We had some very good comments to last week’s post. Thanks for responding. Some of you highlighted the link science fiction creates between reality and imagination, and I think this is where much of the power comes from.
In most science fiction, no matter how incredible the technology, it has a sense of being real and plausible. All the incredible things we see and experience are only out of reach due to technological limitations.
Yet it also so often shows how important the human heart/soul/being is amongst all the technology. That without that spark, all the technology ends up cold and ruthless, unless it is seeking that elusive spark that makes one human itself (or has found it).
I think that’s where the power of the science fiction we grew up with came from. It painted a bright vision of the future where humanity prevailed and it was the human nature coupled with technology that allowed us to overcome any odds. That is a powerful message and gets us to look beyond the limitations and trials of the present to what could be.
Unfortunately, at the same time the foundational world view of much of that science fiction wasn’t a Christian worldview. There was no higher authority than those which man imposed on himself. There was no higher goal than attaining knowledge and higher technology. If there were any higher planes of existence then they were just a natural extension of evolution.
The interesting thing with this is that the worldviews weren’t necessarily thrust upon the reader as a means of the story. Often the story was completely independent of the world view, and it was simply the result of a character’s choices and the general way in which the universe works that reveals the worldview that forms the foundation.
If I’m correct here, then there is no reason that science fiction written from a Christian worldview need be all that different from any other science fiction read. Whether it is chronicling first contact with an alien race, pondering the ethics of killing the person left behind after someone has been copied to a location on the far side of the universe as a transportation method, or just examining the adventures of the crew of an intergalactic spaceship.
You don’t always have to focus on the theology or use grand symbolism to discuss the redemption of man. Just go with a story idea that looks at what life looks like in the setting and let the rules of the universe play out. And let Christian characters be themselves, right or wrong.
More thoughts along these lines coming next week.
What do you think?