There's a Science Fiction Film Festival going on in Texas this week, and they sent out press releases. Since it's a Science Fiction Film Festival, you'd think that the Science Fiction Website "Io9" (No, I don't understand the name either), would say "Hey, cool! We'll plug it for you on our site!"
Ah, but no, you see, it's a *CHRISTIAN* Science Fiction Film dealie. "Christian" is a four-letter word over at Io9. Here's what they said on their site:
>>>If science and religion are natural enemies, then what about science fiction and Christianity? A new Christian film festival plans to look at how to approach the genre... and maybe co-opt it a little, too.
The three-day Symposium on Science Fiction and Christian Filmmaking - running January 5th through the 7th in San Antonio, Texas - will be held at the Christian Filmmakers Academy, which describes itself as "a technical bootcamp for aspiring culture-changers." According to CFA founder Doug Phillips, this symposium is happening because certain irresponsible people have been abusing the genre's power<<<
Now, Io9 could have taken this a lot of different ways. They could have said "Wow, some Christians like Science Fiction just like we Godless secular humanists do? That's unexpectedly humanizing, and while we disagree with their beliefs, this common interest goes a long way towards developing some rapproachment between us." Or they could have grabbed the all-inclusive spirit of the nascent Obama administration and said "The more diverse voices at the party, the better!"
But no. As is typical of Io9, they immediately decided to go with undisguised bile and hatred. Their response goes beyond simply making fun of people who are different from you, and straight on in to hatred. Make no mistake about it, they hate you, Christians! They also hate Republicans, but since the Democrats finally won an election, that's subsided a little bit, and it would take a venn diagram to really illustrate that, and I don't feel like doing it. It's not germane anyway - the point is that they hate Christians. If you don't get that from this one posting, tool around on the site a bit more, and you'll get that unmistakable feel.
Now, if you think I'm making too much of this - and I well might be - think about this: If there was a Jewish Science Fiction Symposium, or a Muslim Science Fiction Symposium, or a Sikh Science Fiction Symposium (Which I wish would happen, 'cuz those guys rock!), or even a freakin' Scientologist one, would Io9 have responded like that? No. They would not have. They show at least token respect to every culture, subculture, and religion *excepting* the one that most Americans actually believe in to some extent.
I don't know. I don't really care, frankly. It's not my job to argue people out of their shortcomings. The reason I bring this all up, though, is simply that it backs up our point about how Science Fiction is all about asking The Big Questions, about Thinking For Yourself, about not just reacting or goose-stepping along, believing something is bad or good simply because your Abnormal Psych professor told you so fifteen years ago.
As we said in our Manifesto, SF is by it's nature rather liberal. We don't take issue with that. Reasoned liberality - political and ethical stances you can back up with facts or a strong argument - is a good thing. However, arbitrarily saying "Religion is the Enemy of Science" and flat-out insulting the one-third of the world who happen to believe in a God you don't believe in - that's simply wrong. And mean. And it illustrates exactly what we're trying to overcome here on the site: the freedom for people to think and reason and believe for themselves. This is something that Io9 claims to want as well, but clearly in actual practice they *don't* want people to think or believe differently than they do.
Here's a link to the Io9 story:
And here's a link to the original Christian Film Symposium press release:
I've attempted to contact the Symposium for an interview. I think it would be interesting to get their reaction on this, but more than that I think it would be all kinds of fun to discuss exactly what they see as the potential in Science Fiction, both Literary and Media.
[UPDATE 1/12/09 - still no word back. Maybe I should Email 'em again...]
[UPDATE 2/20/09 - we're working out the details of the interview]
[UPDATE 3/10/09 - after three and a half months of emails back and forth, Vision Forum Ministries has politely declined our request for an interview]