December 31, 2007


I was nominated for a Nebula Award by popular SF writer Catherine Asaro ( ).

The nomination was for a short-short I wrote for ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT called "Warning! Warning!" (October 2005).

It was inspired by something that irritated me -- a label in both Spanish and English plastered inside the lid of my wheeled recycling tub, UPSIDE down when you're opening the can's lid; right side up when it's open. It read: "Caution: Owner may trip if lid is not closed." This was such a stupid warning that I knew immediately that someone MUST have tripped while rolling the tub with the top open and tried to bring a lawsuit against the company that made the garbage can. They probably won.

It SO irritated me that checked several other appliances and furniture in my house, finding to my horror that just about everything had a warning label on it. I wrote a short-short SF story carrying the absurd increase in "warning" lables to its obvious conclusion -- everything, everywhere on Earth and in space will have to carry some sort of warning label on it. In addition to being adhered to and engraved on objects, these warnings will be broadcast from a special "Warning Broadcast Network" as well as visually projected on to all surfaces capable of causing harm. In this future, mea culpa (Latin, "my fault") will be struck from the English language and everything will be the fault of "someone else".

Like essay writing, short-short writing has to come from a passionate heart. There's no time to develop character, so POINT becomes all important. What is the POINT of the short-short? Can you state it in three or four words? Are you passionate about the POINT you are trying to make?

Then perhaps you'll have a saleable short-short story when you're done!

December 25, 2007


“Roddenberry’s Star Trek gave us the United Federation of Planets, a meta-government that spanned human space. He envisioned humanity as ultimately perfectible. While perfection remained out of reach, the notion that it was even achievable seems, perhaps, hopelessly naïve and idealistic.” (

Naïve it may be, but even today, the Second Gospel of Science Fiction is predicated on the firm belief that Humanity will be able to create a general society that is peaceful, poverty-free and refuses to embrace divisive religion. This Gospel wants nothing to do with God. It assumes that Humanity’s baser instincts are essentially tamable and that with basic research, technological development, philosophy, sociology and psychology as our tools, we will be able to create ourselves as a “new humanity”.

The Humanist Manifesto is a series of documents signed by tens of thousands of people who have set out to do just this. ( Isaac Asimov was a signatory of the Manifesto II and his works clearly proclaim the idea that we can perfect ourselves and need no outside help – especially supernatural outside help. Others who have the same beliefs use their fiction (first and foremost) to entertain, but certainly somewhere down the list of “why did I write this story?” they harbor a desire to promote their belief in the ultimate perfectibility of Humanity.

My contention is that Humanity is NOT perfectible. The Bible notes this – some of the observations are made by verifiable historical figures whose wisdom has been passed down through the ages: “…the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3) and “They are corrupt and have committed abominable injustice. There is no one who does good…every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 52: 1-3) are both examples of simple observation.

Some might contend that Humanity is no longer the same organism David observed 4000 years ago. A quick scan of or a newspaper; a talk with a retired person or an inner city classroom teacher or an organic dairy farmer in rural Wisconsin will present anecdotal evidence that “things haven’t gotten better since (FILL IN THE BLANK WITH A YEAR), they’ve gotten worse!”

They aren’t going to get any better as long as we leave ourselves in charge of the renovation. We cannot manifest our way out of a technologically more advanced slide into deeper and deeper sin. Satan will continue to take marvelous inventions and through his Human agents, pervert them to something ugly (“60% of all website visits are sexual in nature” MSNBC Survey 2000, Any Democrat will be happy to relate to you the horrors of the war in Iraq; any Republican will be happy to relate to you the horrors of Vietnam. Some atheists might point out that 9,000,000 Muslims and Jews were slaughtered during the Crusades and 300,000 during the Spanish Inquisition in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth; some Christians might point out the supposed 61,911,000 in the old Soviet Union or the alleged 35,236,000 in China who were murdered in the name of communism by atheist regimes.

The manifesting has not gone well thus far.

We ain’t getting’ better, folks. Putting Christ on the bridge of the Enterprise won’t solve our problems either. We simply can’t “get better”. We aren’t ultimately perfectible – not on our own. Only when we surrender our broken spirits to Jesus – not the Christ of the Crusaders or the Republicans, but to the Messiah of this world can we become perfect IN Him.

Now I KNOW that’s going to irritate some of you…but this all the room I have today…

December 18, 2007


While it may seem obvious, I learned the hard way that my essays had to have strengths that sounded mutually exclusive.

A few years ago, our family and friends were on a Fourth of July outing to watch a big-city fireworks display. It was windy that night and several times the fireworks were nearly called off. At ten-ish, they decided to appease the restless mob and the shooting began.

