Posted by: NotAScientist | November 30, 2008

Religions: What happens when aliens come to call?

rygel_s3Having spent most of my life as a nerd (I don’t count the years before I could read.) it is fair to say that aliens are a huge part of my life. My favorite movie as a child was ET: The Extraterrestrial. Part of ‘family time’ in my house involved getting together on Saturday evenings and watching that scary bastion of humanism, Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of my favorite novel series involves an extraterrestrial invasion of Earth during an alternate World War II. I was a believer in UFOs for years (and am now recovering), and even took a “UFOs in American Culture” class while in college.

So obviously my brain has been running with the possibility of aliens for my entire life. Unfortunately I’ve also come to terms that if there is intelligent alien life somewhere else in the universe, I will probably not live to see them. Unless they are far more scientifically and technologically advanced than we are, it will take a long time for any intelligent species to reach us. The Universe doesn’t seem to lend itself to short trips across its expanse.

Still, it’s fun to think about!

What most people seem to concentrate on when they discuss first contact with aliens is whether or not they’ll be friendly. Independence Day, Contact, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind cover the three most likely possibilities. But that’s not what I’m interested in. Here’s my question:

What happens to religion when we make contact with intelligent aliens?

The simplest explanation for what will happen, and the most likely, is that the religions will scramble for a good many years and possibly decades until finally reinterpretting all of their scripture to include the existence of intelligent beings other than humans.

Along with being the most likely scenario, it’s also the least fun. I see a definite possibility for the self-destruction of several religions when this event happens, and the growth of a few more.

Scientology will almost certainly see an increase in their numbers.

Judaism, at least the liberal kind that I am familiar with, will pretty much ignore the aliens when it comes to their religion. It wouldn’t be surprising to many of them that their god could have created more than just humans.

Many of the more extreme Islamic sects will, I predict, think these aliens are demonic and, unfortunately, attack them. And I’m sure certain Christian sects will agree with them. Whether they attack physically or verbally depends on how far in the future this takes place.

The Mormons, I predict, won’t be surprised at all…though they might be if they discover that the aliens hold no religion for themselves.

Liberal Christians may actually be pulled, finally, away from the faith when something happens that obviously has no reference in their holy book.

Evangelicals will freak out for a few years before the apologists come up with some excuse that god could have created aliens and not told them in the bible. Then they will feverently learn the alien language in an attempt to evangelize and create new alien Christians.

As for Humanists…we may have to change our name (Beingists?), but otherwise not much will change.

But these are just the fantasies of my mind. What do you think?

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Responses

  1. I like you blog. Simple response, I know. No debate here, because I agree. Just wanted to say I like your posts.

  2. “Your”…I like your blog, not “you blog”. I don’t like proof-reading, however.

  3. It is written regarding the anak (spider like beings like predator) who are alien space giants.

    It is also written regarding the false prophet to come that some may view the event as a Nephilim (the beast from the earth) who once was, now is not and yet will come and go to his destruction in gehena.

    The burning sulfuric blackness reserved for those whose names are not found in The Book of Life which was written before creation began. Remain in Me, unto producing Good Fruits of Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Self control.

    The Word was in the beginning and was Living and Active and sharper than any double edged Sword dividing even between our spiritual state and our soul. For Jesus descended into the pit at the Cross at Golgatha setting the captives who were held in slavery to sin and disbelief free in the acceptable Fasting of The Fulfillment of The Acceptable Year of The Lord. My Own Hand Worked Salvation For Me.

  4. As I remember from my World Religions class in college, Islam actually teaches in the Koran that there are other worlds with other inhabitants. I can’t tell you exactly where it is in their sacred writings though.

    As for the Evangelical Christians, from my experience, we’re split in to two groups. One group, which includes me, says that God could have created alien life if he wanted to. Saying that he didn’t puts God in a box, which is something that we shouldn’t do. If God did create them however, we probably won’t come into contact with them–directly at least–because they may have a different path to salvation than mankind because…they’re a separate creation and God may have done things differently in their world and the two coming in direct contact could screw things up. The second group would say that they’re demonic no matter what and that God wouldn’t create aliens [because God's in a box :P]

    I do personally believe that there are aliens, naturally because I lump myself in the first group, but we’ll never come into contact with them.

    I hope no one gets into a tizzy over what I’m about to say either because, it’s just my belief system and I thought I’d throw it out there due to the nature of this topic. I do believe that once the rapture happens, demons will infact manifest themselves as aliens and it will be the way that the one who will be the Anti-Christ will explain away the rapture. I could be wrong though, that’s not Scripture, just my thoughts on the subject.

  5. Buddhism, arguably more a philosphy of life that resembles and is often adapted to be practised like a religion, would have no problem at all. Beings are beings, which can be skillful or unskillful in varying degrees. That’s it.

  6. “Whether they attack physically or verbally depends on how far in the future this takes place.”

    I think it more likely depends on how secure the extreme Islamic/Christian sects are in thinking they would prevail. If they think the could prevail physically, they wouldn’t hesitate. If they thought they’d lose a physical fight, then they’d attack verbally.

