We know from the question Do Earth religions persist in Star Trek? that Gene Roddenberry wanted the world of Star Trek to be a world that had "outgrown" religion.

However, some Star Trek actors, such as Leonard Nimoy, were actively religious.

Have any of the franchise's cast members publicly disagreed with this theme?

  • 1
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 21:34
  • 2
    @Valorum That seems more like an actor not having issues with the nature of the series.
    – user40790
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 23:19
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    @Valorum That must be the shortest comment ever.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 23:43
  • 3
    – Blackwood
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 1:13
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    Star Trek (in any of its incarnations) didn't really emphasize being anti-religious. There was one TV show that I think was made by the same people as TOS was that aired after TOS went off the air that was blatantly anti-religious. Also Clarke and others. In comparison, Star Trek seemed to avoid attacking religion directly.
    – MikeC
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 0:00

2 Answers 2


It is unlikely that any of the well-known actors made such statements.
Your premise is not entirely correct. Roddenberry's thoughts are well known, but they didn't always translate to the screen. The very post you link to about Earth religions gives several examples of religion/spirituality throughout Trek (mostly from after his death). The producers and writers of Star Trek intentionally kept it secular, but secular doesn't always mean anti-religious. There is a good article about religion in Star Trek at Ex-Astris Scientia.

The strongest irreligious statements I recall are from Captain Picard in "Who Watches the Watchers":

PICARD: "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!"

Patrick Stewart - an atheist and a member of the British Humanist Society - would probably agree with Picard to an extent. He believes in "positive vibes" but doesn't believe in organised religion.

I searched over a dozen actors' public statements to find opinions about religion in general, and cannot see that any of them would have had a problem with the show's philosophy. Most were either atheist, agnostic, or did not publicly speak about their faith at all.

William Shatner is a famous atheist, with many public statements such as:

Emotionally I would like to believe there is a life after death. Intellectually... I cannot accept the idea... as for myself, I have finally come to the conclusion that life is here and now... and nothing more.


Michael Dorn is non-religious:

I haven't really affiliated myself with a specific religion throughout my life...


Walter Koenig on religion:

...there have been more persecution and atrocities committed in the name of religion and religious freedom than anything else.

LeVar Burton was raised catholic but once said "the Roman Catholic Church is evil" and "religion has caused a great deal of harm in world history" (he later apologized).

Others were raised in traditionally religious homes and may have held on to their beliefs, but were never outspoken.

Leonard Nimoy is a known exception. He is well known for his faith, and based the Vulcan salute on a priestly tradition. Even he never expressed discontent that they didn't do more religious stories, or that Trek was somehow anti-religious. He felt that Judaistic traits were well represented in Trek, at least the non-supernatural ones.

If anything, it seems that the top-billed actors were basically all in agreement with Star Trek's message of enlightened, positive humanism without religious influence.

The closest thing to disagreement I could find is in Grace Lee Whitney's autobiography The Longest Trek. She played Yeomen Rand and was a convert to Judaism. In the chapter "The Great Bird of the Galaxy" she wrote about Roddenberry's personal problems with religion, and how that guided the show. That wasn't a complaint though. She identified with and understood where he was coming from.


In the episode, "Who Mourns For Adonis" Kirk gives the line, "Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate."

I read somewhere that this was inserted at the insistence of the producers who wanted to maintain an Abrahamic religion at a minimum. One would also point to the many scenes in the chapel throughout TOS for essentially the same reason.

And then: (source)

"In the 1960s it may not have been opportune to create a decidedly atheist TV show, so Roddenberry may have been forced to drop (anti-)religious references to keep it at least secular."

  • In the episode "Bread and Circuses", there was a reference made to "The Children of the Sun" which confused Spock, but near the end it was realised that it meant to "The Children of the Son", with Kirk commenting "Caesar and Christ. They had them both. And the Word is spreading only now."
    – jim
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 8:37
  • @jim I wonder how space Jesus for space Rome really played with a religious audience. The idea itself would be presumably quite dissonant to an actual christian. Despite Kirk and crew seeming in awe of the idea of a duplicate christiantiy rising - ultimately it is nothing more than another Roman motif - a phase Romans go through. While a Jesus for each planet or a Jesus that goes from one planet to another occurs in science fiction often enough - theologically it is difficult. I recall a story about a starship that frantically goes from planet to planet always just missing Jesus. Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 6:40
  • @lucasbachmann; I can tell you that Pope JPII acknowledged that The Son Of God could do his thing on alien species. He noted that Jesus died for the Sins Of Humanity, and that this might not cover other sentient species. TV regulated christian content pretty heavily. My guess is that this was to avoid the demonstrated displeasure of a heavily christian, even fundamentalist, audience.
    – JohnHunt
    Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 17:47

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