Extraterrestrial's challenge of divinity
Posted By COLIN MCKIM
I hate defending the religious beliefs of human beings to aliens. The probing questions posed by these interlopers from space always throw me a little.
I know the extraterrestrials are simply making an honest effort to understand human behaviour. Fair enough.
But why do they put me on the spot? What do I know?
I'd like to say I'm a stranger here myself. It feels that way a lot of the time.
But, of course, I'm as human as the next guy -- from my opposable thumbs to the dioxins accumulating in my liver.
Last night, I was buttonholed by a one-eyed, blue-skinned creature at the bar in Brewery Bay. When I say buttonholed, I mean it literally. The alien extended a red tentacle, the thickness of shoe-string liquorish, that snaked through a buttonhole in my shirt and looped around my chest. That's something about aliens I dislike -- their invasion of personal space. But if they like you, and this fellow obviously took a shine to me, they can be very forward.
"So who is this God I've been reading about on the buses?" Zigmagor asked in a language that entered my brain through my hair, each syllable soaking in like a drop of starlight.
He had recently come from Toronto (a trip of three milliseconds in the silver starship hovering above Plum Loco) where he had seen the free thinkers' poster: "God probably doesn't exist. So stop worrying and enjoy your life."
And on the other side of the aisle, the rebuttal from the faith groups: "God loves everyone, even those who don't believe in Him."
Zigmagor fixed me with his hypnotic eye, seeking enlightenment.
"God is the supreme being, the creator of heaven and Earth," I explained. "Human beings are created in his image."
Zigmagor sucked up some Honey Brown with his blue proboscis and turned this information over in his Brobdingnagian brain.
"Which human beings reflect your god...males or females?" he asked.
"The males, I guess."
"Whose image are the females created in?" he wondered. He had me there.
"There used to be female gods," I said. "The moon was a goddess. There was a female goddess of love. Wisdom was a goddess. The dawn was also a goddess and the west wind, I think."
"So where are these female gods now?" he asked. "I'm not sure," I said. "There are still temples, but
they're all in ruins."
"But the goddesses themselves, were they not eternal?" Again I struggled to explain the weeding-out process
that had yielded a supernatural monoculture -- every last goddess (and all but one god) plucked from the firmament, replacing the rollicking drinking halls of Olympus with a stuffy and deadly serious Supreme Court of Heaven, presided over by a lone, sexless, grey-bearded, ancient, male judge.
"What kind of existence can your supreme being lead without a woman by his side?" Zigmagor asked. "Aren't females the cradle of life on this planet?"
True enough, I thought.
He probed deeper: "So does this god exist? If your kind can do away with the goddess of love and the goddess of the moon, what makes you think the current supreme being is any less vulnerable to fickle human whim?"
That's where the power of faith comes in, I said. "Nonsense," he replied. "Your planet is not here simply
because I believed I would find a bright blue ball spinning around your yellow sun. It's here in its great mass and spectacular diversity, whether I plot the co-ordinates into my dynastar spacedrive or not."
Where exactly is the reigning god? Or, for that matter, the multitude of his predecessors? Zigmagor wanted to know.
"I guess God lives in our hearts or our souls," I answered somewhat lamely.
"You mean like a parasite?" he joked. "Your supreme being is no more than a flu bug fostering feverish hallucinations."
"I wouldn't go that far," I responded.
"So how precisely does your so-called god differ from a hallucination?"
At this point my whole belief system started to totter as I realized this straight-talking alien from Alpha Centauri was also a figment of my imagination.
It really was shoe string liquorish knotted and looped around my chest as if I were being fitted for a chocolate dinner jacket in a candy store tailor shop.
Still, real or not, Zigmagor raised some troubling questions.
I must pray for guidance.