Many people become obsessed with the possibility of life existing elsewhere in the universe. Others contend that without proof, we must proceed as if aliens don’t exist. The intent of this article is not to support or deny the validity of either position. The intent here is to discern the value of such beliefs in helping us to become better individuals.
From a “facts perspective,” we have no evidence to study that supports life existing on other planets. Some people, like Star Trek fans, maintain that alien life is plentiful throughout the universe but the ones technically advanced enough to travel to our planet choose to not make official contact until we are ready to interact with them. But for all those people who have lived and died before us, how great is their loss in not knowing if life exists elsewhere or not? What would change in our own lives if we knew for certain if there is life on other planets?
The truth is that our daily lives would change very little (assuming no intervention into earth’s affairs is imminent), but our spiritual beliefs could change considerably. Who was Jesus and what does His sacrifice mean to those living on alien worlds? The Bible seems to speak as if earth contains the only corporeal life there is. Wouldn’t the existence of aliens challenge the infallibility of the Bible and the Christian creed for our salvation? But the fact remains that whether there are aliens or not, their existence does not affect our choices to follow the Golden Rule and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Think of the last conflict you had to resolve in your life. Would knowing that Klactu-7 living on Vegas Centauri was having trouble with his Blotniks make any difference in how you decide what to do next? It is much the same as realizing that there are billions of people on our planet of whom we know little about but our lives go on regardless. We know to follow the Golden Rule and treat even the “least of these” as we would treat Jesus to ensure that our choices are based in love, focused and clear.
In my own experience, I have often wondered how many Atheists deny the existence of God without proof and yet point to the statistical probability of life being elsewhere given all the planets similar to earth in the universe. Carl Sagan was one such person. If there is truly no intelligent design behind the formation of the universe, the statistical probability of the universe maintaining such perfection and order by random chance is far less likely than life existing on other earth-like planets.
If aliens do exist and we have the opportunity to interact with them, it will be fascinating to explore what spiritual thinking and religions they have developed from their own unique perspectives. Perhaps each planet has its own distinctive manifestation of the perfect role model, like Jesus, or perhaps they don’t believe in God at all. In the meantime, we all have enough to do loving God with all our heart, mind and soul and loving our neighbors as ourselves.