We have never met living beings from another world. There are UFOs. Will we contact beings from other worlds soon?
When we do, and I hope we do, nobody has any idea what they will be or think. For some odd reason, science fiction this side of Ray Bradbury and CS Lewis has a secular tone. . . Writers assume we will face evil or good Nones from the Stars. That’s not very imaginative. If we allow ourselves a bit of an intellectual lark, then all sorts of interesting possibilities, infinite diversity in infinite combinations is possible.
There might be more things in heaven and earth than Gene Roddenberry dreamed in his crabbed philosophy. The visitors from another planet may be monastics drawn from the Holy Mountain of Athos. Why not?
Why think a secular planet could ever develop a culture that would get to the stars? Does secularism actually lead to sustainable birth rates (making it to the future) and a desire to boldly go where no man (or one) has gone before? Or does it lead to internal bickering between the Trotskyites and the Party that ends in Chernobyl, not the Enterprise? Or a pleasure based consumerist culture where every person does what is right in his or her own eyes?
We cannot know, but given human history, we seem as likely to meet Monastics from Planet Athos as Vulcanian secularists*. In fact, if one is allowed a bit of speculative fun, this might be more likely.
- Monastics (think Mendel) have time to do seemingly endless scientific research.
- The isolation of space would be just what hermits or some orders of monks desire.
- Religious truth provides a basis for scientific exploration (boldly going) in terms of:
- seeing God’s creation
- missionary work
- A religious faith like Christianity cannot (in the mainstream) deny science as God is a creator. This is one reason monotheist nations developed science and must maintain it. Even when fringe groups deny the mainstream of science, they try to maintain parallel scientific structures.
- Theistic faiths crave challenge (see monasticism itself as heroic Christianity) and are dubious of hedonism. We cannot quite justify “eat drink and be merry” as the goal in this life. As a result, while those creating their own meaning will always struggle not to fall into hedonism, Christian theism can, but not with a clear conscience.
- Christianity (hence theism) is truth.
Of course, the present UFOs are very possibly a natural phenomenon we do not yet understand, software artifacts (in some cases), or delusions. They might also be angels, demons, or any number of supernatural races. We do not know: obviously. Given secularists assume we do know, they lazily assert first contact will be a triumph of secularism, it’s worth saying we do not know this. There is reason to believe that the Monks of Planet Athos are more likely to come on pilgrimage to Bethlehem, a cosmic wonder, as to be atheists: makers and sustainers of very little high culture even on this planet.
While Planet Dawkins buries itself on phone apps, Twittering away a lifetime, Planet Athos prayerfully heads to Bethlehem, hoping to be a Christmas star.
*Using TOS nomenclature . . . And I know the Vulcans had an odd sort of religion by the end.