Battlestar Galactica

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 4 USERS: A+
There's Beauty In The Breakdown

He corrects these childish missteps by the faithful to lock themselves in a closet to pray, defused and self-abnegated. The Lord's Prayer -- Matthew's example of proper prayer -- is a laying down of burdens, a recapitulation of Gethsemane: "Thy will, not mine." We begin every week in prayer, on this show: more light, more knowledge, more greatness of spirit. It depends on the necessity of something: something strong and big, the rock at the rock bottom, the flagstone on which you stand. We can call it "God" if you want. Gaius will, but that's his prerogative as usual.

Prayer means laying yourself down utterly, on your big stupid face, dropping your bullshit and self-importance and desire for a new bike, lover, or reason to go on living, and allowing yourself to remember for like one second that there's something greater than you, of which you are a singular and beloved part. God is the forest, you are a tree: that's humility, a virtue. Not that hard to swallow. But we spend 99.9% of our days and nights acting on the belief that it's our movie: that we're the only tree. It's perhaps the defining human characteristic, and the one thing the Cylon won't never understand, and it works 99.9% of the time. But it's a mistake. That's why prayer happens on your knees.

A major difference between polytheism and monotheism, then, is about prayer: about the difference between making deals, and staying quiet. We pray to Aphrodite and Erzulie and Hera for love, or a husband, to Asclepius for healing. The revolution of monotheism lies in asking people to do something that makes no sense whatsoever, which is to set aside your own needs for five seconds and simply connect with the divine, without getting anything material out of the deal at all. "Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

It's self-correcting, as any stable religious system must be. In polytheism, the mystery rites are when you put yourself under the hand of God, stop asking for shit, let things stop making sense. This is the price the Gods demand: that you will, often enough for your own soul's upkeep, lay down the burden of your selfishness -- and, more importantly, your tiny little viewpoint, the Cylon would say -- and let the Gods do their work on you as they see fit. We serve the Gods, feed their spirits in temple and altar and song, go into their caves and get high. Whatever it takes to let that light in, occasionally.

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Battlestar Galactica




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