Moments after the first bombs burst in the air, hot ash and glowing cinders blown down by contrary upper winds, started to rain down on our side of the crowd. Few other people were there, most having gathered in the park. Spared the night fall, they were busy oooo-ing and ahhhhh-ing as those of us caught in the rain of debris sprinted for cover dragging, pushing and carrying little ones.

Incensed by the time I got home, I made to fire off a letter to the editor of the local paper. I wrote it, but after it cooled for a few days, a quick read-through made it seem trite, spiteful and (worse) whiney. I started again, this time pausing to reach back into history to compare our little episode with what some of the Colonists might have experienced as real rockets rained down on them during the first American war. Suggesting we all might enjoy the gift of freedom a bit more with our small taste of flaming ash in recent memory landed me a Guest Editorial in the paper rather than being relegated to one of a half-dozen Letters to the Editor.

Narrow focus coupled with broad appeal is a formula I should follow more often when writing essays.

December 11, 2007


For the next five pieces of PIE, I’m going to look at the Four Gospels of Science Fiction. By Gospels, I mean that I see four predominant paradigms appearing in the majority of SF/scifi stories. I’ll state my case, offer support from the chief apostles of each Gospel and then let the rest of you have at it. The Gospels of SF:

1) There is a force in the galaxy/universe from which Humans (and others) might draw strength to do either good or evil.

2) Humanity is ultimately perfectible and given time will create a rational, kind and peaceful society that incorporates all philosophies.

3) Humanity will evolve to a state where it will (or find a means to) transcend matter (though still manipulate it) and freely choose either a corporeal or non-corporeal existence.

4) There is nothing outside of nature and Humanity will learn to perfectly manipulate matter and will leave its “tribal gods” behind when it moves into space permanently.

(Obviously, there is crossover among the Four Gospels of SF. Rational perfection may lead Humanity to a point where matter is no longer necessary and we exist as beings of pure energy. The perfect manipulation of the material may lead to a truly Unified Field Theory and all forms of matter and energy may prove to be intimately entangled with Human consciousness. There are easily others that shade into and out of each other. For example, Isaac Asimov, a strict apostle of the Fourth Gospel occasionally allows room for the Second Gospel in some of his robots like R. Daneel Olivaw. To me, George Lucas is the primary apostle of the First Gospel, but has incorporated elements of the Third Gospel into the STAR WARS movies.
And that is where we’re going to start:


The Jedi Knights were members of an ancient monastic order who could use an energy field generated by the cumulative “life” of all living things. This allowed them to have great strength, long life, powers of the mind like telekinesis and telepathy, and a moral certitude beyond that of ordinary people.

Jedi Knights were chosen by other Jedi Knights – in Episodes IV-VI apparently by sensing a “force” in an individual…in Episodes I-III by how many midichlorians an individual had in their blood. Jedi Masters rose from the Knights by successfully training padawan learners, nomination by other Masters, performance of extraordinary deeds or by self-proclamation.

Many Christians have equated Lucas’ Force with the Holy Spirit, Anakin Skywalker with Jesus Christ and the Emperor with Satan. What does Lucas say? In a TIME magazine interview in 1999, he said, “I see STAR WARS as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down to a more modern and easily accessible construct…I put the Force in the movie to try and awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people – more a belief in God than in any particular religious system.” (TIME Magazine, April 26, 1999)

I don’t think that Lucas would mind imagining Jesus as a Jedi Master (if he believed in the Force as some do. His personal philosophy tends toward Buddhist), and there certainly are hints of the Christ story in STAR WARS, but as Lucas says, his “Force” is an attempt to distill religion down and make it more modern and easily accessible.

The question begs to be answered: “more modern and easily accessible” to whom? Jesus has already said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one can come to the Father but by Him. Does Lucas imply here that because his Force is a sort of energy field made up of all living things, that to connect with the Force you have to have a specific disease (midichlorian infection). Does it mean that using the Force requires no commitment to anything other than “doing good”, that more people will follow the Force – because it has done away with exclusivity that requires no sacrifice of any sort?

I think this is exactly what the First Gospel of SF is aiming for. It creates a nice, easy “quasi-religious” religion with no one to really tell you what to do; no “right or wrong”; no rules to follow except for whatever you want to do. Certainly, if you want to climb to the highest heights, then some bit of sacrifice is required – ah, but the Earthly (or Tatooinely or Coruscantly) rewards are great!

To me, it’s eternal salvation for everyone who “does good” rather than salvation through the person of Jesus Christ.

To me, it’s dangerous because it requires nothing of most people. It doesn’t have any sort of morality except what you decide to have. It certainly doesn’t require sacrifice. Jesus was no Jedi Master. He is simply, Master and He requires that “you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (Luke 14:33). Somehow I don’t think that that would be acceptable to the apostles of the First Gospel of SF…

November 26, 2007


My biggest complaint about articles in THE WRITER and WRITERS DIGEST is that they always have seven thousand four hundred and sixty-nine points to follow. If you take the ten or twelve articles, multiply by 7469 you end up with like, a gazillion points to follow to become a better writer. I can only handle one idea at a time.

