When D.G.D. Davidson does get around to updating his blog the Sci Fi Catholic it is usually worth waiting for. His latest post Science Fiction and Religion is a case in point.
Over at Grasping for the Wind, Steve Davidson, who may or may not be my evil twin (or maybe I’m his evil twin, bwahaha) has an essay entitled “Science Fiction and Religion, a Marriage NOT Made in Heaven, Nor Even the Laboratory.” That title could lose at least four or five words without harm, but never mind that. Davidson’s argument is that science fiction absolutely must be written by atheists, and must either ignore religion or attack it, or it is not science fiction.
Ah yes the Atheist-Puritans. Don’t want any foul theists polluting the genre. While it is certainly true that so many of the Grand Masters in SF have been atheists or at least secularists it is hard to imagine the number of great books in the genre that would have to be excluded by this definition of science fiction. I guess we should blacklist those who do not conform to this standard and cull the Hugo awardees that dared to be theists and write SF. It would be equally ridiculous if I decided to read only SF and other books if they were written by theists. I would miss out on so much great storytelling if I did such a foolish thing. When I read fiction it does not mean that I have to buy into any of the underlying philosophy and I can enjoy a well-written story even as I note those errors. But the Atheist-Puritans or the so-called new atheists demand a ritual purity when it comes to religion – unclean – unclean. Isaac Asimov was quite upfront about his atheism, but he was no jerk about it. I think ole Asimov who was my first love as a reader would have also found such blog posts quite odd. The more I think about the term Atheist-Puritans the more apt I think my term is – that is if somebody else hasn’t already coined it. To upend the quote of another atheist H. L. Mencken:
Athiestic-Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy being a theist.
The Atheist-Puritan goes through life being offended at roadside crosses, religious symbols in government seals, Christmas Trees, and any decoration or ornament that points to belief in God. And with SF being the scriptures for some atheists of course doctrinal purity must be maintained.
Anyway just go and read post Science Fiction and Religion.