Religion is a concept based upon belief in supernatural powers, often represented as a deity or deities. The concept of religion was largely done away with during the Cochrane Movement of the late 21st century. By the time the Federation came into being, atheistic humanism dominated as the moral and philosophic belief system of humanity.
(This is relevant to Star Trek: Conflict; this serves as a back-story to the religious conflicts that sometimes occur within the story.)
Most of the events of this page is mostly speculation and is loosely base on actual canon.
When Zefram Cochrane revealed his experience of first contact to the world, he called for a uniting of all people across the globe in order to achieve what he believed to be man's ultimate purpose: exploring the stars. This call for union came with a price, for many radical left- and right-wing extremists, still with post-Third World War ideals, wanted to unite humanity in ways that Cochrane believed were not "morally right" for the good of humankind.
Many of those who strongly opposed Cochrane and his call for a new world order were religious groups. They believed that his first contact had been a hoax. This was dispelled largely when the first Vulcans came to Earth as ambassadors of peace. The dialogue between Cochrane and the Vulcans portrayed many so-called "problems" that Earth had, which had to be rectified before they were "worthy" to explore the stars.
Millions across the world saw this dialogue televised, and soon a worldwide movement came about with the intent to create global unity. However, certain forces stood in their way, but this new movement endeavored to remove these forces by any means necessary.
The first thing the Cochrane Movement targeted was religion. It was interpreted by advocates of the movement as unscientific, socially backwards, repressing, and a source of bloodshed. It was said that religion did not stop World War III, which slew two thirds of the world's population in the early 21st century. As Earth's governments, in the name of progress, began illegalizing religion, the denominations which remained tried to unite in order to survive the purge and take their wrath against the followers of Cochrane.
Most groups decided to either disband or abandon Earth for their safety or to preserve their beliefs. Among them, several Native American groups who purchased a sleeper ship and went out into space. Several years later, they would enter what would be Cardassian space and settle down thereon.
Islamic response was varied. Some believed they were to stay and resist the oppression of the Cochrane Movement, while others chose to leave Earth and find new lands. Those who left later found a world of their own. Those who resisted went underground altogether, keeping resistance almost to a minimum, but prevalent always.
Though the peoples of Earth were moving away from religion, in the 2150s the [(NX-01)] doctor, [Phlox], mentions in a letter that he attended a Catholic Mass at Saint Peter's Square and sang chords with Tibetan High Llamas (ENT: "[Front] ")
The Second Protestant MovementEdit
Since most denominations of Christianity shared basic fundamental views, and since they all viewed the Catholic Church as a leader in Christianity, it was the most logical decision to unite under the banner of the Catholic Church in order to survive the Cochrane Movement (other monotheistic religions, such as Judaism and Islam also joined). However, the Catholic Church advocated responses bordering on the belligerent to the actions given against them by the new order. This did nothing but give strength to the new order, which increased the severity of the measures taken against Christianity, and in turn strengthened the resolve of the Catholic Church to continue.
Seeing that conflict did nothing, a group of Christians began to argue that the Catholic Church was going about surviving the wrong way. As if repeating history, they were excommunicated and declared enemies of the Church in addition to being enemies of the state. On October 31, 2117, in honor of Martin Luther, members of this new group drew up the Second 95 Theses, which was displayed in a two-hour televised broadcast from Wittenburg, Germany. This called for a second Protestant Reformation, which was soon answered by many from the Catholic Church as well as from without.
The Second Protestant Movement had a very bad affect against the new order. With the entire world at their back, the Cochrane Movement finally declared full and actual war against Christianity. Thousands of Christians were slaughtered, and many others died trying to defend or retaliate against the Movement soldiers. The Christmas Day Massacre of 2120, as it was called, was the last open conflict with religion on Earth. Both the New Catholic Church and the Second Protestant Movement went completely underground whereas other groups such as Judaist, Islamic, Polytheistic and other religions were gradually accepted into Federation life and culture, mostly because they were well received for their accepting of roles and rules in society.
