Tag Archives: christianity

Why I Love Sci-Fi

I have a moderate obsession for science fiction.  I love just about anything written by Asimov or Card and the “Christian sci-fi” of C.S. Lewis and Chris Walley, among others.  I own every episode of Stargate SG-1, am rapidly becoming a “Whovian”, and have consistently enjoyed Star Trek (except for DS9, amirite?).

Many of these stories involve alternate views of religion, and most of those views vary significantly from orthodox Christianity.  However, for a grounded Christian, I do believe that engaging with such speculative fiction has great benefits.

 

1. Thinking.  Most importantly, reading (or watching) stories with alternate views of god(s) and their character(s) encourages a Christian to think critically.  Is ____ true of the real God?  What is this narrative missing about the true God?  What have the author(s) added to the truth?

For example, as I discussed earlier, the god-figures in Card’s Homecoming saga have many attractive qualities similar to the true God – involvement in people’s lives, a desire for people to follow willingly, a goal of humans loving one another properly. But, these god-figures are missing the saving aspect that is the distinguishing feature of Christianity – these gods make no effort to atone for the sin of their people.

In stories like Doctor Who and Stargate where the characters routinely encounter entirely new planets and species, I wonder what I would do in their situation as a Christian.  Can I tell these new people of God’s saving grace?  Does Christ’s death atone for the sins of aliens, too?  Or would aliens, like those in Lewis’s Space Trilogy, already know of the love and grace of God, perhaps better than we do?

When I started reading Lawhead’s Pendragon series, I didn’t know that Lawhead is a Christian.  Halfway through the first book, I thought, “Wow.  This fictional god Lawhead created is amazingly like the real one.  What’s his game?”  I watched very carefully for what differences this “secular” author was going to introduce.  Then, the character discovers that the Spirit he is following is named Jesus.  Psych!

 

2. Worship.  Similarities and differences between the true God and the god(s) in these fictional stories cause me to recognize aspects of God that I might not otherwise notice.  In recognizing those aspects, I can worship.

When I see dreams sent by the Oversoul to characters in the Homecoming saga, I thank God for the dreams He has sent me.

When I “meet” new, fantastic creatures (like timelords from Doctor Who or hrossi from Out of the Silent Planet), I rejoice in God’s creativity.

When I see how much greater God’s love is for us than the love of these fictional gods could ever be for their fictional people, I worship Him.  Who else but God could have conceived of His incarnation?  Who would dare to go further and imagine a God’s death to enable forgiveness of His people?  Praise God, who is greater than all other gods!

 

3. Fun.  God created us with a great love of story – after all, look at the way He chose to reveal Himself to us in the Scriptures.  Reading and watching the imaginative stories dreamt up by science fiction writers absolutely delights something deep inside of me.  The great imaginations He gave us let us explore questions like, “What happens if you put dinosaurs… on a spaceship?”, “What would happen on a planet where the seven suns never set?”, or “What if the pyramids were landing sites for alien ships?”.  What fun!

 

Finally, I want to emphasize that I think speculative fiction is beneficial only to people who have a solid grounding in the teachings of orthodox Christianity.  Star Wars might inspire thinking, worship, and fun, but Yoda is certainly not a good source for theology.  These stories are designed to draw the audience in, and can thus create an opening to impart false moral teaching.  Because of one’s enjoyment of Star Trek characters, someone without a solid footing might be tempted to throw out the truth that Christ is the one way to God in favor of the Federation’s tolerance and acceptance for all viewpoints (which is a reflection of popular modern thought).

For me, science fiction has been a source of great delight and one of the many avenues God has used to bring me closer to Him.  Happy reading, my friends.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Siege

Life, for Christians, is often described as a battle.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12

I think our metaphor’s a little twisted.
Life isn’t a battle: adrenaline pumping, sword blazing, hand-to-hand life or death combat. Battle ends.
Life is a siege.

There are moments of hand-to-hand life-or-death decisions, but on the whole, life is a siege.
We are constantly bombarded with temptation, doubt, fear, and trying situations, but in order to survive, we have to maintain some semblance of normality. In a walled city when a siege went on for months, even years, people still had to find and prepare meals, do the laundry, do some sort of work, etc. Life went on.
That’s how I feel Christianity goes. We live in a world that’s not our own–we’re walled up in a little city-haven with fellow believers while the devil* and his minions wage war outside.
his tempting of me doesn’t stop after one battle; I must keep the Shield up at all times.
After one late night with a suicidal friend, the battle doesn’t stop. She must stand strong for the long months and years ahead.

Maybe that’s part of the reason the Ephesians passage doesn’t ask us to fight: it asks us to stand.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me…

Stand. Let Him do the fighting, while we withstand the siege upon our hearts and minds.
Thoughts?

*middle finger of grammar

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized