In most sci-fi shows, books, movies, etc. there is a battle between good and evil. (This isn’t just a theme in sci-fi, as I’m sure you know.) Religious orders are fantastic “bad guys” because they are strong, intimidating, and often have an extremely dedicated following. There is also this contradictory view where they actually think what they are doing is the right thing, despite the fact that the audience is viewing them as evil. Yet, are they really evil? What if there is something we have yet to discover and it turns out they are really in the right? It’s dynamic and intriguing and I think that is why a lot of writers go there.
Honestly, I hadn’t really thought too much into the meaning behind the religious orders. I can see your point. I think it could be construed that Steven Moffat is anti-religion by how these groups are portrayed in the show, but I would hesitate to jump to that assumption myself. Personally, I have written a few things that in no way portray my real life or beliefs, yet if someone were to read them they would most likely assume that I live a completely different life than I do. That’s the magic of being a fictional writer though; being able to create and say anything you want, regardless of what your personal beliefs and life hold.
On a similar, and possibly contradictory, note, I’ve also read articles that compare The Doctor to God, assume he is meant to portray Jesus Christ, and other different ways of analyzing the show and comparing it in religious realms. Personally, I have a really hard time believing it was all some sort of intentional behind-the-scenes agenda of the writers. I think certain themes were intentional, but wonder if sometimes people read too much into parts of the show. Check out this article for an interesting read on some religious outcry during the Tennant days. Keith Reich of Know Thyself is taking notes throughout each episode on how the show relates to religious ideas/imagery. It’s definitely an interesting read. Check it out and let me know what you think.
All that being said, I could be totally wrong. Maybe it is all intentional, and as they write the shows they try to throw in as much religious imagery as they can. I wish we could sit down with Mr. Moffat and have a fantastic discussion with him on this very topic. It would be intriguing, to say the least.
(this is a response post to TheHLB’s previous post found here.)