James McGrath, professor of religion at Butler University and New Testament scholar, is sharing his love of science fiction and what he finds theology has in common with the literary genre.
His new book, Theology and Science Fiction, documents the parallels in the big questions they both ask, such as: What makes us human? Where did everything come from? What awaits us in the future? What do we dare to hope for?
The book is part of the Cascade Companions series, which are short texts designed to give an introduction to a subject. Theology and Science Fiction is 113 pages—six chapters of analysis and a final chapter featuring three short original science fiction stores that McGrath wrote.
While certain translations of the Bible often mention aliens, McGrath thought of using it in the sense of strangers or foreigners. In a press release regarding the book McGrath said, “But I thought it would be interesting to take this and say, ‘What happens if you take this and see how it applies to the aliens in the sci-fi sense? How antiquated do these texts seem in relation to some of the things imagined in sci-fi? How much does science fiction, in talking about aliens, show itself to actually be concerned with how we treat foreigners?’”
McGrath said the idea for a book began to take shape when he came to Butler in 2003 and was asked to teach a humanities colloquium on Religion and Science Fiction.
Soon after, he got involved with several related projects including editing a volume on religion and science fiction, co-editing a volume on religion and the long-running British sci-fi series Dr. Who, and writing an op-ed column for USA Today about the end of the TV series Lost and its religious undertones.