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- "That's the thing about faith... if you don't have it, you can't understand it. If you do, no explanation is necessary."
The Bajoran religion was centered around the Prophets, the Bajoran name for the aliens residing inside the Bajoran wormhole, which the Bajorans believed was the Celestial Temple. Bajorans thought of these aliens as gods and often prayed to them for guidance.(citation needed • edit) They also believed that everything happened for a reason and that starships were guided by the hands of the Prophets while passing through the Bajoran wormhole. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")
Commander Benjamin Sisko was the first man to fly through the newly-opened wormhole. While flying through, he encountered the wormhole aliens which the Bajorans believed to be the Prophets. They spoke to him in enigmatic ways that seemed strangely wise and even prophetic. When the Bajorans learned about Sisko's experience, they identified him with their religion's Emissary.(DS9: "Emissary") For a long time, Sisko remained skeptical of who the aliens were.(citation needed • edit)
The Prophets continued to talk to Sisko and guided him through the Dominion War. They were able to reach him even when he was outside of the wormhole.(citation needed • edit) Eventually, Sisko learned that his mother was a Prophet. Sisko also joined the Prophets. (DS9: "Image in the Sand", "What You Leave Behind")
In 2369, Vedek Winn Adami accused Keiko O'Brien of blasphemy because of her scientific way of teaching knowledge to her students at her school aboard the space station Deep Space 9. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")
The Bajoran wormhole was unknown in the Mirror universe and the Orbs were never sent to Bajor, so there was no worship of the Prophets. The Bajorans of the Mirror Universe did believe in a pantheon of gods and had some form of an organized religion, but the faith was not central to their daily lives. (DS9: "Resurrection")
Over the centuries, a stratified system had developed by which the Bajoran faith was organized.(citation needed • edit) Although the Emissary took precedence above all others, the Kai was the spiritual leader of Bajor, elected from and by the vedeks in the Vedek Assembly. (citation needed • edit) The Assembly ruled alongside the provisional government and its Chamber of Ministers. (citation needed • edit)
Important figures Edit
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Background information Edit
Michael Piller was happy with how Bajoran religion was established on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. "I think that the idea of the Prophets, the prophecies and the Orbs takes Star Trek into the metaphysical world for the first time," he commented. "I think this is something that Gene [Roddenberry] would have loved, had he lived to see it [....] We had a very, very good time exploring that, and I think that we were one of the very few television shows that ventured into spiritual, religious areas. But of course, as long as time has existed, stories about spiritual pursuits, Bible stories, have been great storytelling. And it gave us great themes to explore." (Hidden File 10, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) Even though the Bajoran religion was a contrast to Roddenberry's beliefs (as he was an atheistic, secular humanist), Piller not only expected Roddenberry wouldn't be opposed to the invention of Bajoran religion, he also noted, "He's still with us [mentally] [...] as we think about these conceptual issues." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 20)
Ira Steven Behr appreciated how Bajoran religion was depicted as unusual, compared to the majority of the Federation, in DS9 Season 1 installment "The Storyteller". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 102) Bajoran spirituality was further explored in first season finale "In the Hands of the Prophets". "I think it enables us, as a specific television series, to explore the Bajoran spiritual life, which we haven't done too much of," opined Behr. Regarding how Bajoran religion was developed in "In the Hands of the Prophets", Michael Piller said, "You start to deal with religion in school, school prayer, the Scopes Monkey Trial, and fundamentalism, and it's very thought provoking." Behr expected the Bajoran religion could be written as clashing with the scientific Federation outlook in subsequent episodes "for quite some time." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 56) Indeed, the DS9 writing staff intended to explore the religious aspect of Bajoran culture more in the show's second season. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 108)
The intellectual and philosophical subject matters in Bajoran religion were generally not embraced by viewers of DS9. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 158) Writing about Bajoran religious issues was therefore a struggle, as Ronald D. Moore explained; "Anything having to do with Bajoran religion is always kind of difficult to make interesting and exciting for the audience." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 115)
A DS9 episode which deals with Bajoran religion was Season 3's "Destiny". René Echevarria commented, "It's really interesting regarding the Bajoran religion [...] [and Kira's] beliefs." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 92)
The producers again explored Bajoran religious and spiritual issues in "Accession", an installment of DS9 Season 4. "Every once in a while we've got to revisit that Bajoran religion and make sure that everyone knows that we still care. This was our episode for that purpose," recalled Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 116) Ira Steven Behr noted, "Because of the Bajoran religion, it was a heady show." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 320) The staff writers were able to write "Accession" because they ignored Paramount having advised them that such issues were not what the DS9 audience wanted to see episodes about, though the creative team received no complaints about the installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 55) Still, writing the Bajoran religious and spiritual matters into the episode was considerably difficult. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 115)
By midway through the fourth season, Kira actress Nana Visitor was aware of the Bajoran religion undergoing upheaval. "There's no question that there's some sort of corruption in the Bajoran religion right now," she said. "It's a big political mess, which makes sense considering that Bajor is still coming out of having been under the Occupation." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine, Vol. 16, p. 45)
When DS9: "The Assignment" was in early development, a Bajoran religious holiday was to have been established, celebrated with a party. This idea later became a birthday party, however. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 389)
Much to the surprise of Ira Steven Behr, Bajoran religious aspects of DS9 Season 5 outing "Rapture" proved popular with fans. "They really seemed to take to this, to the spirituality, the faith," Behr related. "There's such a lack of faith in today's society. We're all so desperate to find something to believe in. This is the episode that made me realize just what we had created, in terms of the Bajoran faith and the Emissary. I knew that it was going to become a more and more important part of the show, and that a part of the audience was going to love it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 405)
By having a member of the Cult of the Pah-wraiths stab Sisko in "Image in the Sand", the DS9 writing staff intended to say something about Bajoran religion in general. Explained Ira Behr, "We wanted to show that, like war, religion can be a dangerous thing. We'd spent six years portraying the Bajoran religion, celebrating it, in a way, and establishing that there is something greater than technology. And that's good. But [faith] can be subverted very easily." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 597) Winn actress Louise Fletcher agreed, "The definition of their religion was handed down by mortals to the Bajorans [....] In the hands of a ruthless leader, the will or the words of the Prophets can be perverted or twisted. The people don't have a bible. There's no written word; everything is very hi-tech." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 50)