Not long ago I was outside of my work waiting for a bus to pick me up. A friend and coworker walked by and noticed I was reading a book titled ‘The Tangible Kingdom’ and questioned me why I would read such a book. After explaining to him that I was a pastor he jumped with enthusiasm saying, “Really?! I never took you as being a particularly religious person!”
And then came the questions; “So you believe in God then?”
“Yes I do.” I responded.
“Do you believe in Jesus?” he asked.
“Yes.” I answered with a little bit of hesitation and internal wondering where he was going to take this conversation. Before I could question him on his own intentions he quickly threw out his next question… “Do you believe in Aliens?”
I must admit to being a little thrown back by the question. It’s not exactly your normal everyday conversations which make you contemplate faith and the vastness of space. I quickly hashed my thoughts in my brain in that moment. If I say no then I will be deemed a fundamental creationist, judged irrational with no liberal freedom, and banished from any sense of acknowledgement to intelligent dialogue. If I say yes then I am just a kooky, science fictional “Star Trek” lover, who probably leads some whacked out cult!
I must admit to contemplating the realities in which we treat the idea and existence of Truth in our culture. Is it objective or subjective? And how does it relate to religion and science? It seems that in the mind set of my friend religion or faith is based on a creed, doctrine, or traditionalism set out by a denomination or organizational affiliation which is stated to be a fact or truth. Perhaps he is right in some cases of fundamental ideology but that is not what faith is; at least that is not what faith is to me. Faith is a holistic approach to our relationship to Truth as it encounters culture, context, tradition, and the crux of what it means to be human. This is something which encompasses not just the beliefs and formation or religious ecclesiology but also transfigures the practices and foci of science.
I often think of truth in the image of a prism. Truth is a white light fragmented into a million different colors, shapes, and sizes. Each color being a conception whether it is religion, science, or philosophy which resembles some part of the original whole. It is when we are willing to look beyond our own rigid borders and ideologies that we might recognize a relationship we have with not just each other in experiential subjective truth but, the source we embody or resemble in the white light of objective Truth. We can leave the conversation of whom or what the prism is for another time.
As for my friend who wondered if I believed in aliens I simply said, “I don’t know if there are aliens or not. But, if there are I believe God loves them just as he does the rest of his creation.”
I might also ask the question though; if evolution is about a truth that constant change is always plausible then is it not logical to assume that scientific fact has the plausibility of changing?