Fundie denounces sf for atheism, nudism

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43 Responses to “Fundie denounces sf for atheism, nudism”

  1. shadowfirebird says:

    Yay Science fiction!

    Although I’m not sure what a “polyamorous nudist” is. Someone who loves being naked more than once?

  2. Omir the Storyteller says:

    I expected no less from the likes of Cloud. I subscribe to a religion, but thankfully it’s not his “religion.”

  3. Abelard Lindsay says:

    How come all these writers are dead? Is he afraid Iain Banks or China Mieville are gonna kick his ass?

  4. billstewart says:

    (I first misread the “SF” as “San Francisco”, which has its share of atheistic polyamorous nudists as well.)

    Shhhhh! Don’t tell him about the pagans, either!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to make this guy read PKD’s Exegesis and watch his head assplode.

  6. Derek C. F. Pegritz says:

    And this is precisely WHY I read so much sci-fi!

  7. mrparallel says:

    This fundie guy isn’t exactly wrong to be leery of the genre. The late and lamented Thomas Disch was very insightful about the overlap and competition between religion and science fiction, especially in his excellent The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of. There’s a short straight path from Hugo Gernsback to L. Ron Hubbard. Or late-period Philip K Dick, for that matter.

  8. JonStewartMill says:

    I was expecting someone to mention C.S. Lewis’ “Space Trilogy” (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength). It’s all heavily allegorical of course, and tends to be preachy, but it comes as close to “Christian sci-fi” as anything I can think of.

  9. Moriarty says:

    C. S. Lewis is an example of how an uptight Christian would write sci fi, whatever you personally think works or doesn’t work in his books. You can see how actually believing in a particular fantasy can be severely limiting in inventing your own, but how it’s still possible to do it and create memorable works that people love (and not exclusively by other Christians).

    • angusm says:

      C.S. Lewis was an intelligent, non-dogmatic Christian, who spent a lot of time thinking about the contradictions and implications of Christianity. As a result, his writing tends to be at least a little nuanced. I once read an SF novel by a fundamentalist Christian writer called Dilwyn Horvat (don’t bother – the writing was atrocious), and ‘nuanced’ is not a term that anyone would have applied to it.

      Cordwainer Smith has some Christian themes in his work, but he’s light-years away from using it to proselytize any particular belief system. I’m sure Mr Cloud would find him disappointing, probably for precisely that reason.

      I wonder if Mr Cloud approves of the LaHaye/Jenkins “Left Behind” series, or whether he considers that prophecy rather than science-fiction.

  10. Anonymous says:

    In other news, the Pope discovered to be Catholic, and traces of bear fecal matter found in woods.

  11. Roy Trumbull says:

    Heinlein, Clarke, and others nonetheless mined the bible for source material. It’s very hard for an atheist writer to do without it. So much of the human master story is there to cut and paste.
    Moses named his son Gershom because he was “a stranger in a strange land”.
    When Adam and Eve get kicked out of the garden they go “east of Eden” which is in John Steinbeck country.
    Shakespeare mined the bible relentlessly although it was the Geneva bible as the King James came later.

  12. Lightfoote says:

    Interestingly enough, having grown up in the bible belt and having had to go to fundie church, I can’t say that they are wrong (at least it certainly gave me some questions). On the other hand, I’m not sure what most of them read other than the bible so I don’t really think sci-fi is a threat. I was weird not just because of what I read, but because I read at all. And no, I am not trying to paint them all with one brush, but I am trying to draw upon my own experience.

  13. Lord Xenu says:

    Wow! That fundief font if fucking awefome!

  14. arbitraryaardvark says:

    Was Heinlein a polyamorous nudist? Citation needed. I was under the impression he had one wife at a time, total of two.
    His invention of the waterbed, waldoes, grokking, etc. did happen to coincide with a 70s sexual revolution. He certainly helped me develop an identity as an ambisexual polyamorous patriotic libertarian gun nut, occasional nudist, wannabe space traveler, con-go-er.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Something else to beware of: science. Encourages critical thinking and empirical analysis. Better send that one out on the Baptist Information Service too.

    Also, amputees. Because God never heals them. They are truly a thorn in the side of all who believe in the healing power of prayer. A walking, breathing insult to God’s word.

