On October 30, 1938, Orsen Wells broadcast a fictional report of a Martian invasion at Grovers Mill, New Jersey. This town is only 50 miles away from where my parents were living. The so-called War of the Worlds “news bulletins” describing this invasion sounded real. People believed them, and some panicked.
Many years later, my mother told me that night had been a quiet Sunday evening. Then people from her church started telephoning her asking if she saw any space ships of the Martian invasion. Being a Christian fundamentalist, she wasn’t afraid. She thought others were crazy because the Bible never mentioned life on other planets.
Is earth the only place in the universe possessing intelligent life? An answer came less than nine years later, on July 8, 1947, when the famous Roswell, NM, UFO crash event occurred. It was not an invasion or war, but curiously just two months later, on September 18, 1947, the CIA was launched. Just a coincidence?
Maybe, but since then authorities have organized and promoted detailed denials and cover-ups, by explaining subsequent crashes and sightings as “weather balloons”, “swamp gas” or “flares.” This gathered information is classified higher than the information on the H-bomb.
At the time of the War of the Worlds broadcast, it hadn’t been that long since scientists had enlarged their concept of the Universe. The Great Debate in 1920 questioned if the universe is comprised of one lone galaxy, our Milky Way, or many galaxies. It was 1924 when astronomer Edwin Hubble answered this question. Using the Hooker telescope he proved that the universe is not composed of a single galaxy, the Milky Way. He announced that the spiral nebula Andromeda was also a galaxy.
Today, astronomers estimate that there are up to 2 trillion galaxies in the Universe. How vast is this? Inconceivably big! If you were able to investigate one galaxy per second it would take you over 63,000 earth years to finish the survey. The Lord certainly likes to create on a gigantic scale!
Are we the only intelligent beings in the universe? Many religious followers insist that we are. Yet reason suggests we are not alone.
Christians of literal persuasion – fundamentalist and evangelicals – teach that God’s sole intent of creating the universe was to create people here on Earth. They say that if God created life anywhere else, then it would be written in Genesis. Like my mom, they believe if it isn’t in the Bible, it can’t possible be so even if ample evidence says it is so.
But the Bible is not the sole authority on the topic. Enlightened Masters, saints, and sages tell us the universe is teeming with life.
Bengali Baba, a Himalayan sage said, “A human being should be a human being first. A real human being is a member of the cosmos.”
Buddhist scholars state that “the picture of the world presented in Buddhist cosmology…is the universe as seen through the divyacakṣus, the ‘divine eye’ by which a Buddha or an arhat who has cultivated this faculty can perceive all of the other worlds and the beings arising and passing away within them…”
In the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds—he, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.” Krishna continues with, “The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the Manus come from Me, born from My mind, and all the living beings populating the various planets descend from them.”
The founder of Sikhism, Nanak, wrote that there are many worlds on which Waheguru (“Wonderful Lord”) has created life. “You are the One True Lord and Master of all the other beings, of so many worlds.”
In Judaism there is a singe reference in the Book of Judges to an inhabited place called Maroz, which the Talmud identifies as a star.
In the Qur’an, the Muslim scripture, mentions, “Then Praise be to Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth, Lord and Cherisher of all the Worlds!”
An Italian Catholic stigmatist, Saint Padre Pio (1887- 1968), was told, “They say that on other planets, there are more creatures of God.” He replied, “And you wanted that the omnipotence of God was limited to the little planet Earth? And you wanted that there weren’t other creatures loving the Lord? The Lord won’t have certainly ingrown his glory to this small planet.”
I do not think we are alone in the Universe. Documented facts of UFO events occurring on earth and the incredible number of galaxies in the universe force us to reevaluate our concepts of God and Creation. Far from negating religion, the sheer vastness of the Universe should expand our concepts of the Creator. Instead of denial, we should be in awe!