2MTL 30: Is it Time for a Religious Companion?

They say there are three taboo subjects you should never bring up at a party: religion, sex, and politics.

Well, I'm a little out of the partying habit, so I'm going to blunder forward with all three in this and the next two 2MTL podcasts. First up: my observation that none of The Doctor's "modern Earth" companions to this point seemed to have a religious affiliation, which defies probability. Could it be done today? Should it be done?

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  1. Katarina leaps to mind as religious in my mind, though it's hardly for a modern, organized religion.

  2. Yeah, and that's really the key point for me. It's easy enough to render a judgment on ancient religions — "Who Mourns for Adonais" in Star Trek comes to mind — because there are very very few people today who would have their worldviews questioned by such a story.

    But put any Jew, Christian, Muslim, or any other believer in a religion based on historical personages and events on the TARDIS and you've got instant character conflict that would resonate on a personal level with many audience members. That excites me until I remember just HOW personal it would be.

  3. Ok, I take your point.

    I think we can assume that Jamie and Victoria we're also religious in a Christian sense, but again they're historical companions and it's never mentioned.

    The closest we've come to exploring this in the series is Leela, and again she was from a tribe with a fictional religion and when we meet her for the first time she has already rejected it.

    I think the problem with having an overtly religious person as a companion would be that the show would have to pop back in time to the historical roots of that religion and either endorse it or pick it apart.

    I think at the end of the day the Whoniverse is predominantly atheistic with the occasional dash of Buddhism thrown in.

  4. I have to disagree. I'm also not dogmatic about my beliefs but I also do have a religious identity and I wouldn't want to go back and see if it's all true. In fact, I would want to avoid those people and places. Because that's not the point, for me anyway.

  5. It is rather hard for me to believe that Jamie and Victoria weren't asking the Doctor to take them to Church their first few Sundays in the TARDIS. However, the show could be, perhaps, making a slightly more Protestant message: through faith alone is one saved, and faith does not require overt actions. It could simply be that journeying with the Doctor, even encountering him, makes one less likely to openly talk about faith–when one realizes how much there is in the universe that seems beyond belief, perhaps faith becomes a more quiet, internal, and personal matter as opposed to a question of loud piety, which has almost always been considered vulgar.

    In the end, the answer is almost certainly because the very concept of religion is so pervasive, massive and powerful that it tends to take over any medium or story into which it is introduced. Having a religious companion, of almost any creed, would force the show to be, at least in large part, about religion. Otherwise, it would feel artificial and forced.

    There…screed over. 🙂

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