September 22, 2007

CHRISTIANITY -- ANTHROPOCENTRIC OR UNIVERSAL? II: God Appears To Have Disappeared From Science Fiction (B)

Five years ago, I started pondering this question and people have clicked on this essay nearly a thousand times, making it the single most-viewed thing I’ve ever posted. I’d like to continue thinking out loud on the issue now that I’m older and the world has changed a bit...

In discussing this entry with various people, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not making myself clear.

When I talk about Christianity disappearing in space, I'm talking about the observations that I've made in the reading I've done. I'm a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and am currently on the Norton Award Committee. As part of that group, we read and recommend new SF and F written specifically for middle school/high school/early college aged young people. So far, out of over a hundred novels I've read or previewed, only one character has been a professing Christian. The others curse, talk to gods, goddesses and other minor deities and engage in any number of normal, mundane things -- but they don't appear to be Christians.

Don't get me wrong, it's not amazing to me that author's biases, beliefs, and orientations -- their personalities -- come out in their writing. Someone once made a comment that eventually became an aphorism, "Want to be a writer? Just open up a vein and bleed." An author's philosophy of life becomes clear when we read their writing.

C.S. Lewis, my favorite writer, observed, "We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy's line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects with their Christianity latent." (GOD IN THE DOCK)

What I am talking about is that evangelical Christians (or for that matter, evangelical Buddhists, Hindus or Confucianists) have either a) made little or no effort to write stories and novels with latent faith -- or b) Christianity is being supressed by evangelical atheists in the SF/F world. (c) is a hard one for me to consider, but here it is: that Christians, Muslims and Taoists all write bad SF/F. It's possible but on the face of it, unlikely. After all, despite Philip Pullman's rants, people still read Tolkein and Lewis more often than they read him and both of them are Christians.)

Christianity will NOT disappear from space. Christians will "boldly go where no one has gone before" -- as will Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists. Christian writers need to write GOOD science fiction with Christianity latent in every story. Atheist/agnostic editors and publishers need to quit panicking in fear that publishing stories with Christians in them will somehow undermine their atheist or agnostic beliefs and quit pretending that Christianity (and other faiths) will somehow disappear when the real exploration of the Universe begins. They need to be bold in their willingness to look at futures that might include faiths other than insipid atheism or militant agnosticism...


September 8, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle, Long Time Icon, Goes Home

Long-time beloved author and icon, Madeleine L'Engle went Home to be with her beloved husband, Hugh and son Bion. Her words will be truly missed. I am one of a blessed few who have a few words written to me personally several years ago.

In 1990, I wrote her a note telling her how much I loved her writing, how I planned on introducing my children to it (at that point, Josh was 2 and Mary not even born yet), and how she had inspired me to be a writer. She had these words for me:

"Dear Guy: Thank you so very much for a delightful letter. How kind and generous you are in response to my work. I'm grateful indeed if my books have given you encouragement to pursue writing. It can be a hard life but one full of joy and reward. I send you my very best wishes. Madeleine."

Six years later, I wrote a much longer letter, commenting at length on her (then) newest book, PENGUINS AND GOLDEN CALVES. I won't go into details about what I said, nor can I quote her at length because we "spoke" of many things. But in part, she replied, in a hand-written letter:

"Dear Guy, What an extraordinary & beautiful letter. Thank you for taking so much trouble...I wold never want anything I wrote to turn anyone away from the Bible, but TO the Bible for daily reading. I read mine morning & evening. It is THE book. But often the message is not the surface facts, but something God wants to tell us about ourselves...I try to write what God gives me to write. I try to listen to the Spirit. And of course, I do not do it as well as I should, but I do try, in revision after revision."

What a wonderful, loving, talented person.

She will be sorely and sadly -- and joyously missed when I remember that she has, indeed gone Home!

