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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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To boldly go ... to class

The fall television season and back-to-school go hand-in-hand in one Muhlenberg College classroom. As UPN launches Enterprise, the newest series in the Star Trek lineup, professor Susan Schwartz begins her fourth year teaching "Religions of Star Trek" to students at the ELCA college in Allentown, Pa.

Never mind that Star Trek is fictional. "It offers the opportunity to discuss vital aspects and issues in religion studies through the lens of a cultural phenomenon, 35 years of Star Trek," Schwartz says. "Of course, the 'religions of Star Trek' are our religions here on planet Earth, often wearing different masks, but utilizing the same themes and lines of tension."

The course includes watching 10 episodes of Star Trek, but students are also required to study theologians such as Mircea Eliade, prepare presentations on Star Trek films and write papers on themes such as artificial intelligence, myth and ethics.


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September issue

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