Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Science fiction writers and Christianity

Elliot from Claw of the Conciliator is blogging about Faith and Science Fiction.

At some point after that I started to become curious about which other sf & fantasy authors had religious commitments or dealt with religious themes. I discovered that a number of widely acclaimed writers had such commitments and/or seriously tackled religious questions.

I also became aware of a disconnect: Many famous science fiction writers were atheists and agnostics, and so were many fans. The sf culture, particularly, often did not take religious beliefs very seriously, and sometimes held them in contempt. At the same time, authors who were clearly religious or at least sympathetic to religious concerns were very popular, and they seemed to get along well with their colleagues. But I noticed that many non-religious fans seemed somewhat baffled or dismissive of the religious themes in their work. I also noticed that there wasn't much knowledge of these authors (aside from Lewis and Tolkien) among reading Christians. Sometimes this was the result of literary snobbery, and at other times simply sprang from preconceptions about fantasy and science fiction.

He brings up some interesting commentary on the history of Christian writers of science fiction, as well as authors of today.

My only beef with him is that he calls Orson Scott Card a non-Christian. Orson Scott Card has been very good to Catholics in his works. Too bad Catholics can't consider him a brother in Christ. /end snark

Anyway, part 1 is here.

H/T Julie.


At 1:51 PM CDT, Blogger Julie D. said...

That all comes down to whether one considers Mormons to be Christians. I'm not aware of any Protestant denominations that do. Certainly the Catholic Church does not. When Mormons don't believe in the Trinity it is rather difficult to imagine any Christian denomination that will do so.

Just to make it all equal though, Mormons don't accept any other church's baptism. They insist on a re-do for converts.

As mentioned in a previous post on my blog, which linked to a great explanatory post by an exMormon, the difference is largely in definition.

At 2:55 PM CDT, Blogger Anna said...

Yes, I have read that post. I understand why mainstream religious Christian denominations don't like Mormon doctrine.

However, the rift annoys me because Mormons have done much good for their communities and America in general. I am really tired of the hostility they recieve from the MSM and it annoys me that Catholics especially would be hostile to Mormons as well.

It's not like the MSM likes Catholics much, either!

When I hear my protestant and Catholic friends casually say "I hate Mormons" or say to Mormons to their face "I think that your religion is a cult", yeah I get angry.

I am in debt to certain Mormon writers, especially Orson Scott Card, for opening my eyes on how I should live my life. No, I am not going to convert to Mormonism, but my political and moral views have changed much thanks to them.

At 11:37 AM CDT, Blogger Julie D. said...

I can understand why you'd react that way to hearing people say "I hate Mormons." I'd be shocked, personally, to hear someone say that.

I don't hate Mormons. In fact, in that tired old cliche, I have some good friends who are Mormon.

However, to call a thing what it is does not mean one is hating it. To say that the Hindi religion is not Christian is not to say we hate it, but to call it what it is. Similarly with Muslims or Jews or ... any religion that does not hold the same beliefs as Christianity.

And those communities also have done great good in many ways not only in America but around the world.

To call a thing what it is does not mean one is putting it down or hating it. I am positive that Elliot didn't mean it that way.

I understand why you reacted defensively considering the examples you gave but he was merely putting those authors in the proper context of the writing he was doing.

At 6:49 PM CDT, Blogger Elliot said...

I guess this comment is a little late, but, yes, I didn't mean to demean Mormons. I like some of Card's work (and I happen to have some Mormon friends myself.) I just wanted to note that he wasn't an orthodox Christian, as that's usually defined. My concern was more to avoid 'claiming' him.

Thanks, Julie!


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