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Godless science fiction writers; godless science fiction - Comments

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 1 by God fearing Atheist

I thought Asimov did his PhD in Biochemistry.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 01:31:00 UTC | #429531

YakobusRO's Avatar Comment 2 by YakobusRO

But, on the reverse side, what could we say about magical-world fiction writers? Are the most prominent of them mostly religious? J.R.R. Tolkien immediately comes to my mind.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 01:35:00 UTC | #429532

Mal3's Avatar Comment 3 by Mal3

You mean to say that all the Asimov, Heinlein, Harrison and Adams I read as a child are the reason I am a "Radical Atheist"?

Thank god for that.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 01:37:00 UTC | #429533

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 4 by Russell Blackford

@God fearing Atheist - yeah, Asimov was a biochemist ... so I didn't put it well. My point was that he was not, despite Cloud's assertion, involved in the science of evolution. But the way I put it was itself misleading.

Michael Behe is also a biochemist, so perhaps you can forgive me for not thinking of biochemists as people who have much to do with evolutionary biology.

I'll make a correction.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 01:43:00 UTC | #429536

JemyM's Avatar Comment 5 by JemyM

Christian lifestyle is a live fantasy roleplaying game among magic, spirits and demons.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 01:51:00 UTC | #429539

Mal3's Avatar Comment 6 by Mal3


Wait...are you saying religious fundamentalists are...LARPers?

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 01:58:00 UTC | #429543

JuJu's Avatar Comment 7 by JuJu

The author David Cloud writes: "Science fiction takes the reader into a strange world without God". I would respond with, Theology takes the reader into a strange world without reality. At least science fiction admits it's make believe.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 02:09:00 UTC | #429546

jamiso's Avatar Comment 8 by jamiso

Well, may have something to do with the two biggies (christianity and islam), demand a primitive and bleak look at the future. They are completely terrestrial, full of conflicts on horseback, and end with the end of humanity and the universe in some silly judgement day.

To put it simply, if StarTrek is to be true....the bible can not be. So it would make sense that the characters living on planet Farfugu Beta-3, intermingling with the Xuloons, and creating time machines.....would probably not still be believing to strongly in the wacky prophecies of shroomed out nomads from the middle east.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 02:14:00 UTC | #429547

JemyM's Avatar Comment 9 by JemyM


Wait...are you saying religious fundamentalists are...LARPers?

I have to say that there are many things about Christianity that remind me about fantasy LARP. They live in a world filled with spirits and demons and divine magic.
Their known history is an epic fantasy tale, followed by a necromantic hero that sacrificed himself for them. Now the Christians, fueled with the holy spirit, are fighting the battle, good vs evil, light vs dark, using a lot of divine magic, usually dressed up in funny dresses.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 02:43:00 UTC | #429557

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 10 by Cartomancer

You don't need science fiction to take you into a strange world without god. You already live in one...

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 02:51:00 UTC | #429558

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 11 by Steve Zara

Science Fiction can stretch your mind. It can make your imagination so vast that the God of the theists is too small to notice.

Science fiction works (when it does) because it is about the possible, which increases the sense of wonder. Science fiction can be deeply unsatisfying when the science is so poor that it seems like magic.

So of course it is a threat to religion.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 03:09:00 UTC | #429562

The_Intangible_Fancy's Avatar Comment 12 by The_Intangible_Fancy

I've always found it interesting that religion is not more prominent in American popular culture considering how religious we are as a nation.

There are certainly a huge number of 'self-help' type books about religion that sell very well (like Rick Warren's book). But in terms of fiction there doesn't seem to be a huge selection. I know about the Left Behind series, which apparently is popular, but not much else. I suppose Twilight might count as somewhat religious but I honestly don't know enough about it. In any case, when you consider the insane levels of religiosity in the US, it is a pretty stark contrast.

There was actually a TV show last Spring called Kings that was a sort of modern retelling of the story of David and Goliath. I thought it was kinda neat but ultimately it failed in the ratings and was canceled. Apparently this is a common trend for shows with religious themes.

Interestingly, it tends to be animated shows that actually depict going to church and the like--for example, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, or Family Guy. These shows also tend to be parodies of American life. Hmm...

So I think godless fiction goes beyond just SF (although I think as a genre it is more godless than most). I would really be interested in knowing why this is--it would seem like someone who pandered to religious Americans on TV would do really well (remember that Mel Gibson movie?)

Who knows, maybe religious people find all that God stuff just as boring as we do.

(Couldn't resist :P)

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 03:31:00 UTC | #429568

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 13 by godsbelow

Funny that the Christian criticises "stranger in a strange land" for it's depiction of sexual liberation, rather than its depiction of looney populist religion. Not surprising though.

