August 22, 2009

Alien Like Me

Filed under: Pressing Toward the Mark — Katryna Starks @ 4:44 pm

I just saw the movie District 9. In most alien movies, the aliens arrive at Earth on purpose, disembark from their spacecraft and announce themselves as either friend or foe. In District 9, none of this happens. Instead, the hapless aliens suffer a space breakdown and pull off of the celestial freeway just over South Africa where a piece falls off of their ship, stranding them until it can be fixed.

These creatures don’t love us, don’t hate us, could probably care less about us. They just want to go home. We, however, regard them with a mixture of loathing and envy. In essence, we want to exploit them for their weaponry and labor while keeping them as far away from our everyday lives as possible.

The documentary style of this film creates a sense of reality not seen in many alien movies. The aliens aren’t larger-than-life and they don’t make demands of our nations leaders. They are pushed into slums and taken advantage of by everyone around them. Strangers in a strange land, indeed.

As I watched the film, I wondered what humanity’s response would be if aliens such as these actually came to earth. After the film was over, I thought of a variation: How would Christians respond?

Specifically, would Christians regard them as overgrown insects and not take an interest in how they are treated or what our government does with them? Or, would we see them as children of God, albeit different from us? Would we claim dominion over them or would we fight for their rights? Would these decisions be based on what they looked like? Would that be right, or fair?

Many Christians don’t believe in extraterrestrials, but the Bible doesn’t indicate that God created life only on Earth. It only says that God created life. Scientists have surmised that, with the number of planets per galaxy and the assumed number of galaxies in the universe, it is statistically impossible that only one planet contains life. In other words, someone is definitely out there.

Perhaps we’ll never meet them. But don’t be surprised if some future Christians find themselves looking into the eyes of humanoid squids and asking themselves “What would Jesus do?”