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 Bibliophiles We
Did we mention that we love books?
Current IssueWhat It’s Like to Be Gay at Wheaton College
Subscriber Access Only
What It’s Like to Be Gay at Wheaton College
The evangelical university has received negative press on LGBT matters. My own experience paints a different picture.
Current IssueMeet the Man Behind the Bono and Eugene Peterson Conversation
Subscriber Access Only
Meet the Man Behind the Bono and Eugene Peterson Conversation
If church leaders and artists have been estranged in western culture, then David Taylor is helping to lead them into a more blissful union.
RecommendedSeven Freedom of Speech Films That Are Better Than 'God’s Not Dead 2'
Seven Freedom of Speech Films That Are Better Than 'God’s Not Dead 2'
Public conversations about freedom are important, nuanced, difficult things that demand art.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickLetters with the Mosque Next Door
Letters with the Mosque Next Door
How a budding friendship between a pastor and an imam brought a community together.
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.