Arrival of Fred

Why an alien landing would disturb the world’s religions

Bob Schmidt is a longtime journalist and SN&R contributor.

What the people of the planet Earth need is peace. Maybe what the people of the planet Earth need for peace is an alien. Not the illegal alien who sneaks from one country to another, but a real alien, hopefully friendly, who arrives in a spaceship.

OK, this is my fantasy: This hopefully friendly alien has made it known that it is coming as an explorer, and it isn’t shot dead by some panicky Minuteman as it steps from its spaceship. Somehow it can communicate with us, and somehow it has made its presence known to every human being on the planet.

Let’s call the alien Fred, since it is a sentient, intelligent being with a personality, and Fred is a good name. Or Grace, if you prefer. Of course, the inhabitants of Fred’s planet may not have any gender at all. Or, maybe, more than two.

Fred would almost certainly look different from the people of Earth.

What would the reaction be? Fear, consternation, curiosity, wonder? Fred’s arrival would certainly be disturbing to religions, all of which are based on beliefs that don’t explain Fred or the planet it came from.

Religion has been the cause for much of the misery afflicting inhabitants of the planet Earth down through the centuries and today. Millions and millions of people have been murdered, and are being murdered today, because people with the capacity to kill say, “My god is the one true god. Believe in him the way I believe in him, or I will kill you.”

And they have killed, and are killing.

So if a sentient, intelligent being from someplace other than Earth suddenly appears among us, with obvious technological superiority (we lack the technology to go there, wherever “there” is, but it could come here), what does that do to the book of Genesis and the New Testament and the Quran?

Wouldn’t there be questions now? Might there be some doubt about that which, before Fred arrived, there had been certainty? Wouldn’t it be obvious that the stories in the Bible and the Quran about how Earth and its inhabitants were created are incomplete?

The arrival of Fred would not disprove the existence of a superhuman agency, but it would raise the question of whether the superhuman agency which is credited with creating our universe also created Fred’s planet’s universe, and Fred’s ancestors.

Or might there have been a separate agency?

What I hope would happen is that the radical Muslims who are killing other Muslims and noncombatant non-Muslims and are claiming that their murders are with Allah’s approval might become not so certain about what they think they know of Allah.

Might the killing stop? Probably not all of it, since much of the killing is done by flawed Muslim murderers who are in direct violation of Allah’s commands, as relayed by Muhammad in the Quran.

So maybe it is too much to hope for, that the arrival of Fred the alien might bring peace on Earth.

Maybe, after all, war is the only way to achieve peace.