Friday, February 6, 2009

Dangerous Visions?

The cover story of the February issue of Christianity Today is entitled "Sci-Fi's Brave New World," by James Herrick. Herrick's piece is essentially a warning to Christians that sf smuggles anti-Christian myths into our culture. Here's a bit of it:

The spiritual messages conveyed by our most popular television, movie, and literary products are often questionable and sometimes dangerously misleading. We are not the center of the cosmos, nor are we (or extraterrestrials) evolving toward divinity. Evolution is not the benevolent operating principle of the entire universe, and technological transformation of our species is not spiritual rebirth. Ignorance is not our predicament, progress is not redemption, the future is not salvation, and space is not our destiny... the church must attend more diligently to the presentation of her true myth in public settings. The biblical account of human origins and purpose, of our predicament as well as our redemption, and of the nature and purpose of the cosmos we inhabit, is emotionally, spiritually, and rationally more satisfying than modern myths featuring aliens, starships, divine evolution, hidden knowledge, and biomechanical post-humanity.

What do you make of Herrick's diatribe against sf? A couple of Christian sf scholar-bloggers criticize Herrick's book Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs (which seems to make the same basic argument as this briefer and more popular article) here and here.

A footnote: Ironically, this post shares its title with a seminal anthology of sf edited by the legendary Harlan Ellison in the late 60s.

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