- Religion and Philosophy
Christians Into Space
Top Ten Reasons for Christians to Leave Earth
- The Koch Brothers and their willing slaves have doomed the Earth to global warming and runaway Greenhouse Effect and so the Earth will be as hot as hell -- or at least as hot as Venus (which has an atmosphere full of greenhouse gases).
- Sick of hearing dummies say that people cannot possibly affect the Earth's climate. Right there in the Bible in the Old Testament in Genesis it talks about the Adamic race given dominion of the Earth and in the New Testament, Jesus taught stewardship including stewardship of God's green Earth. We cannot affect climate? Really? Has anyone heard of the Dust Bowl? Is anyone besides Senator Inhofe stupid enough to believe that Man cannot affect climate?
- The strip miners and oil companies and frackers and other polluters are destroying the Earth and no one will oppose them -- not even Christians. Pollution is poison, the kind of poison that causes cancer. Therefore, we had better leave before all our family dies of cancer.
- Actually, we can tolerate non-Christians. It is fellow Christians that we are trying to get away from because we are members of peace churches [Church of the Brethren; Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); and Mennonites]. We take seriously the Commandment "thou shalt not kill." We can no longer tolerate being on a planet whose politics revolves around war and whose economy is based on war.
- Earth passed its optimum carrying capacity of one billion people back in 1804. Earth cannot sustain more than that and we are racing toward eleven billion. When God said be fruitful and multiply, the Earth only had about two people. Does anyone actually apply passages from the Bible without considering the context in which it was said? If so, then one can apply the darker passages out of context and go all Hitler. [Besides one comedian thinks the be fruitful and multiply advice from God meant to grow a fruit orchard and learn the multiplication table.]
- Outer space bears witness to the glory of God. Besides, it is just flat-out beautiful. It is long overdue for us to take a look at what God made for us. [Before someone makes a joke about witnessing bears or asks: "Where can you find bears in space?" (actually saw this at a forum) You should know that there is a large constellation named bear. In Latin it is Ursa Major.] Get a telescope and see what you plan to visit.
- We are in the world but not of the world. So a case can be made that we Christians are strangers in a strange land anyway as in Exodus 2:22 or even aliens as in 1 Peter 2:11. [Editor's Note: Yes, I am well aware of Heinlein's novel.]
- Although the Rapture is referred to in verses that are not standard canon in all versions of the Bible, whether it is God snatching us away or a teleporter beam invented by humans in some distant future before Jesus returns or is simply something as mundane as getting into ships and leaving, it does not matter. What matters is that Revelation 11:18 says that God will destroy those who have destroyed the Earth. That is a clear indication of warmongers who start a nuclear holocaust and set off a nuclear winter (man-made Ice Age) and it is a clear indication of polluters who cause climate change. In other words, politicians who do nothing to reverse man-made climate change and the CEO's of companies that pollute. If God is going to destroy the destroyers (and He will), then perhaps we the salt of the Earth should be wise enough to step out for a few decades while God deals with polluters -- some of whom claim to be Christians. I agree with those who say that we should do everything in our power to clean up the environment but after we have done our best . . .
I will add nine and ten later.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array”
Looking for inspiration in science fiction?
Although there is a field of literature called Christian science fiction, in point of fact it is really Christian fantasy -- which is fine if you are shopping for fantasy such as JRR Tolkien but it is not science fiction. C.S. Lewis, an otherwise great writer, let his hatred of science and scientists show in his trilogy. This flaws the writing of Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1945) and renders the trilogy effectively fantasy not science fiction. For example, Star Wars is not science fiction but fantasy because ships do not make noise in the vacuum of space and there are numerous other violations of science that render Star Wars to be fantasy. It is not a matter of enjoyment. I enjoy Star Wars but I acknowledge that literary critics and scientists do not accept Star Wars as making any attempt at scientific accuracy -- unlike Star Trek which does try. Star Trek is not hard science fiction -- it is usually classified as space opera -- but at least it makes a strong attempt at scientific accuracy unlike 99% of the sword & sorcery crap that passes itself off as science fiction these days.
