In the movie Contact, Jodie Foster plays Dr. Arroway, an atheist scientist who works for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program at an observatory in Puerto Rico. She and her colleagues work tirelessly using high-tech equipment to analyze the airwaves for possible signals sent by extraterrestrial life.
After years of patiently scanning the skies, they finally hit the jackpot -- a strong signal repeating a sequence of prime numbers, apparently emitting from the Vega star. The moment Dr. Arroway hears a pattern in the signal, she immediately recognizes that it was produced by an intelligent source.
"Those are primes!" she exclaims. "Two, Three, Five, Seven...those are all prime numbers and there's no way that's a natural phenomenon!"
Dr. Arroway's reaction to the pattern in the signal is a reasonable one. The human mind naturally recognizes purposeful patterns when it encounters them, and logically infers that they are the product of intelligence. But for those who have made up their minds that God does not exist, the search for intelligence is highly selective. Dr. Arroway, like her atheist colleagues, is only prepared to see intelligence where they want to see it. The complexity they encounter in nature, and even in their own DNA, though far more complex than a list of prime numbers, does not impress them in the same way.
It seems that the weighty implications that come with an admission to the existence of God have closed their minds to what should be obvious to them.
"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (Ephesians 4:17-18).