  BBlake Mar 22 '12 at 13:32
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Phlox says that he attended mass at St. Peter's in Rome (ENT: "Cold Front"). So Catholicism still exists at that time.

Also, in the animated series, Spock goes back to Vulcan to "honor our gods" as he puts it (TAS: "Yesteryear").

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