Will Mars ColonyNeed Religion for Survival?

KEVIN GILL is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Scientist Claims That Mars Will Need A New Religion

To live on Mars you need oxygen, food, water. But one scientist is arguing that survival needs one other critical factor, religion. Dr. Konrad Szocik, a cognitive scientist, and professor of philosophy claims that a new religion will be essential for a Mars colony.

With Elon Musk claiming that a Mars colony could be underway by 2030. The drastic changes that humans would need to go through because of the untold psychological, mental and physical struggle of living on an off-world colony would require drastic changes to humans and human society. Some scientists have even suggested that humans may need to use genetic engineering to make us better adapted to the environment. But what about the cultural and societal aspect?

There has been new evidence that the basis for the sustainability of early human civilization was the creation of religion. Religion provided an organizational structure that was cemented through rituals. This enabled humans to be able to work and settle down, moving from hunter-gather societies to agriculture and settlements.

Dr. Szocik has not prescribed a specific religion, but the creation of religion generally. In fact, he has suggested that the first wave of settlers may need to create a brand new religion that integrates spaceships and the settlement itself into an origin story.

Not everyone agrees with Dr. Szocik’s theory. Dr. Henrich from Harvard has stated that the creation of rituals for group identity would be needed, but not necessarily religion. He worries that the potential of proselytizing others and it could create conflict that would disrupt the harmony of the settlers.

Religion has already been integrated into space programs. From prayers read in space by astronauts, to priests giving blessings to astronauts on trips, to religious messages being sent out into space for possible connection to extraterrestrial life forms.

The development of a Mars program is still in nascent stages, so we don’t know yet how religion will be integrated. But it would be strange for religion to not exist on a planet named for an ancient god.

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