Archive for November, 2006

Messages From Myth

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I have written before about the power of myth in my life. Myth is visual imagery, a story, a song, a smell, a dream, and even a touch that communicates spiritual truth right into our hearts and bypasses our minds. In truth, it can be communicated through any of the senses. Mythic messages come to me daily – accompanied by feelings that can only be described as deep joy, borrowing C.S. Lewis’ word, and they remind me about spiritual truths in my life. Here are some of these messages or glimpses of truth that I have received in these many different ways in the last 20 years:

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Top 50 Sci/Fi Books Of All Time

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I’ve been tagged for a Science fiction meme by John from MindOnFire! The following list is of the top 50 science fiction/fantasy books of all time. I’ve bolded the ones I’ve read, struck through the ones that I’ve read and hated, italicize ones I’ve started but never finished, and put a star next to the ones I loved.

  1. The Lord of the Rings*, J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Foundation Trilogy*, Isaac Asimov
  3. Dune*, Frank Herbert
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  5. A Wizard of Earthsea*, Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. Neuromancer, William Gibson (halfway through)
  7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
  8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
  9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
  12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  13. The Caves of Steel*, Isaac Asimov
  14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
  15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
  16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
  18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
  19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
  20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
  21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
  22. Ender’s Game*, Orson Scott Card
  23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
  24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
  25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
  26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
  27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy*, Douglas Adams
  28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
  29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
  30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  31. Little, Big, John Crowley
  32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
  34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
  35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
  36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
  37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
  38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
  39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
  40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
  41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
  42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
  43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
  44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
  45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
  46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
  47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
  48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
  49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
  50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Revelation (a response to Elise’s question)

Friday, November 17th, 2006

This is a response to a question Elise had about my understanding of how God reveals himself to people, and how I understand atheism in all of this. Please believe me when I say that I am just like the next guy trying to figure this stuff out. This post represents my best current thinking, and I am not at all 100% sure my thinking is solid, but I am just doing my best I can.As a Christian, I do not believe Christianity is the ‘One True Religion,’ and all others are absolutely false, but rather that Jesus spoke the clearest revelation of spiritual truth than all others. All religions have some truth to them, some more than others, but to me, Jesus’ teachings and the God of the Old Testament, who I believe to be one and the same person, seem to me to be the most purest written revelation that is available to men. That is why I believe it was called the good news. Its the clearest, most direct answer to how to live the spiritual life. All religions, including atheism, are like lights in darkness – some are brighter, some are darker – I simply want to follow the brightest light of all.

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Science fiction and the spiritual world view

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Asara asked me a good question about science fiction and spiritual phenomena in a previous post, and it actually made me think about another topic – In all of my readings, the world views presented in SF rarely allow for the existence of the spiritual, with the exception of Stephen Lawhead and C.S. Lewis (neither are well known for their SF work). In my experience, mixing in a spiritual world with the prevalent SF atheist world view makes for a strange and interesting story, which is in some ways uncomfortable but in other ways is exciting and mind-bending. Mind bending is a good way to describe it because reading them caused me to have to corrode that “invisible divide” in my brain between science and spirituality that Sam Harris talks about in The End of Faith. Has anyone read any good science fiction that crosses these boundaries? What has been your experience reading them? Is anyone else very sensitive, like I am, to world views in fantasy and science fiction, especially when it conflicts with your world view?

God and the natural world

Monday, November 6th, 2006

I remember when a girl down the street from me died.

Her name was Andi. She was only 3 years older than me and a senior in my high school. I was friends with her younger brother, who would get together and talk about video games and cross-country running with my other good friend. It was a terrible shock to our small rural neighborhood. She lived with her parents and her brother in a renovated farmhouse, and our whole neighborhood, who were mostly Christian, got together at her house to express their grief with the family. One neighbor tried to comfort the parents by saying that God was in this somehow, and I remember my father coming home upset by that comment and told me so. “You should never say such a thing, he told me – who knows that stuff… it’s better just to cry with them and just shut up.” I was too young and stupid to understand, but I never forgot what he said. Her parents moved away not too long after and we never saw them again.

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