So some months ago, I was walking to the coffee shop with my colleague, and she popped up this question, “Do you mind if I ask you a question as an atheist?”.
I respond “No problem, ask ahead.”
So she says, “Do you, as an atheist, believe in UFOs?”
I am flabbergasted by the question and ask back, “What does that have to do with atheism, or belief in God?”. I then explain to her that her one question was really two questions, the first was “Do you think aliens have visited planet earth in UFOs?” Answer: I know of no credible evidence that such visits have occurred. The second question being “Do you think that there could be life elsewhere in the universe?”. My answer is “Sure, why not? Its possible”.
My colleague then explained how her question about UFOs related to atheism and belief. She explained that as a Catholic, now “non-practicing”, she had been taught that if one believed in God, one could not also believe in the (possible) existence of life elsewhere in the universe, since we (humans) are unique, and God created us in his image, etc., etc.
We drank the coffee, and went back to our desks. I was figuratively shaking my head, just an oddball question, and that was that, or so I thought.
So a few months later, I was checking out youtube links and ran into the 25 minute video of Jim Underdown, executive director of CFI, Los Angeles, guest speaking at Moment Church, in Irvine, on July 24, 2011. After talking for a few minutes with the church’s pastor, questions from the audience were read to him: Here is what he was asked: (at 7:51) “What is the atheist view of life on other planets?”
So what explains this obsession by some Christians with atheists’ views about aliens, UFOs or whatever? My colleagues question, and that question in Irvine happened around the same time. Is there some kind of a meme circulating out there? I don’t recall that question coming up before!
Is that all?
Fast forward to early December: The Huliq News website (No, I never heard about it before!) wrote that “The Vatican scientists approve of evolution and alien life”. Here is what the Jesuit astronomer Father Jose Funes is quoted as saying: “As a multiplicity of creatures exists on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God. This does not conflict with our faith, because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God.” Maybe this is damage control by the Vatican designed to snuff the UFO meme circulating among their flock, but whatever reason it is bully for them.