“Science Fiction as Scripture: Robert A. Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ and the Church of All Worlds”

Click here to read Carole Cusack’s history and analysis of the Church of All Worlds, an early neoPagan religion that drew significant inspiration from Robert A. Heinlein’s science fiction classic Stranger in a Strange Land:

The process of secularization, which was assumed to be the dominant model of religion in Western culture, was supposed to result in the death of religion, or at least its eclipse as a major source of authority, has of late been replaced by the ‘resacralisation’ thesis, which argues that the decline of Christianity has resulted in the proliferation of new religious forms. From that point of view, the process that resulted in the formation of CAW may not have displeased Heinlein. In a letter he wrote that in Stranger in a Strange Land “I don’t offer a solution because there isn’t one… That pantheistic, mystical ‘Thou art God!’ chorus that runs through the book is not offered as a creed but as an existentialist assumption of personal responsibility, devoid of all godding”. In the 1960s Heinlein’s creative fantasy fired the religious imagination of Tim Zell and Lance Christie. The real-world CAW is a testimony to the power of narrative; Heinlein’s story struck a chord with a generation that had lost faith in the Christian narrative and were looking for a new story.

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