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Monday, November 10, 2008

Inside the Blogosphere: Question #10 (I'm in it!)

Number ten is up and you can find it here. The question this week:
Does the very nature of science fiction (as opposed to fantasy) automatically preclude fair treatment of religion? Must religion always be seen as an outdated and outmoded way of thinking, or are there authors who can and have included religion (whether real or imagined) in its pages without forcing an either/or proposition between religion and science?
Any thoughts?

(Don't click the read more, there isn't any more after this!)

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  1. Great question! Let me give my two cents' worth...

    I don't think there should necessarily be a conflict between science and religion.

    I remember Madelein L'engle's book, A Wrinkle in Time - it is a children's book about space travel (but don't be fooled, it is a marvelous book, even for adults). Its main theme is how hope and love triumphs over darkness and evil. It sounds simplistic, yes. But isn't that the essence of religion: goodness over evil?

  2. Conflicts between religion and science exist primarily due to ignorance, which is probably a rude thing to say, but it is true. How do you explain to someone who is unwilling to see facts for what they are that something is the way it is because science has proven it to be? How do you argue with a person who believes the Earth is 4,000 years old and believes that scientists are part of a grand conspiracy to get rid of religion?

    The two CAN coexist so long as both groups are willing to give a little leeway. Scientists should be ready to acknowledge that some things are simply unexplainable at this point (and there will always be unexplainable things) just as religious people need to acknowledge that the Bible is not a basis of fact for scientific inquiry and that scientists aren't out to nail religion as a fundamentally flawed and idiotic position. Scientists want the truth. That's all. Why religious people fight the truth is beyond me, because throughout time we've seen this battle rage, and religion keeps losing. Science isn't evil. Embrace it. It can teach you things :P

    But that's my opinion...

  3. River of Gods by Ian MacDonald was Hinduism on steroids in the future, and the religion was completely inseperable from the technology. (Although, it's possible that the two conflict in that example that I don't know about--I couldn't finish the book for reasons unconnected to the concepts within.) I haven't run into published sf that marries Buddhism and science yet, even though my reading and understanding of the two would make it seem that the two are very compatible when it comes to understanding physical reality--but I have been in a delightful position to have read "monk punk," which a Clarion workshop classmate came up with (a bit like Zen monks in spaaaace), and it was simply delightful, and very inspiring.