classics

Religion plays a large part in the lives of most people. What role, if any, does religion play in science fiction?

Moderator: Moderators

classics

Postby admin » Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:43 am

While most sf avoids or ignores the subject, the few religious sf stories that have appeared in print have garnered many awards and honors. "The Quest of St. Aquin" by Anthony Boucher, "The Nine Million Names of God" by Arthur C. Clark, "A Canticle for Liebowitz" by Walter Miller, Jr., "A Case of Conscience" by James Blish, and, of course, all of the science fiction and fantasy of C. S. Lewis come to mind. What other great religious sf stories have there been? And why is most sf so resolutely secular?
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1661
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

Postby pablo » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:21 am

As to why SF is so resolutely secular, I suppose the easy answer is that the "science" element of science fiction can be perceived to be at odds with the notions of faith and belief required by religions and those who practice them.

Myself, I've always been drawn to SF stories that successfully incorporate religious themes. Perhaps my earliest experience was the Dune trilogy which had themes surrounding the mystique of the messiah and harnessing the powers of the body and mind.

Other great SF stories I've enjoyed with a religious bent include "Mission" by Patrick Tilley and the "The Sparrow" and "Children of God" by Maria Doria Russell.
pablo
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 8:27 am
Location: Ottawa Canada

Dune

Postby admin » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:15 am

I should have thought of Dune, though Herbert in interviews made it clear that the religion in Dune was not to be taken seriously, but only as a major part of any human culture. One of his main objections to the David Lynch film version was that Lynch apparently took the religion seriously, and has Paul perform a miracle at the end. I loved the movie anyway. It is full of great quotes. "With an act of will I set my mind in motion."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1661
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

religion in science fiction

Postby vero » Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:56 pm

Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos springs to mind; so does Stranger in a Strange Land (am I dating myself or do people still read vintage Heinlein?)
vero
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:23 pm

still read

Postby admin » Sat Aug 20, 2005 8:21 am

Heinlein is one of the golden age authors still widely read -- new reprints of his classics appear regularly -- maybe because he often put religion, plus sex and violence, into his delightful fiction. Heinlein does not seem to have been religious himself, though of course it is hard to tell, but he certainly knew that religion was a subject that even the non-religious can't resist fooling around with.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1661
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm

reason and religion

Postby hegemon » Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:18 am

I suspect the real reason for so little religion in sf is that religion makes no sense. To extend the religion of the present day into the far future would seem as silly as extending the table manners of the present day into the far future. One need only look at how much Christianity changes every few hundred years to realize that if religion acutally survives the expansion of the human race out into the galaxy, it will be so changed as to hardly be recognizable as religion at all.
This is the race that will rule the sevagram!
hegemon
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:15 am
Location: On the road

Postby Guest » Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:05 pm

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned the VALIS trilogy.

BTW there seems to be a deliberate reference to CS Lewis in Blish's "A Case of Conscience", in the use of the term "hnau", a "rational soul", which I believe was coined in Out of the Silent Planet.
Guest
 

Postby UrbanSpaceman » Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:54 am

There's also Moorcock's Behold the Man, about a time-traveller visitng the time of Jesus who ends up attending the crucifixion.

I have a feeling this was originally published as Ecce Homo, but I haven't been able to verify this.
UrbanSpaceman
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 3:37 am
Location: Brighton

Re: reason and religion

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:41 pm

hegemon wrote: ... religion makes no sense. To extend the religion of the present day into the far future would seem as silly as extending the table manners of the present day into the far future. One need only look at how much Christianity changes every few hundred years to realize that if religion acutally survives the expansion of the human race out into the galaxy, it will be so changed as to hardly be recognizable as religion at all.


Christianity doesn't change; people do, as does their level of understanding/devotion. The idea of 'extending present day religion into the future' is great material for a novel (or even a short story). I would say that Russell's "The Sparrow" is an excellent example.
Guest
 

Change

Postby hegemon » Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:15 am

Christianity has changed so much in the last 2000 years that if Christ returned today, he would not believe the people who call themselves Christians had anything to do with him.

