Friday, December 22, 2006

Love Thy Alien

As a follow-up to my last post, I thought I should address a general assumption that I relied upon the whole time: Exactly why do we need to obey our creator?  Is that a general rule of some kind?  I mean, I said in my post that I’d follow God if he’d merely establish that he existed and what exactly he expected of me.  But why?  Why would I do that?  And is it inherently immoral to go against the wishes of our creator?  And is it truly moral for a creator to punish and destroy his creations, merely for not loving him?  Christians sometimes argue that there’s somehow a special God clause to our morality system, that allows him to do all kinds of crazy stuff that we’re not allowed to; but does that apply to all creators?
For example, say there’s no God at all, but rather an alien race created us.  They found Earth a million years ago and set about to create an intelligent species, and after experimenting with countless animals, we’re the one that happened to come out on top.    They don’t know who created the universe, but can prove that all the events in the bible are either fictional or non-miracles (ie, they’ve got Tivo), as well as disproving all other disprovable religious concepts.

Would we be required to follow their orders, assuming they couldn’t force us to otherwise?  Like if they wanted us to form a one-world government and to institutionalize communism around the globe, would we really need to?  Sure, they created us, but does that make us their slaves?  Can they really tell us how to live?  And would you be cool with the idea that they’d punish us all for eternity if we didn’t love them completely and unconditionally?  I sure wouldn’t.  Particularly not if they had slimy skin.  But then again, I’m not so cool with the Christian God doing that either.  Overall, the whole “love me or die” thing is a tad bit stalker-ish, even from a creator.  But I’m sure the aliens could convince us that we were merely punishing ourselves by rejecting the aliens.

Or we can take this further and assume the aliens created our entire universe (they, existing in another dimension that we couldn’t possibly comprehend) and actively took a hand in shaping human events, just as people believe God did.  Does that mean we’d have to follow their commands?  I doubt people would agree to that.  So what’s the difference?  Is it because we only need to obey supernatural beings, and that aliens don’t qualify?  Is it the slimy skin?  What if they created us in their image?  Would we then feel better about loving them unconditionally and following their every command?

So how about it for you?  If aliens came down and showed us that they truly were our creators, would you feel automatically compelled to obey them?  To love them?  I doubt it.  So how exactly is this different from what Christians, Muslims, and other religionists expect all of us in our behavior towards their gods?  Would they feel whatever it is towards these aliens, as they do for their current god?

And when asked like this, doesn’t it really undermine their whole system?  How not?   I argue that we’d never willingly submit to aliens, yet what’s more alien than a supernatural being that’s always existed and can do anything?   So why exactly is it that we’d need to obey God?  And is it truly right merely because he says it is?  What kind of morality is that?

3 comments:

whig said...

Don't obey, understand first and then do what you think is right.

Bibblesnæð said...

I believe in God. I follow what I understand to be God's will as well as I can, and I understand God's will to boil down to "Love thy neighbor." I mean, everything God said we should do essentially comes down to that one rule. The Golden Rule is another way of putting it.
You know, I think where a lot of folks who call themselves Christians fall down is that they seem so hellbent on telling the rest of us how to live. If you read the Gospels, I think what Jesus was trying to tell us is how WE should live, not how we should try to get others to live. I ean all the stuff about fighting evil wasn't about how we should pick up a sword (or today, a gun) and go slay allthe infidels; it was about fighting the evil that we all have inside us. It was about fighting the eveil inside ourselves. The problem with that is that it's a whole lot less exciting and glamorous than fighting evildoers and bad guys; nobody's ever going to make a big action movie about my struggle to be just a little bit better today than I was yesterday, and to be a little bit better tomorrow than I was today. So a lot of people would rather misunderstand (willfully or not), and turn the fight outward. It's also a lot less unpleasant, of course, if we can turn our judgement on others than it is if we have to judge ourselves. We'd much rather blame others for things than take a hard look at ourselves and find ourselves wanting.
And I think you miss the point when you ask about the aliens. I don't think I worship God and want to do things that would make God happy because God made me. I do it because I see God as the source from which sprang ALL things, even the aliens in your example who directly made earth and everything and everybody on it. God came first, and will be here long after all other things have gone. God is beyond us, something or someone we cannot see or understand, but God is there nonetheless, I believe. I believe God is the spring from which morality and goodness flow. The better we are, the more selfless and loving we are, the less we think of ourselves and the more we think of others, the nearer we get to God. That is what Christianity is to me.
Now, God is far beyond our ken, and I dn't believe there is only one way to try to become nearer to God. I myself am a Christian, but I do not believe that one has to be a Christian to come nearer to understanding God. God is too far beyond our understanding that there can be only one path to God. Christianity is what works for me; it is the faith I grew up in, and I understand it best, and I love it. But I don't doubt that if I had been brought up a Hindu, or a Zoroastrian or a Confucian or as a member of any other faith, I could, with work, lead the same kind of life and come about as near to God as I have so far come as a Christian--which is not nearly as near as I would like; I still have a long way to go and always will.
The peple you seem to be thinking about are what I mught call lazy Christians. They want everybody else to do what they want. They like to tell how everybody else is going to hell nad they alone are saved. I don't think they really understand much about what Christianity really means, or what God really wants of us. I think that that's why so often the biggest hypocrites turn out to be the fundamentalists--of all religions: fundamentalist Christians who have sex with gay whores and buy crystal meth; fundamentalist Muslims who kill innocent children in the name of their faith; conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who are essentially sypathetic to fundamentalism who get hooked on drugs.
The point i not that what I might call "Serious Christians", the ones who try to spend more time trying to better themselves than they do pointing fingers at others' shortcomings, never drink too much, or get hooked on drugs or gambling, or embezzle from work, or even do worse things; we all sin. The point is that Serious Christians, and I guess this would hold for Serious believers in other faiths, as a rule are not hypocrites. We try not to be harder on others than we are on ourselves.
Now you might ask why I'm pointiung fingers at "bad Christians" if I say I don't want to judge. Well, I think the answer is that when somebody makes such a big deal about how they're so much more devout than everybody else, and are therefore such better people, and try to make everybody else do what they think is right while not doing anything to better themselves, it's kind of important to call them on it. Jesus, after all, did call the pharisees on their hypocracy.
Well, this might be needlessly long, and if so I'm sorry. You might not want to read it all. If not that's perfectly understandable. But I think Christians sometimes get a bad rap because of mean fundamentalist yahoos, and I want to try to speak up for the rest of us.

Freudian Slip said...

There is nothing wrong with having an open mind, of course as long as you aren't forcing that openness on someone else!
Matt