Religion and Outer Space examines religion in and on the final frontier. This book offers a first-of-its-kind roadmap for thinking about complex encounters of religion and outer space. A multidisciplinary group of scholarly experts takes up some of the most intriguing scientific, spiritual, trade/commercial, and even military dimensions of the complex entanglements of religion and outer space.
Attending to the historical reality that the interconnections between religion and the heavens are as old as religions themselves, the volume starts with an examination of "outer space" elements in the most sacred writings of the world’s religions. It then explores some of the religious questions inevitable in this encounter, analyzing cultural constructions (both literary and actual) of religion and outer space. It ends with examinations of the role of religion in the very real and very present business of space exploration. What might motivate the spread of religion (or at least fantasies of religion in its myriad possibilities) into new interior and exterior dimensions of the cosmos? Only the future will tell.
Religion and Outer Space is essential reading for students and academics with an interest in religion and space, religion and science, space exploration, religion and science fiction, popular culture, and religion in America.
Introduction Part I. Religions Imagine Outer Space 1. Outer Space in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature Catherine Hezser 2. The Myth of Ancient Indian Airplanes Wendy Doniger 3. Mahāyāna Mind-Bending: Buddhist Visions of Outer/Inner Worlds James Mark Shields 4. The Early Nineteenth Century Lisle W. Dalton 5. Event Horizon & The Space NDN's Star Map Lou Cornum Part II. Religious Imaginings of Outer Space 6. When Faith is Out of This World: Exploring the Religious Imagination Through Science Fiction Douglas E. Cowan 7. The Evolving Light: The Transformation of Christianity in Deep Space Travel Jason Batt, Alires Almon, and Theodore Vial 8. Barbies and Celebrity Saints: Religion in John Varley's Eight Worlds Stories Wendy Gay Pearson 9. Space Dust, Religious Practice x Blackness Philip Butler 10. Utopian Art, the Sublime, and Outer Space Imaginaries Catherine L. Newell Part III. Imagining Religion in Outer Space 11. I Aim at the Stars, But Sometimes I Hit London: The Glorious and Deadly Rockets of the Early Space Age Darryl V. Caterine 12. Outer Space Religions, 20th c. and Beyond Benjamin E. Zeller 13. Aliens in Outer Space: Myth, Diversity, and the Final Frontier Eric Michael Mazur 14. Astronauts as Chosen People: Religious Ways of Understanding the Astronaut Experience and Life After Space Deana L. Weibel 15. The Wrong Way Home: St. Elon's Digital Cult of Personality, Messianic Mediations of Mars, and the Musketeer Meme Militia Sarah McFarland Taylor. About the Contributors Index