Another Earth

Religion Fiction Inspires Real Religion

My article “Religion Fiction Inspires Real Religion” has been published on The Transfigurist, the new blog of the Mormon Transhumanist Association launched on January 1.

From The Transfigurist website: “The Transfigurist is an extraordinary exploration of science, religion, technology, and spirituality, with emphasis on Mormonism and Transhumanism. Authors are members of the Association. All support the Declaration and Affirmation. Some do not individually identify as Mormon or Transhumanist. Articles are opinions of their respective authors. Opinions are not limited to the traditional or the popular. They may be controversial. And they do not necessarily represent all authors, other members of the Association, official positions of the Association, or any other organization or person with whom authors may be affiliated.

The Transfigurist has an internal peer review system where all article are relentlessly criticized by other authors before publication. There is no comment system yet (just use Facebook as an external comment system at the moment), but there are indications that the comment system will be very interesting and innovative when it is implemented.

My article “Religion Fiction Inspires Real Religion” provoked very interesting internal and external discussions (see Lincoln Cannon’s Facebook timeline for comments, and please add your voice).

The main point that I make in the essay is that religion-oriented fiction, and in particular religion-oriented science fiction (I call it “religion fiction”) plays a similar role for religion as science fiction for science. Theology and philosophy alone wouldn’t command strong emotional reactions, at least not for most people, without the human stories and science-fiction-like mythologies that form the narrative scaffolding of most religions. Early works of religion fiction may be integral parts of some of today’s mainstream religions, and contemporary works of religion fiction may become integral parts of tomorrow’s religions.

Read the essay on The Transfigurist.

Some readers have the impression that what I am saying is that religion is not “Truth” but “just science fiction,” and find that hard to swallow. What I am trying to say is more complex than that, and I will try to make it clearer in a forthcoming essay.

Another Earth

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

  • Nupur Munshi

    Sir , if I have the freedom of expression as a member of your group then please allow me to say that while explaining our ideas to some people (in India and elsewhere), it seems they are having problem with the term “religion”. Those who are atheist they are saying that they cannot contribute to matters related to religion and those who are religious they are saying they cannot mix spirituality with science. Please help!

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Nupur, I am not able to help, that’s the problem that I face as well. I hope you can help me!

    Fundamentalists love their belief system and hate everything else, especially “foreign” ideas that overlap their belief system without being fully compliant, and threaten to invade its territory.

    Fundamentalist believers have knee-jerk reactions when they think science is invading their territory, and fundamentalist scientists have knee-jerk reactions when they think religion is invading their territory.

    How do you think we should look for solutions to this problem? Recent events show how dangerous fundamentalism can be.