Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

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

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Postby hegemon » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:19 am

The people complaining about mixing Christianity and animism are mostly older Christians -- the people who don't make the distinction are mostly young Christians. But, think about movies and television programs you have seen. In every single case that I can think of, every time an American Indian shaman says something, it comes true. For that matter, every time a spiritualist says something, it comes true. Superstition is affirmed by the media over and over, and the voice of reason is silent.
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Postby Charles Phipps » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:33 pm

Here's a question for you. Irregardless of your RL beliefs that I don't intend to dignify with a response.

So do you think psychic powers have a place in Science Fiction?
How about time travel?
How about Aliens?

How about absolutely ANYTHING not hard science?

If you say yes, I shall start ignoring you.

I admit, I'm a bit prejudiced. I write science fiction with heavy religious tones. Ironically, I do it with a fairly science based view of the whole phenomenon as opposed to religious. I do think that the typical Moorcock "rebuttal against the gods" always falls short though.
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Yes? No?

Postby hegemon » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:26 am

I'm not sure I understand your question, or if it is even addressed to me. If I say "Yes, I think time travel, etc., is science fiction", you are going to ignore me? What's that all about?

A lot of my favorite sf is about religion: Blish's A Case of Conscience; Boucher's The Quest for St. Aquin; Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz.

On the other hand, I dislike new age stuff in sf, where the hero is able to travel faster then light just because his Chi is in allignment and he tries really, really hard.

I'm not sure why I like the one and not the other, but there it is.
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Postby Deecie » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:20 pm

Why are people even arguing this?

Of course religion has a place in science fiction. Literature should be about life. People who don't consider the meaning and purpose of their life are stupid and boring, regardless of what conclusions they might come to.
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The meaning of life

Postby admin » Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:07 am

"A man said to the universe, 'Sir, I exist.'

'However,' replied the universe, 'That does not create in me a sense of obligation.'

Quote by Stephen Crane, used in the Mack Reynolds novel "A Sense of Obligation".
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Postby John Thiel » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:28 pm

Everything has a potential place in science fiction, so religion does too. Since when has sf been topic-exclusive?
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby Brightonian » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:55 am

There was a surprisingly thoughtful article in a recent issue of International Socialism, the theoretical journal of the Socialist Workers Party, which I was browsing in my local Borders reference library.

The gist of it was that religion is symptomatic of intolerable social conditions, and the way to combat it is not head-on, either by rhetoric or persecution, but to seek to remedy those conditions with the expectation that supernatural beliefs will gradually wither away.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby admin » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:26 am

I grew up in Louisiana, where as a child I was taught that the White Race was intellectually superior to the Black Race. It's done me a lot of good to teach mathematics at a university, where sometimes the smartest person in my calculus class is Black, and sometimes White, and sometimes Oriental. I'm teaching a Complex Analysis class now in which the best student is from Africa. This is, I think, why Republicans tend to come from small towns while people in big cities tend to vote Democrat. If you live in a small town, where everybody is the same race and religion, and all the homosexuals are in the closet, it is easy to believe that all "nice" people are just like you. Science fiction was my escape from the small town mentality.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby bluerequiem » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:53 pm

Science and Religion are linked inseparably. From the adoption and persecution of scientific theories by the Catholic Church (see Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, etc) to the current brouha over intelligent design/evolution. If scientific enquiry continues, it's only a matter of time (maybe a lot of time) before the question of religion is answered to the affirmative or negative: is there something, someone or some power that made everything else and how was it done? As such, I think religion plays a vital role in science fiction. The real danger is in those that choose an anti religious dogma. They claim science as proof against religion, but without the discipline to be able to determine junk science from real, and thereby turn science into another brand of religion.
Last edited by bluerequiem on Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby John Thiel » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:33 pm

As his name, St. Lucifer, suggests, a few flames seem to have arisen around the original proposition of this topic. But I'm sure his heart's in the right place, although I'm not as certain he's still with a topic that's over a year old.

I'd like to point out that religion is concerned with the creation of matter and science is concerned with matter. This may be the essential conflict when a conflict arises between science and religion. It seems to me that science fiction would want to add religion, the fantastic, and mysticism to science.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby admin » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:29 am

Certainly many classic sf stories are essentially religious in nature: "The Quest of St. Acquin", by Tony Boucher, "The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur Clarke, "The Tenth Commandment" by Lester del Rey, "A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter Miller, "Job" by Robert Heinlein -- of them all, only the Heinlein gives what seems to me a strictly logical explanation of a universe in which Fundamentalist Christianity could be true -- the the Fundamentalists are NOT going to like his explanation.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby John Thiel » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:59 pm

I'd say religion provides a counterpoint to science fiction, perhaps even an antithesis. When found in sf, it is usually in a state of suppression, and might be considered a suppressed element in what is being considered when it occurs at all.

Probably the tendency in science fiction is to relate sf to fantasy, but then a lot of science fiction readers like fantasy as well.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:01 am

I recently read a fantasy called The Skin Map, in which religion plays a small part. The good characters are Christian, the villain a secular humanist.
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Re: Religion Has No Place In Science Fiction

Postby Edge » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:04 pm

SaintLucifer wrote:Upon review of recent world events, <snip Rant> have a place in your hearts. Accept the TRUTH which may be found in science and life. Life is God. .

SaintLucifer
The Dark Saint :twisted:

Wow dude, bolding mine... My atheist friends are nothing like you. Good people don't hurt each other over beliefs. Sometimes we talk about it but there's no hatered. We are all skeptical and become each other from time to time and being on both sides at one time or the other never made me hate the other since I have been both atheist and believer.
You shouldn't get your panties in a wad over it. It's just a thing.
Wow didn't realize this thread was so old?
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