Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Theology of Firefly - Ancient Faith Radio

     I am a fan of Firefly, the ill-fated 2002 Fox TV space-western, and its theatrical follow-on, Serenity. It is the closest thing I have seen in visual media to the pencil-and-paper roleplaying game Traveller, about which I have written in other posts. As one Traveller player put it on a discussion board long ago, "Nothing says Traveller like shotguns in space!"
     Another reason why I enjoyed Firefly was the inclusion of a Christian character in Shepherd Book. Now, the show didn't last long enough to delve into the particulars of Book's denominational background or his theology, but the simple fact that the 'Verse was presented as still having an active, viable place for religion was a surprising change from some other TV sci-fi shows I could mention, and from literary sci-fi as well. I have read a lot of 'classic' sci-fi books, from the fifties and sixties, including Asimov, Heinlein, Piper and Niven. In their works, religion was often a feature of the universe, almost never the subject of the story, but religious images and people were present, and accepted as being consistent with the existence of space ships and ray guns and supercomputers. It seems to me that by the 80's and 90's and beyond, religion had largely been drummed out of sci-fi; the two biggest influences, Star Trek and Star Wars, having only vague awareness of organized religions, and then only as 'quaint native curiosities' to be 'enlightened' by the god Science. 
     Firefly's presenting a regular character of the show as being devoutly religious (Book), and the main character (Malcolm Reynolds) as conflicted by his faith which was crushed by disappointment was unusual, and engaging. 
     So, as I was listening today to Ancient Faith Radio, I came upon this short podcast, The Theology of Firefly. Browncoats, listen and learn!

1 comment:

Clint said...

Loved Firefly and Serenity. Thanks for the heads up on the podcast.