Friday, July 19, 2019

Why SciFi?

A few people have wondered why, as a Christian, I would write science fiction - and not even "Christian SciFi" but mainstream SciFi. Allow me to explain...

First, let me say that I totally understand the question. Why would any Christian want to delve into the world of mainstream science fiction? Characterized primarily by an atheistic worldview and, in many cases, material inappropriate for the morally conservative reader, science fiction does not appear to be a natural choice for a theologically conservative Christian writer.

This is a legitimate concern, which I am happy to address.

It is true that popular science fiction tends to have at its heart an atheistic worldview, whether it is presented obviously or remains a more subtle undercurrent in the story. Science fiction lends itself to the propagation of this worldview more obviously than most other genres, in part because of the nature of its subject matter - in a culture that has pitted science and religion against each other, it's not difficult to see why. Additionally, some call science fiction "the genre of ideas" - its penchant for futuristic or alternative universes as a backdrop provides fertile ground for waxing philosophical in a way that is engaging and can feel very reasonable - even prophetic. Given that the realm of popular science fiction is mostly populated by non-Christians conveying a not-Christian worldview, it's easy to see why many Christians might look askance at the genre, and at any Christian deigning to write it. I would like to challenge that impulse.

If science fiction is the genre of ideas, lending itself to the propagation or discussion of worldview, isn't that precisely where Christians should be? Should we not be participating in the discussion, bringing our worldview to the table? Why should the next scifi book or TV show or film that you take in present atheist scientists as though that's the only kind of scientist? If I write a mainstream scifi book that, while it doesn't have religious overtones, does have a Christian worldview underpinning it, and presents a scientist who is a Christian without commenting on the fact as if it's incredible, I'm offering a counter-perspective; an alternative to the prevailing cultural narrative. This is a quiet outreach to non-Christians, and a potential balm for Christians who love the genre but not the messaging so prevalent within it. It's a ministry.

So why am I writing science fiction? Because I love the genre, and I believe I can scatter the seeds of truth into that culture. It's not quantifiable. It's not obvious. But it is legitimate.

1 comment:

  1. Love this. I've had the same questions re: mainstream fantasy. If you're not hitting people over the head with the gospel, should we, as Christian writers, be writing it? I believe you've got it, though. "Scatter[ing] the seeds of truth" into the culture. It IS a ministry. And it is legitimate. Thanks!