Has anyone else noticed that whenever religion is involved in a science fiction book or movie, the “religious people” are almost always completely bats? And not in the charmingly slightly unhinged way of your local psychic, I mean Jim Jones, cyanide cool-aid, Spanish Inquisition kind of nuts. Same with computer games. A recent offering is a new horror sci-fi game called “Dead Space.” Warning: it’s not exactly PG and probably not worth checking-out unless you like gore-fests. Besides, I’ll summarize here anyway, so hold your horses.
Basically, you’ve got a big ship that visits lifeless planets and “cracks” them – completely destroying the planet and rendering it down into useable minerals for humanity’s vast galactic population. While prepping a planet for “cracking” they unearth this large and mysterious object ala 2001 Space Odyssey, which a large faction of religious people on board the ship insist is one of the relics that will allow them to reach God according to their religion.
Then the story goes really Event Horizon on everyone, as the miners on board start freaking out and killing people, and eventually turning into zombies… yadda, yadda, yadda…
Insert obligatory conspiracy cover-up from a Vatican-style entity that controls the galactic government, ritual cult suicides of people dazedly claiming they’ll see God, and a hard-nosed atheist beat cop hero with lines like “News flash: we already conquered heaven. And guess what? God wasn’t home.” And you have a winner.
Crazy religious people… mutter, mutter… You just know they’d secretly like to kill us all and turn us into zombies… Where’s my copy of “Jesus Camp?”
Why is this formula so easy to do? Why does it always have to be some cynical, but likeable atheist who saves the world from the scary religious people? Calling Agent Mulder…
So fill me in. Is there any good sci-fi out there that actually messes with the formula a bit and actually gives a bit of love for religious people?
Besides Dune. I’ve already read that.