Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Christians and Space Alien Stories

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

As many Bible believers know, the Christian life can sometimes be like walking through a minefield. We have to stay close to God to lead us through it. This involves getting into the Word, prayer, receiving solid biblical instruction, and more. We also must keep in balance. While many pleasures are not inherently sinful, we need to be careful about what we allow into our minds. How about science fiction?

Can Christians like science fiction involving space aliens? The answer is not clear-cut.
Credit: Pixabay / JavierRodrigues
Some Christians seem almost fearful that if they do anything that is not spiritually edifying, they will dishonor Christ. This can be truth out of balance because of the need of building up faith and godly wisdom, and focusing on those things is important — especially for a new Christian. (I'm all in favor of going a mite overboard for a while in that area.) I'm listening to classical music while writing this. While it's "secular", it's not harmful to my spiritual life. Savvy?

By necessity, biblical creationists read and watch material supporting metaphysical naturalism and evolution. Some even read material from atheists, but those people tend to be grounded in the faith and use those things for ministry purposes.

"Why were you watching Stargate SG-1 earlier, Cowboy Bob?

Research! Always looking for material. (Actually, I tweaked a line from Sam Diamond in Murder by Death.) Besides, the Stargate shows are currently my favorite science fiction. 

The science fiction category is extremely broad, including speculative and cautionary stories, fantasies about the far future, monsters, and more. Unfortunately, many presuppose evolution and atheism. In the Stargate SG-1 series, there are numerous snide remarks disparaging "religion", but those are not usually upfront. One premise of the series is that certain aliens pretend to be gods, obtain fanatical following, then use their power to enslave people and gain more power.

There is a fallacious presumption included that since there are evil beings pretending to be gods, there are no gods at all — especially the Creator God of the Bible, who generally goes completely unmentioned. Also, the false "war between reason and religion" is often implied. The most blatant caricature of religion was in the episode "Icon". In this one, the team reached a world where sensible people had to contend with "religious fundamentalists" who were loyal to the false gods that used the Stargate. People were awaiting the return of those gods who would reward the faithful. Sound familiar?

Harry Harrison was a noted science fiction author who wrote the often hilarious Stainless Steel Rat series as well as the Deathworld trilogy. Every once in a while in SSR, there would be remarks like, "Sure is good that we're free from the shackles of religion!" The second Deathworld novel was originally titled The Ethical Engineer. This one was a blatant attack on Christianity disguised as a dialogue between the main character and a religious nut. I was tempted to write an article on this novel, but it was long, tedious, and irritating. Besides, it's the same boilerplate tripe that we hear from fundamentalist atheists on a regular basis, and therefore has been refuted many times.

When referring to science fiction, stories of spaceships and aliens often come to mind. Prominent in these are atheistic humanism and evolutionism. Darwin's disciples operate under the presuppositions that since life evolved on Earth and since there are possibly a septillion stars in the universe, then life must have evolved on planets out yonder as well. These stories are usually based on Big Bang cosmogony. Indeed, the Time Lords of Doctor Who were the "oldest" and "most advanced", which assumes evolution, deep time, and the Big Bang.

Can Christians believe that space aliens exist? It's not a salvation issue, but there are serious theological problems with that view, akin to those found in theistic evolution. Can or should Christians indulge in science fiction? More specifically, when it involves extraterrestrial life?

Well, I've drawn inspiration from such stories, including Star Trek:TNG episodes. (If you've a mind to, you can read "Science Fiction and Genetic Engineering" and "Engineered Nanobot Evolution".) This whole shootin' match about Christians, entertainment, secular pursuits, and stories with space aliens is complicated. Wisdom, a biblical foundation, and Spirit-led counsel are necessary.

The following article deals with the aliens issue. I hope you'll read the letter and response (it's actually shorter than what you just read here), and note that there are several articles linked in the text and at the end for further investigation.
Throughout life, there have been preachers who state sci-fi is evil, or Satanic. My father just told me not to worry, Star Wars and such is all in good fun. I enjoy movies with a critical eye and know when the writers are putting in a political or anti-biblical agenda.
I honestly don’t see why there can’t be Christian science fiction. I’m unsure as to why your team have the view that aliens or extra-dimensional beings would be a result of an evolutionary act. There are Christians, here in Oklahoma who believe any of that sort of stuff is actually angels/the fallen ones…I’m not so sure about all that!
To read the full article (a letter and reply), visit "Is otherworldly science fiction biblical?"


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