Sunday, December 02, 2012
Why Smug Athiests Should Read More Science Fiction
io9 lays it out.
From the piece...
A lot of the best science fiction includes a sense of wonder at the hugeness of the cosmos — and the flipside of that is a sense of our own smallness. And the humility that goes along with that. If you want to feel a real sense of quasi-religious awe, don't think of the world as being 6,000 years old — think of its actual age, measured in billions of years, and the huge timescales of the universe before and after our world. And think of the vastness of the cosmos, whose mysteries we've only just begun to glimpse in the past century.
A lot of the best science fiction is intensely "cosmic," conveying just how huge and unknowable the universe is, and how little we still understand it. In a sense, the huge cosmic imagery of science fiction resembles some of the best religious paintings — like the artworks of William Turner, who depicts light bursting out of the frame in a way that's often almost too dazzling to take in. Or Pieter Bruegel the Elder, whose angels are like explosions of light and energy. Contemplating space and time in all of their massive strangeness is much like gazing into the naked face of God is supposed to be — apt to drive you mad, or at the very least to make you recognize how tiny and ignorant you are.