The Truth Is Out There, By Thomas Bertoneau and Kim Paffenroth, Grand Rapids: Brazo Press, 2006. 272 pp. Paper, $18.99
This book was obviously written with a view towards science fiction fans with watered down faith. The authors attempt to show Christian undertones in popular science fiction T.V. shows and movies and even specify a particular facet of Christian beliefs for each movie or television program reviewed.
The introduction is one of the most interesting parts of the books because it covers some interesting parallels between Plato’s writings and Biblical accounts. It’s interesting to see how the Plato’s account of Atlantis and the Atlanteans is compared to the tower of Babel and how the people are punished for their arrogance and lack of humility.
From there, the book goes on to discuss how the popular British show, Dr. Who, carries the themes of propitiating the gods and of self-sacrifice, and somehow it is supposed to show that Jesus demands no sacrifice from us. I understood what the authors were attempting to do in comparing Dr. Who to gospel themes, but it is quite a stretch.
Another chapter compares Star Trek’s morality with that of Christians as well as having a “Biblical tradition of tearing down false idols” (p. 65). Star Trek is also supposed to show Biblical self-sacrifice because of how Kirk, Spock, and McCoy each offer to lay down their life for their friends (in different episodes, of course).
Chapter 4 is the chapter I thought would contain more of the meat of the book. It is titled, “Sin and Grace: The Twilight Zone,” and here we are supposed to see how several different episodes of this show represent the Biblical concept of sin and grace. We are given several examples of how man is first faced with his own evil and then given a second chance.
Some people receive grace through the ability to return to their childhood (pp. 148-50). Some are faced by their sin and are then able to feel empathy for those they hurt (pp. 150-54). Others are given the grace to accept death for something they did not do (pp. 154-55), and still others have the opportunity to sacrifice themselves for friends or family (pp. 156-58).
Though there are some interesting comparisons between the authors’ favorite science fiction shows and the Bible, this book is not something one would read for education or edification. I wouldn’t recommend this book for anything other than a fun and easy read. There are very few Biblical references and when they are used, it is a stretch to see how they would apply to the show in question.
Grace Evangelical Society