Will Contact With Aliens Affect Our Religions?

The physicist Enrico Fermi once suggested that “If aliens exist they would be here!” Given that alien life is more than likely we have to ask why aren’t they here?

One reason may be religion. Many sci-fi writers suggest one answer to the so called Fermi paradox, in which the advanced alien community has cordoned off the earth in a galactic nursery, until the time that we have reached an adequate stage, ready for contact.

Religion could be one of the factors holding us back and when we nave outgrown this childish world view, the ban on visiting earth will be lifted. If so then the effect on religion would be zero, there would be no religions when aliens land. Of course this doesn’t really get to the heart of your question, what you really want to know I guess, is what the implications of alien life would be for, the world’s religions. There are a number of issues here and I will deal with only a few.

1. Some religions think that god was an alien, so perhaps an alien visit would be seen as fulfilment of prophecy.

2. On a more general level the very fact that alien life exists would mean that we are not the centre of the universe. While most religions now recognise that the earth is just a lump of rock, they still believe that WE human beings are the most important thing in creation, that we occupy a special place in God’s plan. The existence of aliens would seem to make this implausible especially if they are more advanced than we are (on all levels, intellectually, spiritually) This would mean that God has acted in the development of the aliens in a way he did not act in ours, which in turn would mean that we do not occupy the paramount role in God’s creation, which as I said is a fundamental idea in religions.

3. For Christianity, Judaism and !slam the existence of aliens is especially problematic. All these religions are based on the idea of a covenant between us and God. Now consider two possibilities; (i) the aliens do not believe in God and do not share the idea of a fall from grace by man (or I guess created beings) and a promise between God and man of a way to return to grace and the forgiveness of sin. Perhaps they have a different religious belief of their own. (ii) the aliens do believe in these things and even have a Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed of their own.

Possibility (i) would mean that these aliens would be in need of conversion and salvation, and of course it would be up to the faithful to lead the way. I can’t help but think this would lead to a new level of arrogance and self righteousness than they have had in the past. It may not lead to a holy war, but I doubt that the religious will adopt a policy of non interference concerning the aliens beliefs.

Possibility (ii) is more interesting. For Christians the covenant was fulfilled in the sacrifice of JC. Now if aliens had there own incarnation this would undermine the covenant we share with God and our personal saviour, ‘God made man’, Christ. It would have all kinds of problems for the doctrine of resurrection (do aliens and humans share the same kind of spirit, will humans get resurrected in alien bodies?), the Eucharist (would the body and blood be alien Jesus’ body and blood, if not do the aliens partake of a different sacrament?) These of course are doctrinal issues and though they are not trivial, especially for the Christian, the existence of aliens would have the more fundamental effect on these monotheistic faiths of calling into question mans very relationship with, God and the rest of creation. (It is interesting to note that the Vatican has a research program devoted to evaluating the implications of alien life for the Christian faith, I’m not sure if they have published any conclusions yet, but I bet it would be interesting!)

4. Perhaps other non-monotheistic religions would fair better, these would not be concerned with salvation or redemption, but with a universal spirit, or some such corresponding idea the existence of aliens may be seen as just another manifestation of this universal life force. if aliens landed tomorrow I am sure that religions of all kinds would have to change, but I bet that they would fight against it, they would after all be fighting for their survival. For the long run I can’t help but feel pessimistic.

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About bruceleeeowe
An engineering student and independent researcher. I'm researching and studying quantum physics(field theories). Also searching for alien life.

13 Responses to Will Contact With Aliens Affect Our Religions?

  1. Morien says:

    Delete that alien Jesus image. That’s blasphemous. Many ufologist have claimed that Jesus was probably an alien sent by God. Damn! He was not.

    • diana castillo says:

      you are imposing a religious condition on a website dedicated to science and scientific research.

      do scientists go on religious websites and demand that depictions of the northern star (which show it as being an angel, pff) are removed from the site because they are insulting to astronomy??

  2. bruceleeeowe says:

    Hi Morien that’s not blasphemous. I’ve added that just for fun and my intention was not that you are probably understanding. My third arguement is not wrong at all. There are a number of groups who says imagining alien species or other such activity is blasphemous.

  3. An interesting article. To do a complete survey I suggest though that you check out the Baha’i Faith which is the most recent of world religions and the teachings of which are in harmony with science. In its teaching it was stated 150 years ago that generally speaking stars have planets and planets have life. See http://www.bahai.org

  4. Pingback: Dying Civilizations And Fermi Paradox « Bruceleeeowe's Blog

  5. JohnHunt says:

    Another possibility is that Christianity / Judaism / Islam is correct and that Satan and his fallen angels exist and that they will impersonate aliens coming to Earth. What is their message? There is no God but salvation, immortality, etc can come through technology which they give. God is not the Creator but creation of life throughout the universe came through random chance and so there is no ultimate basis for morality. Everyone would be deceived by the miraculous technology of these “aliens”. Satan and his angels would make the most compelling arguments and demonstrations possible. Atheists, of course, would be emboldened. Non-practicing “believers” would become atheist. Believers would be at on their back foot…Sounds like the making of a novel.

  6. bruceleeeowe says:

    Whoa.. might be possible this is the scenario. But here is a question why haven’t they done it yet? If they have such miraculous technology where are they? I have to agree with you that salvation ,immortality can come through their advanced technology and wouldn’t be even tough stuff for a type IV alien civilization. Good theme for novel.

  7. Andre says:

    You guys should check out the Sikh religion, i heard that the first teacher (Guru) claimed that there are various worlds filled with life. I think the religion is the youngest major religion in the world, 300 years ago it was founded.

  8. Well, If the space aliens finally DO contact us, it would be disasterous for the Scientology religion, since their account of the races in the galaxy and their history would not jibe with their science fiction history of the world. Also, it’s entirely possible that every world that evolved life has a ‘Demi-Urge’ an innate life force that manifests itself as the patheon of life forms on each such planet, working with any materials it can find for amazing biodiversity, and that GOD might be be a manifestation of this demi-urge or Gaia life force on each world, controlling our collecting destiny by zapping pivotical characters in history, buf if so, the GOD on each world with sentient life would be indigenous to that world, so our GOD and their GOD might be very different. A universal GOD that intervenes in our lives and ALL worlds, might be only apparent to space-faring civilizations. It’s possible that such civilizations will worship the flame and the void of space extremes and have a theology based on kindness, since a space-faring civilization based on Darwinian give and take might be too brutal with advanced weapons for anybody to survive.

  9. bruceleeeowe says:

    I’m not sure if that ‘Demi Urge’ force is some kind of unknown forces that drives or say manipulates the ‘first spark of life’. However I believe that the mystery would be no more when science would be developed to a certain level.

  10. Perhaps science can eventually dispel the mystery of a living planet. But can it dispel the beauty of one? And would you want it to?

    “Gaia” is the ancient Greek Earth Goddess. Her name has been used in recent decades been used to express what some people see as the holistic character of life on Earth. People who use the name “Gaia” this way include biologists like James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis…

    If there are other living worlds — which seems more and more likely — I am inclined, like Robert, to think in terms of multiple Gaias.

    Is Titan another Gaia?

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