Awesome Comment Roundup

We’re always talking in the podcast about the kick-ass comments that our listeners post here at Damn, we’re lucky you take the time to send us all these great ideas!

I thought I’d take a minute and run down some of my personal favorites from the ones posted (or emailed) in the last few days:

On BSG’sDual Religions

In the last podcast, Audra speculated that BSG’s writers may have drawn a bit from real world religious beliefs in creating the separation of the Cylon and Colonial religions. (If you haven’t heard this yet, it’s right near the end of Podcast #12.) Listener Steve emailed to clarify things a bit:

I just wanted to clarify what Audra was saying about Abraham. Abraham had two sons, one with Hagar and one with Sarah. When Sarah, his wife, got pregnant, Abraham had Hagar and their son Ishmael leave.While they wandered thirsty in the desert, an angel visited Ishmael and Hagar and created an oasis for them. The angel said that Ishmael would be the patriarch of what we now know as Islam. Later another angel reveals to Abraham that his son with Sarah, Isaac, would be the father of Judaism (from which Christianity came). Just thought I’d clarify on what’s going on.

Another listener, Rich, also clarified this point, but took the whole idea a step further:

I definitely think there is something to the “Lord of Kobol who disagreed with the other Lords of Kobol being the Cylon God theory,” and the connection you were making to the histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to the Hebrew Bible, Isaac is the son of Abraham who was destined by God to carry out the legacy of divine favor. The Hebrew Bible says that the other son Ishmael was cast away from Abraham and Sarah with his mother Hagar, and was blessed by God to be the father of a nation. According to the Qur’an, Ishmael was in fact the child of divine favor, who became the ancestor of the Arabic people, from whom the prophet Muhammad emerged in the 7th century. So there is definitely a splintering of the ‘religious family’ in the histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Namely, Judaism and Christianity recognized Isaac, Islam favors Ishmael.

But I wonder if we might look at this a slightly different way: In Judaism and Islam, “the God” of both faiths actually began as one deity among many in the historical development of both religions. Consider this: The Hebrew word for ‘god/deity’ is “El.” Before there was a Judaism per se, there was a deity known as “El,” who was one among many. Some of the other Ancient Near Eastern lords included such figures as Ba-al, Chemosh, Asherah, etc. The Hebrew people (pre-established Judaism) belonged to the Ancient Near Eastern neighborhood and would have definitely known of these gods. Some scholars suggest that “El” was considered chief of the gods in the Ancient Near East, sometimes being called El Shaddai (God Most High). But “El” eventually became known as the ‘one true God’ of Israel. And, according to the Hebrew Bible, we even learn that “El’s” name is YHWH, or Yahewh (meaning “to be,” or “I AM”).

The same sort of progression of theological thought happens in the pre-history of Islam. “Allah” is the Arabic word for “God” not a proper name. “Allah” was one deity among many that was worshipped in ancient Arabia. (For example, “Allah” was worshipped as one god among many in the Kabba-shrine in Mecca before Muhammad arrived.) Muhammad announced that Allah was the one true God, who happened to be the same deity as the one worshipped by Jews and Christians.

So we see in both religions “God” emerging from among many ‘gods.’ To that end, we could definitely see that kind of back history detailed in BSG between the human and Cylon religions. In which case, we might see how it is/was that the Cylon(s) elevated one of the Lords of Kobol above the other gods, as the ancient Israelits and monotheistic Arabic people did with the ‘God’ whom most Western Monotheists are familiar.

Remembering that Cylon-Sharon told the Roslin-led party on Kobol that the
Cylon(s) knew the scriptures of the humans better than the humans did themselves (season 2), maybe we’ll see this flesh out in later descriptions of BSG religions.

On Cylon Models and Voting (Cylon Caucus)

We’re pretty interested in what’s become of the five remaining Cylon models, and we were blown away when they actually referred to the “seven models” in Collaborators. We speculated in the last podcast that maybe the other five just stayed back on the colonies — colonies other than Caprica as Caprica’s the only one we saw in the show. But listeners commented with other idea, some much better than ours, I think.

Listener Cavatar suggested one of my (currently) personal fave theories:

We know that Caprica Six told Baltar that there are 12 models in the mini-series. We also know that in that same conversation Baltar made reference to “walking chrome toasters.” Six then said [that]those “models” are still around. “They have there uses.”

Sharon later told Starbuck that Raiders were alive but not sentient.

So if you go from there you can devise that of the 12 models Six made mention of, she might have been including the Raiders, the Centurions, the Base Stars, and maybe even the Heavy Raiders. You might even include the resurrection ship in there also, because you have the 7 “Skin Jobs,” the Centurion, and 4 ship classes: That does add to 12.

The reason you don’t have the other 5 models voting is because they are not sentient models and are considered by the other 7 to be more animal like.

