I’m pretty excited because on Saturday I’m going to the Wizard World Comic Book/Sci-Fi convention. This got me thinking about the link between science fiction fans and atheism.
Atheists tend to be science oriented. Many active atheists promote critical thinking, skepticism, and science. Not surprisingly, many of us love science fiction too. But I think it goes the other way also. I think that many science fiction fans also love critical thinking, skepticism, and science. I also think many science fiction fans are atheists.
The thing is that many sci-fi fans who are atheists might not be engaged in atheist activism. They may not even identify as an atheist and I think we should start to change that.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that many of the top rated sci-fi franchises like Star Trek, Firefly, Babylon 5, and many others were created by atheists. Some even have subtle atheist themes running through them.
Science Fiction is far more compelling than religion and far more honest about being fictional too (it’s right there in the name). So what is someone going to be more interested in, Noah’s Ark or the Starship Enterprise? Which seems more believable? Which is more motivational? Which is more inspirational? I’ll go with Star Trek over the Bible any day. It isn’t even a contest.
When people started to form a religion around Star Wars, it quickly gained support because Jedi are way cooler than Jesus ever could be. Sci-fi does it better. What does it do better? As the new Kahn put it, “Everything!”
So when people are young and impressionable religion is quick to try to indoctrinate, but if the young person is exposed to science fiction at a young age, religion just seems less interesting. Young people love lightsabers and starships. It gets them away from thinking about the mythical stories of our ancient past and more focused on the possibilities and potential that await in humanity’s future.
I think science fiction is a vaccine against religion. You would be hard pressed to find a religious fundamentalist who loves science fiction. They do exist, but they are few and far between. I think that many people who love sci-fi are either culturally religious or completely lack a belief in deities. I would love to see some studies on this.
What do you think? Do you science fiction is a vaccine against religion? What has your experience been with sci-fi fans and religion? Are you an atheist sci-fi lover? Comment below.
- Atheists Are Everywhere! (skepticink.com)
- Atheist Values (skepticink.com)
- Interfaith: The very name is exclusive (examiner.com)
- Atheists raising money for Boston Marathon victims (examiner.com)