If robert short, author of The Gospel from Outer Space (Harper & Row, 1983), made a film, it would begin with a legend in bold white letters rolling slowly upwards into a dark, star-spangled background:

Long ago, in a Civilization not so far away, most people believed in a God in Heaven, and in his Son who came to Earth. They felt at Home in the Universe. Their lives had Meaning. Gradually, over the centuries, they abandoned God and constructed new gods in their Own Image, in the likeness of Man, Eroticism, and Technology. Families disintegrated; churches emptied. Existence became Meaningless.

Certain popular filmmakers stood viewing this this great Void inside Man. “Let us make Mythical Films to fill this Void,” they said. Equipped with cameras, personnel, and money, they did so. And behold, the lines at the theaters were long. The filmmakers were pleased. And Man looked upon it and proclaimed it very good. But something was missing.

A footnote to this might read: And I, Robert Short, heard a voice saying, “Write, and explain all this.” And I answered, “I will.”

Short, a popular author and lecturer, has picked up where he left off with his delightful 1964 best seller, The Gospel According to Peanuts. That book urged the church to “encourage a vanguard of men and women to be interpreters of these tongues, or arts, which can act as truly provocative ‘conversation pieces’ between the church and the culture in which [it] finds itself.” The apostle Paul performed a similar function among bored, affluent Athenians when he quoted to them from their own poets. Like Paul, Short has been listening for years, and he has turned his attention from comics to blockbuster films.

Much science fiction, in his view, is “dumb junk.” Or, in the ...

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