Zoë Lehmann Imfeld
'The incalculable potency of community'
The Role of Science Fiction in Religion and Science
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This article describes a role for science-fiction literature as a tool with which to explore the shared concerns of science and religion. Science fiction is not, however, simply a servant to theological or scientific truth claims. Science fiction demands a particular set of ontological rules, and it challenges both theology and science to carefully consider their own methods and claims. In describing a role for science fiction in science and religion studies, we will re-evaluate the terms 'fabulation' and 'myth,' as described by Henri Bergson and Paul Tillich. Through this I will suggest ways in which theology as an academic discipline can participate in what I will term 'speculative empiricism,' reinforcing the need for creativity. This speculative empiricism will require a hospitality towards 'fabulation' that understands it not as invention or 'making up,' but as part of reconciling knowledge and understanding. I will use readings of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker and Last and First Men as models for this endeavour.