The New Doctor?

All of us Whovians are eagerly awaiting official news concerning the announcement of the next Doctor.

According to The Telegraph, the role has been offered to Rory Kinnear.

The Mirror, however, reports that no decision has been made.

Matt Smith, the current Doctor, is leaving the show in the Christmas special.

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Review: Faith, Film And Philosophy

Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas On The Big Screen

Editors: R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Paperback: 311 pages

Publisher: Intervarsity Press

ISBN: 978-0-8308-2589-9

Intervarsity Press

Amazon

It’s no secret that I am interested in the intersection of faith and pop culture, especially theology and film. This book has been on my reading list for a while and I have even utilized it for researching religious themes in movies.

This book consists of fourteen essays dealing with theological and philosophical themes that are prevalent in movies.

These fourteen essays offer wonderful reflection on classic and contemporary films following several major themes, all within the context of Christian faith: (1) the human condition, (2) the human mind and the nature of knowing, (3) the moral life, and (4) faith and religion. (Back cover)

While I have a soft spot for science fiction, I found this book to be extremely helpful in opening up my mind to religious and philosophical themes in other genres. Some of the movies examined in this book are Citizen Kane, 2001, Legends of the Fall, and Bowling for Columbine.

Some of the other reviews I read stated that the book was more philosophical than religious. I did not find that to be true. I thought the authors of the essays struck a balance between philosophy and theology. In some cases, it is hard to separate the philosophy from the theology, so I can understand where this claim comes from, although, I disagree.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It opened my eyes to religious themes that appeared in genres outside of science fiction. It also brought to my attention movies that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of as having religious themes. I think the authors of the essays do a good job of explaining philosophical and/or theological terms for people who may not have an understanding of philosophy or theology. Also, this book can be taken as a whole or in parts. Say you are running a small group on film and theology and want to watch Pretty Womanyou could read just the chapter dealing with Pretty Woman or you could expand more and read the section on the human condition. That makes this book very versatile for small group leaders. But, I would say that some understanding of faith and film is necessary for utilizing this book. This book delves into specifics and an general knowledge would be helpful and would enhance the readers experience with this book.

Disclaimer:
I received this book free from Intervarsity Press. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What I’m Reading: Sci-Fi Edition

For those who enjoy sci-fi, you may want to check out John Scalzi‘s serial novel, entitled The Human Division. So far, nine installments out of thirteen have been released. I’ve been picking them up as they’ve been released usually read them in the next day of so. Serial novels are a neat idea. It’s basically like reading a chapter a week. After all the serials have been released, they will be collected and released in one volume. Have enjoyed the series, I’m picking them up in serial form…and will probably pick up the final collected book as well.

If you aren’t familiar with Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe, I would suggest that you start with the other books in the series as they give you the essential background necessary for understanding what’s going on in The Human Division:

Old Man's War The Ghost Brigades The Last Colony

Technically, The Human Division is the 5th work in the series. However, Zoe’s Tale is a retelling of The Last Colony told from the perspective of a different character. I haven’t read it…and really don’t plan to…

Anyways, here are the episodes of The Human Division that have been released so far.

The B-Team (The Human Division, #1) Walk the Plank (The Human Division, #2) We Only Need the Heads (The Human Division, #3) A Voice in the Wilderness (The Human Division, #4) Tales From the Clarke (The Human Division, #5) The Back Channel (The Human Division, #6) The Dog King (The Human Division, #7)

The Sound of Rebellion (The Human Division, #8) The Observers (The Human Division, #9)

Here are the final four episodes:

This Must Be the Place (The Human Division, #10) A Problem of Proportion (The Human Division, #11) The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads (The Human Division, #12) Earth Below, Sky Above (The Human Division, #13)

So far, I think The Human Division is excellent. I love the idea of the serial and I absolutely love what I’ve read so far. I’m really interested to see where Scalzi will end up.

Another series I have greatly enjoyed is The Expanse by James S.A. Corey.

The Butcher of Anderson Station (Expanse 0.5) Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1) Caliban's War (Expanse, #2) Gods of Risk

The third novel of the series is set to release on June 4th. I would also expect a novella to be released some time after…but that’s just a guess.

Abaddon's Gate (Expanse, #3)

Again, this is an excellent series. I just finished up Caliban’s War and can’t wait for Abaddon’s Gate to come out.

What does this any my last post on the comics I’m reading have to do with theology…absolutely nothing! I just felt like sharing what I’m  currently reading. Expect to see more of these posts.

(Note: If you’re interested in purchasing any of the books, click on the cover art and you’ll be redirected to the Kindle ebook page.)

Review: Scientific Mythologies

Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs

Author: James A. Herrick

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Intervarsity Press

ISBN: 978-0-8308-2588-2

Intervarsity Press

Amazon

Recently, I have begun to explore theological and religious themes present in science fiction. I have always been a fan of sci fi.  As I have gotten older and read more sci fi, I see an abundance of religious imagery and theological themes in the genre. Which leads me to the book Scientific Mythologies by James A. Herrick.

In the introduction, Herrick writes,

My purpose in this book is to explore the various ways in which the Western world’s present spiritual needs are being addressed by new mythologies, an emerging canon of transcendent stories that provides meaning to our lives and that organizes and directs our individual and social decisions. And as we shall see, today’s myths often arise from rather unexpected sources. In particular, I will focus attention on the mythmaking work of two powerful engines of cultural influence-speculative science on the one had, and the works of science fiction on the other. (13)

Two chapters stuck with me while reading the book. They are: New Myths for a New Age (Chapter 2) and The Myth of the Extraterrestrial (Chapter 3).

