This weekend the Husband and I went to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at the local theatre pub. I hadn't seen it on a big screen since I was seven. I can still remember waiting in line with my parents for over an hour for tickets. It may have been the first time I ever cried at a movie. This was a great nostalgia moment for me.
I got to thinking about how much Star Trek has meant to me and shaped my life. I have been a Trekkie since before I was old enough to go to school. There is actually an embarrassing Kirk-related kindergarten story about this. I probably wouldn't be a Humanist and I definitely would not be a UU without the lessons Trek taught me.
Star Trek taught me to accept different points of view for being as valid as my own. It taught me to stand up for the rights of everyone, but that no one needs to be right all of the time when it comes to matters of opinion. People are generally the best guide to how they live their own lives. I learned that sexuality is normal and healthy, and that is OK to be a precocious kid who loves science. Trek taught both the beauty and value of reason, and its limits. I learned that there may be other types or expressions of consciousness, but they don't have to be supernatural. It is possible to have a valuable spiritual practice that does not involve chalking everything up to, "because God said".
I know that Gene Rodenberry was an avowed atheist, and he would have been horrified to know that his creation helped to push me in a more religious direction, but I truly believe I would not have gravitated towards UU'ism without it.
I recently introduced my girls to Deep Space 9. The older stuff is a hard sell for them. They may never love Star Trek like I do, but I want to at least expose them to it. It did more to shape my personal ethics than anything else I can think of and I hope it will be a great guide for them.