C. S. Lewis was more interested in preaching at his readers than even telling an interesting story is the complaint I have read in reviews of his trilogy. In the world of literature, boring your reader is a sin. As a Christian, I have no problem suggesting secular science fiction writers over the dearth of good Christian "science fiction" writers more interested in grinding an axe or preaching at their readers than inspiring. As someone who often gets on her soapbox and preachers at her readers, I know what I am talking about (I am talking about me and I don't mind criticizing myself).) So yes, I would rather you read an atheist like Arthur C. Clarke, a quality author, than read slop cranked out by Christian hacks. I am not all that great a fiction writer myself as I am a journeyman in the craft of fiction writing but I am not as dreadful as I used to be. And some of my stories I am actually proud of.
If you are afraid that reading the novel of an atheist will send you straight to hell in gasoline underwear, then you were probably hell bound anyway. Say hello to Hellboy for me when you get there and don't eat doughnuts with Homer Simpson. Ours is not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
As ambassadors of Christ, our first obligation ought to be quality rather than representing heaven with shoddy second-rate arts. Clarke's science fiction novels tend to hard science in their hard science fiction but Clarke is willing to bend for the sake of art and turning a good phrase. Ultimately, he has a pessimistic philosophy and if you buy into pessimism, you do have problems. But then a lot of science fiction is pessimistic in an attempt to give gravitas. A well-written tragedy is more likely to be remembered in a century than a sloppy comedy and writers know that and so they write to be remembered. Can't really blame them for that but as we are shopping for inspiration, we need to keep looking. Clarke, pessimistic or not, not only has his moments, he has a lot of moments. This is why he is in the pantheon of the top three science fiction writers of all time with Isaac Asimov (also an atheist) and Robert Heinlein. The last one, Heinlein, jerks you around and never makes it clear whether he is agnostic, atheist or what. And that is his right to do so. If you make it the top four, then you have to add Frank Herbert who was a Zen Buddhist, in other words an atheist because Buddhists don't believe in a God or gods unlike the Hinduism from which Buddhism split off.
Asimov is an excellent explainer of science in his nonfiction and his fiction is notable for the robot series and the foundation series. 'Nightfall' by Isaac Asimov is considered the greatest science fiction short story of all time. 2001: a space odyssey, story by Arthur C. Clarke and directed by Stanley Kubrick (an agnostic), is considered by many film critics as the greatest movie of all time. We are talking quality not box office although it did okay there too. If you actually like being preached at, then Heinlein is your man. His books are sometimes nonstop preaching his political views and yet he managed to rack up incredible sales (exceeded of course by Star Trek novelizations). Herbert is noted for the Dune series but his other novels show a deep interest in intelligence whether human intelligence, divine intelligence, artificial intelligence, animal intelligence, or alien intelligence as in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
As long as we are talking about the nature of intelligence and the mind contemplating its own origins, its own psychology, its own brain, and its own DNA (well RNA anyway); then we have to talk about Stanislaw Lem a vastly under-rated and partly untranslated author from Poland who was a genius in several fields not just one like most geniuses. He often leaves even the top three in the dust when he pulls out all the stops. It might be said that Lem really writes philosophy fiction rather than science fiction although he can get the science accurate when he is not making sly jokes. Lem did a lot more than Solaris which was Lem in low gear. I used to wait for the hot off the press translations of Lem and considered learning Polish so that I could read him in the original language. I don't really care that Lem is an atheist though I admit to being disappointed to learn that fact. Even the greatest science fiction author of all time, Olaf Stapledon, was an atheist. Which prompts the question: Why can't Christianity produce top talent? Answer: Christian writers waste their best productive years denying evolution.
It is rather presumptuous to forbid God from using evolution to create us or to forbid God from using the laws of nature when it was God who created those laws in the first place. This is what creationists do. They command God to always use big supernatural miracles in every case. What if God prefers to use perfectly natural means to get a particular job done? What if God does not want to draw attention to Himself? The idea that creationists want to order God around strikes me as sacrilege and some of the things they say are blasphemy.
Scientists are only thinking of mathematics and logic when they collect facts and are expected to report to their colleagues and explain their findings. Scientists are not reporting to the Protestant bishops. The last time scientists reported to bishops, those bishops tortured Galileo and subjected a great scientist to the stupid Inquisition. Apparently, Protestants feel the obsessive compulsion to repeat every mistake that Catholics made instead of learning from those mistakes.
Thanks for nothing creationists! You make all us Christians look like stupid knuckle draggers and drive out the best & brightest and into the arms of atheism. God, please help us overcome the anti-science cretins. We love them but most of them belong in institutions for the severely mentally retarded where they can be properly cared for.
By the way, Stapledon gets top honor far above Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Herbert and even Lem because everyone (except maybe Heinlein) was influenced by him.
After Christian science fiction and mainstream science fiction, some say a new field of literature has a better claim to inspiration in science fiction than actual science fiction. The new genre is called visionary fiction. This is a mashup of New Age books and inspirational books with utopian optimism and a touch of science fiction (the settings are often in deep space and far in the future). It is a shame about that New Age influence but I am one Fundamentalist Christian not afraid to dialogue with New Agers. Some critics suggest that visionary fiction got started because science fiction got taken over by cyberpunk, horror, sword & sorcery, and other forms of pessimism and cynicism. Some people wanting the fresh optimism that a Gene Roddenberry espoused might jump the science fiction sinking ship and swim over to visionary fiction. I for one do not want to read about interstellar wars (I even want to move to another galaxy to get away from war) or Big Brother governments or un-Brave New Worlds. I liked Firefly but I would not want to live in that fictional universe between a mind control government (Babylon 5 ditto) and raping cannibal Reavers and ignorant hicks who want to burn River Tam at the stake because her brain damage also gives her insight. I love Firefly but no thanks to living in that universe. I love Star Trek but I would not want to live in the militaristic Federation dominated by Starfleet much less the Klingon, Romulan or Cardassian Empires. Damn the Borg to hell.
There is one science fictional universe or part of one science fictional universe that I would prefer to live in: I would enjoy living on Vulcan because they are more civilized than humans but JJ Abrams blew up that planet in the Star Trek reboot. Even in the real world, we have the technology to turn Earth into another asteroid belt. No thank you George Lucas, your movie turns planets into asteroid belts too.
The kiddies have no moral compass and so they mindlessly enjoy this fare without the adult responsibility of paying taxes that go straight to the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about. I want something that lifts my spirit, stimulates my intellect, and brings joy to my emotions simultaneously. I don't want soul-suffocating Hollywood fare, boring Christian movies and books, boring non-Christian movies and books, stupid mindless entertainment, nor depressing stories where the easy way is to kill everyone -- like in Hamlet.
I will tolerate atheism in writers and artists and movie directors as long as they can be used of God and create utopian work. The church never cared if Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo were personally atheists, devil worshippers, agnostics, Jewish, or even non-Catholics. That was irrelevant to the cardinals and popes (and later the bishops in Protestant parts of Europe). All they cared about was who was the best painter, the best sculptor and the best composer. When a cathedral had to have the best for God, they did not question the vessel (the artist) who delivered the goods. All the church cared about was performance not sticking their nose in a person's dealings with God. Jesus Himself broke bread with sinners and the terrorists of the time (The Zealots) and Pharisees and Sadducees and prostitutes and even (I'm gonna hurl) tax collectors!!! So it seems a sound policy if the Lord Himself started it. Saint Peter, by the way, was known to be a foul mouth prone to profanity but Jesus built a church on him. Even sounds painful.
I once heard a panelist say at a writer's conference in response to my question that stories without conflict or stories about saints or perfect people (ie heaven) would be like sticking an icepick in his eye. Well now you readers know what we Christian writers are up against when in writing classes and in literature classes it is beaten into us that we must have conflict and we must have flawed people (sinners).
Hello? That sounds to me like a recipe for demonic possession of all literature whether Christian or secular. Anyone, writer or reader, who buys into that whole conflict (plot) and imperfection (character) world view and mindset is lost. Jesus said be ye perfect. We cannot complain about fiction or about Hollywood when the problem lies with the basic philosophy of fiction.
So it is any wonder that I am willing to read "New Agey" visionary fiction just to get away from carnography, horror, blood splatter movies, murder mysteries, and sword & sorcery "science fiction" ? Like I said, Jesus steered people from being hell bound to being heaven bound. The church followed suit and went for the best people it could find. Can an atheist inspire a Christian? If you have ever seen a great work of art or heard a great work of art, then you know they can. God works through them. Even Mark Twain wrote a story about heaven.
