The Question of Who Goes to these Space Colonies
BLADE RUNNER, when the character of JF Sebastian was not medically blocked from the off-world colonial passage due to a genetic disorder. One the other side of the coin, in Gattaca, only the top of the genetically engineered could be chosen for space missions. In a previous FWS blogpost, I discussed Spacer vs. Terrans being the genesis for future deep space wars, because these highly selected and screened best-crop-of-the-human-race variety space colonists (sounds like the 3rd Reich if you ask me) would be so radically different from the bulk of humanity. This would only be much worse, if our space colonists wereproducts of embryonic spaceships that have no connection to Terra or her religions/politics structures, further making them more 'alien'.
Is Distance the Buffer?
Space Colonization Will Change Religion
Space Colonization Will Change Humanity
Those that descent from the original colonies will have not ties to the Earth-That-Was or the old ways of politics and religions. It is likely that new types of governments and religions will be established based on the conditions of the off-world colonies and the people that ventured out, giving rise to the Spacers of Asimov's books.
It is doubtful that these space colonies will even speak standard Terran languages ...so how can we fight over gods, language and politics if we are so different? The answer is that we will not if there is no FTL. It is likely colonies will be much too far apart for another colony with different views to sent crusader armies to punish them. That being said, in a soft sci-fi universe with easy superluminal travel...all bets are off.
The Question of FTL and Space Federations
This was addressed in the film AVATAR, the RDA mining operation on Pandora, which was about six years in travel time from Terra, was under corporate administrator Parker Selfidge and Colonel Quaritch, has head of security operations. When the shit hit the fan with the Na'vi, Parker and Quaritch could not call RDA headquarters back on Terra for instructions. instead they made the call, and RDA would be informed six years after the fact. That is no way to run an empire.
In Space, All Politics are Local
Space colonization will be a difficult endeavor in a hard science universe, but there still be the need for a governments, even if it is on a space colonial vessel, or a battlestar. With the gulf of space separating these colonies from the Sol system, they would have to govern themselves, considering that in a hard science universe candidates for public office could not make stump speeches on every colony! Instead of politics and laws from Terra, the off-world colony would have to form their own government that would make laws befitting the population and conditions of the colonial society (Mayflower Compact anyone?). These colonial worlds could have a number of different styles of governments, similar to the early American colonies that formed different styles of government from their native nations, like Britain for example. Most were not formulated with the intention of democracy, where all members of the colony had a say in the government.
These early American colonial governments had a system where only the white male church-going landowners had a say in the laws of the land. That being said, off-world colonies and their governments would represent their population. There could be worlds were owning Replicant pleasure model that cost more than a Ferrari is perfectly legal, or marijuana cupcakes are openly sold at every Starbuck's, or that the Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster is supported with federal tax dollars.
Earth vs. Mars in World War Robot
Jedi vs. Sith in the Star Wars Universe
The Cylons vs. the 12 Colonies of Kobol in BSG
Here is another science fiction series that features religious and political conflict at the heart of plot. Throughout the legendary series, there is religious conflict between the monotheistic Cylons and the polytheistic 12 Colonies society. The Colonial religion is based on a array of 12 gods and goddess that lived with man on the world of Kobol before man fell from grace about 2,000 prior to the destruction of the colonies. Each of the colonial worlds was named after a certain zodiac deity, and colonial religious varied from world to world.
The Cylons believe that their one true god has favored them over the humanity and blessed their jihad against their fleshy creators. The Cylons saw that their own creators were flawed, and seemed to look past humans to what may have created them to seek some sort answers. Religion worked differently in the ragtag fleet, some believed, some did not, and others, like Gaius Baltar began to believe in a monotheistic model after years of godlessness. It is through this character that BSG explores the Atheistic side of humanity, then some casual believe in the gods of old, and then finally, the Cylon god.
Then we come to the politics of BSG, and they are not limited themselves to the 12 colonies, even the Cylons human models fight among themselves. Even after the destruction of the 12 colonies and the death of billions, the ragtag fleet needed more than martial law from the Galactica. A good deal of the BSG series deals with the uneasy relationship between the Galactica and the civilian government in a harsh, realistic manner unseen in sci-fi before. Most of the time, the real conflict in the series did not come from the Cylons, but from the friction between civilian government and the Galactica.
The Ori and the Goa'uld from the Stargate Universe
The DUNE Universe
The Horsy Heresy and Adeptus Ministorum of the Warhammer 40K Universe
Given the massive threat to the survival of the Imperium and humanity, the Adeptus Ministorum used the God Emperor to be a focus point for the new unifying religion of the citizens of the Imperium and a powerful state-funded church organization, the Adeptus Ministorum to hold power over the Imperium.
However, this is not fluffy loving religion, but dark, bloody, and dedicatory with monks armed with Boltguns. I guess everyone tithes their 10% in the Imperium! The protectors of the Imperium, the Space Marines have their own special relationship with the Lord God-Emperor, they aspire to be more like the warrior that the Emperor was and their genetic material to be transformed into Space Marines originates for the Emperor himself. This was not only to give the Space Marines an edge, but could to be tie the military to the Imperium to avoid a repeat of the Horsy Heresy. Given that most of the factions in 40K have a religious core to their motivation, the case could be made that all wars in 40K are jihads and crusades. Lovely.
The Federation society from Star Trek
Here is what Brannon Braga said: "No, there was no consideration in giving humans, talking about god or talking about those types of things. We wanted to avoid it to be quite frank. But we did very often explore theology through alien characters. Which frankly is much more interesting anyway. Whether it was the Bajorans and their religion or the Borg and their religion. They (the Borg) had the religion of prefection. That, I think, was more interesting. We want to keep Star Trek secular. The human facet of Star Trek secular."
A Guide to the WH40K religion
A Guide to the Religon of DUNE
A Guide to the Religion of BSG