    Man, I should be sending these memos to evangelical ministers, this is fun!

  16. gabrielmckee says:

    James H. Herrick’s recent book _Scientific Mythologies_ makes the same case as Cloud’s piece at book-length. I reviewed it, and pulled few punches, in the Internet Review of Science Fiction a few months back.

    And of course my own book _The Gospel According to Science Fiction_ is a sort of counterargument in itself. On a certain level, Herrick and Cloud are right that much (though not all) SF may be in opposition to a *particular kind* of Christianity, but the world of religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is much bigger than that, and SF is a wonderful place for speculative theology and religious exploration, which I believe are very valuable and powerful.

  17. Marcel says:

    Most entertaining SF and fantasy writing requires a bit of ‘thinking outside of the box’.
    Of course, this may be perceived as threatning to those who consider their box to be the only place of safety.

  18. blueworld says:

    Well, I don’t know if Heinlein practiced polyamory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory), but the word itself was coined by a founder of the real-life “Church Of All Worlds” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_All_Worlds) based on Stranger In A Strange Land. So he’s in many ways the ideological founder of polyamory.

  19. freshacconci says:

    Click through the categories on their site. There’s so much I’m doing wrong.

  20. phisrow says:

    The bible already has the “christian fantasy” genre sewn up. It shouldn’t be too hard to add some ray guns and aliens…

    • Chuck says:

      >The bible already has the “christian fantasy” genre sewn up.

      I’ve thought of it as a fantasy anthology for a long time.

      Maybe a good anthology project would involve creating the framework for a fictional religion, and having different fantasy authors write books of the “bible” for that religion. And any stories rejected from consideration from that anthology would serve as the apocryphal texts.

      • tad604 says:

        Ever read anything Lovecraft? Ashton Clark? August Derleth? and host of others? that is pretty much what they’ve done.

        • Chuck says:

          >Ever read anything Lovecraft? Ashton Clark? August Derleth? and host of others? that is pretty much what they’ve done.

          Hmmmm — somehow I’ve gone all this time without perceiving it that way. Interesting way to look at it all.:-)

  21. JoshuaTerrell says:

    Looks like they finally found out. Can’t read my Heinlein in sunday school anymore.

  22. JollyOrc says:

    Let me be honest: Personally, I do like a lot of SciFi writers _because_ they’re atheists. It’s not exactly a selling point, but damn near to one.

    There still needs to be darn good writing, but I have the suspicion that atheists do tend to write good SF. (But then, I don’t know for sure. Could someone please give me a rundown on the religious beliefs and non-beliefs of the more known writers?

    How about you Cory?)

  23. gastronaut says:

    What? An expose on sci-fi’s status as a cesspool of immorality, and no mention of L. Ron Hubbard? (http://www.slate.com/id/2150654/)

    Oh, wait- it’s not really the immorality he’s concerned about- it’s the science. Glad to know where the REAL evil is…

    As an aside, what does the parthenon have to do with christianity?

  24. discontinuuity says:

    “The decline in American pride, patriotism, and piety can be directly attributed to the extensive reading of so-called ‘science fiction’ by our young people. This poisonous rot about creatures not of God’s making, societies of ‘aliens’ without a good Christian among them, and raw sex between unhuman beings with three heads and God alone knows what sort of reproductive apparatus keeps our young people from realizing the true will of God.” –Jerry Falwel

    This sort of denouncement always makes me laugh a little. I’ve been a sci-fi fan for just about my whole life, and a Christian for the past nine years. Heinlein, Card, and Clarke are some of my favorite authors — it doesn’t really matter their religious beliefs or lack thereof, I just like the stories. Although Stranger in a Strange Land had some weird parts, I liked the story and the ideas of peacefully challenging the social status quo.

    As for C.S. Lewis, his sci-fi novels are little more than pulpy adventure stories in my opinion, with a what seems like lot of pagan mythology for a Christian author. His non-fiction is better.

    • Stefan Jones says:

      ” . . . raw sex between unhuman beings with three heads and God alone knows what sort of reproductive apparatus . . .”

      Great. Guy goes and dies without telling us where to find this stuff!

