Hemant Mehta shared the image below, offering it as a response to Ken Ham’s silly remarks that we should not be looking for aliens, since they are doomed to hell because God became man and not Klingon:
IO9 also had a piece dealing with the range of Christian responses to the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
It is interesting to consider the narrowness of Ham’s viewpoint in historical perspective, and in view of the fact that aliens are mentioned in the Bible – aliens of a sort that have been in the news a lot lately.
The New Revised Standard Version has 134 instances of the word “alien.” Many of them say things similar to Exodus 22:21, which reads, “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
These passages are not addressed to residents of Roswell. They are focused on how one treats people who are of other national, social, ethnic, and religious groups.
And while I would argue that such passages are not irrelevant to the kind of nonsense Ken Ham spouts, they are even more directly relevant to what is going on at the borders of the United States, and in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Many of us were disheartened by the expressions of hatred which made the news recently, aimed at children seeking to escape extreme danger and hardship in search of a better life. And all of us – whatever our viewpoint – are surely disheartened by the conflicts in the Middle East.
In each instance, we find the commandments in the Bible about aliens being flouted by people who would claim that they are of divine origin. Muslims claim that Jewish and Christian scripture is inspired, and not only the Qur’an. And yet militants who claim to be Muslims ignore the teachings of both the Bible and the Qur’an when they attack Christians and other people of the book living in their midst. Israelis who can find no way to give citizenship and freedom of movement to people in land that they have occupied are likewise ignoring the Bible’s commands. So too are people who consider themselves Christians and treat aliens among them with contempt.
The Bible is not a panacea for problems like war and immigration. But it is certainly worth highlighting when people who claim to adhere to a particular text’s values are behaving as though they did not.
Leviticus 19:34 says, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
How might the situation in Israel change if that were taken seriously? How might Americans along the border with Mexico behave differently if that were taken seriously?
I suspect that if more Jews, Christians, and Muslims took what the Bible and other authoritative sources in their tradition say about this subject, it would at least help lessen the intransigence we are currently seeing.
And if that happened, then presumably if even non-human aliens showed up in our midst, we might be able to welcome them better than Ken Ham is currently recommending.