Christ said, blessed are the poor. Modern Christians favor tax breaks for the rich.

Christ said, turn the other cheek. Modern Christians teach hate and favor a war that involves rape, murder, and torture.

Christ said, judge not lest ye be judged. Modern Christians do little else but judge other people.

Christ said, pray silently, or you're a hypocrite. Modern Christians are in favor of public prayer in the schools.

On the other hand, modern Christians rave about sex, birth control, "dirty" words, and abortion, subjects on which Christ said absolutely nothing.

Yeah, I know, there are a lot of good, quiet Christians out there, but you never see them on tv or talk radio.
This is the race that will rule the sevagram!
hegemon
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:15 am
Location: On the road

Re: Change

Postby Sherry » Mon Sep 26, 2005 6:18 pm

hegemon wrote:Christianity has changed so much in the last 2000 years that if Christ returned today, he would not believe the people who call themselves Christians had anything to do with him.

The faith has not change - the screwed-up people who claim to be Christians have evolved into nut cases.

Christ said, blessed are the poor. Modern Christians favor tax breaks for the rich.

No they don't - at least I don't.

Christ said, turn the other cheek. Modern Christians teach hate and favor a war that involves rape, murder, and torture.

Sorry - you're wrong again. I do not support war, rape, murder or torture.

Christ said, judge not lest ye be judged. Modern Christians do little else but judge other people.

Speaking out against wrong-doing is not 'judging.' It's speaking out - just like you have done. You're judging Christians.

Christ said, pray silently, or you're a hypocrite. Modern Christians are in favor of public prayer in the schools.

I do not support public prayer in schools - although I do not support anyone who says I cannot pray in school. There is a difference. I have rights too.

On the other hand, modern Christians rave about sex, birth control, "dirty" words, and abortion, subjects on which Christ said absolutely nothing.

I seem to recall some scripture regarding some of those - I'm curious and will check it out :)

Yeah, I know, there are a lot of good, quiet Christians out there, but you never see them on tv or talk radio.


[b]I agree. The idiotic Evangelists on TV are an embarrassment. There is one exception, but I cannot recall her name. You have some good points - but I think you need to reconsider your statements since they seem to include all or most Christians. I know a lot of good Christians - but they are quiet. As they should be.
[/b]
Alfred Hitchcock's Mys. Mag., Black Gate, Book of Dark Wisdom, Cemetery Dance, "Hook House & Other Horrors" Silver Lake Publishers, Editor/Pub. Indigenous Fiction
Sherry
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:35 pm
Location: Sammamish WA

Postby Sherry » Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:05 pm

I've done my research and found scripture dealing with those topics, but you know what? I really don't want to start quoting Chapter & Verse on this forum. It sounds so fanatical. If you're really interested, you can check it out at: http://bible.com/answers/answers.html

Meanwhile, I'll go back to writing my horror stories, which are frowned upon by 95% of the Fundamentalists. :roll:
Alfred Hitchcock's Mys. Mag., Black Gate, Book of Dark Wisdom, Cemetery Dance, "Hook House & Other Horrors" Silver Lake Publishers, Editor/Pub. Indigenous Fiction
Sherry
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:35 pm
Location: Sammamish WA

fantastic

Postby hegemon » Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:00 am

Sherry wrote:I really don't want to start quoting Chapter & Verse on this forum. It sounds so fanatical. :roll:


If it sounds fantastical, then this must be the right place for it.
This is the race that will rule the sevagram!
hegemon
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:15 am
Location: On the road

writer

Postby hegemon » Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:20 am

Maybe you can give YankeeD some good advice, over on the Writer's Forum.
This is the race that will rule the sevagram!
hegemon
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:15 am
Location: On the road

Religon and science fiction

Postby Krraklvtt » Sun Oct 16, 2005 9:44 am

There is a whole new field out there for what other races might believe or have as a religion.
Krraklvtt
 

Next

Return to Religion in Science Fiction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron