Religions Have Too Many Holes With Extraterrestrial Life
As we learn more about our universe, the possibility of extraterrestrial life becomes more likely. Astronomers have found about 850 planetary systems and may reach one million by 2045. They have already found 20 worlds with Earth-like environments that may support life.
Will religion survive the discovery of aliens? NASA is already pursuing that topic, with over $1 million to the Center for Theological Inquiry to study what would be the implications for alien discovery for religion.
However, if aliens were found, all Abrahamic religions would be proven wrong. First, humans were supposedly made in God’s image. If we find aliens that look completely different than us (which would be very likely) that would show either that we were not made in God’s image or God forgot to mention it.
The second is what scientific philosophers call the mediocrity principle. If aliens were found to be true then Earth would lose its uniqueness in the Universe. Most Abrahamic religions make it pretty clear that the Earth is special and given the most attention for God. This would have to be reconciled by faith leaders.
Third would be alien Jesus. Yes, alien Jesus. God sent Jesus to redeem human beings. Was Jesus sent to other worlds? Is that why he has been missing? Is Jesus like the Green Lantern, patrolling the universe providing redemption and being killed over and over for a different species’ sin. Or maybe we are the only species that has sin, which would need an explanation.
The only religions that would probably not be affected completely by aliens would be Hindus and Buddhists. The focus on self and reincarnation does not provide an overall principle that aliens would need to decide.
Predictably, Atheists are the group that most believes in aliens. Over fifty percent of atheists believe aliens exist, while thirty-two percent of Christians believe in aliens. The total number of people who believe in aliens in the United States is 37 percent. It is the largest percentage for any nation.
Some religious figures have included aliens in their explanation of God. Billy Graham once famously said God definitely created aliens. Religion has already survived scientific discoveries that call ideas presented in religious stories. For example, we now know that the earth is billions of years old, not the thousands of year that are made clear in the bible. To quote the X-Files, “the truth is out there.” And when it happens we will see what will happen.