    It’s a fun thought experiment. Like your blog.

  7. Religion is one way that the human species makes sense of the universe. I’ll speak in terms of Christianity in particular. When the earth was proven to not be the center of the universe, church leadership modified some of the assumptions to fall in line with irrefutable fact. The same will occur when and if life is found on other planets.

    It is highly likely from a statistical and scientific viewpoint that life in other parts of the universe exists. It is also highly probable that the human species will not have the ability to travel such distances in order to experience these forms of life. The combination of these two factors yields a roughly equal chance that the human race will ever be in a position to ponder the question posed in this article in any practical manner.

    Looking at the time scales involved, I believe that religion as we know it today will have died out by the time any living organisms are found elsewhere in the universe. As the human race evolves we become decreasingly dependent on archaic belief systems that have no basis in empirical fact.

    Josh Nankivel
    http://non-theist.com

  8. “Evangelicals will freak out for a few years before the apologists come up with some excuse that god could have created aliens and not told them in the bible. Then they will feverently learn the alien language in an attempt to evangelize and create new alien Christians.”

    I saw that episode of south park. lol. what i want to know is if the aliens impose their religious views on us, what will occur? It isn’t impossible.

    However, it may be that these aliens will have a completely different concept structure to ours, and human spirituality would be a cumbersome
    thing to deal with. All speculative.

    I am very interested in your specific history on ufo beliefs, Morsec0de, even if it has to be condensced.

  9. Really, who wouldn’t freak out a bit if aliens exist and make themselves known? I’m not holding my breath waiting though.
    BUT…as a Trekkie I enjoy great sci-fi stories!

  10. Trekkies rule

    Picard pwns.

  11. Wouldn’t it be crazy if the aliens turned out to Evangelical Christians?

  12. They probably would have their own Pope if that were the case lol. Wouldn’t that be fun!

  13. speaking of religius destrustion, i seem to be less and less popular among some:

    http://womenintheword.wordpress.com/2008/12/05/the-god-of-mormonism/

    and she just flat our LIES about why she’s giving me the boot.
    /irony
    surprise me why don’t you!

  14. Evangelicals will freak out for a few years before the apologists come up with some excuse that god could have created aliens and not told them in the bible.

    Sorry to invade stereotype-land with some reality, but many Christians acknowledge that the Bible doesn’t specifically say that there is only life on earth. I don’t see any hints that it exists elsewhere, but I wouldn’t definitively say that God couldn’t have created it elsewhere.

    But teleological arguments are getting so compelling that many are resorting to the “multiverse” theory.

    They realize that the spectacular fine-tuning of the universe implies a designer, so they posit that there must be an infinite number of universes, and ours just happens to be one which supports life.

    They have zero evidence for this, of course, and don’t seem to realize that explaining the existence of an infinite number of universes is harder than explaining one. They seem kinda desparate to me.

  15. “They realize that the spectacular fine-tuning of the universe implies a designer”

    Google “Douglas Adams” and “puddle”.

    The fine tuning argument doesn’t hold water. The universe isn’t fine tuned for us. We are tuned to live in the universe. Not even all that finely, either.

  16. indeed Morse. But, i’m gonna hit him with some facts and science, though he will not do the same.

    Zero evidence? Look at this:
    http://wlap.physics.lsa.umich.edu/umich/mctp/conf/2001/sto2001/guth/real/f001.htm

    And also all that is in the Nuclear power thread.

  17. You might want to see how Anthony Flew and other scientists have been influenced by the teleological argument. Even Dawkins concedes that we need a designer. He is just in such rebellion to God that he finds it more likely that aliens created us (which begs the question of where they came from, of course).

  18. It doesn’t matter if scientists have been influenced by that argument. What matters is whether or not SCIENCE is influenced. And it is not..

    “Even Dawkins concedes that we need a designer.”

    No, he doesn’t. If you’re referring to that horrible movie Expelled, Dawkins was answering a hypothetical.

    I assume you know what a hypothetical question is.

  19. “You might want to see how Anthony Flew and other scientists have been influenced by the teleological argument”

    Argument from authority. Teleological arguments fly in the face of biological evolution. Evolution is a system that makes asjustments to make populations more fit for their environment. That same environment changes often and in an essentially random fashion. So there is no aim or goal in the long run.

    Even intelligence itself makes no claims to this. Our brains are constantly involved with things that have no long term consequensces. Sports, for example, any form of entertainment. Philosophy itself serves no purpose from a genetic standpoint. So the teleological argument is in effect, self defeating. Whay IS the goal? If you can’t answer this, then your argument is meaninless, Neil

  20. “What IS the goal?” Sheesh, i’m going back to firefox, which has spell check.

  21. LOL. I love this blog. Why can’t anybody see that it is tongue in cheek? The author clearly can’t mean what he wrote, yet there are those who respond as if he did. Aliens… LOL. Way to believe in something we haven’t seen, yet continue to deny belief in God. LOL

  22. He isn’t an ID proponent. FAIL

    Therefore aliens=God, non-sequiter. FAIL

    Many assumptions with no evidence- my, you Must be a creationist!

