Towards the end, when Nicole meets the Saint Micheal robot, it explains to Nicole that there's some sort of creator behind it all, and the Eagle confirms that later when he talks with Nicole.

This seems very strange to me, because Clarke was an atheist, and forbade any religious ritual at his burial, even.

Did he ever explain this inconsistency? Or, does anyone have an explanation for it?

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    God and the supernatural are common tropes in Science Fiction; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nine_Billion_Names_of_God, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_(Clarke_short_story) – Valorum Sep 6 '14 at 10:49
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    I think the question would be more correct if it was "Is Gentry Lee promoting creationism in Rama Revealed". The change of tone of the book series with Rama II is so big that I am almost convinced that all that Arthur C. Clarke did was to sign the contract and get paid to that. DISCLAIMER: I have not read Rama Revealed, I liked Rama I a lot but had more than enough with Rama II – SJuan76 Sep 6 '14 at 10:52
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    @Gwenkiller - Probably because you've not offered any evidence that Clarke actually believed in creationism, as opposed to just writing about it. – Valorum Sep 6 '14 at 12:03
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    The book is fiction. Do you think Dr. Seuss believed that all of the things in his books were real? – Kevin Workman Jul 21 '17 at 18:46
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    @KevinWorkman Fiction is often -- but not always, of course -- the way authors express at least some of their real-world opinions (I'm sure you can think of many examples, some subtler and some less so... For example, let's say almost anything by Ayn Rand falls in the category of "as subtle as a hammer to the head"). The question in my opinion has merit, even if the answer is "no, Clarke was not promoting creationism". – Andres F. Jul 22 '17 at 2:50

An author is not obliged to write only books who promote his own worldview and in my humble opinion many, if not most books of that kind turned out to be badly written. As we are in sci-fi and fantasy, we are reading books which describes things which are (at least currently) not part of our world or our worldviews, so we violate this idea constantly.

A strong personal Roman-Catholic believer as a good writer will have no problems to describe a fully atheistic society as a complete atheist is capable to create a world with functioning gods. While you may get the personal view of a writer by reading his books, this is by no means sufficient to get insight into personal beliefs.

The second problem is that people may have personal religious views which are non-standard and it can be very tiring if both atheists and supporter of widely known religions try to fit someone in their preconceived compartments. Arthur C. Clarke has called himself "Pantheist", "Crypto-buddhist" and "atheist", so this indicates that he had a much more complex worldview. Your argument depends on the assertion that he must be a strong atheist and in context this conclusion is not fully supported.

If you as a Unitarian, Deist or Pan(en)theist experience that atheists call you believer and believers call you atheist, quote you out of context to support their beliefs what you are, insinuate that you are not really a XXXist, but a crypto whatevernaughty and worse of all, trying to convert you....than you may be stop talking about religion or call yourself a "Pagan" or "Jedi".

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  • When you say "A strong personal catholic church believer", are you referring specifically to the Roman Catholic faith (which should be Capitalized as a proper noun)? If you're using the word "catholic" in it's other definition ("a wide variety of things, all-embracing"), well, it's a little embarrassing to admit but most of us Americans aren't familiar with that use of the word "catholic". Although technically correct it's less confusing to use a different word. – Joe L. Sep 6 '14 at 12:44
  • For an European, "catholic" is unambigous and means always Roman catholic. The other varieties are called in common life: orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran or Apostles. But I will change it. – Thorsten S. Sep 6 '14 at 12:51
  • The U.S. was largely founded by religious extremists; religion is a BIG DEAL over here. The names of religions, even the lesser-known ones, should always be capitalized (Pagan, Unitarian, Vodoun, etc.). It probably won't be a problem on this site, but non-SFF people can be less forgiving. – Joe L. Sep 6 '14 at 13:04
  • :) That leaves us a problem: Do I write "Atheism" because it is a group sharing a conviction or "atheism" because it is not a religion ? – Thorsten S. Sep 6 '14 at 13:08
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    In the face of evidence that atheism is an absence of belief I decided that I will write atheism/atheist in lowercase letters. I'm German, I don't care. – Thorsten S. Sep 6 '14 at 13:19

The answer already given touches on whether what an author writes, is the same as what an author believes.

However, in the specific case of the Rama series, after the first book, it's not so much Arthur C. Clarke writing as it is Gentry Lee. Especially the last of the series, Rama Revealed, was written by Gentry Lee, with Arthur C. Clarke only consulting.

As the Wikipedia article on Gentry Lee reads:

Rendezvous With Rama was written in 1972 and Clarke had no intention of writing a sequel. Lee attempted to turn the Rama series into a more character-driven story following the adventures of Nicole des Jardins Wakefield, who becomes the main character in Rama II, The Garden of Rama and Rama Revealed. When asked, Arthur C. Clarke said that Gentry Lee did the writing while he was a source of ideas.

The source for that seems to be an interview with Arthur C. Clarke by Sci-Fi.com, which can be found on the Internet Archive.

Another important influence on my life, of course, has been Gentry Lee, who was introduced to me by Peter Guber, who wanted to make a film based on Gentry's ideas. It was never filmed, but it led to the novel, Cradle, which was based on our joint ideas but almost entirely written by Gentry. Since then Gentry has collaborated on Rama II and The Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed, which was written virtually entirely by him, though with consultation with me. I've described our collaboration in the preface, "Co-Authors and Other Nuisances," I think in Rama II.

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I have read them all and I see no relation to religion in any of it. Unless... You take the Neolithic ideal that any form of life on a higher order than ones self is a god. If you do then this means we are gods to all creatures who are of lower form than we which would only prove the non-existence of a creature believed to be god and would show the arrogance of man by thinking itself on a higher order than an ameba.

We are no more a higher order than an ant is over a microbe. We are simply a different living creature operating and living differently than other creatures around us.

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  • "[...] unless you take the Neolithic ideal that any form of life on a higher order than ones self is a god." -- this might very well have been close to Clarke's thought! After all, he is well-known for writing "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", which is close enough in spirit to the first assertion :) – Andres F. Jul 22 '17 at 2:57

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