The Rebirth of the ICREdit
After the death of Admiral Sanders at the Khitomer Massacre of 2346, Captain Shield was able to root out prominent members of the Brotherhood of the Aryan Race from the Federation Council and Starfleet admiralty. Though the Federation President refused to have them executed, even after he was told of the numerous inhuman deeds they performed "in the name of the Federation and in the name of the greater good of humanity", Shield was permitted from doing so as well. Given the Admiral's vacant seat on the Federation Council, Shield exercised that authority for the space of one hour. In addition to the many other things he did then, he ordered that religion, no matter how violent or repressive, be allowed to exist lawfully in the jurisdiction of the United Federation of Planets, and that it be voluntarily-evangelistic; namely that it would not try to gain followers through any methods other than having people come to them first.
This new freedom given, the members of the underground movements were allowed a time of respite. However, they were shunned from the social and intellectual upper class of the Federation (with the Federation holding to a "separate-but-equal" doctrine), no open acts of violence on the part of the Federation occurred from between 2346 and 2366.
After gaining their freedoms, several members of the Second Protestant Movement and the Catholic Church got together and formed a group that would represent both parties to the Federation as well as to the galaxy as a whole. This group was the ICR. The founders agreed that, in order to maintain internal stability, no member of either the Church or the Movement would hold absolute power over the ICR, but that a group of representatives from each group and their sub-denominations would govern it.
Though religion was mostly gone from the Federation and United Earth, many of its influences remained, thanks in no small part to the CRC. It was at the insistence of the CRC that a chapel was placed on the USS Enterprise, it being the only Starfleet vessel to show any kind of regards to a religion.
In addition, during the late-22nd and early 23rd centuries the CRC made contact with several extra-terrestrial races who were sympathetic towards their beliefs and gained some degree of following among other races.
Two Quadrants Are Plunged Into WarEdit
In 2407 when the President of the United Federation of Planets abruptly banned religion throughout the Federation and sent 3000 people who were religious to the Gamma Quadrant, it sent the Alpha and Beta Quadrant into civil war. The once sympathetic races of the ICR and CRC were now angry races of the Federation. Bajorans, Bolians, Klingons, and many other religious people, all once part of the Federation, now became a new separate union, the Religious Unionization of Planets, and then the war began. The worst part was that the Federation had still been trying to defeat the Borg from a year before (Borg War II), it made it into Galactic War II.
Religion and the Imperial Commonwealth of PlanetsEdit
When the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets was created from the ruins of the battered and broken Federation after the Dominion War, one of the first new policies enacted was the so-called "Anti-Purge". The primary goal of this Anti-Purge was to re-establish religion as an influential and integral part of most human cultures and societies, on the pretense that religious belief was part of what allowed Terran society to evolve as it did before the Cochrane Movement. The Emperor of the ICP, Ricarius Solivade, especially subscribed to this new movement, holding a very optimistic view on the role of religion in human society. His role in the new policy started with a bold statement of architecture, the erecting of the Palace of Unity, the new seat of power for the Empire, over the rubble of a science academy in Rome, which itself was erected atop the ruins of St. Peter's Basilica, the seat of power of the Catholic Church in its day.
Despite the influence of the Anti-Purge movement, the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets remained officially secular, emphasized by a new Imperial declaration of equal respect of all faiths and beliefs, as well as the absence of faith. Even so, the Empire still had issues with the nature of certain beliefs, primarily faiths which are generally viewed as 'potentially dangerous' or malicious in traditional doctrine, such as Islamic extremism, Theistic Satanism (as opposed to LaVeyan Satanism), and other controversial beliefs. Adherents of these belief systems are often scrutinized more carefully in the Imperial forums, with members of said faiths being kept under close supervision to make sure they do not act on the more questionable tenets of the faith.