Redeeming Little Green Men
James A. Herrick's cover story, "Sci-Fi's Brave New World," [February] understated the major role dystopian themes have played in science fiction from the beginning. H. G. Wells's best-known tales, The Time Machine and War of the Worlds, hardly celebrate the development of man or the hope of alien-inaugurated redemption. Childhood's End and 2001: A Space Odyssey might project a magical future, but hardly a redemptive one, since both conclude with the destruction of everything recognizably human about our descendants. And the cold warera authors nearly unanimously warned against science run amok and the threat posed by technologically advanced races.
Even if many science-fiction authors tend toward atheism or agnosticism, it is clear that they also fear humanity's potential for destruction, what we Christians call "the flesh." The more that science and technology allow us to do, the greater evil we will do to each other.
So how should Christians respond? As Herrick suggests, paying attention to what our neighbors are watching and reading, and preparing to live like Christ before them, is our job. But we should also keep in mind that the second word in "science fiction" is fiction. It is a novel; it is a movie; it is entertainment. As for those who seriously guide their lives by such themes, the best we can do is try to reach them before it is time to board the ship to rendezvous with the Hale-Bopp Comet.
Being an amateur astronomer and lover of fantasy and science fiction, I resonated with Herrick's essay on many levels. From my standpoint, it seems that science fiction, used wisely and judiciously, can be an apologetics tool for comparing scientific humanism and Christianity ...1
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