ReligionProf Podcast Episode 4 with Shayna Watson

ReligionProf Podcast Episode 4 with Shayna Watson September 19, 2018

I will be serving as moderator at the end of this month for a panel at the first ever TheoCon (it is better to spell it with a Greek theta, as ΘeoCon, to avoid confusion with the other meaning of the term). This will be a convention focused on the exploration of the intersection of theology and popular culture. To my knowledge this will be not only the first ever ΘeoCon, but the first event of its kind, period. And so I was delighted that the mastermind (or perhaps superhero is more appropriate) behind the convention, Shayna Watson, was happy to appear on the podcast and talk more about her vision for the event, what led her to pursue it, as well other matters at the intersection of theology and popular culture. We hope you enjoy geeking out with us as you listen to this episode – and we hope that some of you will also decide to attend ΘeoCon, which will be held at Virginia Theological Seminary on September 29th. There is still time for you to get tickets and plan to attend!

The keynote speaker will be Rev. Dr. Chuck Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA. He and I have been friends since we were both doctoral students at Durham University in England, and I’ve contributed to a number of volumes that he has edited. But one is particularly significant to me: Religion as Entertainment. That was the first place that I published on the subject of the intersection of religion and science fiction. And so that opportunity proved genuinely life-changing to me, setting me on a course that has led to all sorts of interesting things.

I’m also eager to see my good friend Rev. Dr. Robert Heaney who directs the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, and his wife Sharon, who is also a professor at the seminary.

If you read my blog and/or listen to my podcast and plan to be at TheoCon, let me know!

I hope you enjoyed listening to this week’s ReligionProf Podcast. Of related interest, See Erin Wathen’s blog post “Boldly Go: The Gospel of Star Trek,” Ben Espinoza’s consideration of The Last Jedi in relation to Jesus, as well as Geekdom House’s posts about Dollhouse and sexual slavery and the fundamentalism of the Jedi order. Bryan Young wrote a powerful exploration of Han Solo’s narrative arc from Solo to The Force Awakens.

Also somewhat related is Steve Wiggins’ post which includes some thoughts about the way popular culture references have replaced religious references as what is most widely shared in our culture.

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  • John MacDonald

    Regarding religion and science fiction, I find it interesting in the episode of the original Star Trek series where, after concluding that the ancient Greek pantheon just represented aliens in the guise of Gods, Kirk offers the comment that the reasonable belief is in the “One God.” In that episode, “Who Mourns For Adonais?”, Apollo and Kirk comment that:

    APOLLO: “But you’re of the same nature. I could sweep you out of existence with a wave of my hand and bring you back again. I can give life or death. What else does mankind demand of its gods?”

    KIRK: “Mankind has no need for gods. We find the One quite adequate.”

    Star Trek: Who Mourns For Adonais?
    Stardate: 3468.1
    Original Airdate: 22 Sep, 1967

    The obviousness of the One God perhaps wouldn’t be so portrayed in contemporary times if the episode was to be redone for our generation on Star Trek: Discovery, with the challenge of secularism always lurking on the contemporary horizon.

    • John MacDonald

      Not to mention how Kirk’s remarks marginalize polytheistic people.