The Souls of Cylons

Ron Moore, executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, talks about the theology behind the Sci Fi Channel series.

BY: Interview by Ellen Leventry

 

Continued from page 2

Many of the episodes deal with religion very heavily. Why do you think people will watch a sci-fi show that involves a lot of religious themes, but might not watch a "Joan of Arcadia" type show?

I think it's like a lot of things in science fiction. People are a lot more comfortable allowing us to go into areas that are controversial or charged. People put in this automatic filter. It's why the original Star Trek series was able to deal with things like racism in the middle of the 1960's on primetime television.

I think it's like a lot of things in science fiction. People are a lot more comfortable allowing us to go into areas that are controversial or charged. People put in this automatic filter. It's why the original Star Trek series was able to deal with things like racism in the middle of the 1960's on primetime television.

It's all pretend and it gives people permission not to get pissed off.

Do your own religious views shape the story lines?

I'm an Irish Catholic, not practicing. It probably just reflects my interest in my movement from Catholicism to atheism to agnosticism to interest in Eastern religions. I think the show is a reflection of my acknowledgement that faith and religion are a part of the human experience, even if I'm not quite clear on exactly what it all means and what I truly believe. The most direct reflection of me in the show is this idea that when the Cylons became self-aware, when they became sentient, when they became people, they began to ask themselves the existential questions: "Why am I here? What is this all about? Is this all that I am? Is there something more?"

I'm an Irish Catholic, not practicing. It probably just reflects my interest in my movement from Catholicism to atheism to agnosticism to interest in Eastern religions. I think the show is a reflection of my acknowledgement that faith and religion are a part of the human experience, even if I'm not quite clear on exactly what it all means and what I truly believe. The most direct reflection of me in the show is this idea that when the Cylons became self-aware, when they became sentient, when they became people, they began to ask themselves the existential questions: "Why am I here? What is this all about? Is this all that I am? Is there something more?"

My view is that that's fundamental to a thinking person. And that inevitably leads you to questions of faith and religion and "what will happen to me when I die?"

In "Galactica 1980," we actually meet the "Imperious Commander" of the Cylons who turns out to be the Devil in the guise of a humanoid. Will we ever meet the maker of the Cylons in this version?

I think if we ever found an answer to why the Cylons have a god or who the god is--you know, the guy steps out from behind the curtain--I think you'd be disappointed. They're in an interesting place in that their faith is as legitimate as the human faith. Human beings have souls given by the gods, and Cylons have a soul given by their one true god and that has to be just as valid. That means there is a plan for their soul and something for them after they die too. It's a fundamental element of their faith.

I think if we ever found an answer to why the Cylons have a god or who the god is--you know, the guy steps out from behind the curtain--I think you'd be disappointed. They're in an interesting place in that their faith is as legitimate as the human faith. Human beings have souls given by the gods, and Cylons have a soul given by their one true god and that has to be just as valid. That means there is a plan for their soul and something for them after they die too. It's a fundamental element of their faith.

There's been a lot of chatter on the message boards about the spiritual character of the show, with many people saying they enjoy it.

It's fun to do a science-fiction series that isn't just dealing with secular matters. I'm really glad people are responding to it.

It's fun to do a science-fiction series that isn't just dealing with secular matters. I'm really glad people are responding to it.

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