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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Fallible Narrators and Even More Fallible Copyists: a
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 15:43:40 

On Mon, 11 Jun 2001, Alex David Groce wrote:

> Blish was Catholic?  Somehow I'd gotten the impression he was, at some
> point, an atheist and at another point (I forget the ordering) an
> Anglican, and that heresies and theology were to a large extent more a
> hobby to him than a matter of faith.  Was I off-base?  Google doesn't
> quickly confirm either hypothesis for me.

You're right.  Blish was not Catholic and I don't think he did a very good
job capturing Catholic thinking in Case of Conscience.  I seem to remember
him saying that in the book's universe the Church had only recently
accepted Darwinism, when in real life the Church has never really opposed

But the real oddity is the book's central dilemma (SPOILERS ahead!).  I
was completely unable to believe that a Jesuit would assume that because
they'd discovered aliens with no discernible knowledge of God or sin, that
the whole planet must be an illusion created by Satan.  Since when do
Catholics believe Satan is capable of such a thing?  I think there's some
fringe fundamentalists who have suggested the fossil record is some kind
of trick by Satan, but Jesuits?  And it's extremely anthropocentric to
assume that just because we don't understand how this race is related to
God they can only be some sort of delusion by Satan to trick us.  The
whole thing just rang completely false to me.


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