Sci-Fi as a Religion?

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

  • John 14:5-7

If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

  • Deuteronomy 8:19-20

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

  • Deuteronomy 13:1-5

Yesterday, I wrote about SBNR, Spiritual But Not Religious, meaning a variety of things along the lines of the occult and various New Age religions.  One of those religions that was listed by Wikipedia was “science fiction.”  My mind went to the documentary, The Science Fiction Makers which includes Brenton Dickieson of A Pilgrim in Narnia.  The documentary came out about a year ago and is now available on Youtube.  The trailer is below.  The full length documentary is one hour thirty minutes and a few seconds.

The documentary provides the origin of Science Fiction in the work of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.  They discuss how growing up in a predominant Christian background she was challenged when she in her friends were stuck in a country house one unusually damp summer.  The leader of the group suggested a ghost story telling contest and for her contribution Mary Shelley dreamed up Frankenstein with the thoughts of whether Dr. Frankenstein should have done what he did and what happens when the lack of Christian moral values makes a creature into a monster.  By the way, Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft.  She was the daughter of the philosopher and early feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft (Link to philosophy discussion HERE).

Yet, the documentary delves into three authors of Christian Science Fiction, Victor Rousseau, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle.

While many would cast Jules Verne and H. G. Wells into the role of the fathers of science fiction, the documentary mentions them, but in terms of a godless future.  Victor Rousseau’s contribution to science fiction is really an answer to the H. G. Wells dystopian story When the Sleeper Awakes.  In the Wells story, the sleeper awakes after 200 years of sleeping, compared to Rip van Winkle’s 20 years.  He is seen as a savior for a world that only knows of science, a totally dystopian existence and they hope that the sleeper can help them reset the clock back 200 years so that they do not make the same mistake, but Christianity is not part of the solution.  What they get is pure hopelessness.  Maybe that synopsis is similar to the reviews of the day and the reason it is the least known work of Wells.

But in Victor Rousseau’s book, The Messiah of the Cylinder, a Christian is cryogenically captured, by trickery, and awakens in the same type dystopian science world, but now the sleeper knows of Jesus; he knows of Love; he knows of Hope and a strong moral code that had been lost in a belief in pure science.

The documentary went on to discuss the C. S. Lewis trilogy:  Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.  Even The Screwtape Letters ties into these stories.  From there, the documentary concludes with Madeleine L’Engle with her book A Wrinkle in Time, followed by A Wind in the Door and others in that series.  (Think Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit and the birth of the Tesseract.)  The conclusion was that strong Christian Science Fiction writers may be hard to come by in that these authors were largely influenced by Wells, Verne, and George MacDonald.  Not many people read such literature these days.  Predominantly these authors wrote in Science Fiction Fantasy with a moral code twist that clearly depicts Christianity or at least the Christian worldview.

But the key here is that in many of these books, there are parallels to our present existence.  As Dr. Malcolm Guite suggests in the trailer, a mirror in which we see our present time.  The dystopian worlds of Wells as mentioned above and George Orwell in 1984 eliminate any purpose in life, and there is no mention of God or any other god.  The documentary basically places Scientism as the only religion.

Are we not there already, in many respects?  We have a COVID 19 virus pandemic and scientists must save us.  We have a Climate Change problem and scientists must save us.  And even then, only the scientists that parrot what the technologically uneducated politicians says are allowed to speak as to answers to these and other issues.  Maybe it is not Scientism, but Politicism?  But politicians lie, and scientists can only say what they have discovered.  Scientists paid by politicians can make a politician’s lies seem plausible but lies none the less.  So why do we reject the God who Created the heavens and the earth for totally impotent and untruthful and unreliable humans?

But this essay started with “science fiction” as a religion.  Now we prefer something that incorporates, in some cases, fake science, or at least scientific supposition, to something that is true and real.  If you do not think science fiction is not a religion, you have not heard of the conventions and the practice of cosplay (dressing in a costume of an anime, sci-fi, or television/movie character and role playing that character).  Even in cosplay for a few hours, you are escaping this world for another.  You are worshipping and praising the other world as being preferred to this one.  Yet, with so much of the science fiction in movies ignoring the only source of salvation, is this a reason to make it a religion?  After all, the source of these alternate universes is in the imagination of flawed people.  Most of this science fiction gives no answers to such questions as what moral code to live by or what is our purpose for existence.

Those can be found in Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

One Comment

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  1. What an amazing analysis you gave here with thoughts on science ,sci-fi, escaping our reality, thiinking about reality and society

    Liked by 1 person

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