One God?

Some readers of this blog have asked where the Christian component is in the political commentary that I’ve been writting about lately. 

My only defense is that there has been a lot going on politically that merited comment.  But I haven’t stopped thinging about religious issues, so here is the first of a couple of posts on the subject.

Two related data points recently caught my eye.

Our telescopes discovered that there are may be millions of planets where life as we know it is possible.

And.

A recent report suggests that a NASA scientist found the remains of fossilized bacteria in a meteor.

The meteor research has been widely criticized, but both items bring up an interesting question.

What happens when we finally find out that there is life on another planet?

I think it likely that we are not alone in the universe.  It just doesn’t make sense from a purely statistical point of view.  But we as a civilization haven’t thought about it much.  How will it affect our view of ourselves as made in the image and likeness of our maker?

When we do find “alien” life, it could trigger disruptions akin to what happened to the Catholic Church when they finally had to admit that the universe didn’t revolve around the earth.

Let’s take just a couple of issues.

Evolution
When we discover that there is life on another planet, how does that square with the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible which says that God created the world in six days?  It becomes impossible to support the claims against evolution once we find that life evolved on another planet at a different time and even more challenging could have been the source of life getting started on this one.

Fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalists believe that if you aren’t a Christian, you are going to hell.  That’s tough enough to deal with when we are talking about children who pass on with no knowledge of Christianity, but what about whole worlds that have no way to have ever been exposed to the concept of Christianity?  Are they all going to hell?  Could that really be the plan for a loving God?

Alien Gods
If you think about how Christians responded to the discovery of primitive civilizations around the world, it is not too much of a stretch to envision alien civilizations motivated by the same thing, but in this case, we are the primitives.

Alien Bible
Christians already have problems with the other non-Christian religious traditions that exist in this world.  How are we going to react when we finally contact alien civilizations and learn of their spiritual traditions?

Dominion
There is this concept of the human race being endowed by God to dominate and subdue the earth.  So through our deliberate or inadvertent activities, various species have gone extinct.  Do we also have dominion on other planets?  How can we avoid affecting life on other planets through even the simple act of exploring them?  Think about how smallpox, for example, decimated the Native American population.  How do we think alien civilizations who will likely be more advanced than us, will treat this problem when and if they choose to make contact with us?

My sense is that if you really look at Jesus teachings, they transcend time and place.  They may not be fully understood or practiced by all those who call themselves Christian, but they are reflected in the traditions of all great religions.  So I suspect that any alien civilization that is able to find us will likely reflect the same basic philosophy even though they may have arrived at it through a different path.

Their evaluation of our civilization will likely depend in part on how well we have learned to practice the philosophies that we preach. 

Next up, Walking the Jesus Talk.

4 Responses to “One God?”

  1. Keith says:

    or…..not. What if the opposite of what you’ve suggested is true.
    We have better things to discus then presupposing what CHristians will do and your prejudgement of them.
    you’re day dreaming at best.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’m not prejudging all Christians.

    Just raising some interesting contradictions in the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians and what will someday be our expanded understanding of our place in the universe.

    Continue to live in your earth-centered universe if you would prefer, but there is nothing wrong with a little day dreaming. At least it is based, even if somewhat loosely, on fact.

  3. Keith says:

    pre-supposing the furture on fact……….

    you’re in a slump the last few weeks.
    i need you back to keep me sharp.

    with watching chris matthews the last few weeks he has hit a interesting topic. He continually, since the last election, replay’s interviews with republicans who don’t answer the question but stick to their talking point. even when the interviewer says “will you answer my question. so he gets guests on his show and they belittle, for several minuets, the person who was sticking to their points. they are not pleasent at any point calling them zombie’s transt like, mind numbed, etc. Bill o hit on this last night, im guessing in response, with mike wallace of foxs sunday show. they watch dick durbin say “the republican budgett….” three or four times when he was asked what is the dems budget blueprint. they then did the same of sara palin when she refused to give spacifics on what should be done with s.s…….I only point this out to show that most of theright will hit on ANYBODY thats at fault with something and the left will, and only in a political way, juimp on the cases of those on the right.

    next great point for you to consider. when Bush was in offie and oil price went through the roof he was blasted of being a friend of oil and helping his croonie friends in “big oil” and taking advatage of working americans. Today I don’t hear those same complaints being made of obama and the SAME THING IS HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    the right is whispering now that obama is a friend of green energy and hates carbon to the extent that he is behind the higher gas prices so less carban based engery will be used and also so alternitive energies will be more fairly priced. see how messed up both sides are? I say higher costs happen and a president really isn’t, in the short term, in control of them. I say DRILL, DRILL ,DRILL, and invest in green energy als.

    Also last night in between organizing a strike in wisc of all union employees, MSNBC began the rant against nuclear energy with the leak or potential release of radiation in Japan……It truelly is stunning how in front of the ball the left is in using ANY, even a dead senators funeral in MN, as a political rally meeting or platform. I’m not making this stuff up…as you know Jeff, I’m not that smart!!!!!

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Keith,

    Don’t spend much time listening to the talking heads on either the right or the left. I think that they are part of the problem rather than the solution.

    Bush WAS a friend of big oil The corruption that was discovered during the Obama administration in the Minerals and Management Service happened on his watch. That led to the blowout at BP among other things.

    As far as oil price speculation, that remains a global problem. I don’t think that Bush or Obama are responsible for the fluctuations in the oil market.

    The whole drill baby drill crowd exhibits how little they know about the market. We simply consume too much oil for our domestic reserves to have any significant impact in the world price. We do need to take advantage of our existing reserves but I agree – our future has to be in alternative energy sources.

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