September 5, 2007

CHRISTIANITY -- ANTHROPOCENTRIC OR UNIVERSAL I: God Appears To Have Disappeared From Science Fiction (A)

Five years ago, I started pondering this question and people have clicked on this essay nearly a thousand times, making it the single most-viewed thing I’ve ever posted. I’d like to continue thinking out loud on the issue now that I’m older and the world has changed a bit...

The assumption used to be that once we left the surface of the Earth and go into space, we would leave behind the "religious chains" of outmoded human supernatural beliefs.

We've gone into space. Several times. In fact, we do so with such stunning regularity that space missions barely elicit comment in evening news. At the same time, the last time I looked, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples were still the choice spot for worship of God (and other dieties). Atheism has not swept the world. Atheism hasn't even swept the Hallowed Halls of Science. There are still Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian (and other religious) scientists. Some of them are even making legitimate discoveries while believing in their God:

"The form, and nothing else, is all that is left of the original. On the outside, the hindlimb fossil designated MOR (Museum of the Rockies specimen) 1125 has this appearance.
But when Dr Mary Schweitzer, of North Carolina State University, dissolved away the minerals, she found something extraordinary inside.

"The soft structures move back into position after flexing. She discovered transparent, flexible filaments that resemble blood vessels. There were also traces of what look like red blood cells; and others that look like osteocytes, cells that build and maintain bone."

Mary Schweitzer is also a confessing Christian. (Discover Magazine, April 2006

So, apparently, science and space exploration has yet to destroy Christianity (or any religion for that matter). That might mean that Christianity will make it into space. It might mean that there will be Christians in starships. It might mean that Christians will be colonists on new worlds. It may mean that Christians will greet aliens...

It might mean that SF writers are ignoring Christianity for no other reason than their own personal biases. It might also mean that ignoring Christianity is a prejudice that needs to, perhaps, disappear in all fairness. I find it illuminating that best-selling SF can posutlate other religions. For an excellent example, read Tobias Buckell's CRYSTAL RAIN. He postulates a human colony world predicated on the worship of ancient Aztec gods. Everyone accepts the premise, he advances the premise with skill and elan. But if he had predicated his world on the worship of the Christ, Jesus, I wonder how popular his books would be? He even decapitalizes the word "Bible" when he uses it, obviously referring to the bible of Christianity. Fine. He's a great story teller. I look forward to reading RAGAMUFFIN.

But is there a bias in SF against Christianity?

I say: Yes.

September 2, 2007

A Slice of PIE: Where are the Evangelical Christians in SF Today?

This is from my other website that I posted on

April 21, 2007

Where are the evangelical Christians in SF today?
Hiding, probably.
Most of the discussions I've seen on websites imply or baldly state that having a Christian world-view is a one-way ticket to writer's oblvion.
A general sense in the Christian evangelical world is that if you want to be published, you DON'T talk about the faith of your characters -- unless they are polytheistic Mayan human sacrificing priests, in which case, you can base your entire story on the gods they worship, why they're important and what they mean to your character's personal life -- as long as they're aliens.
The SF world's perception is often that Christians don't believe in the future (unless it's apocalyptic) or aliens (and in that case, C.S. Lewis was OK with what HE wrote -- but that era is past and "obviously" he was being allegorical -- wasn't he? (Check his essays in THE WORLD'S LAST NIGHT if you think he was using aliens allegorically.))
So, an evangelical Christian writing SF is going to get hurt whether she's coming or going: coming INTO the SF community with a Christ-centered world view or GOING OUT OF the evangelical community looking to a future on other worlds and the possibility of intelligent life Out There.
Seems like nobody likes an evangelical Christian SF writer.
I have two real words of response to that: so what?
The halls of SF are replete with wannabes who gave up after their first, second, tenth, thirtieth, fitieth, hundredth or thousandth rejection. Getting published in top-quality markets is hard. BUT if you tell a good story; make people think; entertain them; and have a thick enough hide to withstand editorial indifference or commentary, then you can make it. As Donald Maass says in his book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, "Storytelling matters above all other considerations..."
The pews of the church are replete with people who heard the call to the jungles of Borneo and stayed home. If God has placed His call on you to be an SF writer and your faith is deeply part of your life, then you WILL have a Christian world-view in your futuristic, alien stories. There may very well be Christian characters in those stories, too. As Donald Maass says in his book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, "Storytelling matters above all other considerations..."
No amount of editorial or pewtative disdain should be able to stop you if God's call to write powerful SF is on your heart and harddrive. The upshot of this is a simple reiteration of Jesus in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciple of all nations..."
Quit hiding!

