Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Where the Aliens are

Michael Flynn of the TOF Spot is back, which is always great news.  He has taken on the old notion of strange lifeforms and weirdos from other planets.   Read it here.  I'll leave his excellent post to speak for itself.

I will mention this bit, however, which leaped out at me:
What a waste! All that great big honkin' universe out there and we're all there is? But, why should there be anyone else in the universe, regardless of its size? How many dandelion seeds are scattered to make a single dandelion? How many stone chips litter the workshop to make one statue? Why should it not take a universe to make a world? If the mass of the universe were much less, it would have expanded into vichyssoise long ago. If it were much greater, it would have collapsed back on itself before anything could get started. This is how big a universe must be to make galaxies, stars and petunias, whether one world or a gazillion be inhabited.
One of my growing gut feelings is that the Church has been dropping the ball for some time.  Not that it ever navigated this sod well without messing up.  We are fallible humans in a fallen world after all.  But in recent years, the Church has gone left when it should have gone right on very fundamental notions of, well, reality.  And it has been doing this for quite some time.

Part of this is because of the clout that the whole rationalist Enlightenment era had and the boost this new science based approach to everything received from the Industrial Revolution.  In only a couple generations, the world suddenly had things that for a zillion years were not even in the dreams of madmen.  That seemed enough to say that we were clearly in a new phase in the history of humanity.  There was pre-modern, and now there was modern where we would get smarter, better, and discover how wrong everyone was all along.

Somewhere in all of this, the Church began a 'keeping up with the Jonses' approach to things.  It assumed the basic ideas behind the infallibility of progress and the ever improving lives which we had as a result.  Gradually, it seemed to accept this silly notion that us Christians clinging to our old religious worldviews were just the simple types, and it was those brilliant scientists, experts, and scholars who would show us the way.

And it wasn't only Catholics.  Heck, I have an old  Biblical Archaeology magazine from back in the 1990s where this was actually a debate.  Even that late in the game, the two sides were over whether Christians should take at face value the theories and conclusions of non-believers or not.  One side said no, but there was an opposite side that took the idea that only non-believers are truly objective and fair and unbiased.  And that was in the 90s, when such a blind faith in the objectivity of anything human was already crumbling.  Think of what it must have been a few generations earlier.

So we more or less accept a secular, atheistic spin on - everything.  Even a Catholic exorcist said that the Church makes sure there is no 'material' explanation before plunging into the whole 'spiritual warfare' phase of the exorcism.  That is, assume a material universe with material rules and explanations for material problems.  If that doesn't work, then God stuff.  Matter here, spirit otherwise over there. 

That very dichotomy is the stuff of the non-believer. Yet I'd bet most Christians accept it as well.  We go, sometimes by guidance, with the idea that anything and everything can be handled by the experts, but if that doesn't work, then get to prayer.

But consider that above.  Beyond the atheistic theories about parallel universes and dimensions, most say our universe is so vast that it demands other lifeforms.  But why?  Maybe as God created the material aspects of Reality (the smaller and less significant parts to be sure), perhaps this vast universe is exactly all that is needed to  produce a single rock upon which life develops.  Assuming  we take at face value all the latest theories about the origins of life and evolution and all, why not think this?  Maybe we were the focal point all along, and the universe God made simply required a universe that we see in order to make it happen.  You never now (and it may be we never will).

I'm not saying science is all wrong or we need to go back to caves.  Or that we put the kibosh on medical science.  Or we get rid of toilet paper.  Heaven forfend!  I merely point out that there is a large gap between what we think all the experts and scientists and researchers know, and what they know.  Beyond that, there is also not a level playing field when it comes to benefits and payoff for many of the great advancements and leaps forward in knowledge and practical living that we've come to take for granted.  The same leaps that seem to have given the secular such clout in the modern mindset.

For instance, science and experts and researchers and scholars have all shown us new things, and discovered things and solved problems and helped us know things we never knew.  And yet, conversely, they have also helped us forget things that people knew for much of the first period of human history.  From a Christian point of view, that includes forgetting, or at least struggling to remember, the spiritual reality that dwarfs the mere physical universe we love to ogle when the latest Nova special is on PBS.

One of the byproducts of the Church's acquiescing to a materialist model of Creation with some added spiritual stuff is the thought that there is a dividing line a billion miles wide between material and spiritual, no matter how Sacramental we say we are.  You see it still.  Some scientist, or not a few theologians, will chuckle that we no longer think the milk spoiled because of demons.  I've heard that said many times in various forms over the years.  It shows how much smarter and knowledgeable we are than those goofy superstitious people of yore.

But consider this.  Those old timers may have thought that about spoiled milk, but just because we know how the spoilage occurs, does that mean it is therefore shorn of any spiritual linkage?  Plus, as far as those silly old timers with their stupid superstitions, how about us?  Whatever they believed about milk or other foods spoiling, they generally knew how to keep things like that from spoiling nonetheless.  

How are we, us super smart science era types, on that  level?  Our foods are preserved only by adding endless artificial preservatives and synthetics and chemicals, none of which have anything to do with the increasing rates of cancer food allergies we're experiencing.  Those silly old timers were quite capable of doing what we can't do, and all while doing it naturally.  That's the ones who thought the world we see is just a small part of the greater heavens and spiritual realms that were present everywhere and in everything they experienced.

You be the judge.


  1. I can tell you exactly why that is. 3 words: Salem Witch Trials.

    I don't even mean the actual event, I mean its position in the collective culture. I'd wager real money if you were to suggest some spirituality to an event, somebody would bring it up. Suggest there might be a spiritual point to something, and they'll ask if you're going to burn witches next (heck go on twitter, you can probably find an example from the last year). Even people who haven't the clue what actual Christian doctrine is know about those trials and will bring them up.

    It's a collective shame that has been forced upon Christians, such that now we remain very reluctant to look for spirits because the last thing we want is to risk hurting someone innocent. So we look materially as much as possible just to avoid another witch trial. That's your answer as to why.

    Indeed, if you want to ask, "Why do Christians..." the answer is always guilt. Whatever the issue, look for an aspect or angle in the collective culture which plays upon Christianity's guilt.

    1. In so many words, Yeah. I think Salem, Galileo, Copernicus, the Inquisition, the Monkey Trial. All of these put in the pop mindset the idea that there are smart people, then there are dumb religious types who don't get Science(TM). That has caused the Church, and the Faith in general, to cower and try to don secular robes in the marketplace, almost as religion incognito, making it look like we are every bit the atheists when it comes to how the universe really works, as long as we can have our angels and demons and miracles on Sunday morning. I think the results speak for themselves.


Let me know your thoughts