I hope I’m wrong
Religion has always fascinated me. It often shows up in our society in unexpected places. In a way, I admire people who can hold to their faith in the face of overwhelming evidence. I’m not made of such stuff. I would, and did, throw my God aside when presented with solid evidence contradicting his existence.
Until recently, I didn’t understand that most Flat-Earthers are in fact, religious conservatives. It is far easier to hold your orthodox views if the Earth is flat: I have no idea why that might be. So in the face of overwhelming evidence, we see people honestly and sincerely believe that the Earth is flat.
How do you think we would first become aware that we are not alone? NASA & SETI both say we should find another civilization within twenty years. Why? Because NASA has some serious new telescopes coming and SETI is getting much better at searching the stars for signs of life. Either of these teams could strike at any time. This is no longer some theoretical exercise.
As I understand it, this discovery may first come in the form of chemicals in an atmosphere that should not exist in nature. Here on Earth we spew this stuff out by the ton and that will change the spectra of our atmosphere. If another race has the technology to measure our atmosphere, they would know we are here — without fail.
This sounds reasonable to me. Carl Sagan correctly called Earth the pale blue dot. We may well find another dot just a couple of pixels across. From this dot, scientist can tell quite a bit. Things like rotation, cloud cover, size (gravity), atmosphere, temperature, seasons, and more will quickly become available.
Unlike what you see in the movies, this will come out and no government will be able to crush the news. I imagine nothing but wall to wall coverage of this dot for a couple of weeks. Then…
Great news for space and astronomy budgets but not much else. Let’s pretend that the star the planet orbits is twenty light years away. Even if we attempted contact; a huge if, the return message would take 40 years.
So you have this planet and we know that there is some kind of industrial civilization there. So? And? How long before you think we will get back to talking about Kim Kardashian’s dress, again?
If you are so into religion that you will believe the Earth is flat, it seems to me that tossing ET under the bus is trivial. I’ll take that statement one step further, I don’t think the discovery of life in the Cosmos will have much impact on religion or Kim Kardashian at all.
By the way, I hope I’m wrong. I would love to see the rise of a single, human race.
Can God survive ET?
There was a time, quite recently, when I assumed that contact with another life-form would destroy religion as we know it. After all, if we were not alone, what on earth was your God thinking about? How dare it create other species from some far away part of the universe, thus meaning that human beings were not unique?
To save me years and years of researching what the mainstream religions have to say on this subject in sacred texts such as the Bible or the Q’uran, I turn to astronomy professor David Weintraub, who has done just that.
The trouble is, he says, few religions have written much on the subject “Most don’t want to tell you what they think!”
I reckon, (and so does he by the way, and he’s the one that knows what he’s talking about) that it is the fundamentalists who would find it nigh on impossible to accept any other form of species. They tend not to believe in any form of evolution, only that God created us here on earth, and shut up to anybody who believes otherwise. Jesus did not die for aliens as well, you know.
The more I think about it, the more I reckon that most reasonable religious folk would be prepared to accept definitive confirmation that life exists elsewhere other than on our planet, but they may have to alter some of their interpretations of the good book – something of course man has been doing for thousands of years. If anything contradicts, then just put another meaning to the ancient words…….
Of course, it could be that by the time we establish contact with aliens, or vica-versa, religion as we know it wouldn’t be necessary any more to keep the masses in order. Just maybe, humans would just accept what is ultimately inevitable – there is life, out there, somewhere, the odds are massively in favour – and, my God(!) weren’t we so lucky to be around when we made contact!
Unless the aliens decide to devour us all in one fell swoop, in which case we won’t have to re-interpret the good book, just reinterpret the word “lucky”.
Can God survive ET?
So… is it like… little green men finally come out of B-rated movies and land on Mother-Earth, then get into the news with world leaders trying hard to establish exclusive contacts with them, etc. Then, amidst this havoc, the Pope resigns, declaring Urbi et Orbi: it’s over, brothers and sisters, no more Christianity, no more religion. Ever. Let’s go home and take some rest. Other confessions/religions also freak out and collapse, leaving the spiritual battlefield to the newcomers…
Could you believe it?
Of course, you can’t. Sure, each and every spiritual leader would declare that God has created us all and thus all of us are His children. Even those green-skinned, tringle-headed and three-eyed ones, our beloved brothers from the Great Beyond… This time there will be no crusade as we ourselves could easily be its subject in case things go really bad. So, to avoid it we will incorporate the ET into the universal picture of the world order. Those strange creatures would quickly become another evidence of God the Almighty… No punishment, no blessing.
The public would also have no problem with it as we’re all prepared for the Contact. Actually, it is long overdue in our expectations. We were not ready in the 1930s when some US radio station was broadcasting H.G. Wells’s ‘War of the Worlds’. Now, after all those Hollywood movies, UFO stories and exoplanets being discovered routinely, we really are. So no shocks, no revolutions, no public unrest of any kind. Probably, some madmen protesting it? In general, just thrill, excitement, some ‘I’ve told ya’ statements from opinion-makers and, of course, sky-rocketing ratings of the news plus numerous attempts to get some practical use out of the encounter like efforts to involve the aliens into the TV shows or popular Youtube channels. Maybe Jay Z producing another track featuring ET?
Even to me, a religious sceptic, I don’t see what could go wrong with the aliens encountering religion as such things don’t contradict it. In fact, to me it should happen sooner or later. Maybe it did happen in the distant past making up the ‘paleo-contact’ theory, who knows for sure? When aliens were gods…
Yes, God will surely survive ET. After all, for those who believe it, ET are his kids, too, or our distant neighbors, to me.
P.S. Let’s wait for preachers converting aliens into the true religion and confessing their sins.