[ by Charles Cameron ]
Yesterday, I stumbled on the account of pole dancing for Jesus with the accompanying graphic. I was a little taken aback, I’ll admit, but Jesus didn’t confine his ministry to the pious and scholarly, he befriended women of questionable morals and enforcers from the Roman mob as I recall, or “publicans and sinners” to give them slightly more pleasant names – so I sat up, took notice, downloaded the image, and re-sized it to fit in the top position of one of my DoubleQuotes – while wondering if I’d have to wait till Doomsday to find a suitable companion piece.
All in a day’s screen-gazing, I wound up watching the Wong Kar-Wai film, Fallen Angels, last night, and lo: the screen-shot in the lower part of the DoubleQuote revealed itself.
There are interesting paradoxes embedded in each image, of course, pitting what you might call “deep” theology against pious expectation – but they also illustrate another matter of some interest to me, the degree to which religion is now richly integrated into popular culture.
My second DoubleQuote, which contains today’s haul, deals with the same theme, I suppose — this time showing how what used to be the separate realms of science fiction and religion are now intermingled, with Minister Farrakhan speaking of an “end times” space craft that is an integral part of NoI eschatology in his annual Saviours’ Day speech, while alien aircraft flown by religious robots feature in a tongue-in-cheek news report about the war over Libya from Spencer Ackerman at the Wired War Room.
It is perhaps not surprising that Minister Farrakhan also cites Scientology with approval in the same speech, nor that that religion was itself the offspring of science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard. We are in a fertile period for the religious imagination, I believe, grappling to find new ways to answer the age-old questions — and science fiction and “signs in the skies” are among the vehicles, along with new religious movements and old religions renewed, by which we are coming to terms with life in this post-nuclear age…
I’m not much of a prophet, but I predict that the confluence of science fiction with religion will prove to be one of the keys to an understanding of our times…