religion column

About 30 years ago, my wife and I were driving home when we were captivated by three bright lights dancing through the night sky. We pulled over on the shoulder of the road, and for the next 10 minutes we sat spellbound as we watched these lights dart back and forth, circling together then quickly separating only to reconnect once more, flying ever and ever higher and then quickly descending at a rate that was not easily explained. We were pretty sure what we observed was not from this world.

It’s not such a far-fetched question these days: Are UFOs real? Are we actually being visited by aliens from other planets? The Pentagon is declassifying documents this month revealing decades of investigations into this very question, and Congress will meet to discuss what these reports uncover. I’m anticipating some excitement in the news over the next few weeks. How will these declassified documents impact your life if they deliver up more than imagination or speculation and if UFOs aren’t merely in the realm of sci-fi?

What would really change if extraterrestrials existed? Would they simply analyze us like bugs under a magnifying glass, would they conquer and enslave us, or would they bestow some of their phenomenal technology on us, transforming our very way of life? Beyond all of that, how would they impact our faith?

I doubt proof of the existence of alien life would change the answers to many of life’s biggest questions. Why are we here, where do we go when we die, what is the good life, how do I find my purpose, and a host of many other significant questions would still be rooted here on planet Earth — extraterrestrial life will neither validate nor invalidate the Word of God either.

The Bible seems silent on the subject of extraterrestrial life throughout the rest of the universe, though the Bible describes the realities of highly intelligent beings besides humans, namely angels and demons. Since we believe in a supernatural/spiritual realm outside our worldly experiences, namely heaven, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine another corner of our galaxy having the ability to host life as well.

I’m open to the idea that there might be life on other planets — it is an awfully big universe after all. Even if there was plausible evidence collaborating the photos and videos we have indicating UFOs exist, we would still need to get up for work, do the dishes and the laundry, take care of our families, be faithful to God, and tend to our many responsibilities. Life would, by necessity, go on.

Life is big, majestic, vastly mysterious, extremely complex, and infinitely fascinating, and I hope we never lose sight of the wonders of our experience here on Earth. Life can become so boring and tedious if we allow our daily routines to lull us into a sleepwalking/autopilot robotic existence — so don’t settle for the mundane. Life is amazing when we stop to think about it.

Whether or not UFOs exist and choose to allow us to know them, babies and puppies will still steal our hearts, no one will ever cook better than grandma, full moons along with sunrises and sunsets in addition to star-filled nights will forever remain immensely beautiful, meals around the table with our families and worshipping with our churches will always be irreplaceable, and nothing will replace the joy of the Lord.

Recommended Videos

Craig Cottongim is the minister at the New Song Church in Kingsport. You can reach him at