Continuing my series on the depiction of religion in the TV show Babylon 5:

The Centauri have a pantheon of about 70 Gods. At least some are dedicated to a particular object or activity (underworld, luck, fertility, etc). “In a world where every day is a struggle for survival, you need all the gods you can get.” The religion is “rather Bacchanallian”. Some of the Gods are emperors what were elevated to Godhood by circumstances or their followers.

“They believe in a variety of afterlives; the god you worship, of the Centauri pantheon, holds dominion over a given “heaven” or afterworld. If you appease the god sufficiently during life, it will accept you into that afterworld, in preparation for the day when all heavens are united; if not, you will have to be reborn and choose another until one accepts you. jms”

One of their religious festivals is ‘from a time in our world’s history when two dominant species were fighting for supremacy: our people, and a species we called “Xon”. At year’s end, we count how many of our people survived, and celebrate our good fortune!’ Centauri funerals are also treated as a celebration. This is a very life affirming and contrasts the emphasis of remembrance used by Earth religion (e.g. Christianity). On the other hand, Centauri weddings are sombre and filled with mutual recrimination.

Fate

Occasionally, Centauri have precognitive abilities and often manifested as a premonition of their own death. They do not appear to preclude free will – some are aware that choices will let them alter the future (e.g. suicide would prevent the vision becoming reality) but it still has weight as a likely outcome.

Londo: I need to see what is before me, if I should escape it or embrace it, if there is any longer a choice.
Morella: There is always choice. We say there is no choice only to comfort ourselves with a decision we have already made. Now, if you understand that, there is hope! If not…

This is saying a belief in determinism is a self fulfilling prophesy (and a return of my favourite: confirmational bias). Without giving the ending away, Londo meets his fate because of his refusal to choose another path in life.

Rise to Godhood

Emperor Cartagia was an insane leader of the Centauri and perhaps modeled after the Roman Emperor Nero. He makes a Faustian pact to elevate himself to Godhood.

Londo: Emperor Cartagia is insane! He has made a deal with these “Shadows”, allowing them a base here, in the belief that they will grant him godhood, like the emperors of old! He wants to be immortal, to be worshiped. And he does not care who pays the price for his deification!
Vir: Does anyone else know about this?
Londo: Vir! When you are mad, you say these things the same way that you and I talk about the weather!

What price is worth paying for immortality and unlimited power? Or how much would you pay not to have it?

To be continued…

Anti Citizen One