Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Let's Include the ETs!


       This month the Unitarian-Universalist Church I attend is exploring the Cosmos. Last week we took the Cosmic Walk and this week we considered the question: Are We Alone in the Universe? The pastor referred to David Weintraub's book: Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It? - a question that has never bothered me since I have never clung to any specific creed or doctrine. However, it is interesting to learn that Mormons include intelligent life on other planets as part of their theology, since most religions are much more earth-centered. 

       On the other end of the spectrum, one fundamentalist comments on Weintraub's book by saying that aliens are actually demons sent by Satan to deceive people and attract followers away from God. I also found on the internet one Christian's explanation for why there can't be any intelligent life on other planets. This person points out the prophecy of Revelation 6:14 in which "the heaven was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." If we interpret this verse literally, and if we believe that the heaven or sky referred to (depending on the translation) includes the entire universe, then every planet and star would be rolled up with the earth. Which, the writer, concludes, would not be fair to beings on other planets who didn't have any part in humanity's sinfulness. 

       While it is impossible to accurately calculate the number of stars in the known universe, astronomers estimate the stellar population to be about 70 billion trillion. Given the gargantuan size of this number, I find it mind-boggling to think there would NOT be other intelligent species scattered throughout the cosmos. Add to that the fact that I have encountered quite a few people who claim to have met aliens or have seen UFO's, and I don't think it's fair to label them as crazy just because they've had an unusual experience and had the courage to talk about it. 

       On Sunday the UU pastor made the point that any aliens who have the ability to contact us would have no desire to do so as long as we have not proven ourselves to be hospitable to strangers. We earthlings can't get along with one another, so why would advanced beings from another planet want to communicate with us? 

       After Sunday's service, my husband and I visited my 90-year-old parents in the nursing home. I told them about the sermon, and when my mother heard the title: "Are We Alone?" she said, "No, we aren't." 

       Coming from a woman who has never had the slightest interest in science fiction, fantasy, or the supernatural, her response surprised me. "Why do you say that?" I asked.

       Mom went on to describe a UFO that she saw when she lived on Long Island, many years ago. She was hanging up the clothes in our backyard in Sayville when she saw a silver, cigar-shaped ship rise up noiselessly from the next town and fly toward her . T
here was a swamp behind our yard and she saw the swamp grass flatten as the ship flew overhead and disappeared in the sky. She never told anyone about it because she didn't think they'd believe her. I said, "But Mom, you know I would have believed you!" She just smiled, but I'm guessing she didn't tell me because she knows I would have told other people (like I'm doing now!).

       My mother's secret makes me wonder how many people are keeping secrets about amazing experiences just because they're afraid they'll be scoffed at. Perhaps when people from different backgrounds share their common experiences, whether of extraterrestrials, angels, or other "extra-human" beings, we will start to feel more of a connection with one another. And when we do meet the extraterrestrials, let's make sure to include them as we build bridges of oneness, not just on earth, but throughout the cosmos. 



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