Most of my previous posts on religion dealt with sci-fi novels that mentioned the topic, had subplots of a spiritual nature, or provided a quote that piqued my interest. One such quote from this book is, “To make creation, God had to remove himself from some part of the universe, so something besides Himself could exist.” That is something relevant to my own series, and I won’t delve into it in a blog post. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, however, was an exciting discovery for me. It is an exploration of first contact between humans and aliens from a religious point of view. Jesuit explorers travel to a civilization a few light years distant, whose culture has recognizable elements of good and evil. The main character thinks of these aliens as “God’s other children”, at least at first. However, no alien Jesus Christ is mentioned. The aliens seem to be heathens requiring salvation, which may occur in a sequel. But that omission seems to me equivalent to the Church refusing to believe that the earth did not orbit the sun. Despite that omission, the internal religious struggle of the main character is riveting and full of complex concepts. This book is definitely worthy of its inclusion in any list of sci-fi classics.