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Theologian Examines If the Discovery of Alien Life Could Kill Religion

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December 25, 2019                      (sputniknews.com)

• The Peters ETI Religious Crisis survey conducted by Professor Ted Peters from the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences at Berkeley (California) asked people of different faiths – or not – whether the discovery of alien lifeforms, or intelligent extraterrestrials, might pose a threat to Earthly religion. The conclusion was that representatives of all religions seem to be at ease with “the discovery of aliens”.

• The surveys showed that those of traditional religious beliefs were actually optimistic about the discovery of extraterrestrial beings. One Protestant remarked, “I’d share a Pew with an alien any day.” Those labeled as non-traditional “self-appointed” believers were more worried whether their religions would survive alien contact. Non-religious respondents were the only group who predicted consequences for believers, predicting that ‘religious traditions would suffer or collapse’.

• Apparently, religious people are okay with the concept that Earthlings are not the only children of God. Many responders reasoned that ‘God is the creator of a very large universe and this universe was not meant only for us, but to be shared with other creatures of God’.

• Other believers delved deeper into the budding field of study known as ‘Astrotheology’, theorizing that God would incarnate (as a Jesus figure) on every planet with an intelligent civilization. But some determined that “… the historical event of Jesus Christ’s birth (on Earth) suffices for God’s atonement of the entire cosmos.”

• In the end, Professor Peters reassured the (apparently all-Christian) believers that in the event of contact with an intelligent alien civilization, “things will probably go on the way they have been, without much change.”

 

For centuries it has been the domain of various religions to seek the truth out in the universe. The possibility that there are other creatures somewhere in galaxies far away, perhaps more intelligent than we are, prompted some to speculate that their discovery could mean an end to all religious beliefs or even cause an existential crisis.

The possible discovery of alien life forms poses no threat to traditional religions, which have determined the scheme of things around us, Professor Ted Peters from the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences at Berkeley told The Daily Express. According to him, “things will probably go on the way they have been, without much change.”

He shared his concerns over some scholars and scientists’ assumption that “if we encounter creatures in space more intelligent than we are, our religions would somehow suffer. On the contrary, he noted that even one of the surveys dedicated to this problem revealed that believers seem optimistic about the prospect of meeting extraterrestrial intelligence.

“The Peters ETI Religious Crisis survey found that this was not the case with self-appointed or self-defined believers in various religious traditions. They’re a trifle worried about their traditions, but for the most part, their respective traditions will survive,” he explained, sharing one of his favourite comments on the matter, which came from “a mainline Protestant”: “I’d share a Pew with an alien any day.”

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