Open Forum: Amazing universe — Little gray guy hears atheists’ view

Posted: December 27, 2013

The article about atheist mega-churches in the Nov. 22 issue of The Star caused my mind to fabricate the following science fiction story. This may sound a little odd, but as a professional storyteller, this is supposed to happen.

While my grasp of reality may be tenuous as anyone’s, the advantage in my case is that I get paid for my musings. However, I’m submitting this story (where I play the affected role of an atheist) free of charge in accordance with orders from the top. (Matt. 10:8).

The little gray guy landed his spacecraft amongst the painter’s palette of fall color in my back forty. “On our planet,” he explained, “our Creator made only three elements.” “These are,” he went on, “Gray stuff we eat, which is all one color and taste, stuff we breathe, which all smells the same, and gray stuff we make things out of like this spacecraft.” He thumped the gray hull proudly. “This arrangement keeps things orderly and avoids confusion and doesn’t clutter up the place with a lot of colors and icky stuff that we can’t easily identify.”

“Sounds like sour grapes to me.” I said, assuming that he was familiar with the fable of the fox and the grapes. He looked perplexed “Sour ...?”

“Oh, never mind.” I said. As a patriotic Earthling, I felt the need to one-up this space character.

“Here, we have 105 elements more or less. Some are so unstable that they destroy themselves and go extinct while new ones are always being discovered,” I began. “Besides making a multitude of colors, fragrances and tastes possible, they also do all sorts of neat things for us. There’s silicon — which can be a sealant, a lubricant, building material and even stores information. There’s carbon — which can fix a stomach ache, fire a cookout grill and even cut glass and hardened metal — the list goes on and on.”

“For instance, there’s lithium — it’s used in ceramics, alloys and the hydrogen bomb. If that bums you out, just eat a little of it and you’ll get over it. It’s good for treating gout, too. Then there’s selenium whose electrical conductivity changes with variations of light. There’s also praseodymium, which in glass, filters out yellow light so people working around fire can see what they’re doing — and don’t forget thulium, which produces X-rays, and cesium that is used in atomic clocks that vary less than five seconds in 10 generations.”

“And,” I concluded, “the most amazing thing is that we atheists are aware that these elements have no Creator — it all happened by chance.”

“And all this happened by itself?” the gray guy asked, pointing downward and making a stirring motion with one of the three long gray fingers on his right hand.

“Sure did!” I replied. “There was a big bang, and there it all was.”

“With no initial source of energy to convert to matter or vice-versa?” he further inquired.

“You’re catching on,” I replied. “No God, no Creator, or even a rich uncle — just poof and there it all was.”

He started backing away, keeping his eyes on me as though I might be dangerous. He quickly dove into his craft and sped away and was quickly out of sight. Poor little guy. I guess that I would find all this hard to believe myself — if I had just landed here from another planet.

Theodore Day is a resident of Capon Bridge, W.Va.