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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Are We Alone? Aliens In Our Midst, And What To Do About Them

For many people the question, ‘Are we alone?’ is moot.  Of course we aren’t.  This has nothing to do with God or Jesus, of course, who have always been with us, never leaving us alone. It has to do with the existence of life on other planets.  Not just life, but a highly evolved species which has overcome the speed of light and every other limiting principle of human science.  Moreover, these beings have already visited Earth on many occasions, some rather frequent.  The story of benign abductions are common, and the stories of returnees are filled with hope, joy, and remembrance.  If only they had been allowed to stay, they say, and not returned to this benighted planet for more penance and ineptitude.

The American military and intelligence establishments have known about alien visitations for decades, but have kept the truth from ordinary Americans because of security reasons.  Study goes on in top secret laboratories under the Utah desert to decipher the codes, inscriptions, and markings on spaceships that accidentally ran aground; and to understand the highly sophisticated technology the aliens used to get here from such a distant source - anti-gravity, molecular dispersal, cosmic fragmentation, minus E=MC2, , polar reversal, and much more. If even a hint of these advanced but still unknown technologies were to leak out, our enemies would be sure to use them against us.

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The American military establishment is salivating at the thought of death rays and the realization of all the destructive power imagined by science fiction writers for decades.  Compared to these annihilating forces, the hydrogen bomb would be nothing – fireworks on the Fourth of July.   Tele-transportation, here to there without travelling; a state of incorporeal being in which one can be in two or more places at once; mind-reading, time travel, universal upsy-daisy, mind-boggling alterations of space-time, no death, eternal life, absolute victory and universal conquest are all on American top secret scientists’ minds.  Of course things like this – even speculative science – should never get above ground and should stay, until weaponized, 1000 ft. below the Moab desert.

Currently Christian theologians are debating the existence and nature of sin in the universe, and whether aliens can or should be saved.  The answer for such questions has become all the more urgent since a scientist at SETI has estimated that given the super-powerful radio telescopes being developed (China has just inaugurated the world’s largest), it might be only twenty years before contact is made.

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There are many sides to the argument.  Creationist Ken Ham, for example, observed that:

Earth was specially created by God and the sin committed on Earth would affect the rest of creation. The Bible makes it clear that Adam's sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam's sin, but because they are not Adam's descendants, they can't have salvation. Christ's work of salvation can only apply to humans as the descendants of Adam. 
Other Christians disagree, noting that although God’s dominion extends to all beings in the universe, if  an extraterrestrial lacks a spiritual aspect, an eternal soul to save, then it does not need saving.
Christian Weidemann, a German Protestant theologian takes a somewhat different tack suggesting that  perhaps extraterrestrials aren't sinners, like humans, and therefore aren't in need of saving.  But given the fact that all known intelligent beings (human beings) are sinners, it is likely that all other intelligent life in the universe would also be.  
Assuming that the latter argument is true – all intelligent life must sin – than God may have incarnated himself multiple times according to the particular configurations of sin and intelligence on other planets.  Clara Moskowitz, a journalist writing about space and religion reports on another of Weidemann’s speculations:
Another possibility is that God incarnated multiple times, sending a version of himself down to save each inhabited planet separately.
However, based on the best guesses of how many civilizations we might expect to exist in the universe, and how long planets and civilizations are expected to survive, God's incarnations would have had to be in about 250 places simultaneously at any given time, assuming each incarnation took about 30 years, Weidemann calculated.
Nathan O’Halloran, a Catholic theologian, suggests that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross here on Earth was the moment of salvation for all intelligent life in the universe:
So why can his death not include other alien races too…?  Maybe what Jesus assumed that is important is not the human form, but the rational free spiritual form, and this is what he redeemed, thereby including all personal races, alien or human.
In other words Jesus, the cross, and his resurrection are at the heart of all salvation.  Thus not only for all humans but all aliens as well:

All things were created…through Jesus and for Jesus… He is before all things, he holds together all things. In other words, he stands as the head of the cosmos, as its beginning and end, its past and future…  Nor can there be other Jesuses, since Paul is clear that it was “by the blood of his cross,” that peace was made.  It is unlikely that if Jesus was incarnated on another planet he would be killed there by a cross as well…  He would be killed in some other way.  But Paul is clear that by the blood of his cross, this Jesus saved all things, whether in heaven or on earth.

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While this debate may seem silly to most secular observers concerned more with the practical benefits that might accrue from contact with a superior intelligence or with the dire consequences of a hostile, predatory alien race than any question of salvation, it is far from trifling to Christians who know that their very Earth-centered story of Jesus may be thrown into question or even dismissed entirely.

A confirmed presence of a superior intelligence would explain a lot of things.  Some have even suggested that human beings are simply alien mind games, fantasies, juvenile distractions – a theory which would explain the persistent illogic of human endeavor. If we were really smart and very intelligent, we would never do stupid things; but if we are only some characters in a hyper-Nintendo video mind game played in a distant galaxy, then our aberrations are explainable.  We can relax.  It isn’t our fault at all.

What if the alien race that is among us is benign? and only waiting for the right opportunity to come out and show us the way? That theory bumps up against some conservative Christian thinking – God is the only one who makes or breaks humanity and pain, penury, misery, and liability are part of His plan.  Good and evil must always exist on the same plane, otherwise salvation would be simply a fairy tale.  Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise for a reason and as a lesson.  The idea of an alien with the power to reform the world and make it a uniformly benign place is anathema and totally unacceptable.

Political progressives completely deny this so-called Theory of Alien Benignity, for it erases their raison d’etre.  Progressives believe that they can reverse the pernicious trends of history, reform this imperfect world, and create a Paradise on earth, a Utopia, a final resting place; and they can do it without God or the help of alien forces, no matter how well-meaning or –intentioned.

The American corporate interests are enthusiastic, but still circumspect.  They assume that an alien intelligence would be able to harness energy in ways that we can only imagine, and tapping into that technology would be a boom for our energy sector.  Of course, these same aliens may be perusing earth for resources it needs for its own civilization, but how important can copper, cobalt, or iron be to them?  No, alien science can be applied, adapted, and marketed.

The idea of a purely evil alien force that has to be destroyed is the most popular conception of space invaders.  They want nothing but are possessed by some universal destructive force – an appetite for death and mayhem.  This appeals to most people because it is an extension of our own human nature, just serialized in pop form.  In fact we would welcome such an existential battle of our good vs their evil.

Image result for images comic book cover alien invasions

And so it goes.  it is hard to imagine that we human beings are the only intelligent life in the universe; and so it is very human to create aliens in our image.  More than likely a space intelligence will be more akin to the idea of Arthur C. Clarke – a universal presence rather than a physical one.  Or an intelligence so advanced that it passes over, under and through us without even noticing our presence.  It is not that we are insignificant, just that their physics and cosmology is set up according to unimaginably foreign concepts.

Will aliens finally come out of the closet?  Religious fundamentalists believe that Armageddon will come in our lifetimes, so why not aliens?

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