Recently as I continue my rewatch of Star Trek The Next Generation, I came across the episode “Who Watches the Watchers”.
In this episode, the Enterprise must undo the damage when a primitive civilisation discovers a Federation observation team and concludes that the Starfleet personnel are gods. Picard is advised from one of the rescued observation members to act like a God and issue commandments. In the end Picard convinces them he is not a God and just advanced in technology.
What is quite clear during the episode is the primitive people interpret much of Picards action as a supreme being. They begin to argue with each other as to how things are meant to be. When you analyse much of Humanity’s religions you see a history of argument including violence. If an advanced civilisation had came in contact with us in the past I no doubt believe many of us would have considered them Gods.
When I was agnostic I speculated that Jesus Christ could have been a extraterrestrial from an advanced alien civilisation. The fictional Captain Picard could have fulfilled the role. Miracles like turning water into wine could have easily been done with Star Trek transporter and replication technology. Jesus’ resurrection could have been advanced technology that brought him back. Just like today we can do resuscitation. Even as a Christian I am open minded to my mind being changed.
As a scientist I came to believe in God due to what I perceive as intelligent design in the universe. I could give a lot of detail here but let’s just say the perfection starts with the golden ratio in mathematics. Once I accepted the existence of the divine it then became a question of what does it want for me, humans and the universe. My leap of faith then became that in Christ. I believe the Bible is a Human-Divine partnership so I believe humans wrote it and don’t interpret it word for word.
By appreciating the writers of the Bible were inspired by God it allows me room to interpret the Bible less strictly like some Christians. The writers can only interpret the divine from their own context and moral questions of their time. So I sometimes agree with the spirit of the writing but not necessarily all the words. An example of this is homosexuality being a sin the New Testament due to Paul the apostle’s writing.
As a Gay man, I see Paul with a different context. Before Paul became a Christian he killed a Christian as a Jew. Murder is a terrible sin compared to homosexuality in my view. Also Paul saw a lot of immorality in the Roman Empire and therefore was trying to change peoples views in his writings. Paul didn’t have access to 2000 years of history and scientific advancement like I have. I forgive Paul for this error and still appreciate the rest of his theological teachings.
I am open to the idea that an alien civilisation could visit us one day and tell us they have been intervening in our development including at the time of Christ. It’s possible it could change my beliefs and perhaps even make them stronger. I may just see aliens as part of Gods plan as well. I think to believe in science and religion you need to have flexibility of thought as new discoveries are no doubt going to confront it. Dogma can be an issue on both sides of the debate.