The recent discovery of Proxima B, a neighboring planet with the right attributes to support life, has some Christians asking a burning question: If aliens are out there, should we send missionaries to save their souls? People actually have strong opinions about this, and here are a few:
– The Bible should be preached all over the universe.
– It’s just planet Earth that has spiritual beings in need of redemption.
– The Bible makes it clear extraterrestrial life does not exist.
– Christians have an obligation to share the Gospel with other life forms.
– Christ couldn’t die for their sins without becoming an alien.
– Preaching to other life forms is not Biblical.
All I can say is, aliens, if you’re out there, you’d better prepare yourselves.
Contrary to the last opinion above, it seems to me that pretty much everything is Biblical. Stand for anything you want, and you can probably find a Bible verse to back you up. But that only reinforces the fact that no one can claim to know absolute truth, and consequently no one should claim to know what’s best for aliens or for humans. Unfortunately posing as experts on what everyone ought to be doing and believing is common practice here on earth, and space is only a logical extension. But really, is it not the height of arrogance to assume to know not only the best path for everyone on earth, but even throughout the universe? Perhaps that’s the question we should be burning with. And here are some Biblical answers:
– Do not judge. Matthew 7:1
– Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
– Live in harmony with one another. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16
– Love your neighbor. Matthew 22:39
– Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
The mandates in these verses constitute a theme throughout the Bible: If we want to change someone or tell someone what to do, we should be looking in the mirror rather than across the street, across town, or across the universe. Another recurring theme in the Bible runs through verses like these:
– Bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2
– Defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:9
Since we can’t speak for God and have been told not to judge (and not to be conceited), we can’t be certain our specific beliefs are the ones all aliens or earthlings ought to hold. But we can be certain people are suffering, wherever they might reside. And while the Bible sends many mixed messages, these are unambiguous: Provide food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, and comfort to the suffering. Saving aliens may or may not be Biblical, but caring for humans definitely is. Perhaps aliens are on their way now to share their own Gospel with us. Let’s keep an open mind, and in the meantime, let’s do what we can around here.
Wow! Very impressive. Wonderful, thoughtful, interesting, post. Beautiful page setup. Are you sure that you do not want to do a “creative rewriting” for another class? I marvel at how you are able to get so much done and do it so well.
What a great way to look at how our own Christian arrogance can over shadow our work here on Earth! Thank you for the reminder and the much needed call for a sense of humility in our lives!
I thought this was a great post. Your question: “If aliens are out there, should we send missionaries to save their souls?” was a great lead in to your story and a good question for all those “proselytizing” people who have decided that they know what’s best for other people. Seems a bit like “religious privilege” to me!
As usual this was well written and flowed very well from point to point. I really like your lists of opinions on saving souls and especially biblical answers. Of course those who proselytize will not see your point, they will think that you are not being a good Christian if you don’t proselytize or at least attempt it.
A very thought provoking post and certainly gives those proselytizers something to think about. Absolutely loved the post!
Love it! A unique take on the entire evangelism thing. In short, aliens, run (walk/fly/levitate) while you still can! I think it’s just so much easier to care about the other when the other is theoretical. Even aliens will do in a pinch.
As for the “if you’re not one of us, you can’t know what we need” argument, isn’t that how congregational polity began? As a variant of incarnational governance? Now there’s a term…
What a seriously cool post. Thank you for both acknowledging biblical ambiguity while exegeting that which is consistent thoughout: loving each other. So hard to do, so absolutely essential. Thanks for this inspirational post. I’ll be sharing this one.
Hi Deborah, I really enjoyed reading this piece. Excellent use of scripture to point out running themes and rise above the proof-texting tendencies most of us fall prey to at one point or other. Thank you for this insightful, irreverent, and ultimately optimistic piece.
Deborah – this is so great! From the first line I was hooked, and while I found myself alternately shaking my head, dropping my jaw, and laughing, I also clapped when I got to the end. This would make a great film, and I bet some creative screenwriter could do well with these themes of human arrogance venturing to spread dogma to non-human life forms. It could be comedic and tragic and poignant…because it is. Our reality truly is stranger than fiction.
One thing I started thinking was how the word “alien” has been used as the English translation in many Bibles for the person that should be welcomed and treated with hospitality.