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 http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/dinosaur-dna)
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.