Recently, Upper House hosted “Science Fiction and Christian Hope,” a two-session virtual event featuring science fiction writers and critics discussing the process of creating and consuming science fiction from a Christian perspective. Below, two attendees reflect on the breadth and significance of the conversation the group enjoyed, even in the online format. We are grateful to be able to share the complete program video with members of our community.
The words “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” kept coming to mind during the program. That’s the phrase Spock used in the original Star Trek series to describe Vulcan philosophy. The panelists brought together a range of backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, gender, and faith traditions, not to mention their careers and vocations. They also cited an impressive array of sci-fi authors: N.K. Jemisin, Charlie Jane Anders, Neil Gaiman, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Gene Wolfe—those are just the names I remember. And yet, despite our differences—and, I think, really because of them—by the end of the Q&A, panelists and audience members alike were nodding our heads in unison, geeking out about our mutual love for sci-fi and our faith in Christian hope. The key takeaway from the event, for me, was that all good science fiction draws us in by gesturing towards differences, in the form of the alien or the unfamiliar. But truly great sci-fi speaks to the universal in all of us. And it’s in the universal that we can find God’s purpose. — Kevin
Prior to this event, I saw reading and watching science fiction as primarily entertainment and not something that could contribute positively to my Christian faith. The discussions at this event helped me recognize and appreciate that many common themes in science fiction, such as wrestling with ethical questions and looking at the present through a future-focused lens are also important themes in Christianity. I found it both encouraging and inspiring that science fiction not only can provide entertainment but also can help us learn and grow in our Christian perspective. — Rachel
Check out Science Fiction and Christian Hope on your own or with a friend. And click here for more upcoming events at Upper House.