A Slice of PIE: Why is FANTASY all the rage now?

This essay was first written on

May 6, 2007

Why is FANTASY all the rage right now?
Easy Answer: technology scares people, science bores them and they'd rather not think about the technological ramifications of science -- no matter HOW entertaining.
Easy Answer: people got tired of STAR WARS and wanted to watch LORD OF THE RINGS instead. They liked the movies, read the books, then moved into the rest of the genre (oh, add to that the unexpected arrival of Harry Potter).
Tough Answer: SF eliminates the spiritual in favor of the material and humans have an intrinsic spiritual dimension.

To be truthful, I don't much care for easy answers. One of the reasons for that is that it encourages finger pointing. I've been a middle school and high school science teacher for 26 years and the level of scientific literacy among my parents and students has gone DOWN as the level of scientific discovery has gone UP and we've moved into the 21st Century. It would be very easy for me to blame people's boredom with science on some sort of intangible "attitude" against it.
But that would ignore the fact that young people -- and people in general -- have changed very little in 10,000 years. As much as we'd like to think that we're "all that" or that one political party is "more aggressive" than another or that "we're evolving to a higher plane", the evidence does not bear those conclusions. Quite the opposite. Evidence would suggest that we are NOT "all that", that political affiliating isn't the "way" to manage populations once they've grown beyond a certain limit and we appear to be evolving to a lower plane -- at least it seems so when I watch the evening news.
Secularists -- backed by scientific research -- have steadily pushed any elements of spirituality from the public arena. With the banning of prayer and all other forms of religious expression from schools, governments buildings and public places, the behavior of the human race should have gotten better. After all, the stated intent was that religion causes division and once religion was removed, we could all just get along. But has this dream been realized now that we've chased virtally all religion out of public sight? We still talk about eliminating "In God We Trust" from our money. And that would accomplish greater peace among people and less greed? Hmmm...
Science Fiction has done its part to promote worlds unencumbered by religious dogma through STAR TREK and the works of writers like Anne McCaffery, Lois McMaster Bujold and Arthur C. Clarke. Ridiculing religion by appearing to plumb its depths to discover the mechanistic roots (and by implication the mechanistic roots of all religion) has also been popular in the worlds of Frank Herbert, David Weber, STAR TREK, Tobias Buckell and Sharon Shinn.
And so people shy away from the secularization of their fiction. Fantasy is by its very nature SPIRITUAL. What could be more spiritual than magic -- black or white? Fantasy speaks to the soul while SF speaks to the head. Elves and witches and goblins and hobbits and Aslan and The Golden Compass and Perdido Street Station and Hogwarts Academy are permeated with spiritual beings and by implication, spiritual messages.
We don't need any more secularizing. We've had enough. And so to feed our souls, we head for the groaning racks of fantasy: good or bad, new or old.
All we want is food for our souls. Our heads are about ready to explode..

A Slice of PIE: Christianity and Science Fiction: Philosophical Collision

The philosophy of faith in Christ begins on Earth and extends to Heaven.

The philosophy of science fiction, or SF, begins today and extends to tomorrow. (The philosophy of fantasy begins today and extends to yesterday; but that's another essay.)

