Wednesday, March 15, 2006

So what makes sf Christian then?

In certain aspects of life there is a perception among some people that science and religion are necessarily at odds with one another. Science fiction, by definition, depends upon an element of science, be it robots or clones, space ships or time machines. This, perhaps, is one of the reasons why in much science fiction, religion barely gets a mention. What happened to the religions of Earth in Star Trek, for instance? As I recall the first mention of any kind of religion as we know it was when Kirk went one-on-one with God in The Final Frontier. And won.

I don't subscribe to the view that science and Christianity are mutually exclusive, and I don't believe that science fiction and Christianity should be so either. I suspect readers of this blog will agree, unless they're just here to mock me.

Having established that science fiction covers a fairly broad subject area, perhaps we should define Christian science fiction. I've bandied about terms like 'Christian fiction' and 'Christian novel' on my other blog and elsewhere occasionally, knowing what I mean but never really sure anyone else knows.

Essentially, what I call Christian fiction is that in which some aspect of the Christian life plays a significant role - by significant I mean more than Christianity being just another character trait plucked out of the bag.

This gets a bit complicated in the realms of science fiction, not least in my own 'Christian' novel, which (a) has Old Testament roots and therefore no Christ, and (b) is set in a fictional universe entirely separate from our own, where there is no such thing as Christ, Christianity, or even Judaism. It is, however, written from my worldview as a Christian, and has at its core The Creed, an essentially Judeo-Christian faith.

Which seems an appropriate point to direct you to Becky's blog, where she has been discussing the Christian worldview in fiction for a few days. It saves me typing any more, anyway. :-)

6 comments:

Becca said...

I'm actually watching The Final Frontier as I type. This isn't the first time God or Christ were mentioned in Star Trek, though - I remember seeing an original episode recently where the Enterprise came upon a planet that closely resembled life in Israel just after Christ's death. I was surprised, since Star Trek seemed to stay away from religion while still embodying many Christian values.

I believe I define Christian fiction the same way you do - that an author writing with a Christian worldview will produce Christian tales. We have the choice of leaving our worldview out of the tale, but most Christian authors don't choose that path. Maybe they feel as I do that their writing is a gift, and there's a possibility their stories may lead a reader closer to God.

sally apokedak said...

It's a big topic. I would like to see more Christian sci-fi. Why not?

In Wrinkle in Time the children wrinkled time but it was written from a (somewhat) Christian worldview.

I don't see why religion and science don't mix. God is the one who created all things and he's orderly and precise.

UKSteve said...

Why not? Well that's the question, isn't it... It has been my experience, in writing and publishing Countless as the Stars, that Christian publishers don't want sf, and those that dabbled in it found the Christian market didn't respond well to the genre. (Most Christian publishers here in the UK don't want any adult fiction, but that's another rant.) For the sequel, I think I'll have to crank up the sf and seek a genre publisher rather than a Christian one.

UKSteve said...

Becca, I did mention, didn't I, that I'm a rubbish Trekkie?

I agree about writing being a gift. I guess that's why I went for a Christian market, I wanted to give it back to God.

MikeZ said...

For science fiction with a Christian angle, you can't get much better than C. S. Lewis' space trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength).

The symbolism isn't as strong as in "Lion, Witch, Wardrobe") - because those were written for children, and these for adults. But it's there. The hero, for example, is named Ransom.

David said...

I think maybe one way to look at it is not writing "Christian Sci-Fi" but be a writer who writes Sci-Fi that happens to follow Christ.

I know for me in any creative endeavors, it seems to help my brain think outside the construct of boxed up churchianity when I see myself IN the world, but not of it. Too many times we tend to place emphasis on the 'not of it' part. Jesus was completely in the world, and He was the creator who never seemed to heal the same way twice... it was in His nature to be in the world and be creative even though He is from another world so to speak.

Science and Faith can mix, because God is outside of science. He is outside of creation. Science can point to God (or seemingly away from God at times) but it doesn't matter because no matter where science points, it cannot prove or disprove God. In the end it's still a step of faith.

The only thing science can do, is point to the plausibility of a higher being.

So let science and sci-fi roll on!