You should be:
via the Daily What
Christianity can’t offer any answers to whether or not there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
Adam and Eve’s story has pretty well been supplanted by Darwin’s theories and rDNA. The Church, regardless of how they want to spin it, has pretty much no choice but to accept that humans are built of amino acid chains, not some prototypical naked couple. However, Christians could still claim that the primordial soup was part of God’s plan, right? “God does not play dice” was Einstein’s comment. So no matter how insane the odds, God’s plan was predetermined and infallible.
OK, so what about life on other planets? Why is that so hard to accomodate? At first glance, it is not hard to deal with. If God made life here, that didn’t preclude life elsewhere. Nobody said they even had to look like us. Humans oculd be on earth, Vegans could be on Vega, and so on. Moreover, God created man in his image, and could also make aliens in his image as well if he liked. If God could do anything, then he could be anything, and therefore look like anything.
Only the New Testament causes a problem really. If God sent down his only Son to redeem humans, did he have to do the same for every planet with intelligent life? If so, then was it God’s will that all creation must be redeemed? If not, were humans somehow less good than a species who lived according to his law and didn’t need to be redeemed?
Was humanity a second-tier creation? Or had God created all intelligent life in a such a way that it required redemption? Mankind has not had a good history with God so far. We’ve already been wiped out once by a flood and then had to be redeemed by the sacrifice of God’s only Son. That’s two strikes (and we all know God is a baseball fan).
So either God screwed up and created all of intelligent creation in such a way that it required the sacrifice of his only Son, OR humanity is uniquely screwed up on it’s own. If the former is true then either we really don’t get it (God’s will). If it is the latter, we (humanity) are serious fuck-ups that for some reason God decided were worth saving – this time.
So let’s do some NOVA kind of experiment. There are billions of worlds and probably tens of thousands of sentient life forms. Statistically speaking, not all of them will be “good” in the Christian sense of the word, and so it is not likely that humanity is the ONLY creation of God’s which needed redemption. But if each of his creations was unique to their own world, wouldn’t it make sense that their redemption might also be unique? A species like humans placed enormous value on first born and only sons, so a sacrifice of God’s only Son made sense – it was a value proposition. But a different life form might require a different sacrifice. And if there were different forms of redemption didn’t that mean there were different paths to God?
If there were different paths to God on other planets, why not here on Earth? Christianity is founded on the idea that “no one comes to the father except through me”. It teaches as a core belief that those outside Christianity had no hope of redemption. Do those apply only to humans, but not to alien races?
Well, I see a couple of problem here. All of which point to the fact that mankind is not uniquely favoured in God’s eyes:
1. God made mankind and other sentient beings, but only mankind needed redemption.
2. God made all kinds of beings in his image and all required the same redemption.
3. God made all kinds of beings in his image and all needed unique redemptions.
In scenario #1 we are the punks of the universe. In scenario #2 we are just one of an entire class of poorly behaved creations. In scenario #3 not only are we not unique but our idea of “one path to God” is seriously flawed.
Christianity, particularly Catholicism better start doing to rhetorical yoga or they are going to be in a world of hurt the first time Yoda lands on the White House lawn.
I never really could figure out why Christians clung to the idea of humanity’s uniqueness in the universe until I read “The Swarm” which has this as a major sub-theme (and from which a lot of this post originates). Ahhh…now I get it.
Taoism looks better all the time.