11/8/09

The Implications of Aliens In a Christian Universe

In the first episode of V we see Father Jack Landry, a Catholic priest, struggling to come to terms with the existance of aliens in a world that God created. He is then surprised that the Vatican easily came to a stance that arbitrates "we are all God's creatures." His concerns echo a belief that many of my Christian brothers and sisters have that aliens run counter to God's will and Word. Why??

I should note that many of my friends do not subscribe to a supernatural world view. That's fine if you don't mind believing a lie and living basically alone. But if you insist on casting your anchor where there is no floor, you can go ahead and read this as the implications of the Force in Star Trek and we can get into a theological debate later after I've successfully removed my tongue from my cheek.

Let me also be clear that I'm not at all implying that the existance of aliens is actual, canonized fact. But if aliens were suddenly hovering over every major city in the world, how would you react? Would your faith be shaken? This is the "what if" scenario I'm presenting to you and asking you to consider.

If you're a Christian, there is one of three ways you come down on the issue of alien existance. 1) You believe it's a hoax. All of the reports of alien abduction are just another way for some Godless redneck to get their 15 minutes of fame. Unless they actually believe in what they're saying in which case they are certifibly insane. 2) The aliens are demons. Alien encounters are actually demonic encounters and they're using our belief in aliens as a means by which to overturn our belief in God. 3) If aliens are real, God created them. This is the Christian stance in V. They can't get around what's right in front of their noses, and they're not really acting demonic, so they must have been created by God.

If you believe aliens are a hoax, you might enjoy the occasional alien sci-fi story, but you know in reality there is no way there could be life on other planets. Why? Because the Bible doesn't mention it. This seems to have been the position of V's Father Landry before the arrival of the Visitors. His flimsy argument is that "there's not much Scripture on it." If you believe alien existance is a hoax, your faith will be the first to shake after the alien ships are finished shaking the ground you walk on. Those who believe this way usually have an "Us vs. Them" mentality. Or more specifically "Creationism (YAY!) vs. Evolution (BOO!)." And aliens fit squarely into the "Evolution" camp. I'm not saying you don't mean well, hoaxers, but your minds are so closed that the aliens could use them as airlocks. When the aliens land, you'll be forced to fall into one of the next two categories. Most likely this next one.

The demoners steer clear of all-out disbelief and take it a step further believing that accounts of alien abduction and encounters are not extraterrestrial, but rather demonic in nature. Before modern astronomical observation, the "aliens" were seen for what they really are and were reported to be demons. One abductee has reported incidents that lend some amout of credance to this theory. She says that when the aliens come to talk to her they say that they will one day return and take those who are worthy with them in their space ship.  Yeah, I know... crazy, wacky, out there... But she really believes it and I wouldn't be surprised if she's gathering a small following. And can you imagine how much bigger that following will grow when the Rapture happens? Ok, athiest readers, like it or not, there is a Rapture in the Christian worldview. Stick with me. If aliens are demons, what better way to undermine and explain away the most cataclysmic event in human history: the sudden and absolute disappearance of millions of people across the globe? People will no doubt point to aliens and demons will no doubt gladly take the credit, whether or not they actually show up.

Lastly, some Christians, if aliens landed in Manhattan, would take it in stride. They would believe along with the Vatican in V that "we're all God's creatures." Some might argue that the existance of aliens would completely destroy the basic beliefs and doctrines of the Bible. An intelligent lifeform existing outside of the parameters of the Gospel somehow carries with it the possibility that the Bible can conclusively be proven false. On the contrary, look at it this way: what if aliens land and they, having lived their entire existance in COMPLETE isolation from us, end up having an EXTREMELY similar belief system? In this case, the chances of them having come up with this religion completely randomly are literally astronomical! So, if aliens are real and not demons, it could go either REALLY badly for Christians or it could go REALLY well. Most likely if they didn't have a similar belief system we'd send missionaries.

As a Christian nerd I think about these things all the time while "normal" Christians dismiss them as irrelevant. Maybe they're right. Maybe these things are irrelevant. But there are two things during which you don't want to be caught with you pants down: 1) alien invasion 2) zombie apocalypse. That's next.
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