Some science fiction is anti-Christian, but a lot is not. I find it intriguing to consider the story lines in the context of our faith. What would this or that mean if they were true? Father Gabriel Funes, the Pope’s chief astronomer, holds that extraterrestrial life is not incompatible with our beliefs. I think it would certainly expand our framework of understanding, to say the least.
Similarly, there are differing views in Christian communities of the “rapture.” A few years ago a movie called Left Behind, based on a series of novels, presented one. In it, the rapture occurs and those who accepted Jesus (and those too young) simply disappeared to be with Him. Those who were not taken…
I found the movie to be quite thought provoking! Some people, who others may not expect to be taken, were. Some people who many might assume would be taken, such as forthright religious leaders, were not. It reminds me of this scripture:
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Imagine a different plot line. Instead of an end times scenario where the dispositions are black and white, something more granular. What if, the vision of all people suddenly became attenuated by their faith?
Some people who were blind might suddenly have 20/20 vision. Some with perfectly fine vision, but who deny Christ, become blind. Many of us would probably fall somewhere in between.
If nothing else, it would be insightful (no pun intended). I imagine my vision would be relatively good after Mass or adoration, for example. Unhappily, I can think of other times when it would be impaired to varying degrees. The goal is to have perfect vision (i.e. to be perfect) as Jesus directed us “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48.
This might not make a blockbuster Hollywood movie. For that matter, the analogy of faith and sight is not even original:
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.
As interesting as it may be to ponder the rapture or to consider science fiction stories, we would be missing the big picture. People have been waiting for the rapture for 2,000 years and may be waiting for another 2,000 — or 10,000. The possibility of these science fiction scenarios during our mortal lives is even more remote.
What is not remote and quite sure is an end to our individual exiles here on earth. We do not know when, but we know its certainty. Some have a “no rush, take your time” attitude. Not recommended.
Are you ready? Right now, this minute?