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Can Religion and Extraterrestrial Life Coexist?

Submitted by on October 4, 2011 – 5:51 AM110 Comments | 2,751 views


As a Christian I follow a guide for life called the Bible. However, there is (or reputed to be) nothing written in the text supporting the existence of life outside Earth.

There was much spirited debate at the recent DARPA sponsored 100 Year Starship Symposium held in Orlando Florida this past weekend. Though extremely controversial the Symposium decided to tackle questions surrounding Religion and the existence of intelligent Alien life.

As part of the discussion of issues surrounding travel to other stars; the subject was broached regarding how the discovery of E.T. would affect religion as well as more defined questions such as, who did Jesus die for if there is in fact, life on other planets?

Guest Speaker Christian Weidemannof, philosophy professor at Germany’s Ruhr-University Bochum did a presentation called, philosophical and religious considerations of visiting other worlds.

The subject matter was debated vigorously with many valid points made as you will see in this exerpt from Space.com:

Are Aliens Part of God’s Plan, Too? Finding E.T. Could Change Religion Forever

ORLANDO, Fla. — The discovery of intelligent aliens would be mind-blowing in many respects, but it could present a special dilemma for the world’s religions, theologians pondering interstellar travel concepts said Saturday (Oct. 1).

Christians, in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, Christian thinkers said at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to discuss issues surrounding traveling to other stars.

In other words, “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” as philosophy professor Christian Weidemannof Germany’s Ruhr-University Bochum titled his talk at a panel on the philosophical and religious considerations of visiting other worlds.

“According to Christianity, an historic event some 2,000 years ago was supposed to save the whole of creation,” Weidemann said. “You can grasp the conflict.”

Here’s how the debate goes: If the whole of creation includes 125 billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each, as astronomers think, then what if some of these stars have planets with advanced civilizations, too? Why would Jesus Christ have come to Earth, of all the inhabited planets in the universe, to save Earthlings and abandon the rest of God’s creatures?

Aliens and religion can still coexist

Weidemann, a self-described protestant Christian, suggested some possible solutions. Perhaps extraterrestrials aren’t sinners, like humans, and therefore aren’t in need of saving. However, the principle of mediocrity — the idea that your own example is most likely typical unless you have evidence to the contrary — casts doubt on this, he pointed out. [10 Wildest Ways to Contact Aliens]

“If there are extraterrestrial intelligent beings at all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners too,” Weidemann said. “If so, did Jesus save them too? My position is no. If so, our position among intelligent beings in the universe would be very exceptional.”

Another possibility is that God incarnated multiple times, sending a version of himself down to save each inhabited planet separately.

However, based on the best guesses of how many civilizations we might expect to exist in the universe, and how long planets and civilizations are expected to survive, God’s incarnations would have had to be in about 250 places simultaneously at any given time, assuming each incarnation took about 30 years, Weidemann calculated.

Religious food for thought

If God truly became corporeal and took human form when Jesus Christ was born, this wouldn’t have been possible, Weidemann said.

Rev. Thomas Hoffmann, a protestant pastor in Tulsa, Okla., said that the issues Weidemann raised were “really on target.”

“If life is discovered elsewhere, unfortunately we need to have more discussion about it,” Hoffmann said. “I think this is a very robust conversation we need to have.”

While the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would likely spur profound soul-searching for people of all faiths, many of the world’s religions might have an easier time accommodating the knowledge than Christianity, said theologist Michael Waltemathe, also of the Ruhr-University Bochum.

“It seems to be only a problem of Christianity,” Waltemathe said.

In Islam, for example, Muhammad was a prophet, or messenger of God, not God incarnate, so additional prophets could have simultaneously visited other planets to save extraterrestrial species, he said. And Hindus already believe in multiple deities, so accommodating more to guard over alien civilizations may not be difficult.

Ultimately, though, the discovery of intelligent aliens isn’t likely to pose a serious crisis for Christianity, either, Hoffmann said. After all, the religion has survived challenging scientific revelations before.

