Eventually, as the show goes on, we meet the Asgard, another alien race pretending to be deities. However, unlike the Goa’uld, the Asgard wish to guide people to a better future, watch over them, and keep them safe. But even though the Asgard are more benevolent, giving, and have no desire to be worshiped, we are still left with a religion invented by aliens. The Asgard do readily drop their ruse as soon as they think a people are advanced enough to understand who they are, but unfortunately those same people never stop to wonder about some things they should be wondering about, like: I’ve been praying to these jackasses! Or even, what’s going to happen when we die? Does this mean Valhalla isn’t real? Fuck!
On the whole, the first so many seasons of Stargate has a very negative view of religion—or at least, it does of non-Christian/non-Judaism religions. At almost every turn, the show takes multiple deities or historical figures, regardless of how popular that religion is, and turns them into villains. Hell, even Kali shows up as a Goa’uld for one episode in Season 5. And the show mentions that she used to work under Shiva. So even Hinduism, the fourth most popular and quite possibly the world’s oldest religion, is written off in a single episode, and then it’s never mentioned again.
I always wondered when watching this show why a Goa’uld never took on the persona of Jesus or Mohammad, but I imagine that since it was a Western show whose primary audience was more likely Christian than another religion, Jesus was probably off limits. Eventually, Stargate introduces characters from a more Westernized religion or legend, such as Merlin and King Arthur, but at no point does it introduce Goa’uld Jesus, or any other Christian figures. This struck me as both racist and culturally appropriative, since Stargate does whatever it wants with non-Western religions and has no problems presenting them as evil. Even someone like Yu, who isn’t actually a deity, just an historical figure, is an antagonist in the show. But people like Merlin are all more or less good guys.
In the later seasons and movies, Stargate does take a more positive stance on religion—well, Christianity, at least—while still managing to talk about religious fanaticism, subjugation, and persecution. But it’s not something that the show delves into all that much, and the narrative could have most certainly expanded on it. While Stargate was under no obligation to be a positive show religiously, I would have expected it to talk more about what it would actually mean for us to discover that just about every deity ever worshiped on Earth was actually an alien. That has huge ramifications that Stargate rarely addresses.
— from “Oh, My Pop Culture Goa’uld: When Our Gods are Aliens,” originally published December 2014.