So I've invented a new style (new to me at least). ANNOUNCING -- FLASHICLES (FLASH artICLES, derived from flash fiction).

This is the first in a series of flashicles about writing that will alternate with POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS about SF and Christianity. Warning: these might possibly irritate you, too...


Never write what you know.
Only write what you are passionate about.

I use the word "passionate" here deliberately. ( If you want to write articles that sell; that people will print out or tape to their workspace wall, then you obviously have to have something to say. But most important is that your article has to have suffering behind it. The reader doesn't want to know anything about you at all (except in the little sentence at the end). Your suffering; your passion has to be latent. It needs to skulk and slink unseen in every sentence.

I've carefully studied the twelve articles I've had published and looked at the countless others that have been rejected. The ones that saw the light of day simmered and boiled with latent passion. Jesus was passionate and look how long we've remembered Him!

November 13, 2007


As a Christian, I was surprised to discover how many of my fellow Believers resist the idea that God could redeem other intelligences. There are websites devoted to the belief that Jesus came to Earth because Earth was the only place there were people and we were the only ones who were worth saving. God could have redeemed them through one sacrifice on Earth (assuming they needed redeeming) or He could have manifested himself on their world to do whatever needed to be done.

It’s strange, but I find exclusivity reasoning somewhat sickening. By it, the Son of God came to Earth for the Jews (oops, there’s another faux pas – most of those Christians that deny God could make, love and give His life (if that was necessary) for aliens also believe that He came for the Gentiles ALONE (in complete denial of Scripture…but it fits an elitist world view), was rejected by them and tortured; tortured some more by Gentiles, then murdered by Gentile decree and Jewish permission. Even so, He forgave us ALL – Jews and Gentiles alike, rose from the dead and now sits in glory with the Father. But according to “them”, He CAN’T love anyone as much as He loved Humans. So, Humans slaughtered the Only Son of God – and that’s something we should be proud of, that we should feel exclusive about? Does that mean that in all the Universe, we’re as bad as it gets? That’s something we claim is OUR PRIVILEDGE AND OUR PRIVILEDGE alone, right?

That makes me feel ill.

By their human logic, God is a Humans-Only God. In all of Creation, we’re it. Nothing else anywhere engages the Divine Creator of the Universe the way Humans do? God didn’t make anyone else, anywhere – in an infinite Creation? I find that extremely hard to believe as well as unsupported by Scripture. God repeatedly says that we are to love the alien (I’m sure KJV-Onlies will try to argue out of that one as well, but “alien” is mentioned eight times). Jesus said that we aren’t His only flock (John 10:16). The Bible is God’s Word to us. (KJV-Onlies will tell you God’s Word is INFALLIBLE – except when it doesn’t fit their interpretation of the Universe. Their interpretation doesn’t include aliens living on other worlds.)

CS Lewis would disagree with them. He wrote PERELANDRA, in which the Venusian Eve must make her Obedience or Disobedience choice. I happen to believe that this is the ONLY real choice we have, but I'm willing to be persuaded. Venusian Eve chooses to Obey, despite temptation. Thereafter, Venusians would live in constant communion with God.

Which is what should have happened to US, but God chose to redeem Humans whom He loved, because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience , through humiliation, pain and death. (Are we to be PROUD of that?) Evangelical Christians (who have published SF on just about every other subject) still shy away from aliens from other worlds in their mainstream for this reason – they don’t believe there’s anyone else out there. And if there were fallen people out there, then God must have only DIED ONCE, HERE, ON EARTH, BECAUSE WE WERE…not better than anyone else, surely?...BUT WORSE THAN ALL THE REST.)

With CS Lewis, I happen to disagree.

October 28, 2007


As much as I love to rile people up...and I don't exactly "like" it, I just think it's sort of fun to do, I also have another love (besides my wife, kids and Lord) -- and that love is writing.

I've been writing since I was thirteen (37 years for those of you who are curious) and I've had 35 articles, essays, guest columns, stories, curriculum pieces, and a book published ( and even a children's musical staged. I'm somewhat experienced as a writer and I think I've had a wide variety of publications. I'm a current member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America ( ) as well as the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators. I regularly appear as a guest teacher in Young Author's Conferences all over the state of Minnesota and for five years I was a COMPAS Writer and Artist In The Schools (I dropped out to finish my master's degree in guidance counseling). I've been a classroom teacher for 27 years and have taught science from astronomy to zoology. Every summer for the past 11 years, I teach classes in Writing To Get Published and (Constructing) Alien Worlds. I've been husband to one wife for 20+ years and father to two kids, Josh (19) and Mary (16). They have ALL appeared in my writing in some way or another during that time.

