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Arthur C. Clarke$
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Gary Westfahl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041938

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041938.001.0001

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Future Faiths

Future Faiths

(p.134) Chapter 8 Future Faiths
Arthur C. Clarke

Gary Westfahl

University of Illinois Press

This chapter first notes that the atheist Clarke often criticizes religion in his science fiction: religions are false and illogical, based on imaginary events; deities are ineffectual; and doctrines can lead to evil or misguided acts. For these reasons he regularly describes future humans who abandoned religion. Yet Clarke simultaneously acknowledges that some old and new faiths still have adherents, indicating they may be valuable in helping to preserve and expand human knowledge, providing peace of mind, and inspiring beneficial actions. Buddhism is particularly praised for its benign, tolerant attitudes. Clarke’s major novel involving religion, The Songs of Distant Earth (1986), describes an apparent utopia resulting from a future decision to eliminate all religious beliefs, yet there are still signs that some religions may endure.

Keywords:   Clarke, Arthur C., science fiction, atheist, religion, faiths, doctrines, Buddhism, utopia

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