The place SF and Faith meet is on Earth, today. I am a Christian. I'm also a SF writer and reader. For decades, I've read with glee (and sometimes with a frown) as SF writers like Herbert, McCaffery and Cherryh have disappeared my beliefs in favor of a spiritual nothingness. It may be because they just didn't want to add another layer of complication to an already complicated story. It may be that they really believe that Humans will outgrow their religions. It may also be that they don't have the faintest idea what do DO with Christians in space. It may be, as in the Star Trek Universe that everyone else can have a religion, but Humans (who are obviously the most superior form of humanoid) don't bother with all that meditation on Mount Selaya, or attempts to reach the Halls of Stovokor or follow the Prophets because they've outgrown the need. Roddenberry was a great believer in the ultimate perfectibility of Man. It's the essential philosophy Star Trek is built around when it comes to religion.

I disagree. It's a minority opinion, but I disagree anyway. I believe that Christians will carry their Bibles -- in whatever form -- into space. I believe that they will share their faith and that spacers, starship captains, colonists, xenobiologists, terraformers, and...aliens will accept in their hearts (or whatever!) Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I believe that the love of Christ will extend to the physical Heavens as well as the metaphorical heavens. I believe there will be fellowships of Christian believers in as many places in the future as there are fellowships of Christians today from the Arctic wastes to the jungles of Borneo. I believe that Christians will hold positions of authority tomorrow as they do today. I also believe that rather than trying to establish a "kingdom of heaven on Earth" through legislation and political activism, the Christians of the future will do what the Christians of today mostly do: share the Good News of Jesus Christ at home and at work and at school.

And my SF will reflect that belief!

September 1, 2007

Chosen One Fiction

This is from my old website. My August 8, 2007 entry:

My comments today refer to a recent article published in The New Republic:
The Secret to Selling Sci-Fi. Fantasy Land
by Jane Espenson Only at TNR Online Post date 08.07.07
The author is no stranger to SF/F -- and publishing in general -- either: "Jane Espenson is a former writer for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and has written episodes for shows including "Angel," "Firefly," "Gilmore Girls," and others. She's currently under a development deal with NBC Universal television while working as Co-Executive Producer on "Battlestar Galactica." She blogs at "
In an on-line writer's group I frequent, one of the writers posited that this kind of SF/F might be called "Chosen One" fiction. I agree, and it plays into my belief about SF/F or what some people call "spec-fic". [Short for "speculative fiction", this genre title can cover everything from Robert L. Forward's DRAGON'S EGG to Terry Brook's first book, THE SWORD OF SHANARA to Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake vampire mysteries as well as anything else that spends time speculating on the "not-of-this-mundane-world".]
So, here's my possibly irritating suggestion: being that most people have rejected traditional Christianity, [DEFINED by the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds (and more extensively, the Athanasian Creed. To refresh your memory -- or for a succinct presentation of Christian beliefs, see: ) If a person does not agree with ANY part of these Creeds, then they are not, by definition, a Christian.] they need to believe in SOMETHING. Most people have rejected Jesus Christ as the Chosen One because they: a) don't believe in sin, b) don't believe THEY'VE sinned, or c) they believe that sin is relative and whatever a person believes is sinful can be taken care of by enough good works to balance the sin.
I believe that the human psyche is evolved/made to have some portion of it hope outside of itself -- we have a "god-shaped hole in our hearts" if you will. If God doesn't fill it, it seeks to be filled with something besides God. It hopes that the next subway platform we step onto will be numbered 9 3/4 or that the next glowing light we see in the sky will be saucer-shaped. It desperately seeks to be taken out of this mundane life and be declared SPECIAL.
Science Fiction and Fantasy allows people to fill their "god shaped holes" with magic or aliens, so that we can believe that WE are a Chosen One and are, by definition, SPECIAL (because we have magic); or we believe that the Chosen Ones are coming and that they will choose us as their First Contact because we are in some way ready which also makes us SPECIAL.
The thing is, is that God made us to be Chosen People -- Special -- already: Romans 8:29-30 "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory."
We don't have to look to Hogwarts or Trantor to find out if we are chosen or not. We have been chosen, by God, for Himself.
I just pray that those who fill their "god shaped holes" with the promises of Rowling and Herbert will come to fill their "god shaped holes" with the one true Son of God...

