“I listened to the sermon, and I remember complete astonishment because what they were talking about were things that were just crazy. It was communion time, where you eat this wafer and are supposed to be eating the body of Christ and drinking his blood. My first impression was, “This is a bunch of cannibals they’ve put me down among!” For some time, I puzzled over this and puzzled over why they were saying these things, because the connection between what they were saying and reality was very tenuous. How the hell did Jesus become something to be eaten?”
Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991)
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry, sometimes referred to as the “Great Bird of the Galaxy”, was an American television screenwriter, producer, futurist, atheist and self-described humanist.
Roddenberry is best known as the creator of the science fiction television series Star Trek, beginning the long running Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry’s remains (some of his ashes in a small capsule, about the size of a lipstick) were the first to be launched into Earth’s orbit, where they orbited the Earth until they burned up while reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. A crater on Mars was named after Roddenberry in 1994.
Roddenberry was raised as a Southern Baptist; however, he considered himself a humanist and agnostic. Roddenberry explained his position as “It’s not true that I don’t believe in God. I believe in a kind of god. It’s just not other people’s god. I reject religion. I accept the notion of God.” According to Ronald D. Moore, Roddenberry “felt very strongly that contemporary Earth religions would be gone by the 23rd century.”
Roddenberry and his wife Majel were honored by the Space Foundation in 2002 with the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award, in recognition of their contributions to awareness of and enthusiasm for space exploration.