To give credit where credit is due, I had this realization while listening to the prog rock concept album Ones and Zeros Vol.1 by 3RDegree. I had been thinking a lot lately, as you know, about intersections between the Bible and music. But it struck me recently that one could do a progressive rock concept album exploring the major themes and topics in my course on religion and science fiction – the kinds of topics explored in my recent book Theology and Science Fiction as well.
What kinds of topics? The question of whether a robot can be a person – there could be a song that explores it, told from the AI’s perspective. (The robot could also be running for president, but maybe that should be a different song.) Doing mundane things – finding love, making tough choices – in a deep space and/or distant future setting, or in a virtual reality. Telling a tale of pilgrimage, leaving ambiguous whether the destination is a traditional sacred space or a sci-fi convention.But add to those too things that have been in the news lately? Trying to keep a dead loved one’s presence with you through artificial intelligence. Programming drones to kill. “What would a machine as smart as God want?” There are more options than could fit even the double albums that prog rock embraced more than others.
Songs and poems have often played an important role in spreading a religious or philosophical message. Couldn’t it work as an exploration of the points at which sci-fi and religion meet, in a way that entertains, informs, and encourages serious reflection? What do you think? If you like the idea, what should songs be about?