1st Edition

Religion and Outer Space

Edited By Eric Michael Mazur, Sarah McFarland Taylor Copyright 2024
    284 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Religion and Outer Space examines religion in and on the final frontier. This book offers a first-of-its-kind roadmap for thinking about complex encounters of religion and outer space. A multidisciplinary group of scholarly experts takes up some of the most intriguing scientific, spiritual, trade/commercial, and even military dimensions of the complex entanglements of religion and outer space.

    Attending to the historical reality that the interconnections between religion and the heavens are as old as religions themselves, the volume starts with an examination of "outer space" elements in the most sacred writings of the world’s religions. It then explores some of the religious questions inevitable in this encounter, analyzing cultural constructions (both literary and actual) of religion and outer space. It ends with examinations of the role of religion in the very real and very present business of space exploration. What might motivate the spread of religion (or at least fantasies of religion in its myriad possibilities) into new interior and exterior dimensions of the cosmos? Only the future will tell.

    Religion and Outer Space is essential reading for students and academics with an interest in religion and space, religion and science, space exploration, religion and science fiction, popular culture, and religion in America.

    Eric Michael Mazur and Sarah McFarland Taylor

    PART I
    Religions Imagine Outer Space

    1 Outer Space in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature Catherine Hezser

    2 The Myth of Ancient Indian Airplanes Wendy Doniger

    3 Mahāyāna Mind-Bending: Buddhist Visions of Outer/Inner Worlds James Mark Shields

    4 The Early 19th Century Lisle W. Dalton

    5 “Event Horizon” & “The Space NDN’s Star Map” Lou Cornum

    Religious Imaginings of Outer Space

    6 When Faith is Out of This World: Exploring the Religious Imagination through Science Fiction Douglas E. Cowan

    7 The Evolving Light: The Transformation of Christianity in Deep Space Travel Jason Batt, Alires Almon, and Theodore Vial

    8 Barbies and Celebrity Saints: Religion in John Varley's Eight Worlds Stories Wendy Gay Pearson

    9 Space Dust, Religious Practice x Blackness Philip Butler

    10 Utopian Art, the Sublime, and Outer Space Imaginaries Catherine L. Newell

    Imagining Religion in Outer Space

    11 I Aim at the Stars, But Sometimes I Hit London: The Glorious and Deadly Rockets of the Early Space Age Darryl V. Caterine

    12 Outer Space Religions, 20th Century and Beyond Benjamin E. Zeller

    13 Aliens in Outer Space: Myth, Diversity, and the Final Frontier Eric Michael Mazur

    14 Astronauts as Chosen People: Religious Ways of Understanding the Astronaut Experience and Life After Space Deana L. Weibel

    15 The Wrong Way Home: St. Elon's Digital Cult of Personality, Messianic Mediations of Mars, and the Musketeer Meme Militia Sarah McFarland Taylor.

    About the Contributors



    Eric Michael Mazur is Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Wesleyan University, USA.

    Sarah McFarland Taylor is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Northwestern University, USA.