General Discussion A Curious Thought Experiment

Dec 9, 2021
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I've been working on my post-earth series where the planet has been destroyed, and the survivors are left in a place that they aren't even sure is even in reality anymore. Not even day or night or seasons exist, nor do stars or suns. Time literally becomes an artificial construct as there are no outside ways to check it as compared to our current understanding. Just an endless sky and fragments of the world to live on.

This made me think about the religions of man and how they would evolve. Most importantly to me is: In a place like that, what becomes of the Christian faith?

In some respects, I can see the entire faith fall apart without the existence of an Israel or Jerusalem. Would people try to re-evaluate their faith as being in some weird variation of the book of Revelation and the previous understandings of what it meant were just erroneous?

I have one idea, but let me tell you, it really doesn't have much of the Good News to it. So I figured maybe other people would have some interesting ideas on how Christianity would survive, and re-evaluate itself to make sense of why God would have let such a calamity happen or what He's doing with it.

Mind you, this is not a central part of my story. That's a different story arc, but it's something I do want to have in there as it would be reasonable for how people's faith would have to evolve to deal with a strange new reality. This is just background flavor.
 
Dec 9, 2021
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Right. Now apply that question to people who either don't believe "once saved always saved" or are unsure if they REEEEEEAAAAALLLLLYYYY are saved or accepted Christ. But then again, it's also the question for people who do feel that clarity of their salvation. If so, why here? Was purgatory real? Is this something to do with the sky rolling up like a scroll? I suspect the dissonance would crack the vast majority of believers. So I'm trying to figure out how the religion (rightly or wrongly) would evolve to, or what a true believe remnant would look like. Personally, I find it both fascinating and horrifying.
 
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Zee

Mar 1, 2019
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It’s a cool idea, and would certainly be interesting to speculate on how such a situation would effect human thought and culture… but as far as destroying faith, I don’t see how it would do that any more than the myriad of horrific events and environments that believers in this world have faced and overcome. In the long term, trials and losses tend to strengthen faith rather than the opposite.

That being said, what Christian traditions would evolve into in such an environment is anyone’s guess…so take it away!
 
Jul 14, 2021
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It’s a cool idea, and would certainly be interesting to speculate on how such a situation would effect human thought and culture… but as far as destroying faith, I don’t see how it would do that any more than the myriad of horrific events and environments that believers in this world have faced and overcome. In the long term, trials and losses tend to strengthen faith rather than the opposite.
I Agree



John 2:31 - The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and terrible day of the LORD arrives.


I wouldn't say it's unimaginable to the point they would be blindsided.
Maybe in the story Christians could think it's right before the arrival of Christ.


I couldn't imagine this separating the followers of Christ - not if He's your foundation.


That being said, what Christian traditions would evolve into in such an environment is anyone’s guess…so take it away!
and yes!
 
Dec 9, 2021
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Maybe in the story Christians could think it's right before the arrival of Christ.
Definitely part of the thought process. Everyone's been holding their breath for an unknown number of years, and several generations, so at some point, people begin to get confused and doubt their understanding of it all. The events of the book are taking place several generations (no one knows for sure) in the future since the world was "consumed" by this place they're in. No clear records exist at the point of the cataclysm either.

One of the biggest thoughts that I had is, if I do create a sect of pseudo-Christian belief (because those would be abounding) that they are in purgatory, I'm torn on how they would view death. I know that the early church had a lot of problems with suicide with people just wanting to get to heaven fast. In lieu of that, would death be considered your time in purgatory is complete, but you can't deliberately kill yourself? It's a hard one to consider actually.

I couldn't imagine this separating the followers of Christ - not if He's your foundation.
Right, and that's the ticklish part. How does someone maintain Christ in such an environment. What opened my eyes is that other religions would weather such a cataclysm better in many respects. I found that rather disturbing, considering.

Ultimately the reason for this thought experiment is not because it's a direct part of the plot, but I would like to show actual believing Christians in this sort of environment and finding a realistic/believable reason for them maintaining their faith despite what may seem to those who do not believe like a hopeless fiction. It will add a lot of relatability and more realism to the actions and behaviors of those believers I will be putting in. Particularly when they face against what seems like a true "god-emperor". I know we've had pharaohs and Caesars in the past that claim it, but I'm talking one with the ability to imitate all the miracles we could conceive of, but is clearly not acting like the Anti-Christ.

Again, a curious thought experiment. That's why I thought I'd open myself up to other people's takes. I probably didn't think of many things. :D
 

Zee

Mar 1, 2019
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One of the biggest thoughts that I had is, if I do create a sect of pseudo-Christian belief (because those would be abounding) that they are in purgatory, I'm torn on how they would view death.
Purgatory is NOW.
Right, and that's the ticklish part. How does someone maintain Christ in such an environment. What opened my eyes is that other religions would weather such a cataclysm better in many respects. I found that rather disturbing, considering.

I’m not sure why you would think so. Can you elaborate? Or maybe we should draw a distinction between faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity…sometimes they run on the same track and sometimes they really don’t.
 
