"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Can Space Aliens Be Saved? Christians And Muslims At It Again

The Reverend Barkley Peters, pastor of the Westover United Church of Christ began to think about Jesus, God, and his Creation, and it bothered him.  Would Jesus be Lord and Savior for all beings in the universe? Did he die on a hundred million crosses on a hundred million Calvaries? And if so, what if these alien civilizations were without earthly form, but simply emanations of a highly developed, formless intelligence. Who would be talking to whom?  Would Jesus once again be spat upon, tortured, and crucified by whatever means this civilization had? Or would he be ignored as a bit of space detritus that happened on Alpha Centauri?


Not idle speculation, the Reverend told himself, because if God was the universal, all-powerful, being that Christians said he was, he would have to be the God of all beings not just human ones.  He stopped for a moment, deleted an irrelevant paragraph from his Sunday sermon written because of his distraction, and prayed, hoping the answer would come to him. 

Reverend Peters was of course not the first or only cleric to have thought about first contact and the religious implications thereof, and the range of reactions among the religious communities of the world was not surprising.  His evangelical brethren had already organized conferences on the subject - how and by what means would the word of the Lord be passed on to an alien race? 

Who would be chosen to meet the new arrivals with which version of the Bible, and in what language. It might be a kind of reverse exorcism wherein the Devil is repelled and cast out by the cross and the Holy Book - shown a crucifix and the King James the spirit of the Lord might be passed to the aliens only through the miracle of divine enlightenment. 

A hundred scenarios were broached at the most important ecumenical conference to discuss the subject. Perhaps there was an infinite number of Jesus doppelgangers in the universe, each one bringing the same message of redemption and salvation in a different form, different language, different state of being.  

If aliens were to visit Earth, the Muslims would be sure to horn in, push to the head of the line, promise vestal virgins and paradisal bliss with the threat of the sword transparent, a thinly-veiled exhortation to Christians to be ready. 


Of all the interactions possible between an alien race and our own especially if the visitors were more intelligent and more advanced, God should be first and foremost.  Whereas curing cancer, enabling an indefinite life span, or revealing the mysteries of the boson might be of interest to some, the only inquiry or exchange worth the effort would be the nature of the divine. And horribile dictu if the visitors were formless but universal, extant, influential, and all powerful, then they would have to be considered godlike or perish the thought, be God himself.  And by the way where would Jesus fit in this extraterrestrial scheme?

The debate went on for days and through many iterations, not unlike the many deliberations of the Early Church Fathers who debated the nature of Christ, the Trinity, and the relationship between and among the three expressions of God for three centuries until Constantine put a stop to the bickering and said this is it, no more and at the final Council of Nicaea all debate was put to rest 

But Athanasius and his colleagues didn't have Muslims to deal with.  The heretics were bad enough with all their challenges and postulations about this or that, but Muhammed really stirred things up and look at the world today.  No, it was time to assure Christianity's place first in line. 

'Maybe there was an infinite number of Muhammeds', said a deacon from Chillicothe, 'performing the same evangelism as our Jesuses'.  Then the aliens might already be Muslim, perish the thought. 

Not possible, retorted the chairman of the session.  Since Christianity is the only true religion here on earth and Islam only a Johnny-come-lately derivative fake, then how in God's name could anyone believe in an uncountable number of Muhammed incarnations in the universe?

'We are forgetting our Jewish brothers', said another conferee; but although they might well have gotten Christianity started, they had long given up any mantel of authority given their....Here Pastor Unsworth was about to launch into one of his famous Christ-killer screeds but held back for once. His colleague wondered how the Jews would react to an alien arrival.  'They are not evangelical, they do not believe in the risen Lord, and they have other business to attend to. We won't have to worry about them' 

And so it went.  What if the aliens were on a space crusade to spread their religion whatever that might be, not unlike the armies of Muhammed slashing and burning their way out of Arabia and across North Africa, pushing their way into Spain and finally, thanks to Charlemagne and God's grace, defeated at Roncesvalles?  Or the Papist conquistadors who tortured, cheated, and burned the heathens of the Americas until they professed allegiance to Rome?


Onward Christian Soldiers was played at every one of these conferences.  Militancy not compassion or understanding was the meme.  It was bad enough that Christ and his disciples had to fight and claw there way among godless heathens and Jews in order to establish God's Kingdom on Earth; it was another to cede ground to pointless, well-armed religions. 

Not a few of the conferees, thanks to the lurid comic books of their youth, were afraid of what the aliens might do to Earth.  Images of The War of the Worlds were never far, and the idea of soulless, predatory, ghoulish creatures from outer space was always on their minds.  ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Cocoon were incidental distractions to what they knew was coming. Intergalactic war. 

Yet, no matter how intelligent the alien foe, nor in what form he might appear, the Word of God would be sufficient to drive him back to the outer reaches from which he came.  One could only hope that he carried the Word with him when he went. 

The Reverend Peters finished his Sunday sermon, 'Diversity and the Love Of Jesus', a theme far more important to his socially aware congregants than the obviously peripheral issue he was contemplating. If aliens did come to earth the secularists in his pews would only be ashamed of the Earth that they would find - a racist, homophobic, misogynist, predatory capitalist world of hate - and if anything would ask...beg....the aliens for some anodyne, some panacea to injustice. 

Of course they would just be whistlin' Dixie. Seriously, what alien coming such a long way just to be here, would be interested in such frippery?  They're either coming for our rice or our women, so forget the rest, the Reverend Peters thought. 

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