Sunday, 23 July 2017

Catholic Spaces

How often, when reading fsf, do we get into Catholic spaces?

Poul Anderson  
Three Hearts And Three Lions  
The Merman's Children
Nicholas van Rijn
Father Axor

SM Stirling

Blog readers will know of other relevant works. Some have been mentioned on the blog, e.g. here.

Emberverse incorporates Catholicism but is not Catholic. One Mind includes many gods and/or one Power manifests both as the Goddess and as the Virgin Mary. Artos, Wiccan, senses Power in a Catholic chapel - but that can happen in our universe


David Birr said...

*Cestus Dei* by John Maddox Roberts, expanded in 1983 from his 1977 *The Strayed Sheep of Charun*, portrays a future in which all civil government on Earth fell apart, and five religions took over.

All Christianity has become Roman Catholic, and wages a not-quite Cold War with the other Big Four: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The Christians, Muslims, and Jews at least have their own interstellar fleets and armies, and there's one passage in which a Dominican commando (with a Native American name!) remarks disparagingly that "even Franciscans" could get through the lax security the local adversaries have posted.

One bit of doctrine all five faiths agree on: the creation of androids (bio-engineered, not robots) is an abomination. "The Soulless," they're termed. And the Charun system, long cut off from most of human civilization, is building huge android armies....

WARNING: a site designated "Christian Fandom" reviewed this book, and I have to agree with the last two sentences of the penultimate paragraph:
"And, as far as the Catholicism goes, even the presence of a Franciscan monk, who acts considerably more like one would expect a missionary monk to act, is not enough to counteract the majority of the Catholic characters, who never seem to give God a second thought. In other words, Catholicism forms a convenient framework in which to build the story, and is never really explored for what it is or could be."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul and DAVID!

Paul, for a self avowed agnostic Poul Anderson was, perhaps, surprisingly friendly to Christians, esp. Catholics. I esp. remember the Catholic priest mentioned in "Journeys End," THE HIGH CRUSADE, and the Knights Hospitallers seen in ROGUE SWORD. And, yet other stories featuring Catholic themes in Anderson's works can be found, such as "Kyrie."

Yes, other SF writers have treated Catholicism seriously and with respect, such as James Blish's classic A CASE OF CONSCIENCE, and the tragic Walter Miller's A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ.

And I'm disgusted with myself yet again for somehow missing what S.M. Stirling had some of his characters in the Emberverse books saying or speculating about how One Mind somehow incorporating many gods. A notion with which I have to disagree--one reason being because it does not make sense when examined. MY thought was that it was SATAN who caused the Change, that he was intervening with insolent boldness in human affairs. Which, btw, reminded me of how it was Satan who raised up the Caliphate and the Johannine Church seen in Anderson's two OPERATION books.

David, thanks for your comments about John Maddox Roberts novel, CESTUS DEI. Alas, I don't think I've ever even heard of the book till you discussed it here.

From what you said about CESTUS DEI and the review you quoted, I don't think I would find it worth reading. JMR seems to have taken little interest in what the various religions believed about God or the gods or shows us characters who took their faiths seriously.

The bit about "androids" interests me. Is it even possible to make intelligent, living, bio-engineered living things with no souls? What would it be like for such a "being" to not have a soul?


Paul Shackley said...

I was taught that to be self-consious and intelligent WAS to have an immortal, immaterial soul although I do not believe that now.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

While I don't agree with your disbelief, your comment did bring back to mind a thought I should have included in my prior comment.

In his short story "The Quest For Saint Aquin," Anthony Boucher shows us at the end a ROBOT, an AI in an artificial body, not even an organic living being. The POV character declared to another, more specialized robot: "This is YOUR dream. This is OUR PERFECTION. And what came of this perfection? This perfect logical brain--this all purpose brain, not functionally specialized like yours--knew that it was made by man, and its reason forced it to believe that man was made by God. And it saw that its duty lay to man its maker, and beyond him to his Maker, God. Its duty was to convert man, to augment the glory of God. And it converted by the pure force of its perfect brain!"

I should have quoted this and suggested that if true Artificial Intelligence is ever possible and attained, then these AIs might become convinced thru sheer logical reasoning that God is real and its duty lay with mankind and God. That should also mean AIs also have souls.