Are Youngsters Reading Science Fiction?

This is from my old website, written on

May 21, 2007

Why aren't young people reading SF -- or have they ever?
How about a few small facts here to start things off?
Fact: in 2005, there were 30,000,000 American people between the ages of 13 and 19. Thirty million teenagers. Cool.
Fact: in 2005, the American Library Association through its Young Adult Library Services Association, invited teens to vote for their favorite book of those published between January 2005 and April 2006. There were "Over 5000 online ballots" cast. Well...that seems nice.
Fact: Simple division says: 5500 (I'm giving that as the "over 5000 number) / 30,000,000 x 100 = .018%. That's 2 HUNDREDTHS of a percent of all American teens voted in this effort to engage young adults in reading.
Conclusion: Not only do teenagers not read Science Fiction, they don't read anything else, either.
All right, let's try and look at the bright side of things...
"At least kids are reading!" Some of them anyway...
So, of the books they picked in 2005 and part of 2006, the breakdown is as follows:
Fantasy: 7
Realistic: 1
Science Fiction: 1
Fairy Tale Retelling: 1
(If you want to know the books, go to the ALA's Teen Reading site)
The results for 2006-2007 haven't been tabulated yet, but the current most popular breakdown is:
Fantasy: 5
Realistic: 8
Science Fiction: 1
Mystery: 5
Historical: 3
Adventure: 1
Short Story: 1
There's no data in how many young adults nominated the books.
So: my explanation? Couple of things, actually. First reason is illustrated by my daughter who is sitting in front of me -- doing homework. She's also discovering classics as well. She just finished and loved THE GREAT GATSBY. Also this past year, she read THE BELL JAR, INVISIBLE MAN, and HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES. Young adults are busy doing homework and studying and spending time with friends.
Second reason is illustrated by my son -- he's at work right now. YA's are WORKING for the first time and get involved in their jobs. At least their jobs take up a new amount of time and they can't quite figure out how to balance work and leisure. Books take a WAYYYYYY back seat to phone talking, texting, IMing, watching DVDs, playing video games and catching up on their favorite subject in magazines.
Third reason is the one likely to irritate you: science fiction writers today aren't writing anything young adults want to read. They write what old white men want to read. People like me. And most SF writers. Who's the YOUNGEST SF writer you can name? Shane Tourtellotte's name springs to mind. How about the youngest FEMALE SF writer? Any names leap to mind? Julie Czerneda? Sarah Zettel (OOPS! She left SF for Fantasy...) Anyone else? None? Perhaps the young adults of today are being shut out by the OLD MEN (and I include myself with them) who do 85% of the writing of SF and nearly 90% of the judging and voting on SF many women go to the Hugos? I don't know, I've never had the joy of going. Anyone tell me? PLEASE tell me my numbers are wrong.
I think this is why YA's aren't READING SF. There's no one writing today who can speak to THEIR world. And those of us who grew up with Heinlein, Norton and the rest of the crew grew up in a VERY different world. I work with teens every day. I have for the past 26 years. Kids today ARE different than they were when "you" were a kid. They're even different than kids were TEN years ago. They live in a world that not only sells violence as a drug of choice, it's also a world that has removed ANY kind of societal morality in favor of "whatever" morality that they see fit to be moral with. This leaves kids wihout any kind of moral compass...and THOSE are the kids who wouldn't be caught dead reading ROCKETSHIP GALILEO or BOUNCING TO THE MOON or any of the other disconnected SF that is periodically floated in their direction in the hopes that they'll read it and become voracious SF adult readers.
The upshot of this is that unless someone out there can connect with today's young adults, SF will disappear as first its practitioners die off and finally its fan base dies off.