While I don't make a living with my writing, I add significantly to the family income BECAUSE of my writing. That may not be irrititating to you, but please rest assured that as time goes on, I'll probably say something you find bothersome. If I do -- let me know and I'll see what I can do about it!

All of the above is to announce that I will begin to include essays on WRITING as interludes between my rants on SF, Christianity and stay tuned!

October 27, 2007


Any accusation or argument that Christianity is anthropocentric is inherently indefensible. There is no evidence that it is as we cannot compare the Bible to an alien scripture.

So until we can actually do that, a critical judgment of whether Christianity is anthropocentric will have to wait until we have that alien version of the Bible/Koran/Bhagavad Gita/Analects/Talmud/Tao-te-ching, etc.

As to the universality of Christianity, it’s not even common to all members of humanity – how can it be common to anyone off Earth? On the other hand, Christianity is FOR everyone. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me ALL who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Christianity is for any intelligences we meet in space.

Christianity has adapted to a number of human cultures. There’s no reason to think that it can’t adapt to alien cultures. Christians have been adapting their faith for 2000 years – but have kept the essential tenets of Christianity: humans broke their relationship with the Creator through disobedience; Jesus came to restore the relationship by paying the penalty for disobedience—which was death – for us; He dies, but returned to life because His was the sacrifice of an innocent life. That humans can return to a right relationship with God through Jesus is logical because He was the one who paid the penalty. How can anyone return to a right relationship with God except through the one who bought them passage back?

Christianity is the only religion to claim that God came to Earth in human form with the express purpose of replacing us in receiving punishment for something he didn’t do – though the punishment was undeniably OWED. It is a type and can be universal. Who’s to say that God did not incarnate on any world where its people rebelled against the Creator of the universe? Who’s to say He didn’t die a thousand deaths and experience a thousand resurrections for a thousand intelligences? Who’s to say that Jesus didn’t die once for ALL on an obscure planet in an obscure galaxy – it would certainly fit the motif of being born to humble parents in a stable in a non-world-power among an obscure people!

God made the universe before he made humans – Scripture is very clear on this in Genesis 1:14-15. If Christians are acting as if they were here first and are foremost, that is a very different story than assuming that the document from which the doctrine was derived directed them to believe that way. Genesis 2:1 says, “the heavens and the earth were completed and ALL their hosts.” God made it all, cares for it all and will redeem any part of it that falls. C.S. Lewis posits that not all created beings failed their obedience test in his SF book, PERELANDRA.

In conclusion, I believe that Christianity is not anthropocentric but universal. The Bible itself is, indeed anthropospecific; and Jesus Christ, the Son of God is universal when he says, “Come to me ALL who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

October 17, 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...

First a couple of definitions: (taken from a google search, specific sites available on request)

anthropocentric: with a human bias, considering humans the center of the universe; regards the human as being the central fact or final aim of the universe; the idea that humans are the most important beings in the universe; human-centered; for humans, humans must be the central concern and humanity must judge all things accordingly

universal: applicable or common to all members of a group or set; adapted to various purposes, sizes, forms or operations; a universal “type”, a property or a relation; pertaining to all, especially all times, all places and all things

First the accusation: Christianity is anthropocentric. I would argue that rather than being anthropocentric, the BIBLE is anthropospecific. It was a message from God directed to humans using metaphors and symbolism with which we are familiar. There is nowhere in the Bible that speaks to Jesus being the exclusive property of humanity. In fact, John 10:16 can be used to argue quite the opposite (it’s been used to argue Joeseph Smith’s message from the angel Moroni as well as ultimate salvation of all people in all religions). “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” (KJV). Another part of the argument is that Jesus was a human, so he can’t represent any other alien KPCOFGS (Kingdom, Phylum…). But out of SF, the response must be obvious: is Odo human? Is Paul Muad’Dib human? Is R. Daneel Olivaw human? No – merely human on the outside. Their essence is decidedly NOT human. While Jesus was obviously human on the outside, was he essentially human? The answer to this is “yes” He is human. It is also “yes” He is God. Frank Herbert allowed that in DUNE, Paul Muad’Dib was both human and god-emperor – and I agree. So Jesus could represent all sentient life in the universe – there’s nothing in the Bible that says He is only “for” humanity.

Genesis 2:1 gives some evidence that Jesus is for all intelligent life: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array…” Not “the earth in its vast array” – but the heavens as well. God created it all, declared it all good (Genesis 1:8), cares for it all (Romans 8:38-39) and sent His Son to save it all (John 3:16 – NOTE: the English word here “world” is actually translated from the Greek word “kosmon”, the same root word as the English “cosmos”…which we use interchangeably with “universe”. No mistake here, but a different emphasis makes a real difference.)

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...