Of course, Listener McCabe offered what’s probably the real reason only seven Cylons vote:

Maybe there were only seven Cylon models voting because, like us, only around 60% of them can be bothered to get up and vote in major elections?

On Colonial Politics

Listener Cavatar scores again with:

Just a thought I had about Laura Roslin: Now I’m not saying that she was bad as the President, nor am I suggesting that giving her the office back is a bad idea. However, has anyone else noticed that she has never been elected?

Indeed. It sort of reminds me of a quote from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (back when I read it in jr. high): “It is a well known fact that those people who most wat to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.”

On the Lovely Dualla (Dee)

Listener Chris says:

Dualla does try very seriously to deter Lee from going to his father’s rescue. She has a long soliloquy in which she tries to convince him to head to Earth. In convincing Lee to abandon his father, she removes a central leader and a huge cadre of warriors in the death of New Caprica — leaving a fattened and weakened Lee to lead a civilian contingent. Without a sizable part of the fleet, Lee’s command would be nothing more than fodder for the Cylon — and provide the Cylon with an easy trail to follow to Earth.

And in classic form, listener Pike follows up with:

Dualla can take a walk out the airlock as far as I’m concerned. I hope Apollo ditches her like she did Billy. Note to white guys in sci-fi shows: Stay away from the black chicks. You’ll end up dead (Wash, Billy), fat (Lee), or cancelled (Kirk).

Ouch! (And doesn’t Kirk count on the second and third outcomes?)

Of course, you can check out most all of these comments in full form attached to various posts here on the blog, but I couldn’t help calling a few of them out for you. Enjoy!

10 Responses to "Awesome Comment Roundup"
  1. Pike says:

    Just to head off any flak: one reason I’m so ticked at Dee is b/c my GF looks a lot like her, whereas I look more like Billy than Lee.

    The idea that the non-humaniod Cylons were part of the twelve-count was rampant early on, but RDM pretty much ruled that out with some of his podcast and interview comments. The other five are different, in some way, but they almost certainly appear human.

    I mentioned this before, but it seems relevant again, in light of Rich’s comment. There was a fascinating period of Egypt’s history when one pharoh attempted to monotheize (as it were) the ancient Egyptian religion by elevating “one god above the others.” It did not long outlive its originating pharoh, however. (See “Atenism” on WikiP.)

  2. Rich McCarty says:

    Another angle of looking at the religious issues:

    I understand the original Battlestar Galactica series was based in part on Mormon theology. Interestingly enough, one of the “deeper truths” of the Mormon faith is the teaching that “as man is now, God once was, and as God is now, man may become.” I believe I remember some discussion on a previous podcast whether or not the Cylon God might be a human (perhaps Baltar) manipulating the whole thing (even if he doesn’t know it right now–or at least the version of “him” that we’re seeing). I’m not sure if it’s Baltar, per se…but the Mormon theological teaching about God would be another potential trajectory for BSG to take. Namely, that someone in the world of BSG self understood him/herself to have evolved to divinity, and then understood him/herself to be ‘the one true God.’ It could be a Lord of Kobol, a human, the first evolved Cylon…who knows for sure.

    Another connection with Mormon theology in BSG is this repeating concept we hear that everyone has a part to play in this life and that the human drama continues to repeat itself, and everyone keeps playing new parts in the same drama, over, and over again. In Mormon theology, “God the Father” has a plan of happiness/salvation for human beings. Since it is possible to spiritually evolve to godhood in Mormon theology, it is said that every man (literally) that becomes a god will create his own star system, with people, with a plan of happiness/salvation. The human drama, in Mormon theology, does indeed play on and on and on.

    What I can’t decide, however, is if I want BSG to tie up these religious loose ends? Even if there is a supernatural reality sustaining and informing life, religion is ultimately a human construct to try and communicate someone’s expereince of the supernatural to our very 5-senses level of reality. Because religion is a human construct it often tells us just as much about the people who founded it (and who continue the faith) than it does about the divine mystery itself. Maybe as we follow the religious trajectories in BSG we’ll find the faith systems of the characters giving us greater insights into their personalitiy and worldview, rather than actually giving us a Canon of the Cylon Church or Secrets of the Lords of Kobol. Let Roslin have visions, and let Sexy-Red-Dress-Number-6 be an angel of sorts…and keep us going with moments where the spiritual world of BSG breaks through. That seems to happen on our Earth too–whether or not we beleive those claims. But give us too much information on the divine mechanics of it all, and the BSG moments of faith, their religious systems, and their spirituality will loose its mystery that seems to hook us all in some way or another.


  3. Nick says:

    Rich – Great post and a very interesting insight as to wher the show’s religion may be taking things. If this is the direction that things are going would this mean that Leoben is a prophet, or an antichrist (as the spreader of mistruths)? If they Cylons have a God, do they also have a Satan?