Is there anyone out there who'd like to knock me on my butt and prove me wrong? (Please...)

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY: Is Overtly Christian Science Fiction Saleable?

This post is from my old website, written on

July 20, 2007

Can SF with an overtly Christian world view make it in the same market as DUNE, BARRAYAR, PERN,
the UPLIFT UNIVERSE and among such aliens as the ATEVI?
This is a tough one. While I would LOVE to say “sure”, I’m disturbingly certain that the answer is “no way”. And that answer has nothing to do with quality storytelling, it has to do with the rigidity of the science fictional mindset. The Christian worldview is as unwelcome among the fictional stars as it is at a science fiction convention. Were I to stand up and suggest we talk about faith in Christ or the Christian roots of DUNE, I would be shouted down at worst and ignored at best. And there is no one out there who can deny or support my claim because it hasn’t happened before. There ARE no SF novels out and about that have normal, evangelical Christian characters. PLEASE do not point to James Blish’s A CASE OF CONSCIENCE. The characters in it are Catholic priests NOT for their belief but for their Jesuit militancy. Don’t note Mary Doria Russell’s THE SPARROW – again, she created Catholic characters as a plot device, not because they were simply Christian as a part of everything else they were.
What I am talking about is having characters who are Christians the same way that they are male, female, come from New York, had nanosurgery or grew up on Titan. Characters who are Christians because they are Christians and have a peculiar world view and are NOT placed in the story so they can have a viewpoint that turns the entire plot. But they CAN make observations and react to situations in ways OTHER than trying to evangelize a planet by threatening to infect all the aliens with blue goo or make up a religion to provide cover to engineer a breeding program and create a kwisatch haderach. I don’t think the SF community will give them a chance to exist in the Humanist universe most SF posits into existence. (Though I will be sending out INVADER’S GUILT starting August 2007 that will test those waters…)
As well, Christianity, while far from perfect and very far from blameless, is often viewed as the “dominating belief” system in America. It automatically becomes unwelcome in a genre that thrives on overturning tables and upsetting apple carts (I have LESS trouble with that excuse than I do with the following). When beliefs ARE named, they are watered down and so namby pamby that they are revolting to someone like me who takes his Christianity seriously (for example, while I read and re-read the Vorkosigan novels because I love them, I utterly detest Cordelia’s insipid deism.) Of the others named above, Pern has no religion because Anne McCaffrey has no desire to “inflict religion on an unsuspecting planet”; and the Atevi have no obvious belief system other than the belief in themselves (which may infer that that makes them superior to Humans, which they ARE). Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek Universe is populated by both atheists and believers – but the atheists (= Humans) are inherently superior to those who HAVE beliefs (Bajorans, Vulcans, Ferengi and Klingons) because it is quite clearly Humans who lead the Federation and Humans who have never really been subjugated by any other alien race.) HOWEVER, the “religions” of both DUNE and the UPLIFT universe are essentially predicated on a belief in the natural rather than the supernatural. DUNE revolves around Paul Atreides/Muad’Dib.Usul and his ascension into godhood through the spice and a sense that all Humans are meant to evolve into some sort of superior being. In the UPLIFT universe, all belief is predicated on the return of the Progenitors, who are (merely) aliens who started the whole Uplift chain then evolved to a higher plane of existence. Neither deals with a supernatural God of the universe…
And I think I've run out of room here, so I'll end for now and then pick up the same theme in a few days to finish my thoughts. As always, feel free to disagree and let me know about it at my email below. (PS: Regarding the request to set up a message board/response thing: it was never my intent to foster a general discussion. I've also heard that doing so burns up an inordinate amount of time. I choose, at this time, to hold single-person discussion with the people who write to me me (thanks to those of you who do!) and to work on writing novels and short stories instead! But thanks for the compliment/suggestions!)