My favorite SF depiction of religion is Frank Herbert's "Dune" - religion is portrayed as ultimately a political tool and theocracy as oppressive, murderous and self-destructive.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 04:36:00 UTC | #429579

Mal3's Avatar Comment 14 by Mal3


You mean Dune presents religion as it actually is in the real world.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 04:55:00 UTC | #429584

Mr. Forrest's Avatar Comment 15 by Mr. Forrest

Dune is one of the very best dystopian far-future sci-fi stories ever written. I simply LOVE the way it describes the internal powerstruggles of an empire. The traders, the religious loonies and the sheer political backstabbing. It's so spot on for human behaviour at its worst.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 05:02:00 UTC | #429585

rogerdr's Avatar Comment 16 by rogerdr

Mr. Forrest, and don't forget the Orange Catholic Bible, the how-to book on creating and directing toy religions. Herbert had what religious people might consider a cynical view of faith, but the Bene Gesserit found it imminently a tool.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 05:19:00 UTC | #429589

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 17 by Peter Grant

The Bible is just bad sci-fi. It's nowhere near as good as the real stuff.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 06:23:00 UTC | #429598

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 18 by godsbelow


No doubt religious types would call Herbert cynical - I' d say he was just perceptive.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 06:39:00 UTC | #429600

PERSON's Avatar Comment 19 by PERSON

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 07:29:00 UTC | #429607

prolibertas's Avatar Comment 20 by prolibertas

The Bible is just the science fiction of the bronze age.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 07:43:00 UTC | #429609

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 21 by SaintStephen

Great read! Left a comment on your blog, too, with a related question.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 07:44:00 UTC | #429610

hairybreeks's Avatar Comment 22 by hairybreeks

Thanks guys for lots of good posts about Frank Herbert's Dune but for a truly cynical writer (if unsubtle) try Harry Harrison. His attitude to religion used to anger me in my god-fearing days, which Frank Herbert never did. The word 'strident' springs to mind.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 10:04:00 UTC | #429626

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 23 by MattHunX

I L-O-V-E SCI-FI ! ! ! :)

Heck, I'm writing my thesis on 3 novels. Comparing Aldous Huxley's Brave New World with William Shatner's Star Trek: Ashes of Eden and Drew Karpyshyn's Mass Effect:Revelation and the continuation in the games story line. I won't touch Ascension (I've read it), it would be too much :)

Can't wait for:
- Mass Effect 2 to come out.
- Stargate Universe cont.

More Sci-fi for moi.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 10:06:00 UTC | #429627

MarkGeorgiou's Avatar Comment 24 by MarkGeorgiou

I’ve been told that the religion scientology bases its philosophy on a SF book. Can anyone confirm this£

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 10:19:00 UTC | #429630

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 25 by MattHunX


As far as I know, simply, yes. At least, the one who started scientology is just a sci-fi writer, Ronald Hubbard. Check the wiki :)

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 11:33:00 UTC | #429643

jamiso's Avatar Comment 26 by jamiso

23. Comment #448383 by MattHunX

You dig Stargate Universe? Right on, a lot of StarGate fans I know havent been too into it, but I love it.

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 11:40:00 UTC | #429645

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 27 by MattHunX


Hey, it's alright. IT'S STARGATE!!!

I had such nostalgic feeling when I watched the first episode when they dialed the gate, chevron NINE encoded. I was like "ahhhhh yeaaahhhhhh"

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 11:55:00 UTC | #429653

MarkGeorgiou's Avatar Comment 28 by MarkGeorgiou

Cheers MattHunX I'll check the wiki.

by the way I also like Stargate Universe but I think they've gone a bit darker with it than SG1 or Atlantis. Still good though!

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 11:57:00 UTC | #429654

Vaal's Avatar Comment 29 by Vaal

You would have thought the religdroids would have been happy with science fiction. After all, their world view is based on fiction, so they are half way there :)

Most science fiction writers, correctly assume that the piffle of religion is something that civilisations grew out of. It may have been OK for ignorant desert nomads to try and explain the mystery of the Universe, but for space-farers and any advanced civilisation, it would just be anachronistic nonsense, to be chuckled at in history lessons.

I liked the original Star Trek message, which reflected the thoughts of Gene Roddenberry about religion ..

Although Roddenberry was raised as a Southern Baptist, he instead considered himself a humanist and agnostic. He saw religion as the cause of many wars and human suffering and made it known to the writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and mystical thinking were not to be included. According to Brannon Braga, in Roddenberry's vision of Earth's future, everyone was an atheist and better for it.

Roddenberry attacked religion several times, where god-like entities are destroyed, or are uncovered showing what they really are. This happens in, "Return of the Archons", "A Taste of Armageddon", "Catspaw", "The Apple", The Paradise Syndrome", "Who Mourns for Adonais", "And the Children Shall Lead", "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and "Plato's Stepchildren", to name a few.

And of course, my username is based on Vaal from "The Apple" :)

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 12:47:00 UTC | #429665

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 30 by MattHunX


Thanks for that. Maybe I could use that as "information from personal communication" for my thesis, since it'll have chapter (Ch.8) on religion too. :)

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 13:15:00 UTC | #429666