Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The benefits of science-fiction in Christian ministry

I found an interesting statement by Frederik Pohl, one of the great science-fiction authors, in the afterword to his story "The Day After the Day the Martians Came" in Dangerous Visions (published in 1967).

Between the time I wrote "The Day After the Day the Martians Came" and now, I met a minister from a small town in Alabama. Like many churches, not only in Alabama, his is torn on the question of integration. He has found a way, he thinks, to solve it -- or at least to ameliorate it -- among the white teen-agers in his congregation: he is encouraging them to read science fiction, in the hope that they may learn, first, to worry about green-skinned Martians instead of black-skinned Americans and, second, that all men are brothers ... at least in the face of a very large universe which is very likely to contain creatures who are not men at all.

I like the way this man serves his God. It's a good scheme. It ought to work. It better work, or God help all of us.

Of course, I hope that if there are intelligent aliens out there that we can recognize them as brothers and sisters. But I like the use of science-fiction to show that we should start that process by recognizing other human beings as brothers and sisters.

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