Von Daniken, Aliens, and Worship
James McGrath, Associate Professor of Religion and Clarence L. Goodwin Chair of New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, and fellow blogger, is teaching a course I wish I could have taken in college -- Religion and Science Fiction. The topic of a recent class concerned the theories of Erich Von Daniken, a purveyor of alien lore. I remember the books and TV shows back in the 1970s, about the Chariots of the Gods. The idea was that many of the amazing buildings and humanly created desert formations owe themselves to alien presences.
The idea that the pyramids of Egypt or South America had alien designers has intrigued folks for some time. We wonder how a much less sophisticated culture could do such things. So, maybe there is a better answer. It is, of course, not just a premise in Von Daniken's books -- consider the Stargate series and movie -- The ancient Egyptian gods were ancient alien travelers.
So, James asks the question:
So let me ask readers of this blog a question an atheist once asked me: If it turned out that "everything in the Bible happened as it says it did," the only difference being that the being who reveals himself and accomplishes these things is a highly evolved intelligence that arose through natural processes over the course of many universes, how if at all would that affect your faith? Would you worship such a being? Why or why not? Would you consider this to scientifically prove the Bible true, or to undermine it, and once again why?
What might your answer be?
Here's my attempt:
You know, I don't have an answer to the question. It's possible, but its hypothetical. The Stargate thesis is that we're masters of our own destiny. If I follow Col. O'Neil, then I guess if such an eventuality turned up, maybe I'd not worship. But, then again . . .