      (I mean, Olaf Stapledon was going on about our far removed descendants sculpting themselves to look like animals and having 96-gendered sex on Neptune two billions years in the future, but I can’t recall any three headed aliens there or elsewhere.)

      But seriously. Cloud and Falwell are right. Science fiction is a threat to fundamentalist memetic hegemony. This is why I support people standing outside of schools in the Bible belt and handing out SF novels.

  25. nanuq says:

    Intelligent design doesn’t count as science fiction?

  26. legionabstract says:

    Of course, science fiction does also have some Christianity in it. One of my favourite writers, Connie Willis, seems to be a Christian, and it shows up in her writing (I’m thinking of the end of _Passage_). Then again, her brand of Christianity may be too reasonable and sensible for this guy.

    • billstewart says:

      Tolkien’s really the canonical influential SF writer who’s Christian. You can be picky about Fantasy vs. Hard-SF if you’d like, but more than half of the typical bookstore SF space is taken up by Tolkien imitators of varying skill levels, and he was radically influential on the hippie generation, bringing as many of us into SF as Heinlein and Asimov did.

    • stealthisbook says:

      I’m pretty sure Connie Willis is a unitarian universalist, so most likely not on the list of acceptable religions.

  27. tim says:

    science fiction is rife with humanism, atheism, and is written by polyamorous nudists like Robert A Heinlein

    Well duh. It wouldn’t be half so worth reading if that wasn’t the case.

    And that ‘bible’ thing? Full of rape, murder, child abuse, genocide, torture, lying, filicide – and that’s just stuff done by the supposed good guy!

  28. TheMadLibrarian says:

    I add Zilpha Keatly Snyder to the list of Christian oriented science fiction writers. The People are non-Christian in name only, as they display the best angels of what Christianity is supposed to be about. OTOH, a couple of her stories skewer what looks strongly like Fundamentalism; apparently she had little patience with misappropriating Christianity for selfish or narrowminded ends.

  29. Chuck says:

    >David Cloud presents the startling intelligence that science fiction is rife with humanism, atheism, and is written by polyamorous nudists like Robert A Heinlein:

    Does this mean I should get multiple girlfriends before I even think about shopping my stuff around?

    Oh, and there’s also that nudity thing. (Puttering around the apartment in my underwear probably doesn’t count.)

  30. Anonymous says:

    CS Lewis is a good example of the worst in Christian SF (in particular the way Lewis is forced to caricature non-Christians and distort normal human psychology to make the characters act out his apologetic purposes).

    A good example of the best in Christian SF, I’d say is Michael Flynn’s Eifelheim. The books has Christian characters and nontheist characters and he portrays both so sympathetically that its far from clear, reading the book alone, which Flynn is himself. I only conclude he’s Christian based on his blog.

  31. dculberson says:

    I know Orson Scott Card is a Mormon. Whether you consider that a Christian or not depends on whether you’re a (non-Mormon) Christian. But he’s definitely a famous sci-fi author.

  32. jeligula says:

    Be thou fruitful and multiply as we need fodder for our religious wars. Envisioning anything better is a sin, therefore thou shalt not think for thyself.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Intelligent design doesn’t count as science fiction?

    It doesn’t count as “hard” science fiction… despite being more coherent than a George Lucas script.

  34. Baldhead says:

    I suspect it’s because when you think you have all the answers you don’t go around envisioning other possibilities.

    Of course another thing tying all those authors in the article is genius- level IQs. Just sayin.

  35. ethanol says:

    I find it striking that the first and most prominent example the guy cites is Carl Sagan, who published exactly one work of science fiction in his life, which ends with the main character qvfpbirevat veershgnoyr cebbs bs gur rkvfgrapr bs tbq. (rot13′d for spoiler concealment.)

    Also, Vonnegut is called an atheist without note of the fact that he identified himself as a “christ-worshipping agnostic”, nor of his many written explorations into the nature of religion and faith (I’ve lost track of how many religions he invented in the process).

    Heinlein too explored questions of faith, and the guy does mention this, but it’s more interesting to focus on nudism, polyamory and hippies.

    Funny how a person who considers religion so central to his life is so frightened of people who think about it.

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