From One Evangelical Christian's Point of View: Is There Anyone Out There?

This entry was made on my old site on

July 5, 2007

From one evangelical Christian's point-of-view: is there AnyOne Out There?
"Knock, knock, knock?"
Even from a non-Evangelical, non-Christian's point-of-view, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that there's AnyOne Out There.
Carl Sagan's Hope notwithstanding, Fermi's Principle seems to hold sway at present. Discussions about the possibiliy of AnyOne being Out There are speculative, lively and participants draw from tens-of-thousands of reams of printed work and hundreds of websites...but when all is said and done and the janitor cleans up after the party, one thing is painfully and obviously clear: there's no one in the universe but us.
Christians and other religious people have some sense that there is SomeOne Out There -- God or gods or Life Forces or what have you. Certainly the knowledge that there is SomeOne Out There gives us hope that there might other intelligent life in the universe besides us. But materialists have nothing to bolster flagging hope. We've been staring at the stars for 3000 years and except for a few "abduction" stories, there's absolutely no evidence that intelligent life exists anywhere but on Earth. Right now we have no clear evidence that LIFE exists anywhere but here.
Oh, I've heard all of the arguments. I teach a class to gifted and talented young people called Alien Worlds and Advanced Alien Worlds. The first question I ask is if anyone in the class REALLY believes there is intelligent alien life in the universe. As with all intelligent people, they hie to the party line, eloquently expressed by Jody Foster/Ellie Arroway/Carl Sagan (in the movie CONTACT): "I'll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space. Right?"
Unfortunately, Carl Sagan's "argument" stands in direct opposition to Enrico Fermi's "argument": The story goes that, one day back on the 1940's, a group of atomic scientists, including the famous Enrico Fermi, were sitting around talking, when the subject turned to extraterrestrial life. Fermi is supposed to have then asked, "So? Where is everybody?" What he meant was: If there are all these billions of planets in the universe that are capable of supporting life, and millions of intelligent species out there, then how come none has visited earth? This has come to be known as The Fermi Paradox.
So, back to my question: is there AnyOne Out There? I answer simply: yes. Why? Because I believe in an infinite Father God who loves to create. Not only is He the source of creativity (whether you are a Christian or not, He's STILL the source of creativity. Satan is the father of destruction and will pervert God's creativity if we give him a chance), He is infinitely creative. Aliens wouldn't pose any great problem for Him. And while some will be "humanoid", we're talking about the same God who made the life around deep sea black smokers and created icefish with "antifreeze" for blood! There will be aliens so strange that David Brin's Jophur and G'kek will seem folksy familiar by comparison! In the 1930s, JBS Haldane said, "Life is not only stranger than we imagine; life is stranger than we can imagine."
I believe that God would agree.
Deuteronomy 10:19 says that we must "show your love for the alien". Why? Because God made the alien. (I KNOW that this isn't what Scripture "meant", but it IS what it SAYS...) I happen to agree with Sagan, but I also agree that Fermi has a point. We need to keep looking and while I believe the aliens are there, they are not going to be crawling all over the galaxy. The civilizations are few and far between and breaking the light barrier is not going to be Star Trek easy. It will require long-term committment and a level of societal maturity that we haven't reached yet. Of course, I think that that maturity will come only when individuals come to Christ and accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior -- but I don't see that happening anytime soon. On the other hand, if that was the only way to First Contact, how many hardened atheist/agnostic SF materialists would convert? Hmmmmm...
I'm pretty sure Carl Sagan would shrink from me using the Bible to agree with him, but tough. There's obviously more that I could say and I don't have the space here.
Thoughts? Let me know. (Also, if you are interested, read C. S. Lewis in THE WORLD'S LAST NIGHT AND OTHER ESSAYS. He talks about life on other worlds in it).

Will Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior Survive First Contact With Aliens?

