A single word switch in translating scripture can change much
A big reason people doubt Christians? Hypocrisy

If people from outer space get to Earth, will we preach to them?

Now that the Pentagon and some academics seem to be taking seriously the idea that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, what are people of faith supposed to make of the idea?

UapHere's what Sean M. Kirkpatrick, director of the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, wrote in a research report co-authored by Abraham (Avi) Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s astronomy department: “[A]n artificial interstellar object could potentially be a parent craft that releases many small probes during its close passage to Earth, an operational construct not too dissimilar from NASA missions.” That quote also can be found in the report itself, about which the Military Times wrote here.

And, just for the record, what we used to call UFOs, Unidentified Flying Objects, the Pentagon and others now call "unidentified aerial phenomena." So much more sophisticated, right?

At any rate, if the new report interests you, you can find it at the link I gave you in the second paragraph here.

As for what to make of the idea and how it might relate to religious teachings, it helps to acknowledge that Earth's major religions mostly have ignored the possibility of life elsewhere as they have tended to support Earth-centric ideas. The Genesis creation stories (there are two of them, and they don't match up particularly well), for instance, note that when God created our planet, she declared it "good." And when people got added to the picture, it was all "very good."

Was Earth, thus, God's early science fair project on which he later improved elsewhere? Nothing in the Jewish or Christian scriptures would lead us to conclude that life elsewhere is an idea utterly out of bounds.

What the world's major religions seem to agree on is the idea that God is sovereign. So to say that God could not create life in this vast cosmos somewhere besides on our tiny planet would have precious little support from theologians.

The question, of course, is what we should do if we happen to encounter such life -- either here or out in space. Again, our faith traditions suggest that any life has within it a divine spark, what some of us call the imago dei, the image of God. So we would be called to treat such life with respect even as we cautiously make sure that such creatures don't have our destruction at the top of their to-do list for today.

I'm frankly not at all worried about running into aliens, though I think we should abandon that term, given that they, too, would be residents in God's big world. Besides, maybe they know answers to things that have puzzled us humans forever: How do you put a round object in a square hole? Who shot J.R.? Why do we drive in a parkway and park in a driveway? And on and on.

Oh, and before we try to convert people from elsewhere to our religion, we might want to hear about theirs, if they have one.
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Back here on Earth, an Oklahoma state representative has been quoting certain passages from the Bible to show that scripture endorses corporal punishment for children. This is a practice called "proof-texting." You take a verse out of the context in which it was written and apply it to some situation today that has little or no bearing on that original context. It's why people say that even the devil can quote scripture to his (her? its? their?) advantage.


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