Knights vs. Aliens: Honor and Humility

Garrett reviews Poul Anderson’s “The High Crusade”

Warning: This review contains SPOILERS. You have been warned.

“Hearken, Brother Parvus,” said Sir Roger. “I’m weary of this whining about our own ignorance and feebleness. We’re not ignorant of the true Faith, are we? Somewhat more to the point, maybe, while the engines of war may change through the centuries, rivalry and intrigue look no subtler out here than at home. Just because we use a different sort of weapons, we aren’t savages.” – Poul Anderson, The High Crusade

Introduction

Living in a modern scientific age, navigating through the waters of faith can be more than a little tricky. This became a little more concrete to me recently while discussing a Gospel passage with a group of friends in a cell group setting. One friend in particular had objections which were pretty much surface-level criticism of the Gospel through modern lenses, and built on the dubious premise that our ancestors, prior to the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, were a bunch of drooling imbeciles. I confess my response on that day could have been a bit more measured and charitable, but it does strike me as an important issue to address: do we, as Christians, believe in something unwieldy and impractical, a relic of a bygone age? I thought it would be interesting to view this question in the light of Poul Anderson’s science fiction novel, The High Crusade.

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