    Ketch, read up, your God has less evidence than Aliens, because aliens can at least exist without suspending natural laws and basic reason. Not saying UFO’s are real, there is no reason to think that our piddly planet is interesting or anything like that, at least enough to warrant the extreme effort that would be required for them to traverse interstellar distances.

  23. Good points, Ketch22. Sometimes when I come across a new blog it isn’t obvious if it is a parody or not.

  24. Ketch, if you read what I wrote and somehow translated that into “he believes in aliens”, then I have no help for you.

  25. I require no help from you. I stated that this was tongue in cheek and that you didn’t mean what you said. You need to re-read what I said. I thought it was a parody because I didn’t believe you could believe in aliens.
    And RickRoll, your statement that there is more evidence for aliens then God is laughable. God has been experienced and seen by too many to count. He actually came here once in the flesh. You need to read up. And as for natural laws, you will never see the truth until you can get your nose out of the idea that what we see and experience is all there is. Natural law? Is that a joke? You actually think that natural law explains everything? Or just what we can experience in our limited states? If you honestly think that this is all there is, the stuff our limited minds can conjour and imagine, you once again prove how limited our minds really are. Natural law? God created natural law, of course He can live outside of it. Get real!

  26. “I thought it was a parody because I didn’t believe you could believe in aliens.”

    And you’re wrong.

    Get used to hearing that.

  27. I just love all the opinions and how everyone “is right”! Somebody is wrong, and I would surmise that we ALL are wrong…in varying ways.

  28. “I just love all the opinions and how everyone “is right”!”

    I’m sorry, but who are you responding to? I don’t think anyone has said that everyone is right.

  29. He is responding to us all. And you did state that you were right. When you stated that I was “wrong, get used to hearing that.”

  30. “Good points, Ketch22. Sometimes when I come across a new blog it isn’t obvious if it is a parody or not.” -Funny, because Poe’s Law specifically mentions fundie xianity, not atheism.

    Morse, i’m seriously bothered by this. It seems to me that you are being duped by a sockpuppet. I may be wrong; but either way, Ketch is contributing Nothing to the conversation at hand. There is no way to help a person like that who puts his brain in a concrete block.

    “Stop! It’s [Ban]Hammer Time!” Or, ketch could give any evidence for his clearly vacuous dribble. Either one.

  31. RickrOll,
    You are most likely wrong. We all contribute.

  32. So ketch, is that an admission of sockpuppetry? I was speaking directly to you, and you say “WE all.” Additionally, i Know that christians can contribue (very greatly) to discourse- see Zacharias on “What Sacrifice?” and “Godless Bible Study.” It’s an indictment against You. Quit hiding amongst the flock.

    Back to important matters:
    Relavence? Evidence? Anything substantial at all?

  33. Yeah.. so laughable.. except we have NASA footage of extraterrestrial vehicles above Earth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7IzXHsym7k

    Whoops.

    Over 400 hours of it.

    Lets not forget the Holloman AFB footage as well, which showed a craft landing and occupants heading out to meet Military personnel which was classified HIGHER THAN THE NUCLEAR BOMB and showed to 4 presidents as well as confirmed by the pentagon.

    When’s the last time you saw footage of God or Military confirmation of him? I’m waiting.

  34. Hah.

    Yeah, little moving lights on a grainy video.

    Obviously the most logical explanation is extraterrestrial spacecraft.

  35. well Morse i gotta say, unless you have an explanation for all the little grainy lights on all the videos, and the writings in all the books (bizarrely even on one of Columbus’ voyages he had what appeared to be a UFO sighting), you won’t convince me it Isn’t happening…

    What good does it do to discredit oneself where even religiots fear to tread? But then again, same could be said of Ghosts- wait no, Xians are perfectly fine with That glaring contradiction of scripture *eyeroll*

    But seriously Morse. Why Not UFO’s?

    Space case, the term is “Beyond Top Secret” ;) It doesn’t do you Any favors by shouting either… Even i think you may be a nut…

    If it Were aliens, we would likely only be talking about 1 species anyway. The likelyhood of ANY more than 1 are virtually 0. But i can see that artificial CTC’s and Eistein-Pedlsosky (sp?) Bridges are attainable. Why an alien civilization would remain Macro in scale as opposed to nanite civilazations however, remains mysterious to me. Maybe they are sentimental?

    That would explain thier fixation on an otherwise unremarkable iron speck. According to the Science Channel, the current state of the Drake Equation Reads out to about 10,000. not an impossibility then- in particular if we consider the millions of years these beings wouls have on us by now… Though again, the obvious limits of thier technology- it really is just toying with us, at the basic level, at best -seem to indicate a roughly similar development and not too distant eons of cultural and tech evolution.

    But i babble. At any rate Morse, snark isn’t warranted on something that’s this important to all concerned. I would much rather hear your deconversion story if you would oblige us. ^_^


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