  4. Rich McCarty says:

    I could be *really* wrong on this one: But I take Leoben to be an example of religion gone bad. He strikes me as the guy who is intuitive enough to know something about you, but who uses it to manipulate you to his end, not for your own flourishing, and who uses religious sources to give license to anything he does (aka: “it’s God’s will.”). If that’s the case, then expect Leoben’s fixation on Starbuck and his own sense of divine calling or mission to ramp up in frightening and destructive ways. I wouldn’t be surprised if Starbuck-obsessed-Leoben has to be boxed at some point. Desire will be the end of the Cylon(s) if they don’t figure out how to channel it soon.

  5. Ken says:

    Yeah, real interesting stuff. It does seem like there is a parallel to the emergence of monotheism in modern religions on Earth. I wonder how far these similiarities will go however. In the BSG world there are actual religious artifacts that actually do seem to work (i.e. Arrow of Apollo). It seems to me that the Lords of Kobol actually did live with humans on Kobol. Now… were they truly divine or merely technologically or genetically superior in a way that seemed godlike? I am guessing the latter – if only because it would be a strange move for the show to actually have Zeus et al running around as actual gods.

    My own crazy theory is that the Cylon-human hybrids will rise up to become new gods and humanity will live together on one planet by the end of the series. This could even be the famous “plan” we keep hearing about. Also explains the “happened once, will happen again” line.

    As for the Cylon God. It is weird that Brother Cavill seems to be an atheist. That either means their God does not exist as a visible entity, or Cavill just doesn’t think he’s really God. Either way, I’m not convinced that this God is the God of Abraham.

  6. Pike says:

    Ken, as to Cavil being an atheist; that too is a type of human, so they might have thought it neccesary to have a representative example on board, as a bit of a check.

    Also, I find it interesting that the Sharons, while being dismisive of the Colonial religion, don’t appear to be particularly religious themselves. C.f. Six.

    Damn, it’s stuff like this that keeps us tuning in.

  7. Pike says:

    Oh Chuck, the GF just reminded me that Kirk was getting portly before “Plato’s Stepchildren”, so we can’t hang that on Uhura…

    Still got canceled, though…

  8. chris says:

    I’m not sure if anyone has covered this but in listening to #13 I began to wonder about the missing 5 and the 13th colony.

    A little bit of forethought is needed here. When we have people we don’t want to talk about it usually involves something distasteful. Usually those people were close to us at one time. Could the five be of this ilk? Skin-jobs who have done something distasteful to the cylon?

    Another bit of forethinking–when a group of people break off from society it usually involves drastic thinking or a need to create a society in which they more fully feel vested. Say the puritans or more radically any cult that buys a farm and cuts themselves off from the community. The idea in breaking off is to start anew wether it be for religious, economic, or freedom’s sake. The thirteenth colony seems to have broken off pretty drastically.

    Now back to the show. The thirteenth colony left the probe. But was it to deter the cylon or humanity? The doctor on Galactica states that humanity was once susceptible to the virus that kills the cylon but the humans have built up an immunity over time. Could it be that the 13th colony left these probes as a warning to their fellow colonists to back off?

    Here’s the theory. Could the 13th colony be the reason for the cylon insurrection? Could they have been expulsed from the other colonies for delving into cylon evolution–namely independent thinking? Or, perhaps they felt a self-imposed banishment would better enable them from experimentation into cylon evolution?

    What if the 5 were less evolved skin-jobs developed by the 13th colony to further their own design. Subjugated by humanity, willingly, they were looked upon as weak by their more independent brethren?

    And what if the 13th colony was looking into immortality–using cylon bodies to house human minds? Anaethmatic to both cylon and humanity?

    Earth could be less of a haven and more of a dystopia wherein live a race of beings distasteful to both cylon and human.

    Just a thought.

  9. Pike says:

    WTF? Is that just some weird region of unicode, or is that guy REALLY confused?

  10. TuttGolboto says:

    There was this guy see.
    He wasn’t very bright and he reached his adult life without ever having learned “the facts”.
    Somehow, it gets to be his wedding day.
    While he is walking down the isle, his father tugs his sleeve and says,

    “Son, when you get to the hotel room…Call me”

    Hours later he gets to the hotel room with his beautiful blushing bride and he calls his father,

    “Dad, we are the hotel, what do I do?”

    “O.K. Son, listen up, take off your clothes and get in the bed, then she should take off her clothes and get in the bed, if not help her. Then either way, ah, call me”

    A few moments later…

    “Dad we took off our clothes and we are in the bed, what do I do?”

    O.K. Son, listen up. Move real close to her and she should move real close to you, and then… Ah, call me.”

    A few moments later…


    “O.K. Son, Listen up, this is the most important part. Stick the long part of your body into the place where she goes to the bathroom.”

    A few moments later…

    “Dad, I’ve got my foot in the toilet, what do I do?”

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