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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Theology and Science-Fiction

Normally, theology and science-fiction don't go together. Most science-fiction shows ignore theology all-together, and others make a token mention once in a blue moon (aka Star Trek). Almost never do the two realms intersect.

Except with Babylon 5. I still think this television show/movies/novels is the best science-fiction ever produced. The show did not focus on theology, but theology and morality often came up in the episodes. Case in point, this is the only science-fiction show I have seen that actually mentions Christianity and the Church, and when they are mentioned it is not in a sarcastically critical mode.

Another case in point: the newly released for DVD movie "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales" has two short stories set ten years after the final episode. The first short story deals with Church, theology, and evil. The topics were wonderfully explored as the issue was delved into: What would be the result for Christianity if humans went travelling to the stars and did not find God, but numerous alien races each with their own concepts of God? And what is really going on when a Roman Catholic priest is brought to the space station "Babylon 5" to exorcise a demon-possessed man?

Babylon 5 again shows why it is the pinnacle of science-fiction. When theology and God are brought up, they are treated reverently and thoughtfully. While certainly not a primer for catechesis, "Babylon 5" nonetheless helps the viewer engage in serious theological, philosophical, and moral questions, questions which 99% of science-fiction pass right over in favor of action. Babylon 5 has plenty of action, and plenty of meditation on issues relevant for us in the 21st century.

3 comments:

Pastor Kelly J. Leary said...

I think we too often miss the opprtunity to seize on the attempts of the world to answer such theological questions --

most all art (cinema included)seems to be more and more interested in asking and somtimes trying to answer the questions of being.

Peter said...

I think you hit on a perceived trend in post-modern culture which isn't completely satisfied with science as the only answer to human questions. What is really remarkable about B5 is that it's creator, I believe, is an atheist. Nevertheless, he doesn't discount the vast contribution Christianity has brought to human culture.

I also am reminded by your comments about the recent movies "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". Both novels and their movie adaptations use Christian images throughtout their story-telling. Lewis intentionally wrote LWW to bring a fresh story-telling about Christ's death and resurrection for people who have heard the same old story over and over again and just rush through what the Gospels proclaim.

Pastor Kelly J. Leary said...

Saw MI5 last night pretty good - and looking forward to the dr who spin off looks cool