In chapter 2, Herrick discusses how within the past 100 years, the old creeds are being replaced by new myths.

As the Western world has turned away from traditional religion, science fiction and speculative science have been quick to fill the resulting spiritual vacuum with ideas bearing little resemblance to those that were jettisoned. (36)

In essence as we leave the creeds from traditional religion, ideas from science and science fiction that do not resemble those creed fill in those holes. But what does Herrick mean by the term “traditional religion?” Is it one that supports creationism and dismissed evolution? Is it one that supports patriarchy? Is it one that supports a complementary view of women? Or is it one that merely professes Christ crucified and risen? These were just some of the questions that I had after reading the above sentence.

In chapter 3, Herrick discusses the myth of the extraterrestrial and how this myth has influenced popular culture. Specifically Herrick discusses the perception that an encounter with an alien race will “lead to remarkable technological advances for humanity and inaugurate a destined human-alien future.”” (43) Several obvious questions stem from this perception: Why is this perception so prevalent? In other words, why do we think that an encounter with an alien race will inaugurate this period? Especially when the other reference to alien encounters leads to war.

This book was not what I was looking for as I further examine the intersection of religion and science fiction; however, that doesn’t mean this was a bad book. In fact, I enjoyed this book, despite not being immediately relevant to current projects that I have undertaken. It is intriguing to see if and how culture affects religion.

Disclaimer:
I received this book free from Intervarsity Press. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

#BSG and #Religion: Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

I have to say from the start, this is NOT one of my favorite episodes. I find Ellen Tigh to be an annoying character. But, I digress.

Leoben’s seed of doubt takes hold in Roslin and it becomes apparent when she suggests that Adama be the first person to be tested on the fully operational Cylon detector. Adama objects at first, suggesting that Roslin goes first, but quickly agrees.

Meanwhile, Billy and Dee are on a date and the conversation quickly turns to Adama. Dee let’s it slip that Adama has been acting funny, making weird calls that aren’t being logged and has been distracted over the past few days.  Billy informs Roslin of the conversation.

A Cylon Raider jumps into the fleet and we come to find out that Adama is not on board the Galactica. Lee damages the Raider and it jumps away, only to appear in the fleet again. After all the excitement, Adama’s Raptor lands on the Galactica. When questioned by Tigh as to where he was, Adama presents Tigh’s wife, Ellen.

Roslin contacts Baltar and orders him to inform her the moment Adama’s test is completed. Baltar informs Roslin that Adama cancelled his test and him a sample of Ellen’s blood to test. Roslin orders Baltar to resume the test on Adama’s blood.

Roslin summons Tigh over to Colonal One where she questions Tigh about Adama’s recent behavior. When questioned about Adama’s absence during the Raider episode, Tigh informs Roslin that he knew where Adama was, and informs Roslin about his wife. Roslin’s demeanor changes when she hears Ellen’s name. Roslin contacts Baltar and orders him to resume the test on Ellen.

During dinner, Adama asks some startling questions regarding Ellen: Why does no one remember giving her medical attention? Why does no one remember her being brought aboard? Ellen’s answer is less than satisfying. Ellen also makes some advances on Lee and makes a general ass of herself.

After dinner, Tigh and Ellen leave and Roslin, Adama, and Lee are left alone.  Roslin speaks up after the door is closed:

Roslin: You actually think that woman is a Cylon?

Lee: If she’s not, then we’re all in a lot of trouble.

Adama reveals more information about Ellen and Tigh’s relationship:

Adama: The scuttlebutt was that she slept with more than half the fleet while Saul was in space.

Lee: Why the hell did he say married to her?

Roslin: It’s obvious. He loves her deeply.

Adama: Blindly. Ellen used to encourage the worst instincts in this guy, bring out this self destructive streak in him.

Lee: Used to?

Ellen is not the best influence on Tigh, and that’s putting it mildly. She encourages him to drink, tried to make him jealous by lying and just out right tempts him.

The shit hits the fan when Baltar, Lee, Adama, and Roslin meet in Baltar’s lab. The whole interaction is quite funny, especially when Tigh and Ellen walk in.

In the end, we find out that Ellen’s test comes back green…meaning she’s human. Only the interaction between Baltar and Six alludes to the possibility that she might not be:

Six: If only they knew that everyone passes these days.

Baltar: Why, it’s so much simpler that way. No muss, no fuss.

Six: What did her test really say?

Baltar: I’ll never tell.

I like to equate Ellen with the Satan figure in the Bible. Ha Satan, literally, the adversary, one of the heavenly host whose job, at least in the Jewish tradition, is to tempt humans. (See Job). But there’s something more to her. She doesn’t just tempt Tigh, she brings out the worst in him and causes him to make really bad choices. We’ll see more of Ellen and the effect she has on Tigh in some upcoming episodes.

Today’s Library Haul

A few days ago, I placed holds on some books at my local library and finally got around to picking them up:


Faith at the Edge: A Book for Doubters


Losing God: Clinging to Faith Through Doubt and Depression


When Answers Aren’t Enough: Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn’t


The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth


John of the Cross: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)

And for fun:


Embassytown

New Prometheus Trailer

Two words: Hells. Yes!