Can we talk about Baltar for a moment?
Seriously, am I the only one who feels like the writers have sort of lost their bead on him, and the character has completely crapped out as a result? Pretty much ever since his trial - actually during the trial - the writers seemed to loose a solid concept on what to do with the man, so they quickly turned him in to an ineffectual Hugh Heffner-like cult leader, where he spouts new-agey twaddle like this by way of sermonizing:
>>I’m not a priest. I’ve never even been a particularly good man. I have, in fact, been a profoundly selfish man. But that doesn’t matter, you see. Something in the universe loves me. Something in the universe loves the entity that is me. I will choose to call this something “God,” a singular spark that dwells in the soul of every living being. If you look inside yourself, you will find this spark, too. You will. But you have to look. Deep. Love your faults. Embrace them. If God embraces them, then how can they be faults? Love yourself. You have to love yourself. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others? And when we know what we are, then we can find the truth out about others. See what they are, the truth about them. And you know what the truth is. The truth about them, about you, about me, do you? The truth is, we are all perfect, just as we are. God only loves that which is perfect, and he loves you. And he loves you because you are perfect. You are perfect just as you are.<<
"You are perfect just as you are?" What kind of self-help nonsense is that? "Embrace your flaws?" That seems rather self destructive, doesn't it? Some people have some particularly heinous flaws. I don't see where telling someone to 'go out there and be the best rapist you can be' is good for either the individual, or the commonweal.
For good or for ill, the central tennet of every religion is that you are *not* good enough, that there is always room for improvement, that we must strive to get better, both in our secular lives and in our drive to master ourselves. You say "a singular spark" of God "dwells in the soul of every living being" - fine! I have no problem with that, and neither does any venerable religion I've ever heard of: but if this is true, then doesn't it behoove the individual to become a vessel *worthy* of God's divine spark? I mean, do you want to house God in a condemned, rat-infested building, or maybe shoot for something a little better, a little less insulting? And in the process of trying to be worthy, of trying to be a better place for God to live, we improve ourselves. It's a win/win situation, at least on paper. Your actual mileage may vary.
My point is not to sermonize, however, but simply to show that Baltar's philosophy - and to be fair, it changes from episode to episode - is 'go ahead and be a crackhead or a child molester or a murderer or a theif, that's ok because God loves you so who cares if you kill or hurt the other people that God also loves?' It is hard, really hard, to find a more half-assed philosophy this side of Trek's moraly-indefensible "Prime Directive," and yet all his little bunnies and assorted cheese-headed hangers-on treat this like it's the Sermon on the Mount, or Moses handing down the law.
Conversely, let us look at the character of G'kar from Bablyon 5. For those not aquainted with the show, he started out as a very bad guy who also liked the ladies (Alone and in groups, and from different species, too). He had a profound religious awakening during the course of the show, and eventually became a religious leader, however unlike Baltar, it didn't feel false, tacked on, halfassed, or stupid. Here's an example of one of G'kar's sermons:
>>>If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often we assume that the light on the wall is God. But the light is not the goal of the search; it is