At least Johann Sebastian Bach was a devout Christian as well as being one of the greatest composers. So I cannot fathom why demonic people use his Toccata and Fugue to suggest evil in evil movies.
Summing up, the choices are Christian science fiction, mainstream science fiction, and visionary fiction. Hopefully some Christian writers will crack open a textbook on evolution and join the 21st Century. Hopefully some Christian writers will venture into visionary fiction with some experiments in conflict-free stories. Hopefully someone will be inspired by a Christian writer because without a vision, the people perish.
Faith Christian High School Cements Their Future In Space
The Christian Astronauts
This is obviously a widely syndicated Sunday funny pages comic strip. Don't believe it? Look at the photograph of the other comic strips on the previous page.
review of Christian Astronauts
Forget the Jetsons' harmless Rosie the maid. This robot maid blows the head off the leper from Earth when he kisses the desperate housewife while her husband sleeps. That is how you enforce high fidelity on the high frontier.
I guess I should add that Christians have a sense of humor too. And we laugh at ourselves. Frequently.
Is space safe for families?
I am tempted to just say no but a simplistic answer like that leaves a lot out. So, appropriately enough, I elaborate with bullet points --
- If your neighbourhood is full of gangs who do drive by shootings, then space may be safer.
- If the police shoot your kid because they don't like what color he is, then space may be safer.
- If vigilantes shoot your kid because they don't like what color he is, then space may be safer.
- If you moved from the city to the suburbs or the rural country to get your children away from drugs and find drugs in the suburbs and in the rural areas, then space will be safer.
- If you live in a war-torn country, then space is safer because there are no wars out there. I am sure George Lucas would like there to be Star Wars but even he cannot afford to start a war out there.
- The air cannot be any worse than it is on Earth and because we will have to create pressure domes to live in until terraforming is done, the air will probably be better. Air pollution is becoming a real critical issue for families affected by allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Space is one way to get away from smokers.
- Overpopulation leads to behavioural sink. That means violent crime. The only sure way to escape overpopulation is to go where people are scarce. People are scarce in space and will be for a very long time to come (although, obviously, some worlds will fill up fast because they are close to Earth).
- What makes a world safe? Good neighbours, keeping sociopaths out of public office (because they kill their own citizens), low population, strong defense, unarmed police (like British Bobbies used to be), no surveillance or eavesdropping spying on citizens, no wars, no crime.
- Monaco and Palau have zero homicide rates. Monaco makes sense because it caters to billionaires and they can afford the best. Palau is basically a South Seas paradise and no one feels like killing anyone else. Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates because they have the D's (dictators, death squads, dense population, economic depression, disease, and a death culture). Death culture includes such things as a religion that glorifies death, holidays like Day of the Dead, blood sport like bullfighting, and a national history that has experienced little more than disasters. The secret is to create a country where people do not accept these things. In other words, Monaco and Palau.
- Honorable mention to Iceland which is host to peace summits and is off the beaten path. Something in their culture results in a low murder rate.
- The Bible allows corporal punishment for some offenses. Singapore's penal code mandates caning, in addition to imprisonment, as punishment for offenses involving violence, such as rape and robbery, and for nonviolent offenses such as vandalism, drug trafficking, and violation of immigration laws. Having to come out naked and have your buttocks whipped in public by a martial arts expert discourages crime.
- Since these societies and cultures are vastly different from each other, perhaps it has more to do with a society's and a culture's choice to do away with violence and crime and less to do with what methods it uses.
Is space safe for families? It can be safer than anywhere on Earth if we choose.
However, we may need to screen those who come to our particular colony. No sociopaths. No one with Münchausen syndrome by proxy. Both of these mental conditions in public officials is begging for genocide and police states. We need to have good community mental health systems and public mental health systems or people will get a weapon or a bomb or poison and start killing. Some people will get themselves elected so that they can kill on a grand scale and kill anyone who tries to stop them from starting wars and building death camps and otherwise committing genocide against their own fellow citizens or other people. You would think taxpayers and voters would educate themselves to keep such miscreants out of public office. You would think that.
