Tag Archives: atheism

A Nightmare for an Introverted Atheist

I was just talking to my wife about how annoying it can be to have small talk with a stranger for an extended period of time. It reminded me of a time when I just wanted to be left alone with a magazine.

I was reading Astronomy magazine in the Chapters store in Victoria’s Eaton Centre, minding my own business, when a woman approached me. She was around fifty years old, dressed like she had money, and a friendly face. I don’t recall what day of the week it was, but most likely Saturday or Sunday. I looked up and noticed she was looking at me and the magazine.

“The universe is so beautiful,” she said, looking at the galaxy photo on the page I was looking at. I nodded. But she continued, “Everything is so beautiful, just as God had intended it to be.”

I started feeling uncomfortable. As an introvert, I just wanted to be left alone with the magazine. I was trying to relax. As an atheist, I just wanted to be immersed in the all natural science I was looking at. I did not want a theological discussion.

She continued talking to me, but changed the subject. “Do you know Jason? Are you his brother?” she asked me.

“I don’t know anyone named Jason,” I said.

“Jason Smith, you must know him. You look just like him,” she said.

“Sorry, I haven’t met anyone with that name.”

“Well, he’s a wonderful young man. He goes to my church,” she said, smiling.

“I see,” I said, and went back to the magazine.

“Which church do you go to?” she asked me.

I looked at my watch and said as politely as I could, “I’m sorry, but I have to go now. I’m meeting my friend.” I quickly put the magazine back and walked out of the store.

At that age, I did not do well with conversations like that. I was still somewhat shy, didn’t like interaction with people in public, and as I was a very private person, I never talked about things like that. I just wanted to get away from her. Looking back now, I think she was just trying to be friendly, but completely ignorant to the fact that she was being rude. If someone is reading a book or magazine, do not interrupt them! Secondly, it was very presumptuous of her to think I was a Christian.

Today, I’d be able to handle that in a much better way. I would have said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t go to church. I’m not a Christian.” I may have added, just to politely get out of the conversation, “I’m looking up something for my studies in university right now. I’m studying astronomy. So, if you don’t mind, I need to get back to my research.”

I would be polite, but direct about it. Honestly, I’m curious how she would’ve reacted. I’ll never know, though.

Have you had an encounter with someone you just wanted to get out of? Share your story in the comments below.

Religion in Science Fiction

I’d like some opinions. I’m currently writing Journey to Ariadne part 6, and it includes a big monologue about secularism. One character is deeply religious, while the others are more moderate, follow another religion, or follow no religion at all. It’s not shocking, though some may think it’s a bit controversial.

So, my question is, if you see something controversial about religion in a science fiction novel, how do you feel about it? I have read many that take religion on a very wild ride, altering the religions and making their followers more fanatical. Others marginalise religion, saying it serves no purpose. What do you think about this? I look forward to your answers.

Lots of Hate for Neil deGrasse Tyson

So, this happened.  I’m really curious about people’s thoughts.  I like Neil deGrasse Tyson.  I think he’s doing great things to help educate people on science and get people interested in astronomy.  However, he’s gotten a lot of conservative Christians angry.

So, Sir Isaac Newton was born December 25, 1642 (Julian calendar).  It’s a fact that can’t be changed.  Newton was a celebrated physicist.  I could see an astrophysicist wanting to celebrate his birthday.

So, December 25th was a Pagan holiday before it was Christmas. That’s a fact that can’t be changed, either.  What’s funny is that the traditions you see on Christmas aren’t even Christian traditions (the tree, presents, Santa.  And certainly not ham, because the Bible says pork should not be eaten).

Because Tyson is in the spotlight a lot, he gets vilified.  In my opinion, I don’t care one way or the other.  I’m not a Christian, and I don’t attack religion.  I like to get along with everyone.  But on the other hand, Tyson was just stating facts.  It’s how people interpret them that’s important.

Just my thought this morning. What do you think?  Happy Holidays, everyone.

Religion in Speculative Fiction

When creating a new world, not only do you have to develop the lands, the characters, the history, and the culture, but you also have to think about religion.  Religion is a major force in cultural development and history.  Just look at the history of Earth.  Most wars were fought because of religious reasons. Religions were used by leaders to control the people.  Likewise, religions were banned so leaders wouldn’t have their hold over the people influenced by an unwanted religious group.

In science fiction, religion tends to have less of an impact on the story, though there are exceptions.  In Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos, many religions, altered from their present condition, are present and powerful.  In particular, the Endymion novel uses a kind of perverted neo-Catholicism to control the people.  Orson Scott Card’s Ender series also uses religion, particularly in Speaker for the Dead, where the Catholic church is present on the planet he goes to.  Ender himself is Atheist, though he works with the local church to try resolve their problem.  Card is a devout Mormon, and has rather strong and controversial religious and political views, yet he creates a world where he employs other religions, or even a lack of religion.  However, with the current trend towards secularism and the growing number of nonreligious people in the world, I would tend to think the future is less religious.

In fantasy, religion is extremely important.  It’s often the source of the struggle, as magical powers are derived from supernatural sources.  There’s a powerful cult-like religion based around the evil in fantasy, while the good side may use several gods or maybe even a more natural source, such as how Wicca and native North American people draw their beliefs from nature.  In any case, religions in fantasy are central to the cultures, magic, plot, and even characters.  Different races and mystical creatures all have their own spiritual beliefs.

In my upcoming books based on Ariadne, religion does play a part.  I won’t go into details, but one of the religions is not based on any Earth religion.  The other is entirely based on Earth, though it’s different than what we’ve got on our world.  The former will play a major role in a couple of the planned books.  While I don’t follow any religion as an Atheist, I still find religion plays an important role in speculative fiction, as well as in our own world.  Without it, everything would be different.

How do you feel about religion’s role in science fiction and fantasy? Please leave a comment.