“I don’t believe in aliens or UFOs. Only Atheists and crazy people claim to see them,” my friend firmly asserted as we discussed my latest novel, “Whiskey’s Ghost.” His confident dismissal of extraterrestrial life was striking, especially given his unshakable faith in God.
The subject matter of my novel, which involves magic and supernatural elements, led us down an unexpected path in our conversation. My Evangelical Christian friend made an unfathomable leap from aliens to magic and insisted, “If I can’t touch it, see it, or hear it, it ain’t real.”
I was surprised; here was someone who passionately believed in an unseen, untouchable God but flatly denied the possibility of other unknown entities.
“I don’t understand,” I challenged him. “Can you touch God? Can you see God? Can you hear God?”
My question momentarily caught him off balance, but he quickly recovered, claiming he could touch, see, and hear God in his prayers.
I pressed on. “I can imagine the presence of aliens and UFOs, so how can you say they don’t exist?”
He confidently responded that ‘everybody knows’ there’s a God, invoking the Bible as evidence of God’s existence and gender.
What struck me most about our conversation was the dichotomy between his belief system and mine. I, an atheist, find the likelihood of extraterrestrial existence far more plausible than the existence of a deity. The universe is vast, and the possibility of otherworldly life seems reasonable. On the other hand, the concept of an omnipotent, omnipresent God appears more unlikely to me.
Like so many religious, my friend’s faith seemed to build a barrier that prevented him from even considering the existence of anything outside his religious beliefs.
As we continued our lunch, I couldn’t help but reflect on the disconnect between faith and reason. For some, faith in the divine leaves no room for accepting anything unexplained or mysterious, even in a universe as expansive and enigmatic as ours.
Ultimately, our conversation was a stark reminder of humans’ varied and often conflicting ways of approaching the unknown. It highlighted the tension between faith and skepticism, between what we believe and reject. Most of all, I pondered the complex landscape of belief and understanding, where lines are drawn and paradoxes thrive.
Though I may not have learned anything from our conversation, it did offer a telling glimpse into the absurdities of belief. The tangled web of faith that shapes some people’s perceptions of the world seems bewildering. To accept or deny something unseen based not on evidence or logic but on deep-rooted emotions and preconceived notions appears utterly irrational.
Whether it’s a belief in God, denial of aliens, or anything in between, these stances reveal less about the world and more about the individual’s unwillingness to explore beyond their comfort zone. They underscore the peculiarities of human nature, where reason often takes a back seat to stubborn conviction. In this strange realm of selective acceptance, the pursuit of understanding seems lost, leaving only an echo of hollow certainty behind.
Accepting that there is no more evidence for aliens than for God, believers in either one must take a leap of faith or suspend judgment until evidence emerges. I can envision what that might be for ETI but not for God unless the deity is a sufficiently advanced ETI to appear divine.
In conclusion, and as observed by Scientific American, the inimitable Captain Kirk, in his final reflections on God to the ship’s doctor at the end of Star Trek V: “Maybe He’s not out there, Bones. Maybe He’s right here [in the] human heart. After all, historian George Basalla wrote in his 2006 work Civilized Life in the Universe (Oxford University Press): “The idea of the superiority of celestial beings is neither new nor scientific. It is a widespread and old belief in religious thought.” So, there’s that…