SciFi Question of the Day: In the SciFi you’ve read and watched, what role does religion play? Is it treated as a quaint, backwards practice or as an integral aspect of an enlightened future?
Didva Zachariel Ruthk religion is usually a reason for aggression or a tool for subjugation.
Janine Gorell I thought Gene Roddenberry and Rod Serling interposed moral/ethical dilemmas perhaps due to their religious background which I share and recognized, which made watching, for me, less scary.
Gwendolyn Wilkins ”Crash Landing on Iduna” was probably the most religious sci-fi I’ve ever read (at least that comes to mind).
Asimov and Anne McCaffrey tended to avoid religion and they’re the bulk of my scholarly repertoire.
I actually enjoyed the concept of the Children of the Mind of Christ in the Speaker for the Dead series branch-off of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.
Janine Gorell Farenheit 451 was supposedly based on a hyperbole of book burning by the Nazi’s and what would happen if the Nazi’s were successful at banning independent thought and putting propoganda in its place. Does your question contemplate that?
Janine Gorell So, in the case of Farenheit 451 a world without religion would be a hellish place.
Cayla Ray A lot of sci-fi seems to ignore religion in the human characters, but does go into descriptions of alien religions. I think this may be because it is safer not to alienate fanbase by portraying their religions in certain ways, but correlaries can be drawn more neutrally in the ‘alien’ rules and rituals of religion.
Daniel Beard I am reminded of the basis of religion in Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”. “Thou art god”. nothing more, nothing less
Daniel Beard I am also reminded that Heinlein and Hubbard had a bet going as to which could create an actual religion base on one of their books. Hubbard won.
Google Plus Answers
Rebecca Blain – Honestly, I can’t think of a single SciFi i have read recently that has included religion at all. It has all been politics.
Rebecca Blain – +AmyBeth Inverness I don’t view the force as a religion. It is a force, a power, just like magic is a tool used by sorcerers. I don’t view sorcery as religion, and the force is just a magic or tool used by jedi and sith imho. Jedi and sith, also, come across as politic groups in their general approach. They don’t worship anything.
AmyBeth Inverness – +Jenn Thorson First, thank you for the perfect example of the correct use of there and their. I’d call the Logan’s Run practice barbaric… an example of an atrocity performed for reasons that no longer exist, for the sake of religion.
JoJo Zawawi – Not all religions include worship. Nevertheless, they deal with man as a spiritual being and are therefore religions by definition. A religion does not need to include worship in order to be a religion.
Sam Webb – Weber touches on it a bit in the Honor Harrington series. Now I’m reading his Safehold series and the use/misuse of religion is an integral part of the story.
Jenn Thorson – Ha, you’re welcome– happy homonyms to you. 🙂 (PS- I recently committed an atrocity on “shoot” instead of “chute.” When I found it, I wanted to shoot myself and send myself down the chute. 🙂
Mario Gutierrez – Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Blade Runner) — Mercerism.
David Foster – ST: Deep Space 9 made a valient effort. It has often irked me religion is casually erased from society. There are some breif mentions in Ender’s Game, but that is nearly present day, so I don’t know if that counts. StarGate SG-1 had worship, but mainly of parasites with delusions of grandeur. BSG (classic and new) had some religion.
AmyBeth Inverness – In my own writing, I usually include religion as a regular part of most, but not all character’s lives. It’s not overwhelming, it’s just another part of their very involved lives.
But one of my favorite stories is Nightfall by Silverberg & Asimov. Spoiler Alert the religion is purposely formed by those who know better because, post apocalypse, the masses of humanity need something to turn to, and a religious government would provide the necessary stability.
It was an interesting concept. I certainly don’t believe that all religion is false (quite the contrary) but this was an interesting theory.
I would love to hear what you think! Even if you are reading this post a year or more after publishing, I hope you will leave a comment with your own ideas on this topic.