Do science fiction and spirituality blend well together?

Do science fiction and spirituality blend well together?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 61.5%
  • No

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Maybe So

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • ?

    Votes: 2 15.4%

  • Total voters
    13

bretbernhoft

Bret Bernhoft
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
116
Location
USA
I'm writing a story about spiritual awakenings within a science fiction context. But I don't know if this has already been tried?
 
Who cares, if you can do it better?

Though I suppose I am curious to know what you mean by "spirituality" and "spiritual awakening." Do you mean a religious conversion, or something else?
 
Who cares, if you can do it better?

Though I suppose I am curious to know what you mean by "spirituality" and "spiritual awakening." Do you mean a religious conversion, or something else?
I am writing a story about non-religious spirituality, and what that might look like 100 or 200 years from now; especially as altered states of consciousness and mindfulness are concerned.
 
I think science fiction explores spirituality quite well, but being what it is, it usually ends up debunking the notion as a psychological comfort blanket.

Greg Bear's Anvil of Stars had an interesting sub-plot involving religion.
Alistair Reynolds's Absolution Gap had another interesting take. The book makes mention of a religious virus that is used to infect non-believers. It was an interesting thought.
 
I am not sure exactly how to interrupt the question, but I see nothing inherent in the major religions to preclude them from science fiction. I note that science fiction rarely references the religious beliefs of any of its characters, but that is also true of any of the other genres.
 
I can't see why they wouldn't, and it sounds a good combination to me. I imagine it's been done before, but that doesn't matter as your take will be your own unique take.
 
One trope (or is it a cliche?) I don't like is when humans and aliens intermix, aliens always seem to have a unified religion where humans don't (a good example is Babylon 5.) or they only show religion to be a punching bag (Mormons in The Expanse).

Stranger in a Strange Land, Parable of a Sower and A Cantible for Leibowitz are full of religious themes. Shorts by Clark like The Star or Nine Billion Names of God also fit.

edit in The Chrysalids and Handmaids Tale (theocracies).
 
I think science fiction explores spirituality quite well, but being what it is, it usually ends up debunking the notion as a psychological comfort blanket.

Greg Bear's Anvil of Stars had an interesting sub-plot involving religion.
Alistair Reynolds's Absolution Gap had another interesting take. The book makes mention of a religious virus that is used to infect non-believers. It was an interesting thought.
Wasn't that Chasm City?

Dune has already been mentioned but I think Frank primarily took a dim view on organised religion showing how it can be used to manipulate whole societies.
 
Wasn't that Chasm City?

Dune has already been mentioned but I think Frank primarily took a dim view on organised religion showing how it can be used to manipulate whole societies.

I think the OP meant Absolution Gap, as it's there - but I read it as a dig at religion, given that a mere virus or disease could make you religious., which sortof could be read to imply that religious people today are ill.... There is a moment in Chasm city where someone offers the protagonist a virus too or give it to him, from memory, that might be important for the main character's development.

I never saw Dune as saying much about relgion - other than the manipulation that you mention, religion is used by groups for control. The Dune series starts really, I think, warning about deifying messiahs and 'strong men'. It then goes over to examining what a real human with god-like power would actually do.

EDIT: Something I'd like to point out - Spirituality does not always mean religion. I'm not relgious and I've had spiritual (and definitely not relgious) experiences.
 
OP is asking about treatments of non-religious spiritual awakenings in SF, not about religion in SF per se. This thread has wondered off the subject a bit.
 
So, to wander back on, what constitutes a non-religious spiritual awakening? Best define it before we try to answer the original question of how well it has or will work in sci-fi.
 
So, to wander back on, what constitutes a non-religious spiritual awakening? Best define it before we try to answer the original question of how well it has or will work in sci-fi.

I tentatively suggest that Arthur C. Clarkes Childhood's End could qualify as 'spiritual' and SF.
 
I tentatively suggest that Arthur C. Clarkes Childhood's End could qualify as 'spiritual' and SF.
I agree. Clarke was into his Teilhard de Chardan type spiritual transcendence.

Iain M Banks has something analogous in his Culture novels.

Blood Music by Greg Bear has another take on this.


…and back to Paul Atreides in Dune for individual spiritual awakenings.
 
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Well it's story of us humans evolving to join the overmind - something we normal humans (in the book) have little understanding or even contact with. So it's an awakening of a species to a much more expanded universe. A complete change of view.

Surely the total re-organistion of your view of the universe counts as a massive spiritual event (the universe itself has not changed at any point, it's your understanding of it that has.)

As a side note I remember reading ACC himself put in an introduction that he got swept up in the Uri Geller stuff in the early 70s, what with spoon bending and psychic powers*, that for a few days he even started to believe that these manifestations were the start of the changes he had written about in Childhood's End and said a few stupid things. But then he sobered up and realised they were mainly just tricks. :)

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* As a second side note, I find it interesting how much of Golden Era SF assumed that humans were going to have psychic powers like telepathy or telekinesis etc. Much less so now, I feel.
 
Science Fiction can center a story or comment on almost anything. Religion is not excepted from that rule.
 
A broad definition of spirituality would be useful here - are you talking purely otherworldly - as in a belief in spirits/higher power/supreme being(s)?
Or meditation?
Or would you include ways of interacting with the world around you from other people to nature? I am thinking of humanism, of Bill and Ted's "Be Excellent to Each Other", of vegetarianism and veganism, of believing that nature is to be protected? (Or it is all there to be exploited by man - that too is a belief, though not one I like.)

It is fantasy, not sf, but you might find Bujold's "World of the Five Gods" useful reading (as well as entertaining) as the gods in that are most definitely real - it is their interaction with people that she examines and that is very interesting - and is not at all "do this or else".
 

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