The BBC has recently launched a new Science Fiction series called Outcasts. It starts 5 years after a colonisation expedition has arrived on a new planet that has been called Carpathia, after the ship that showed up to rescue the survivors of the Titanic. Carpathia only has one major town, called Forthaven. The society is secular, and in the first few episodes there is no mention of religion. When someone with religious conviction does show up, and offers a prayer before a deadly storm hits, he is chastised for doing so.
The plot behind this is that the transporters that brought the people to Carpathia left earth while it was beginning to destroy itself in global nuclear war. As such, the people who got onto the transporters were those who had some skill that would be useful on the new planet.
On the dying planet, decisions need to be made. This raises interesting questions:
- Can there be a justification for making space for a Priest?
- Would a Priest, knowing that their place means someone has to stay behind be able to go?
- What role would a Priest be able to take in the new Civilisation?
- Can Christian Faith translate to a different world?
Would it be possible to find a way to articulate faith as a necessity in this apocalyptic situation? It occurs to me that those with the loudest voices who would shout to go would be precisely the people who should not be allowed to go. The truly humble priest would find themselves in an impossible situation. While they would accept that someone should go with the flock on the ship, they would b torn between that and leaving their own flock behind. In a world that is collapsing around them, the human in the priest would scream to run away in fear; the follower of Christ would want to stay and be there in what ever capacity they could be.
On a new world, a trillion light years away, would the sacrifice of a man on a different world, in a different part of the Galaxy have any real meaning? While I think there will be a place for religion on this new planet, would it be possible to justify taking a religion that far into the stars having seen the destruction that religion has done here?
The role of the priest is something that fills a hole in some people. Would it be necessary on a planet with people who had been chosen for their intelligence and related gifts? While there are many intelligent people who do believe, would there be a priest amongst us that had a skill that would be usable on this far-flung planet? Like the early Christians, like Paul, it would be necessary for us to be able to be part of the cycle, to not be a burden. There are many Priests who were before their calling in high-flying jobs, but would that be enough? The world moves so quickly that would a Priest be able to be enough of an expert to justify a place?
I have no answers, yet. I do, however, think that it’s necessary to formulate some. Part of me thinks that these questions will make a good foundation for a book, with answers written by people of different faiths and none, from different members of the Christian Denominations, from Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans.
Feel free to add your answers to this questions in the comments. Perhaps we netizens can begin writing the book here and now.