The Unbelievables

Since X-Files is mostly what I do in my free time now, it probably shouldn’t amuse me that I’ve watched two ironically-timed episodes today: a) government conspiracy involving aliens, human testing subjects, or alien/human hybrids, all while doing my taxes for the indefatigable IRS; b) watching an episode involving stigmata, and possibly a miracle, on Easter.

It’s the second one that is interesting from the standpoint of the series itself.

Scully sees a series of events that Mulder happens not to, all of which point to a Biblical miracle. When she proposes the theory, Mulder scoffs at her, but she’s able to save the child involved. She goes to confession at the end of the episode, and tells the pastor that she’s more afraid than anything, now that she’s witnessed this miracle: afraid that God is speaking, but no one might be listening.

From a purely technical standpoint, Mulder’s attitude is annoying, yet expected in the arc of the series — the role-reversal, I mean. His refusal to believe in a possible miracle (by the way, even after witnessing a devil-worshipping town) is particularly confusing. He says, “fanatics who believe in this stuff give honest paranoics like me a bad name.”

So what Mulder’s actually saying is that he’d rather believe in aliens and unexplained scientific phenomenon than faith-based occurrences.

On one level, this makes sense; as a logical skeptic myself, I’m far more likely to believe in non-human civilizations on the other side of the galaxy than that an all-seeing, benevolent deity shapes our lives and motivations.

On another level, it’s more disturbing. Scully sees these things with her own eyes, as evidence, even though Mulder doesn’t. And though Mulder has this happen to him, oh, I don’t know, every other episode, he doesn’t give her credit for what she’s witnessed.

Either Mulder considers her an unreliable witness — which in itself is sheer madness — or he simply refuses to believe in the concept of faith, or any indication that the events that are depicted in the Bible are true.

That begs another question that is more personal to me: if I were faced with inexplicable things — not aliens or telepathy, or astral projection, but life after death, and heaven, and an omniscient entity — how would I respond?

Would I go where the evidence takes me? My belief in the scientific system of thought requires that I consider all the proof at hand, and that I shouldn’t let current dogma overrule new evidence.

At the same time there’s no known theory for God(s), for the afterlife, or faith-based healing.

Or perhaps I’d have to conclude that only some known things in the universe fit into the scientific structure, and that some other things must simply be excluded.

It’s a curious discussion, and it makes me wonder if this is how religious scientists operate.

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