Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Science Fiction at Odds with Christianity?

Today I was doing some research as I (hopefully) wrap up a paper on science fiction and interreligious dialogue for a presentation at a conference at Brigham Young University next week, and as I did so I stumbled upon an article by James Herrick in Christianity Today magazine. The article is titled "Sci-Fi's Brave New World," which is largely a summary of Herrick's book Scientific Mythologies (InterVarsity Press, 2008). The article, like the book, rightly recognizes the mythic significance of science fiction in Western culture today, but takes an unfortunately defensive posture for Christianity as a result. As a result, Herrick misses the opportunity to have a deeper appreciation of the significance of myth and science fiction (as well as the related genres of fantasy and horror), reflecting a stunted theological imagination all too frequently found among evangelicals in regards to speculative fiction in literature, television, and film. This type of approach will not inspire the next generation of C. S. Lewis' or J. R. R. Tolkiens to engage the West in its current journey toward re-enchantment.

For two good critiques of Herrick's book see James McGrath's review, as well as Gabriel McKee's review at The Internet Review of Science Fiction. For examples of more positive and promising interactions between science fiction and religion see McGrath's blog Exploring Our Matrix, McKee's blog SF Gospel, and my own TheoFantastique.


Andrew said...

What is the topic of the conference at BYU? Is it open to the public?

John W. Morehead said...

The conference is the Life, the Universe & Everything Symposium on science fiction. It is open to the public. See my prior post with links to the symposium here:

Steve Hayes said...

I don't know if you saw a post I wrote recently on Orthodoxy and science fiction, and the post it links to.

May be grist for your mill.

Morning Angel said...

You seem surprised. Heck, even Christianity is at odds with Christianity.