Should the Pope's New Jesus Bio Be Considered Science Fiction?

Apparently, Pope Benedict has penned a biography of Jesus. I have no real desire to read it. I am assuming that the Pope has not added anything new to the story. It made me wonder though where this would be shelved in a book store. Obviously what is written in the bible is contradicted by science (chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, etc.,). The vast majority of it is also contradicted by history and archeology.

It is not only extremely unlikely that there ever was a Jesus Christ, but events like Exodus probably never happened. King David was, if he existed at all, the ruler of a tiny fiefdom. There might never have been a "battle of Jericho" etc., Based on the available evidence it appears that, other than a few names and locations, there may be no truth to any of the events described in the Bible (Old Testament or New). Sources for this are abundant. A google search will turn up articles, books and more on the subject. If you are completely unfamiliar, I'd recommend Tom Harpur's "The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light" as a starting point.

So, given all of that I wondered how much evidence is required for something to be considered biography, rather than fiction. If I were to sit down and write a biography of Boba Fett, using the Star Wars films as supporting evidence, would it be classified as a biography?

Then I wondered some more: In the Bible Jesus is gifted with paranormal powers, he can walk on water, turn water into wine and raise the dead. Perhaps fiction is not the right category either. When such non-human powers come into play it, at the very least, makes Jesus a super-hero and begs the question 'Should Biblical  and other religious stories be considered part of the science fiction and fantasy genre?'

Religions, after all, have a great deal in common with science fiction. Both have their fanboys and fangirls. Both have action figures and other memorabilia and collectibles. Both have conventions and gatherings of sorts, where fans can get together, dress up and meet others who share their enthusiasm. Both, very definitely, have internal arguments that no one else really understands (though Star Trek fanboys don't tend to blow up each others stuff.) There is even precedent for science fiction as religion (or vice versa). Joseph Campbell certainly didn't find much to separate the two.

I have always been baffled by religion, but perhaps I've just been looking at it wrong. Maybe I just need to think of them in terms that I can, somewhat, relate to. Obviously, they still shouldn't be able to use their favorite book series as a model for government and they should immediately be disarmed. However, instead of looking at them as paranoid, deluded and suffering from some kind of mass psychosis I should think of them as being more like these people but with a weaker grasp on reality, a deep rooted intollerance and a penchant for violence.

I will have to give this idea considerably more thought, but in the short term I'd urge the judges to at least consider the Pope's 3 part Jesus bio for a Hugo Award. Perhaps the recognition will ease people's tensions and misplaced feelings of oppression a bit.

Next Post »