This unit explores anticipated futures that are found in popular culture with the intention of providing a theological response to developing technologies and their likely impact on humanity and on human societies. Artificial intelligence, human enhancement technology, advanced surveillance techniques, and space exploration, have all given rise to both utopian and dystopian visions of the future. Students will explore science fiction novels, film and television, comic books, and gaming, among other cultural expressions, and reflect theologically on their function in the making of meaning, using interdisciplinary theological reflection.

Unit code: CT3139B

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the depiction of developing technologies in a variety of popular culture expressions.


Provide a theological account of utopian and dystopian visions of the future.


Critically engage popular ideas about future societies utilising Christian eschatology.


Respond theologically to the likely impact of technological development on the human societies of anticipated futures.

Unit sequence

Undergraduate: prerequisite unit – 100 level unit in Theology May be completed as part of a suite of units in Futurism including CT2128B / CT2728B Futurism and Theology and CT3149B / CT3749B Humanity 3.0: Theological Responses to Trans-, Post- and Antihumanism


Engagement with popular culture depictions of possible futures, including in film, television, fiction, and gaming, set alongside scholarly literature on futurism, utilising online pedagogy and engagement with a range of guest specialists.

Indicative Bibliography

Burdett, Michael S. Eschatology and the Technological Future. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

Geraci, Robert M. Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Harbord, Janet. Film Cultures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007.

Little, Judith A. Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction: Utopias and Dystopias. Prometheus, 2007.

McDowell John C. The Gospel According to Star Wars: Faith, Hope, and the Force. 2nd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

McDowell, John C. and Scott A. Kirkland. Eschatology (Guides to Theology). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018.

Sanders, Steven M. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007.

Schneider, Susan. Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

Segal, Howard P. Utopias: A Brief History from Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2012.

Stevenson, Gregory, ed. Theology and the Marvel Universe. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2018.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Essay 2000 50.0
Book Review - Film or book review 1000 20.0
Oral Presentation - Class presentation 1500 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 6 Jul, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-07-06 16:11:12 +1000