Life obviously began on earth at some point in the past -- even the Bible clearly states that when it was first formed, it was "void and without life". So somewhere, somehow, life started.
Obviously, the Christians and other religionists will insist that it was the "hand of God" or some other mythical conjecture. They all seem to envision it was done with a peaceful, gentle waving of some magic wand and a sprinkling of pixie dust, and then POOF! Life begins!
Of course, science and reality are never that cute and cuddly. Some bits of life's building blocks take far more "oomph" to get started than just a magical wave -- it takes conditions that exist in Dante's Inferno.
In this recent article in Science News, researchers at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan subjected basic chemical constituents to a brutal test -- encapsulating them in small stainless steel cylinders and firing them at extremely high speeds at a solid wall. This wasn't done just for the satisfaction of watching things moving at high speed go "BOOM!" (although that can be a lot of fun, too), it actually had a valid scientific purpose.
The scientists were trying to replicate the conditions that would be encountered in a meteor strike on the early earth to see what sort of reactions and combinations would be created. Sure enough, they got some novel and very promising results. Glycine, fatty acids, amines, and other organic chemicals were formed from the tremendous heat and pressure of the impacts. Not only that, it is clear from the isotope of carbon (C13) that was used that no contamination occurred from outside the cylinders.
It seems that every day, new information and findings are providing tremendous support for the idea that the precursors of life, far from being rare and statistically improbable in the universe, are actually very common and readily found in just about every place we look -- from the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean all the way to interstellar space. We've got several potential habitats within our own solar system that could evolve life (not including our own little planet) -- Europa, Titan, and Enceladus all have liquid water oceans under a thick ice crust. At some point in the future, we're going to be able to pull a sample from one of those distant places, and I wouldn't place bets against the possibility of finding some alien critters out there.
By all indications, the starting blocks of life weren't formed in a quiet, peaceful little pond, but in the hellish and violent conditions of interstellar space and high impact collisions.