I guess one thing I'd never thought about is whether Martians, assuming there are Martians, will be condemned to hell.

That's because I haven't been paying close enough attention to Ken Ham, the leader of a fundamentalist Christian organization named “Answers in Genesis.”

Ham gained some national reputation this week by asserting that he thinks space exploration is a waste of taxpayer money because there can be no such thing as extraterrestrial life but that, if there is such a thing, the extraterrestrials will all burn in hell.

Now, you might be saying at this point, “Huh?”

Ham's contention is that all of life is condemned but is redeemed through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Since beings on other planets, or in other galaxies, could not have experienced Christ, they cannot be redeemed and, therefore, most likely don't exist.

So, what has that to do with space exploration?

“One of the big thrusts in the space program is to look for life in outer space, look for alien life and, of course, they believe that because they think that they (alien life) came about as a result of naturalistic evolution,” Ham said.

So, if you're a creationist and you don't believe in “naturalistic evolution” then you don't worry much about extraterrestrial life because it can't exist.

Or something like that.

Ham is not a nut case. He is a successful entrepreneur. His Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky has 70,000 square feet of exhibits, among them dinosaurs which co-exist with humans. The State of Kentucky is granting him millions to complete a replica of Noah's Ark. It will be an additional tourist draw to the state.

At the same time, we probably have to admit that if God has friends like Ken Ham, we probably don't want to meet God's enemies.

We live in a world that is willfully ignorant of scientific principles. We'd rather assume that 97 percent of our climate scientists are corrupt than make the changes necessary to mitigate the coming climate disaster. We have fanatics in Pakistan who murder medical workers because they are administering polio vaccines. We pollute our water and air, store up nuclear wastes that will be poisonous for thousands of years, cut down rain forests.

Must I go on?

Dinosaurs did not live at the time of our human ancestors. They did not go extinct in Noah's flood. Astronomers say there are countless billions, perhaps trillions of stars in the known universe and the laws of probability suggests that at least some of them will have conditions suitable for some kind of life.

People of faith do believe there is some kind of purpose in all this. People of faith do not believe that, if God created life on some far away planet, he did so to condemn that life to hell.