I was reading a Sci-Fi novel a few years ago in which a group of primitive aliens were discussing their various religious beliefs. One of these aliens turned to the human protagonist to ask about religion on Earth. The human responded, rather snobbishly I thought, “Oh, we outgrew that stuff.” I’ve known more than a few people who longingly await the day when religion is tossed upon the ash heap of history, and this attitude seems to be pervasive among science fiction authors as well. “The Orion War” is my response.
“What good has religion ever done for us?” these anti-religious individuals might ask. They’d then point to the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the current discord over evolution, gay marriage, and stem cell research. They might also point to the ongoing threat of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Given all the trouble religion has caused us, wouldn’t it be better to simply eliminate the whole institution?
But let me ask who would Martin Luther King have been without his faith? Or Gandhi? Or Nelson Mandela? I was once an agnostic; then, I became a Christian. Although I still remain skeptical about many details of Judeo-Christian mythology, I have found a deep sense of peace and well being since my conversion. Religion is not 100% good, I admit that, but it is not 100% bad either. To think that we will simply “outgrow” it is, I believe, a narrow-minded attitude.
In “The Orion War,” I wanted to portray both sides of this debate. The story is set in the distant future at a time when religion is outlawed. The process of hunting down and uprooting secret religious communities has turned into a new Inquisition almost as ugly as the one once conducted by the Catholic Church. But by the end, the persecuted Community of Christ is not without sin. Though they start off with the best of intentions, these exiled Christians soon turn violent, waging a holy war for control of the Orion Nebula.
Today, I am posting the latest revisions to “The Orion War.” I wanted to slow the pace of the story just a bit to give it some room to breathe. Never before nor since have I written a short story on such an epic scale (with the possible exception of “The Wrong Future”). I hope you will find the new version to feel less rushed and less hectic than the original.
Click here to start reading “The Orion War,” and please let me know what you think in the comments below.