might theoretically make life better for everyone. Take the abortion issue: There’s never going to be a moral compromise on it, nor can their be. But what if someone wrote a story exploring the option of transplanting a fetus from someone who doesn’t want it in to someone who does? That’s clearly an SF story in that it’s based on plausible-yet-nonexistent technology that solves the problem of the mother, the child, and the person who actually wants a kid. And it preserves the sanctity of life, albeit in the weird sort of way that would probably be an uncomfortable thought to most. I think that’s what Christian SF has to offer, if it can ever get it’s crap together: the ability to think its way around corners to solutions that might not be apparent to more rational folk. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, though.
Question Number Five: Many Christians (And indeed many Conservatives) take a fairly dim view of science. I’ve had people tell me time and time again that Science Fiction is inherently sinful because it talks about things that could never be and are not in God’s Plan, as revealed in the Bible. I like to point out that Narnia involves talking mice, and pagan Fawns which are clearly also things that could never be and are not in God’s Bible Plan, but that they’re used as plot devices and metaphors to get across the author’s moral. Many people simply roll their eyes at me and say I don’t “Get” it, then start yammering about evolution not being real and how colonies on other planets can’t happen because the Bible never mentions them, and it would contradict Revelation if they did. There’s a lot of people who can’t seem to accept flights of fancy as simply fiction and nothing more, and they won’t accept SF unless it takes place within the very narrow confines of what they consider “Lawful” IE: No extramarital sex, no cursing, no evolution, no aliens, no time travel, no lust, no artificial intelligences, no Gnosticism or esoteric theology, no SF religions unless they‘re portrayed as evil, no questions about God, no nothing you wouldn’t find in a boring ol’ Michael Crichton potboiler. It’s pointlessly limiting and a hard sell. Do you guys have any thoughts on how a Christian SF Author might get around this, and still manage to engage his audience?
As an author (with almost no success so what do I know?) and as a Christian, I have several responses to this paragraph (so pardon me if my answer is long). I have grown up in a tradition where one of the catch-phrases was, “Where the Bible speaks we speak and where the Bible is silent we are silent.” There was an old Jewish concept—from before the time of Jesus—that was very similar except that it held that anything not mentioned in Scripture is sinful. “Scripture doesn’t mention zebras? Sinful!” I believe the Bible says absolutely nothing about whether anyone lives on other planets. My thought is because whether they do or don’t is immaterial to my salvation. I believe if they’re out there, God put them there. If they’re not, same reason. Therefore, I take the silence of Scripture as a license to suppose what life might be out there if there is life out there. As in Perelandra, where Lewis explored how God might have
interacted with the planet Venus if there were life there.
As to the list you provided: “No extramarital sex, no cursing, no evolution, no aliens, no time travel, no lust, no artificial intelligences, no Gnosticism or esoteric theology, no whacky SF religions unless they‘re portrayed as evil, no positive portrayals of sexually deviant characters, no questions about God, no nothing you wouldn’t find in a boring ol’ Michael Crichton potboiler”, that’s a pretty whacky pot to me. Whereas I could find Biblical prohibitions against some of those things, I see some of the things as being from that silent “list” I just mentioned. However, as both a writer and a Christian I might be tempted to put any or all of these things in a story and try to deal with their consequences from a Biblical standpoint (and my own conviction—not shared by all, granted—that God is ultimately consistent so what he prohibited here is prohibited everywhere and what he promoted here is promoted everywhere). Also, I like
Michael Crichton’s works. ;-)
I have actually run into this with one of my novels, though