Dec 9, 2021
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That's an interesting take on it. Something for me to think about. I'm not a believer in Purgatory myself, so my understanding is only cursory and was that state existed only after a person died as a form of penance for the sins they committed in life. Once it's over, they got into Heaven. That's why I looked at it as some weird way some would explain their status. The problem was how short people lived in comparison to a few of the ideas I'd heard on how long a sin required time in that state.

The thing is that people who suffer a paradigm altering cataclysm often re-evaluate even the most basic of truths, therefore maybe the Good News to people who would believe they're stuck there is found in death being a release to Heaven and view life as sort of the "antechamber" to Heaven. In the setting, since people can be made extremely long lived through the modern medicine that will exist, death would have to be chosen or because of accident or outside action.

Huh. That's going to make certain things much more interesting in regards to how some characters would act when I start incorporating them.

I’m not sure why you would think so. Can you elaborate? Or maybe we should draw a distinction between faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity…sometimes they run on the same track and sometimes they really don’t.
I'll do my best. It's been my experience, since I've not always been a Christian, and based on some things I've experienced since becoming Born Again is that faith in Jesus is a personal relationship, as compared to what a lot of people I've been around see Christianity. Right or wrong, I get the impression many church goers see their religion as a variation of a social organization like the B.P.O.E or Ruritans or even the Shriners. A club that does good works for others and Jesus and the Bible are more or less set dressing or symbolic figureheads. Christ is not an actual part of their lives as a personal relationship. There is also rising "new age" philosophy followers into Moralistic Theraputic Deism, especially with online preachers. It's just a reflection of a current trend I keep seeing reported on, best exemplified by a survey Gallup did recently on Christians' beliefs in America ( https://answersingenesis.org/culture/fewer-americans-believe-god-than-ever-before/ - you can follow the rabbit trail from here.)

So for my experience and understanding, Christianity and Christ in the minds and hearts of many people are already estranged from each other. So when I started considering the changes to the culture as they become relevant to my story arc and in how characters react, I had to start asking myself "what does that look like? How close can they get to a true faith in Christ and what would beliefs on salvation be like?"

Does that help explain why I am treating these things as 2 separate things? Sort of a mass/hollow version reaction of people looking for answers and then what the real faithful would look like when all the trappings of the faith and possibly the understanding of Scripture is forced to be re-evaluated.

Just as a reminder for people coming to the thread late: this is a thought experiment based on my upcoming sci fi series on a post earth (possibly post-universe) existence and it's effect on faith and Christianity and how it may twist to survive. If it makes you uncomfortable, please, ignore. It's not a subject for everyone. :)
 
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Zee

Mar 1, 2019
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I think it’s a great idea—but as you said, important to draw a distinction between Christian/church traditions and actual faith in Jesus.

For example, when the Soviet Union assimilated various East European countries, like Albania, churches essentially disappeared—but the Church did not.

I think something similar would happen (on a much grander scale) among the survivors who manage to eke out a living on asteroids, or however you envision it.

I personally enjoy Sci-Fi, so look forward to hearing more about this series.
 
Dec 9, 2021
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I think it’s a great idea—but as you said, important to draw a distinction between Christian/church traditions and actual faith in Jesus.
Absolutely. I consider the Israelites after Moses stayed on the mountain too long and how fast they turned to the golden calf. True believers sided with Moses when he came back down and participated in the slaughter of thousands of their brethren and kin who did worship the calf. Like mentioned earlier, if the sky does roll back like a scroll as described in Revelation... but then Jesus doesn't return, what does this mean or do to the faithful's understanding of scripture and faith walk.

or example, when the Soviet Union assimilated various East European countries, like Albania, churches essentially disappeared—but the Church did not.
Yep. And since my big bad guy is like Ming the Merciless and the Architect from "The Matrix Reloaded" spliced and jacked up on steroids, he'll also have his own little cults that follow him like the anti-christ... but he doesn't act like the Biblical statements... so there must be another anti-christ out there, or is there? Or were they wrong? This is when apologetics goes from being a tool to a weapon and back again as people seek for understanding and meaning. But those who do have that personal relationship with Jesus, the whole world can fall away. They will still follow Him. Then the discussion for those people becomes "why"? Maybe that will be part of the point. This remant's faith is unshakable for reasons that not even my Xiao the Eternal cannot fathom and wants to understand. Ergo, there will be evolving a faith based subplot.

I'm not normally a sci-fi reader, but you have me hooked already on this one.
Thanks! I should mention that "Tales from the Dream Nebula" is meant to be a lot lighter/high adventure, written as a trade, not Christian novel explicitly, but like Tolkien, it has my Christian underpinnings. It's also not specifically "family friendly". I may go as far as classic Hollywood's "Hayes Act" level of what's shown regarding sexuality, but I'm definitely not writing erotica. My femme fatale is very much a kidney punch to the tropes. The 1 sentence pitch is "It's like Flash Gordon, meets Smokey and the Bandit, meets The Matrix, meets Talespin." (because most people don't know the show "Tales of the Golden Monkey" which Disney ripped off.)
 

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