One place to start is to encourage church organizers to look into the logistics, the cost, and the systems that need to be purchased to move a religious community to a chosen colony. Logically enough, a space colonization group or SCG is not an activity for an individual. By definition, it is committee work.
We humans have done this many times in our past. The humans who left the Great Rift Valley to populate Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia/Oceania and the Americas probably got sick of conditions like living in trees, being eaten by large animals like sabre-toothed tigers, drought, crowding, and even curiosity to see if other places were better.
Noah was ordered to load his family on an ark. The Children of Israel left Egypt because they did not like to be slaves.
In the colonial period, Europeans left Europe not just as individuals sent to penal colonies but often as entire denominations. Not just one family or one small congregation but an entire denomination which might consist of the entire population of several communities and villages. Asians have done this to a lesser extent.
Easterners in the young United States of America moved West and became Westerners for reasons that ran the gamut from religious through gold fever to desire for farm land. Some actually read Western dime novels and moved West. Some were artists and wanted to see all the scenery they heard rumours about and some were seeking opportunities to reinvent themselves -- from pushcart vendor to owning their own general store, from newspaper boy to newspaper publisher, and from medical student to town doctor.
In modern times, wars have caused whole communities of Hmong, Iranians, and Ethiopians, Sudanese, and Rwandans (among many others) to move en masse. However, in terms of organization, only a few groups put a lot of thought and organization into their move.
Like it or not, all the talk about crazy people wanting to go one way to Mars and people talking about the moon, and going to other stellar systems, all this talk is here to stay. In case you did not know it , the Mars Underground has been around for decades. The British Interplanetary Society and other groups interested in interstellar travel have been around for decades. Fads do not last for decades and span three generations.
There is another motivation but see the next section to read about it.
families in space
- families in space
Were they exiled? No, it turns out that some families want to go into space as a family instead of watching the launch or being bored at mission control as one of them is away in a shuttle or on the space station. And now that the space shuttle is re
people never learn from history
World War Two was started by Hitler in Nazi Germany helping himself to neighbouring countries on the flimsy excuse that some people in those countries spoke German. The generals in Japan were meanwhile annexing their neighbours.
Today Russia helped itself to parts of Georgia and after taking part of The Ukraine, it wants a second helping. China simply took Tibet, forced monks and nuns to have sex at gunpoint (I am cleaning this up considerably) and recently burned Tibet's holiest shrine. Only a fool cannot see what comes next. Probably Russia or China will invade Mongolia. If North Korea has not the good sense to reunite with South Korea and toss out its dictatorship, then Russia or China will simply annex North Korea -- nuke or no nuke. When you do not stop dictators, they simply get bolder and take more territory.
Unlike the relatively small Germany and Japan, Russia and China are very large countries with much larger populations than those nations had. Russia and China also have nuclear weapons and we are sliding downhill to World War Three. This world war will make the previous world wars seem bloodless by comparison. They will wreck what is left of the environment.
If you can call it good news, global warming will end -- in the aftermath of an all-out thermonuclear exchange when nuclear winter will usher in an Ice Age.
What will be the trigger for the missiles flying?
- Korea, Japan and China fighting over some shoals said to have oil.
- North Korea launching a missile at the USA because it has nothing better to do than be angry at the USA.
- Sarah Palin convinces Alaskans to declare independence from the lower forty-eight and Russia seizes the opportunity to take Alaska back. [I knew she was a traitor who could get us all killed.]
- Russia attacks a NATO country.
- India and China go to war and other countries get pulled in like in World War One.
- Pakistan and India go to war and other countries get pulled in like in World War One.
Pick your own scenarios if none of these make you pessimistic enough. But one thing is true: No country stuck their neck out for Georgia or for Tibet and the rest is inevitable. You cannot stop dictators -- not Assad and not Putin -- with words.
Let he who has wisdom decide if it may be time for the Salt of the Earth to find a New Heaven and a New Earth.
If you want a good shock or a good laugh . . .
. . . then visit the local civil defense fallout shelter. The one near my post office is unusable.
Christians into Space
- Christians into Space
The Facebook page for Christians into Space.