Atheism, aliens and Anglicans
A little while ago, Linda flagged up this newspaper article on the Church of England using 'Doctor Who' in order to spread the good word. Now it seems that the folks at Pharyngula have got hold of the news – and aren't best pleased.
So I thought I'd use this opportunity to write a quick post on an idea that's been floating around my head for a while.
It's impossible to call yourself a real science fiction fan without being aware of Clarke's 3rd Law.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Reading through the comments on the Pharyngula post, specifically some peoples' dislike of 'The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit' episode of Doctor Who (essentially because of its agnostic stance towards the protagonist: Alien or Satan? Who knows?), made me realise that the law could be rephrased/expanded as follows:
“Any sufficiently advanced alien would be indistinguishable from a god.”
Science fiction, in all forms, is replete with such ideas: Egyptian/Roman/Greek gods as alien beings is pretty much cliché.
I'm not suggesting that believing what's commonly referred to as God is an advanced alien is more rational*, but I'd certainly argue that such a belief is as rational as believing god(s) to be divine beings.
(*Although I suspect some would.)
It's entirely possible to conceive of a being or beings sufficiently advanced enough to explain the so-called miraculous events of all religions in perfectly naturalistic, though alien terms: Angels, revelation, resurrection, prophecy... maybe even the creation of the universe itself.
Just a thought.