Lead: “If God had made life elsewhere, He would have told us.”
Body: Southern Baptists along with the majority of rural America, black and white, protested the claim that there might be life on any of the seven planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1. We have Shantel Williams live from the Kennedy Space Center with more …
As a child of the 80s, I remember how religious dogma (even fake and non-Biblical dogma) was more important than truth. I found it disgusting and incomprehensible.
But then I went to prison, and had a religious moment of my own. After I was arrested for telling my vindictive ex-girlfriend about the consensual affair I had with my bio-mom and bio-half-sister (at their request, albeit under the influence of GSA) after meeting them, I realized that God must be a Republican, a Nazi, a demon, or something similar. God must hate sex with the passion that conservatives do. God must be an anti-sex God. Otherwise, how could this have happened to me?
I learned something from the intense suffering of jail and prison. People don’t originally treat the ridiculous cosmology of the Bible as empirical truth. The Bible—an object of worship in uplifting Protestant church events—is a talisman of magick and hope. The reason people believe in the zany Christian mythos and awful Hebrew creation stories is because they want God to help them.
Religious belief has nothing to do with interest in truth, and everything to do with wanting to be happy.
The Christian view of God is someone who wants, above all things, to be believed in. God is an insecure God. If you send God belief points, they say, He will free you from jail or destroy your cancer or send you money. Obeying God is a quick and easy way to have a better life. If there’s even a 1% chance that there is such a God, it really does make sense to worship the hell out of him. Why discard an (almost) free advantage?
So prepare for Christians to insist that the Trappist planets can have no life on them. Why? The two official reasons:
- Genesis doesn’t mention them. Life was made only on Earth because the Bible only mentions Earth life. But this is invalid. Many things that are known to exist are not mentioned.
- God would not make people on other planets because then their inhabitants would be doomed to damnation, since they could not have the opportunity to believe in Christ. This is also invalid. There might be a Bible on the Trappist planets, although it would have to begin with, “The following events happened long ago on a star far, far away …” (Imagine having a Bible whose events all happened on another planet.)
Those are the official reasons, anyway. The real reason is that they’re poorly educated. There is lot of bad cosmology in the Bible. Contrary to what the Bible says, the sky is not really a concrete dome with hinged doors that open when it rains. Nor is the planet Venus a cursed angel.
What does this have to do with intercessory prayer and theurgy, which are the real motivations of American believers? (Research shows that 90% of American Protestants are “prosperity Christians.” They are in it for the gain. God has made a deal: we act and believe a certain way, and he sends us money and health. 90%.) Believing shitty cosmology is tied to receiving God’s blessings because (according to American preachers) God will be angry if you question His physics.
The real reason people get mad at the thought of Trappist beings is that they are afraid God will be offended and they’ll lose their (coming, around the corner) blessings. Personal suffering, in other words, is what motivates willful belief in lies. I imagine that it has always been that way. Formalized:
- If claim A has more evidence than claim B, you should believe in A.
- If believing in A rather than B upsets God, you will lose your blessings.
- It is more important to be happy than know truth.
- Therefore, you should believe in B.
In American Protestantism, God wants more than anything to be believed in! Even in early historical Christianity, this would have been a bizarre focus for a cult. Only an imaginary God could have such an obsession. The actual people I know crave a myriad of things from me, but belief in their existence is never one of them.