Please indulge my sharing the following fantasy.
Astronomers and other scientists are increasingly confident that there is likely to be life on planets in other galaxies, if not the rudimentary elements of life on planets or moons in our own solar system. Yet, there is no convincing evidence accepted by the same scientists that there are advanced species like our own out in space somewhere.
So, here is my fantasy. What if God is at this very moment in a quandary, trying to decide whether to give the go-ahead for conscious beings like ourselves to develop on other planets and moons? And what if God would make that decision on the basis of how we, ordinary human beings of earth, are treating the gifts of life and freedom we have been given?
I find that a sobering thought. From cameras on space probes and previous space flights, we have amazing views of our home, Earth. Yes, there are larger planets, but there is nothing that we can view from space that is as beautiful as our own Earth. If an astronaut did not know better, she might assume that she is looking down on Eden.
Indulge my taking this fantasy a step further and imagine the following conversation with God.
Humanity: God of all, we fear that you may be seeing our world at a tipping point. Can we talk about the situation before you make a decision about the future?
God: Nice of you to finally notice. And nice of you to finally ask for a chat.
Humanity: Granted, it has been awhile since we sought your advice. Yes, we have asked you for a lot, but we rarely listen.
God: No argument for me on that score. I guess you’ve heard that I’m debating about bringing life to other planets and moons. I mean to say, where do I start with my concerns?
Humanity: Well, about that, God of all, we’d beg you not to overreact. We have a list that we’d like you to consider. Let’s start here, with the light and truth that Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. shared with the world.
God: But what have you done with that light and truth? Nearly 50 years after King’s death, I suddenly hear about this “Black Lives Matter” campaign. When did black lives not matter to me? Don’t people know that I created everyone?
Humanity: Let’s not be hasty, O Lord of the Universe. There’s others on our list. Remember the compassion of Mother Theresa?
God: What about ISIS? What about Assad?
Humanity: Granted, O God, but don’t forget Nelson Mandala. Oh, and what about Pope Francis? You’ve got to love those guys.
God: Of course, I love those guys. They understood that I gave humans the gift of life and freedom for the purpose of your learning to love one another. They understood that the two most important keys to life are forgiveness and gratitude.
Humanity (feeling relieved): Yes, and we’re mighty proud of them.
God: Just a minute. I’m not finished. You keep wanting me to judge you by looking at your list, your “A” team. But what has most of humanity done with those gifts of life and freedom? Do you not realize that I love the homeless person, the displaced person from the Middle East, and the masses living under two dollars a day just as much as I love those saints?
Humanity: Pardon me for saying this, but you’re asking a lot of, well, the lot of us.
God: So this is what I have decided. My decision to create life elsewhere in the universe will be based not on your saints and moral superstars. No, my decision will be based on a random segment of humanity. Let’s see, who will that be? Oh, I have it. I’ll base my decision on everyone reading this column. Yes, that’s what I will do. I will give everyone who reads this column one year to live in such a way that I will want to create other Earths filled with life.
Dear readers. Of course, this is a fantasy. Of course, how we live our daily lives and make our daily decisions cannot be this important, can it?