Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Silence, the Fermi Paradox, and Hope

                
In 1969, Samuel Beckett’s play “Breath” hit the stage. It’s a 30 second play. The curtains open, the lights go up, and the stage is filled with scene of garbage and refuse. A moment goes by and a human cry imposes on the gloomy silence. Then a whimper. Then the lights go out.
                For many people, this play depicts their view of life: garbage, isolation, pain, and then the curtain call. It’s in this great despair of loneliness that many people have spent their entire lives seeking a word from another planet. Thousands of people have given their lives to listening to the static of space, hoping, assuming, and expecting to hear a voice from the other side of the universe. And do you know why they expect to hear something? Scientists estimate there are 100 billion earth-like planets in the universe. As such, they believe life should be present elsewhere and thus they keep listening. But nothing has shown up…
                In fact, there’s a scientific theory called the Fermi paradox, named after an early 20th century Italian scientist by the name of Enrico Fermi, that tries to ascertain the apparent contradiction between the high probability of alien life and yet the lack of evidence for such aliens. There are a number of differing theories on why we haven’t heard anything, but my particular favorites are these…
1)      Higher civilizations are here, all around us. But we’re too primitive to perceive them.
2)      There are scary predator civilizations out there, but as more evolved life forms they know better than to broadcast outgoing signals and advertise their locations.

I want you to notice the commonalities between Samuel Beckett and those listening to space…
Silence and loneliness rage our hearts and lives; and there’s a deep longing for something or someone to show themselves and deal with the garbage of our lives. So let me ask…
             What if there was a higher power out there who was personal, communicative, good, and strong enough to explain our condition and provide a solution? What if He, though more highly developed, chose, out of the goodness of His heart, to reveal Himself and a path to hope?
             Sure, some people might perceive him as an alien, predator civilization seeking to destroy our way of life, but others just might trust the good intentions of this super power. Could I be so bold as to suggest that this higher power is the God revealed in the Bible, the God defined and described by Jesus Christ, and the hope laid out in the message of Christianity? 

3 years after Samuel Beckett's play opened, a book was published with a counter-cultural message for a title. What was it? Francis Schaeffer's He is There and He is Not Silent.

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