Of late, I am sensing that lines have been drawn and sides chosen in the camps of Science Fiction (& Fantasy) and Christianity. There’s a virtual wall between the two fandom groups- and that’s a darned shame.
I count myself as a Christian- not the in-your-face, you’re-going-to-burn-in-Hell kind. I’m more of the quiet introvert when it comes to my faith- if you don’t want to hear about it, I don’t feel like it’s my place to make you hear it. When it comes to science fiction I’m far more outspoken- voicing my opinion on various Science Fiction & Fantasy topics at the drop of a hat. Many in the Christian world would blast me for that and say I had my priorities mixed up. I don’t really think so.
Why can’t Christians and Science Fiction & Fantasy fans get along?
I have been pondering this subject of late after seeing several ads for the novel “The Davinci Code”- that it’s free this Easter season. That strikes me as a little rude. Easter is a religious holiday where Christians celebrate that Jesus died on the cross for all mankind and then was resurrected. The Davinci Code is a book/movie that flatly contradicts that, saying that not only did he not die on the cross, but that he married a hooker and had kids. (okay, I know, scholars say she wasn’t the hooker from the whole stone-throwing bit). Pushing this book during the Easter season is a little insensitive, like trying to convince people Santa isn’t real at Christmas, or arguing about gun control hours after a mass shooting.
On the one hand, I admit that it’s marvelous that we live in a modern world where folks don’t get stoned or beheaded for writing such blasphemous stuff. That people are actually free to believe, or read, or write what they want. I mean, can you imagine publishing a book like the Davinci Code in the 1600s? Or even the 1700s?
On the other hand, I have to wonder where all this Christian animosity in Science Fiction & Fantasy has come from. Sure, I realize there are a lotta overzealous religious types spewing hatred on a daily basis, instead of the compassion and respect Jesus preached. But c’mon, has it really been that bad? No one alive today was ever tortured to death in the Inquisition (unless you believe in reincarnation) so why is it often used as an example of how bad Christians are? Shouldn’t non-Christians take the high road and not follow in the footsteps of history’s worst “Christians”? Get some compassion, not some contempt.
I’m digressing… the point here really is, where has Jesus gone in the Science Fiction & Fantasy world? He was once there, you know.
Case in point- two of the largest blockbusters in SF/F ever, that to this day have a profound effect on modern storytelling and popculture: Indiana Jones’ “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Last Crusade”.
Both of these films revolve around the concept that yes, God and Jesus are real beings. I’m sure a talented debater could weave a tale of the Ark being something other than the Ten Commandments’ final resting place, that it really wasn’t magical, etc. etc. But how about the Holy Grail? We all saw it heal Dr. Jones Sr. We saw the old Crusader still alive due to its magical, Christ-given powers. Clearly, to accept the Grail, around which the whole movie is based, you have to accept Jesus as a divine being and not get all hatey-closedmindedy.
SF/F fans, what really is so bad about Christianity? (The Biblical teachings of Jesus, not the televangelist pleas for donations). There seems to be a recent trend to exclude or discredit Christianity in Science Fiction. I mean, c’mon- it’s just as plausible as Ancient Alien theories. Or that we all evolved from poop-slinging monkeys as a result of hitting the random event, Big Bang Lottery.
When I read a Bible, I read about a guy not unlike Yoda. Compassionate and caring, with super powers, who didn’t really want to hurt anyone. In fact, I think Jesus probably would enjoy the Star Wars franchise (if He hasn’t already watched it).
Some of you might argue there’s no place in a Christian world for science fiction. I’d disagree. I think there’s tons of story-telling potential in a Christian world. Imagine a world where Eve didn’t eat the apple? Or a world where before man was wiped out by The Flood, he made it to the stars. You don’t even have to imagine our own modern world with a Christian/Science Fiction & Fantasy slant- it’s been portrayed in many tales without getting preachy. Constantine. Supernatural. The Life of Brian (not modern era, but it’s got Jesus and aliens, you know).
What’s with the idea that seems to have swept the Science Fiction & Fantasy fanbase that Christianity is the enemy? It sure seems that way to me, with all the poor depictions of Christians or the knocks against Christianity in general. I have yet to see any Science Fiction & Fantasy that knocks Bhuddism. Yet, isn’t it a religion? And no one seems brave enough to mock Islam in Science Fiction & Fantasy. Where’s the Muhammad-was-really-an-alien story?
I’d like to hope that being a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy community I can feel comfortable reading my Bible for a bit while I wait for the latest episode of Doctor Who to come on, or that I can wear a Hellboy t-shirt to church without a second thought. Why can’t I love Jim Caviezel’s portrayal of Jesus and his portrayal of a Space Viking?
I guess what I’m really getting at is that Christians and Science Fiction & Fantasy fans need to take cues from our Lord and our last Time Lord and treat each other with some respect and compassion and leave the hatin’ to the Daleks.