“Thank you.” said Rion, as Ed handed him a bottle of beer. They both sat there quietly at first looking up at the sky. “Do you believe that intelligent life exists on these other planets?” Rion asked.
Ed thought on the question for before answering. “You know, I’m torn on that question.”
“Why is that?”
“I know there are probably billions of planets out there that could support life. Odds are there has to be intelligent life on other planets. On the other hand, the priest in me wants to believe that Earth is something special, and that God sent his only son to lead us to salvation. If intelligent life, like us, does exist out there it would have a profound impact on Christianity and Catholicism, not to mention how man views himself. Fortunately, it’s not likely we will ever know the answer to that question. The distances between the stars are simply far too great to find out for certain. Earth stations have been searching the stars for decades for communications signals from outer space, but we’ve never received one.”
“None of this means that life doesn’t exist out there.”
“That’s right, and that’s why we will never stop looking and listening.”
Rion continued. “Do you think it’s possible that if there is life on another planet, it could look just like us?”
“I doubt it. I believe in evolution. It’s not likely that the evolutionary process that’s taken place here on Earth would be replicated that closely somewhere else.”
“Let’s say that it was and that someone from that planet arrived here on Earth and you were the first person to meet him, what would you ask that person?”
“I’d ask him if he believes in God,” Ed responded seriously.
“And what if he didn’t?”
“I’d tell him never to play poker.”
Rion chuckled, Ed’s answer surprised him. “What does that have to do with it?”
“People who don’t believe in God are bad gamblers.”
“Think of it this way. If you don’t believe in God and he doesn’t exist, you lose. No heaven, no afterlife. If you don’t believe in God and he does exist, you lose. You may have an afterlife, but it may not be a desirable one. If you believe in God and he doesn’t exist, you lose, no heaven no afterlife. But if you do believe in God, and follow his commandments, of course, and he does exist you win, you have eternal life. Why put your chips on any other bet?”
“That’s awfully simplistic.”
“True, but it alone won’t lead you to God. What happened before the big bang? If man can conceive of perfection how can perfection not exist? Look at the world and Universe around us. Evolutionists say all this just happened randomly. Random leads to chaos. Evolution isn’t chaos; it’s a work of beauty. It’s not just survival of the fittest, its survival of the beautiful and the search for perfection.”
“That’s a lot to think about, Ed.”
“I’ve been thinking about all my adult life. It’s one of the reasons I became a priest.”
“I just don’t know how you reconcile all the things you’ve just said and that you say when you’re standing in front of that altar in church with science.”
“You don’t. Science tells us how. Religion tells us why.”
Rion thought about that while looking up at the stars as he finished his beer.
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