Religion and Spirituality in Science Fiction Narratives

Via John Morehead, I just learned that an interview I did on his blog in 2007 has been quoted in an academic volume, in a chapter that has a major focus on religion in Doctor Who. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, having only just found out about it, but given its subject matter it surely deserves a mention here already!

The title of the book is Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital published by E. J. Brill. The chapter in question is by Adam Possamai and Murray Lee, with the title “Religion And Spirituality In Science Fiction Narratives: A Case Of Multiple Modernities?” Click through to read the relevant section online.

Of related interest, IO9 had an article today suggesting that “smug atheists” need to read more science fiction.


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  • I’m not convinced that smug atheists should read more science fiction (I probably read too much). The article points out that much of SF imagines large, awesome entities. Well, so what? It’s fiction. Religions also imagine such entities, but on any view most of those imaginings must be false.

  • John W. Morehead

    Thanks for mentioning the item about my interview with you, James. It was good to see an academic publication recognize the topic and our engagement with it. In response to David Evans’ comment, I respectfully think you missed the point of the i09 essay. There the author pointed out that science fiction includes a significant interaction with ideas related to transcendence and religion, in addition to atheism. Simply because the genre is fiction this need not mean that the religious or religion-like elements are fictional as the author uses genre to explore possibilities which must be taken on their own terms in the story and in the real world. In addition, it is also helpful to consider that science fiction itself has served as a sacred narrative and mythology, as in the case of Star Trek, Jediism, and Matrixism. Humanity is incorrigibly religious as a part of our evolutionary development, and science fiction often functions as a way to explore and understand that religiosity.