“Religion is essentially conservative,” Hoffmann told SPACE.com. “You can put almost anything in its face and it’s going to shake out a little bit, and then it’s going to drop right back down. We’ve seen this happen historically.”

Source: Space.com

Many Christians will tell you that if there were Alien civilizations then God would have surely told us about it in the Bible. My response has always been, why? Why does He need to tell us about anything happening outside of our world? The plain answer is, He doesn’t! At least that’s my perception and it makes perfect sense to me.

I’m sure there are a multitude of subjects that God never discusses in His Book and to assume that He would is not only presumptuous but arrogant in my opinion.

I see several possible scenarios where Religion and E.T. can coexist just fine.

Finally, consider the book of Ezekiel. Frankly it’s no stretch that you would draw specific conclusions from that text. Of course it may be otherwise but the wording certainly leaves you with a fairly obvious impression.

As I’m sure this is going to bring about some heated debate, please respect each other while making your point, thank you.

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I grew up in rural NWPA, surrounded in forest. I took an early interest in cryprozoology and sharks and have read many books on various crypto subjects such as Bigfoot and Megalodon over the years. I am not a professional writer or a journalist, but I do the best I can. I have a quirky, obscurely dry and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor than can get me in trouble. Some love me and some hate me, but I am who I am.

  • http://www.ghosttheory.com Scott McMan

    You gentlemen seem to be very adamant about what you believe. You also show clearly that you know nothing of the Bible of which is filled with facts, evidence and pages and pages of prophecy that has come to pass.

    As for Faith, that is what I follow, not religion. Don’t tell me what I can an can’t say.

    While I don’t know all there is to know about Dinosaurs as you gentlemen seem to, I do know just a bit more about the Bible which you cast off like garbage. This is a book that has withstood the test of time.

    I am not going to make any ridiculous or uneducated claims (although I have no idea what that involves) but wouldn’t it be only fair if you gentlemen did the same?

    To condescend those who don’t prescribe to your beliefs is uncalled for.

    According to my Faith, God is the only one who is perfect. If he designed us to be perfect then we wouldn’t need Him.

    There’s a great deal I don’t know in life but if you really think about it, what you believe is just as absurd sounding as what I believe.

    Was all of this just random?

    I’ll stay with my God and His Word and while I’d be happy to give you the good news, I’m not interested in proving anything when there are so many that just want to learn about God.

    Finally, you both seem so worked up and angry. What reason do you have to be angry? It’s not healthy to be all wound up like that.

  • David

    God made wise that which is foolish to shame the wise! First, there is no proof that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. If you want to believe the fairytale you learned in school, go ahead. Second, you don’t need a phd to know this; you need logic and revelation from the Creator, not creation. Third, no one who knows God came to know him through their parents. Each person is saved through direct contact with the Spirit of Jesus Christ by believing. My parents are believers and I don’t doubt they prayed for me. Still, I made a conscience choice to follow and believe Jesus. I know they had an effect through prayer, but they did not force me or go against my will.

    Please read the entire comment section. It will save you unnecessary typing about that which has already been debunked. Also, if my world view conflicts with yours, then state your world view, where you derive it from, how you account for that which is invisible and intangible, and why is my world view wrong.

  • Henry

    No wonder humanity is so wasteful of its resources. If we are created in his image, and he created billions of light years of space just so we could live on one planet all alone, he is certainly not very conservative of resources either.

  • David

    @Henry

    If you knew him, you’d know he can make visible that which is invisible, meaning create that which doesn’t exist. You need to hear real supernatural stories of unexplainable provision, guidance, and protection with those people who had faith in him.

    There is coming a day when he will make all things new! Come Lord Jesus!

  • Mike

    I am shocked daily by the ignorance of Christianity, all the people, animals an things. Destroyed because of the lack of knowledge and yet the church refuses to take responsibity for it, media and the church guide us to believe in our simple minds what is fact , as well as what and who is evil, the church was and has been a sham since the beginning, the holy bible ( the true devils book) was not written, complied or had anything to do with Jesus his crew or god it is a story book put together to try to unify the world with ita shallow thoughts, and guess what it didn’t work