James Herrick

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Sunday Quote: Aliens and Paganism?

sm-herrickEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Aliens and Paganism?

I’ve been entering notes into my computer and because of that I’ve been rereading a bunch of books. Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs by James Herrick has been on that list for a while, and I’m glad I finally got to it. So far, it’s been very interesting. Herrick’s thesis is basically that new mythologies are being created through science fiction and the mythologizing of science itself. Thus, people look to the stars for salvation from aliens, life is said to be seeded from benevolent aliens, etc. Herrick describes the phenomenon:

[W]e are witnessing nothing less than the emergence of new transcendent narratives–new myths–to answer our deepest questions. We appear to have entered a second pagan era, complete with a new mythology in which minor deities once again descend from the stars, seek intimate involvement in our lives, direct our course into the future… Our mythologies… have a way of shaping who we are and what we are becoming. (17, cited below)

Have you witnessed any kind of “new mythologies” being followed or created through science or science fiction? I think that sci-fi is a great way to convey a worldview, and I’ve commented often on various ways people have used it for just that purpose. What ways might new scientific mythologies shape our perceptions of ourselves and others? Do you think Herrick’s point is to be well taken, or is he wrong? Why/not? I encourage you to check out the fascinating book. Thanks to my friend Josh over at No Apologies Allowed for so long ago introducing me to it.


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Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Materialists: Where is hope? Look to the stars!– I analyze one aspect of materialism: the way that some look to hope in the “beyond” of the outer limits of the universe. Hope, for materialists, may come from the stars. Our salvation may lay beyond our solar system, in benevolent aliens who will bring great change and advances to us.


James Herrick, Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008).

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