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Secular Theology and Pop Culture

QUESTION: Secular Theology – The Pop Culture Connection


A great example of Secular Theology in Pop Culture is Contact, a 1997 film adapted from the novel by Carl Sagan, in which SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researcher and atheist, Ellie Arroway (Jodi Foster) identifies a coded message from an alien source, including plans to build a machine to take humans to other civilizations in distant galaxies.

Secular Theology – Carl Sagan and Contact
Carl Sagan’s beliefs about God and humanity are revealed in the following statements from the movie:

Ellie: So what’s more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that he simply doesn’t exist at all, and that we created him, so that we wouldn’t have to feel so small and alone?

Ellie: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been searching for something, some reason why we’re here. What are we doing here? Who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer...I don’t know, I think it’s worth a human life. Don’t you?

Alien to Ellie: You’re an interesting species, an interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.
    “Without God, what is left? Man and the Universe. That should be enough. That has to be enough because that is all there is.” (Peter Angeles)1

Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews(Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Peter Angeles, ed., Critiques of God (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1976), xiii.

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What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, I want to follow Jesus

I am a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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