Tales from the Silent Planet

It was not always so. Once we knew the Oyarsa of your world—he was brighter and greater than I—and then we did not call it Thulcandra. It is the longest of all stories and the bitterest. He became bent. That was before any life came on your world. Those were the Bent Years of which we still speak in the heavens, when he was not yet bound to Thulcandra but free like us. It was in his mind to spoil other worlds besides his own.

C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

It has all been one dirty trick: the books, the movies, the news articles. The storytelling and special effects have felt so real and so persistent that we started to think we have been to Rigel VII, Tatooine and LV-426. Every day it feels like we are on the verge of discovering distant alien civilizations with our powerful telescopes and listening satellite dishes. Christians might as well throw in the towel because any second now it’s all going to be proven as bunk.

But none of that has happened. Science Fiction still remains science fiction (except perhaps the dystopian part they have an odd fascination with). We really haven’t discovered alien life elsewhere (UFO encounters notwithstanding) and the Big Bang still sounds just as silly as it always did. I think “they” know that, but a lie told long enough begins to be believed.

What is wrong with most of these tales of wonder is that they are all steeped in pure and unadulterated materialism. In fact all of modern, Western society is steeped in this materialism and the culture machine that is Hollywood have changed the way we think about the world. Even as Christians, we think of the world as a series of physical causes and effects. We have started to believe that the only wonder in this world is what we can see on the Webb and Hubble telescopes (colorized and graphically altered for your viewing pleasure!).

This is by design. If you don’t believe in the soul you won’t guard it. The human soul is under siege. We are surrounded by an army of nihilistic, materialists orcs. We are being starved out by siege towers designed by the finest brutalist architects. Orc soldiers wear deconstructed post-post-modern mail armor made of mostly chinks, because imperfections make us beautiful or something. Their swords are dull and held by the blade in order to be subversive. The soldiers themselves regularly indulge in alcoholism, depression, and a healthy dose of narcotics and now an alarming rate of castration. They are the sickly kine devouring the healthy kine in Pharaoh’s dream.

The soul-cities that have not fallen are typically the Christian ones because, though cut off from the father heaven and mother earth in almost every way, they still get glimpses of the true structure of the universe in church. By this narrow resupply line the ramparts of the inner keep are still held. The enemy is largely through the gate and most defenders have retreated to that last extremity. It is not possible to lift the siege yet, but it is possible to sally forth and retake the city walls.

The solution is to drop the orc way of thinking. Drop the science fiction materialism and the loser-heroes. Instead of thinking of the universe as a watch or a factory churning out “science,” think of the world as a cathedral being maintained by humans and invisible angels alike. Every ounce of matter is being driven by the commands of God who dispatches his ministering angels to be flames and winds. Consider the true meaning of the physical reality. For instance: the symbolic meaning of the tree as a mediator between Heaven and Earth is more important than learning about photosynthesis. Which sounds more bogus: dark matter or angels? The stars are billions of light years away and billions of years old. If that’s true who cares? How could this ever mean more than what God has said their purpose is? Which is more useful and pertinent to our existence?

This WordPress blog is not the first to ask these strange questions. Many of us cut our teeth on C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, especially the final volume That Hideous Strength. We followed Lewis’ train of thought back to the Middle Ages in his short book The Discarded Image. We discovered how wholly alien the Medieval mind was to our own and how horribly the modern mind has understood it. In light of this new knowledge, The Chronicles of Narnia made more sense. We read Tolkien’s essays, we found strange folks saying strange (read: old) things on Twitter and encountered podcasts and comic books from the fringe. Everything was up for grabs, everything could be questioned.

What happens when you change your perspective and vocabulary? What happens when you drop the scientism and pick up the supernatural? What kind of stories would you tell? These stories are about the different perspective, the far older and far more useful perspective. We are not so much killing science as we are killing science fiction (you may use “redeem” if you’d like). Do counterfactual universes exist in the mind of God? Do angels travel through time as well as space? Why are cryptids always on the edge of our sight and pictures? Is it a hoax, or are spiritual creatures notoriously hard to see by lens and eye alike? Does the government communicate with demons believing them to be “aliens?” Maybe a nuclear blast is portal to hell.

Our modern world is breaking down, and everyone knows it. Those materialist rules and thought-patterns are breaking down too. What rushes in and fills the vacuum? What devils and spirits haunt the desolate city? Read on.

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