This is from my old website, written on

June 15, 2007

Will belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior survive First Contact with aliens?
In a word: absolutely.
An irritating "thing" about most of the SF community is many assume that as soon as aliens land, all Christians will immediately collapse into quivering piles of protplasm because any alien will "obviously" have a totally different belief system based entirely on their biology/psychology/evolution. That religion will completely knock the whole Humanly fabricated "philosophy" of Christianity on its collective butt, and then we can move out of that antiquated philosophy into a more enlightened realm of the true belief that Humanity is quite simply and inevitably perfectable.
What about a different scenario? What if our "advanced alien brethren" land and have a "philosophy" that in many ways parallels Christianity? Is this scenario any less likely than the ones in which advanced aliens take us under their benevolent wings (or other appendages)? Is it any less likely than the ones in which aliens enslave us (for some ridiculous reason like our water, our land, our resources or out of simple biological imperative)?
In four words: I don't think so.
Among the evidence I present that Christianity will easily survive First Contact (did I say anywhere here that it would survive unchanged? I think not!):
1) Christianity has survived some 2000 years worth of First Contacts. It has survived contact with Hindu beliefs, Islam, Confucism, Communism, Atheism, Buddhism, Materialism as well as several defunct -isms. It has changed. It has flexed. It has argued within itself. But the essential tenets of Christianity have remained the same (please don't bother arguing that "Christianity today is totally different from Christianity in the past"...I am sorry, but I must disagree. Feel free to disagree with me. It's a free world.) I must also say here that Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and various other subgroups are, by definition, NOT Christians because they do not hold to the tenets of Christianity which were established clearly at the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD (oops. Didn't mean to offend: 325 CE) (For those of you familiar with Christianity, these tenets were consolidated in the Nicene Creed. If a belief group does NOT confess the Nicene Creed, then they are not, by definition, Christian.)
2) Christians read SF and are ready to meet aliens. At least one of us is.
3) Christians as a group (there are, after all, over 1 billion who claim to be Followers of Christ) are NOT well represented by the flotsam and jetsam that pops up on FoxNews Tonight. Neither are all teachers well represented by teachers who have sexual relations with 14 year old students or are all fathers well represented by fathers who dip their 10-year-old daughters into scalding water. Christians as a group are normal, everyday people. They are your neighbors. They are, possibly even, YOU. (Sounds like a plot for an alien invasion story!) Some of us will be prepared to meet aliens and share our faith with aliens WITHOUT using red-hot pokers.
4) This last isn't direct evidence but rather a tangent rant. I find the belief that Christian missionaries "destroy cultures" insulting. Not to me -- to the culture that was supposedly suborned by Christians. For example, I have heard it said that Christian missionaries destroyed unique cultures, religions, practices and ways-of-life by bringing in their "westernized religion". What monumental arrogance! The accusers make the assumption that the primitive/alternate people are idiots and desperately in need of protection. Native Americans, Mayans, subcontinental Indians, Africans, Japanese, Australian aboriginals -- were not stupid people. They heard the Gospel of Christ and became Christians not because missionaries threatened them or coerced them with trinkets or because they wanted technology (there were plenty of people ofering technology WITHOUT religious trappings) but because a relationship with Christ made sense to them. These individuals don't need to be protected -- they are perfectly capable of making choices on their own based on data that they hear, consider and believe. To assume that "primitive" people became Christians under coercion is offensively arrogant. The same group of people will doubtless seek to keep Christians away from First Contact so as to "not offend" our interstellar brethren (or sistern). But intelligent life will be just that: intelligent. They can make the choice for themselves.
And if the aliens reidicule Christians? Well, we've been ridiculed before. It hasn't stopped the spread of the love of Christ yet. We'll keep on sharing the Good News. Of course, your average alien-believing atheist/agnostic will figure it's just pure stubborness and that we'll come around to the right way of thinking someday.
'Course, I'll be thinking the same thing of them...