The following interview occurred many years ago when I was in my twenties. I thought I was just answering the questions of a curious teen-aged boy and it never occurred to me that he was an alien sent to interview me about my beliefs. He was the smartest person I had ever met, and considering he said he was an oncoming high school freshman (Grade 7), I could not easily forget the conversation we had.
Before I go into the details of the interview, I would like to say that there are many kinds of aliens who come to Earth. When they mix with us Earthlings, the ones sent for such purpose would be aliens who look like the locals of the Earth community they would be visiting. For example, if they want to know what's happening in Syria, they would send Middle-Eastern looking aliens. If they want to get a “feel” of the life in China, they would send Chinese looking aliens. They don't want to attract attention which surely they would get if one of them who was ten feet tall would walk the streets of Shanghai, or even if he had blond hair mixing with the locals in Cambodia.
Their technology is so advanced they could see and hear anything they would like to know, and many thing besides, but there is a difference between using technology and actual observation and inter-action. The human or humans they would be visiting would act naturally, unmindful of the alien or aliens around them if they look just like the locals; and most importantly, there would be immediate inter-action between the Earthlings and the aliens – feedback and response that would not be possible to gain through technological devices.
The trip to Manila from our province was an eight-hour long bus ride, sometimes even longer, depending on the road conditions. Ever since I can remember, there was always a portion of the highway being repaired and this would cause delays, not because of the volume of vehicles but more on the condition of the road.
I took the night trip from the bus terminal, having reserved a seat two days ealier. The seat I got was the second row behind the driver. Several minutes after we had left the terminal, I noticed that the seat in front of me, directly behind the driver, was vacant, so I moved onto it.
On the seat near the window was a boy and I asked him if the seat I had was taken, and he said no. The seat was quite spacious, there being three seats each on this side. I asked if he was going to Manila, too, and he said he was a first year student at the Manila Science High School, a school for whiz kids. Partly out of curiosity and partly to test him, I asked where the M.S.H. was. He could not reply, and thinking that he grew up in the province like me, I said, “I think it's in Santa Cruz”. (It's wrong, it's in Ermita District).
I looked at him and he was about four feet or more in height, dark-skinned, typical of Filipino kids although he seemed older than the usual 13-year old starting high school. He held his head high when he volunteered he was an oncoming freshman at the M.H.S., so I let it go at that,
After the preliminaries and we were comfortably seated, he turned to me and asked, “Why are there different kinds of people?” I was taken aback. Here was a kid I had just known for a few minutes, green behind the ears and he was already asking a philosophical question that has puzzled mankind for centuries.
“There are different kinds of people because each of us have different lessons to learn”, I said.
“What I mean”, he said with a voice approaching that of contempt, “is why are there smart people and mediocre people?”
“I don't know if you believe in reincarnation or not, but according to Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, there are different kinds of people because of reincarnation. A man is reborn and then evolves with every rebirth, unless he commits suicide, which stops his spiritual growth temporarily. By the way, a person always comes back as a person, not as a cow or some other kind of animal. Each kind of creature or animal has its own evolutionary path to follow”.
I also explained that people have different missions or purposes in life, or have different things to learn and I wanted to give an example but he seemed to be nodding in agreement. I kept silent; inside a moving bus was hardly the place to discuss philosophy.
“Do you believe in God?” he asked curiously.
I almost jumped out of my seat. Here is another complex question and how would I answer it in such a way simple enough for a 13-year-old to understand? First, I did not know which God he was referring to. The Christian God? Hindu God? Jewish God? Budhhist God? He spoke Tagalog and a little Ilocano, our native dialect in the north, so I assumed he was Catholic, of which the majority of the people are, or at least a Christian.
Second, if he was a Christian, I did not want to upset his beliefs because I believe acquiring new dogma needs time for it to sink in.
“You'll go crazy if you don't believe in God”, I replied in general terms. I was looking straight ahead but I could sense he was not very happy with my answer. He looked like a school administrator waiting for more responses from an applicant. I went on to explain that God is not some father, judge, or a terror who keeps watching over his subjects, etc. I explained that God is a spirit, and that he is so far above us – mankind. Because God is so highly placed above us, we cannot totally understand him but we believe he exists. I told him of the Hindu hierarchy of deities, and that it is actually accurate to assume that such hierarchy exists. I also pointed out that there is an anti-God and a God, and if there is a positive force, then there must also be a negative one. I added that negative here does not mean bad or evil; rather that it is just the opposite of another force.
“Although the positive and negative gods are equal, we – mankind, with our finite knowledge conceive God as being the Greatest of them.”