According to Ancient Alien Theorists…
Have any of you watched the show called Ancient Aliens on the History Channel? I am a little embarrassed to say that it is a guilty pleasure of mine. I started watching it with my boyfriend and his mom, and at first we were making fun of it. Every show follows the same format. Some element of history is discussed, and all the questions that exist are laid out. Then the narrator says something like, “Could it be that the Hindu God of destruction, Shiva, was actually an extraterrestrial? According to ancient alien theorists, the answer is yes!” Then some experts in ancient alien theory explain how it was actually an advanced war-like civilization that started all the folklores that we know today.
But something strange started to happen. The more we watched, the less ridiculous it seemed. I found myself thinking, “hang on…that’s interesting…” And then I got thinking about some of the ‘ridiculous’ things that I believe, without any real proof. I believe that I can send a signal carrying my voice up to a satellite and it will get relayed to whoever I want to receive the signal. I’ve never actually seen it. I believe that dinosaurs once existed. I’ve seen bones, but hey, those could be anything as far as I know.
But that’s faith for you. Faith is holding something to be true without knowing for sure. It is the result of a lack of total understanding combined with a hunch that something is so.
It is easy to look at someone’s beliefs from the outside and scoff at how crazy they seem. I’ve seen this happening a lot recently…”how could you see the evidence and not realize sexism still exists?” “Why would anyone vote for (insert candidate here)?” “With all the scripture we have, how could you not believe in Jesus Christ?” “With all the scientific evidence, how can anyone believe in intelligent design?” I my experience though, I’ve yet to come across any beliefs, especially religious beliefs, that are more or less crazy than mine. Approached in this way, it is easier to keep my defenses down when someone else calls something I believe ridiculous or silly, and to keep my own judgmental nature at bay if their beliefs seem strange.
Another interesting aspect of faith is how different each individual’s criterion for evidence is. Some people are good to go with a feeling or impression. For others, it something has to make logical sense. For others, it takes absolute proof. Often in conversations with people about the Church, this becomes a stumbling block. One person can’t understand why another needs to ask so many questions. The other doesn’t get how the first person could possibly be ok with, “because I felt it was right.” And so we end up talking past one another.
With dinosaur bones and cell phone signals, I have to operate on faith because I lack the knowledge and understanding to know about them. I think most spiritual things work that way, too. Right now, it’s like each of us has a different filter on. Maybe one day everyone will have access to the full spectrum of understanding, but for now we have to rely on one another by listening and trying to understand. That is, I think, how we will make the most progress. And who knows. Maybe the answer will be aliens after all.