Guest / Limited Access /

In recent years, movie and television audiences have been treated to stories both captivating and curious. We've watched extra-dimensional aliens instruct pre-Columbian Native Americans in the basics of civilization. We've looked on as an ancient super-race reluctantly assumes the role of modern superheroes. We've cheered genetically advanced humans with their assortment of superpowers. And we've marveled as residents of space or the future reveal secrets of human origin and destiny.

Despite these far-out scenarios, viewers don't leave movies such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Hancock, X-Men, and Contact—or television programs such as The X-Files or Heroes—scratching their heads in confusion. We are intrigued, but not surprised. Why? Because stories of advanced extraterrestrials, ancient human-alien contact, superior intelligences roaming the universe, and emerging super-races have grown familiar through repeated exposure. Thanks to the longstanding efforts of a wide range of artists, popular writers, and even scientists, we immediately recognize intelligent aliens and advanced humans. We now see space and the future as sources of hope.

The culture-shaping force of science fiction storytellers may be more significant and more widespread than we imagine. That's because they trade in myth. By myth, I mean a transcendent story that helps us make sense of our place in the cosmos. This common definition makes the Christian gospel, as C. S. Lewis suggested, "God's myth"—not because it is fiction, but because it is a story that gives ultimate meaning. We live in an age in which new myths, born mostly of science-fueled imaginations, are crafted and propagated at an unprecedented rate.

The ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only News Briefs
Where David battled Goliath, missionaries who were found guilty, and other news in brief.
Current IssueGod Is Not Out to Get You
Subscriber Access Only
God Is Not Out to Get You
The Lord delights in you and sings over you. Can you believe it?
Current IssueDoes Protestantism Need to Die?
Subscriber Access Only
Does Protestantism Need to Die?
Or to recover its riches? Two Protestant luminaries look at the legacy of the Reformation, 500 years later.
RecommendedThe Future of the Church Is Analog, Not Digital
Subscriber Access Only The Future of the Church Is Analog, Not Digital
New communications technology lets us preach to millions. It’s time to unplug most of it.
TrendingWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
Editor's PickI Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
And then I shared it with the man the government sent to kill me.
Christianity Today
Sci-Fi's Brave New World
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.