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ET, come home

As Christian theologians debate about how to address aliens, we are prepared. For we know we’re all aliens.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2009 22:15 IST

One of the great preparations that Hinduism offers both to its adherents and to its admirers is multiplicity. While ‘religions of the Book’ have the concept of God, the rather post-modern Hindu faith is comfortable with gods. God, as is obvious to even atheists, is made in the image of Man (Islam’s decree of not having a visual representation of Allah notwithstanding). Now the Roman Catholic Church, through the pontifical portals of the Vatican, has begun to wonder aloud how Christianity — with its Book of Genesis and its take on the divine creation of life on Earth — would take to extra-terrestrial life. The theologians were rightly puzzled by the possibility of how to handle the existence of heathens in worlds other than the one created in a seven-day fit of godly creativity. Do aliens also fit into the Christian scheme of things? Are they to be deemed as fellow creatures, ‘brothers’ of people of the Christian faith?

Considering that the record of Christianity in dealing with ‘terrestrial aliens’ has been rather weak — for a quick rundown, have a look at the Christianity-sponsored dealings in 16th century Americas, not to mention a longstanding real estate war later outsourced to the ‘other people of the Book’ involving Jerusalem — it is wise of theologians to be better prepared this time round, just in case. As for wondering what to do with Adam and Eve once the being from Proxima Centauri drops by, there’s always the way out of considering him/her/it as an angel.

Meanwhile, many of us, regardless of our faith, acquainted with a humanoid with an elephant’s head, or a half-lion, half-human creature, or even a sentient being with ten arms, can sidestep difficult questions about how to deal with extra-terrestrials when the occasion arises. For we know that we’re all aliens really.