December 31, 2015
While most of us were making last-minute Christmas preparations last Sunday, a 40-year-old man in Pensacola, Florida, tried to travel through time by aiming his car at a “time portal”. Instead of winding up in the Carboniferous Period, or 856,000 A.D., he crashed into, first, a tax preparers’ office and then, through the wall, into the office of a casket company. That was as far as his car was able to go.
At about the same time, in my own neighborhood, I drove past a house where the outdoor Christmas display was, well… Star Wars figures. Even Darth Vader. But I wasn’t terribly surprised by that. I had already read about several churches in my home state—yes, I said “churches”—setting up Star Wars nativity scenes: Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus replaced by characters from a science fiction movie. As the pastor explained it, “We want to be dynamic, engaging, and culturally relevant.”
May I please wake up now?
But wait, there’s more! Why stop at a Star Wars nativity scene, if your church is trying to be culturally relevant? We have credible reports of a church where the pastor comes in on a zip-line, all dressed up as Spiderman.
At the risk of irrelevance, we may quote the Bible. In his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul advised the early Christians, “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). They didn’t have comic books in those days, so there was no opportunity for any church leader to put on a superhero costume. Oh, they had heroes: but I think Paul might have had a few harsh things to say about an elder or a deacon who liked to doll himself up as Achilles or Hercules before he showed up at his church.
The problem, though, goes deeper than a childish desire to dress up as something you’re not. The thing is, we, the American people, believe a lot of really dopy things. This is what you get after many years of using the popular culture for self-education.
Oh, come on! Nobody believes that comic book superheroes are really real! And that guy in Pensacola, he was just a nut.
Are we sure?
Do we believe in UFOs? Space aliens? The Annunaki from Orion? (Orion is not a place, but it would take too long to explain that here. Suffice it to say that no person or thing can be “from Orion.”) World after world, way out there in galaxies far, far away, inhabited by highly advanced super-beings who will someday show us humans how we can be super-beings, too?
Are you kidding? Millions of people believe in stuff like that!
And without any evidence, either. Almost everybody believes there must be life on other planets, somewhere, and some of it bound to be intelligent. We have yet to detect even the slightest trace of extraterrestrial life, but that stops no one from believing in it.
And what makes them believe in it? Science fiction—and popularized “science” which is near kin to science fiction. Hey, would “Star Trek” lie to you?
So why should a guy necessarily be crazy for trying to drive his car through a time portal? Haven’t we all seen movies and TV shows in which the existence of time portals is a given? Or, if we can’t build our own time portals, well, everybody knows space is full of these “wormholes” that let you traverse scores of light-years in a minute, and come out in another galaxy. Everybody knows that, even though no one has ever found a wormhole, let alone gone through it. Would a guy on “Nova” lie to you?
There must be super-beings out there, and there must be ways we can get to them—stargates, wormholes, warp-drive: there’s just gotta be a way.
God help us: is this where we put our faith? Is this what we believe in? Is this what finally makes us, as Christians, culturally relevant—believing in science fiction and comic books?
It does seem a shame to devote such a precious resource as faith to any but the very highest object.
And if your very highest object is anything else than God, than Jesus Christ—well, that, too, seems a waste of faith.
� 2015 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com
E-Mail: [email protected]