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Author Topic: The existence of alien life and the consequences it might have on religion  (Read 9571 times)
Monica M.
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« Reply #15: March 22, 2011, 06:39:00 am »


I think that the strictly monotheistic faiths like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be thoroughly harmed by the discovery of intelligent life on other planets. 

I personally think that most of the christians that I know wouldn't be particularly bothered by intelligent life as far as religion was concerned. They are all quite happy to believe the bible but also are flexible enough to fit science in within their religious beliefs. I don't know the churchs' official theological beliefs around the subject but considering that the bible was written by men surely they could incorporate transcription issues or non literalism or something to explain why nothing was mentioned. I see no reason why, if the christian god was the only god he couldn't be the god of the aliens as well. I mean that last from a preserve the religion sort of a way not that I am trying to take away the aliens own religion or anything.
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« Reply #16: March 22, 2011, 06:30:23 pm »

I personally think that most of the christians that I know wouldn't be particularly bothered by intelligent life as far as religion was concerned. They are all quite happy to believe the bible but also are flexible enough to fit science in within their religious beliefs. I don't know the churchs' official theological beliefs around the subject but considering that the bible was written by men surely they could incorporate transcription issues or non literalism or something to explain why nothing was mentioned. I see no reason why, if the christian god was the only god he couldn't be the god of the aliens as well. I mean that last from a preserve the religion sort of a way not that I am trying to take away the aliens own religion or anything.


I think what you are saying here raises an interesting point. There's a difference between what a religion officially teaches and what individual believers within that religion believe. So, an event which appears to contradict the official teachings of a religion won't necessarily have the same sort of impact upon the beliefs of the various people that make up that religion. I suppose this too would make it very difficult to speculate about how any particular theoretical event might change a specific religion one way or another.
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« Reply #17: March 22, 2011, 07:00:02 pm »


Interesting that this topic came up here, because my husband has been really interested in alien life lately. I don't know why. Maybe too much History channel?  Cheesy

I am pantheistic, and I believe that everything is Divine. I believe that the gods and spirits are part of this Divine Totality, just like everything else. Aliens and other worlds would just be part of that with no problem. And, I can't speak for Buddhism, but Taoism would do just fine.

With the Celtic and Heathen gods, for me the question that would come up is: well, do those gods actually exist in the spiritual way that I think, or were they alien visitors who were interpreted by ancient peoples as deities? If so, why did they visit? What does this mean for continued honoring of those gods? While I could probably focus on the local-spirits/local-deities aspect of it, I admit, it would call it all into question for me. If I became satisfied that the deities were still deities, then it would be no problem at all to assume that different planets and different beings have different ones.   
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« Reply #18: March 22, 2011, 07:08:25 pm »

Interesting that this topic came up here, because my husband has been really interested in alien life lately. I don't know why. Maybe too much History channel?  Cheesy

I am pantheistic, and I believe that everything is Divine. I believe that the gods and spirits are part of this Divine Totality, just like everything else. Aliens and other worlds would just be part of that with no problem. And, I can't speak for Buddhism, but Taoism would do just fine.

With the Celtic and Heathen gods, for me the question that would come up is: well, do those gods actually exist in the spiritual way that I think, or were they alien visitors who were interpreted by ancient peoples as deities? If so, why did they visit? What does this mean for continued honoring of those gods? While I could probably focus on the local-spirits/local-deities aspect of it, I admit, it would call it all into question for me. If I became satisfied that the deities were still deities, then it would be no problem at all toD assume that different planets and different beings have different ones.   

Or, for me, the Celtic gods could be "local" gods, and the aliens could have their own "local" gods on their worlds!
But, I see what you mean; if everything is tied into the Divine like you say... that's a door that's going to be blown wide open for scrutiny.

What would OUR gods mean to the aliens? Heheh. What if they DID have the same ones as us?

So many different questions to ponder...
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« Reply #19: March 22, 2011, 07:35:00 pm »


What would OUR gods mean to the aliens? Heheh. What if they DID have the same ones as us?

So many different questions to ponder...

The big one for me would be: if the gods I follow were actually aliens who had physically visited, and the ancient peoples thought they were gods... how does that change my understanding of the gods? I mean, what if "Thor" were an alien being who shot a laser in front of some Germanic people, who told and retold the tale in their own way with their own vocabulary (lightening, hammer, etc), and made up other tales along those lines over generations. In that case, Thor exists (or did exist) but in a material way, not in a spiritual way. Or that spirituality would change to accommodate the realization that I'm worshiping a long dead alien who had advanced technology, rather that the spiritual being I thought Thor was.

I'm not saying that extraterrestrial life would mean my gods don't exist -- just that I'd have to ask that question, and maybe modify my understandings of what it means to be a god.

It's VERY possible for my local gods and spirits to coexist with countless ones throughout the universe.
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« Reply #20: March 22, 2011, 07:50:22 pm »

The big one for me would be: if the gods I follow were actually aliens who had physically visited, and the ancient peoples thought they were gods... how does that change my understanding of the gods? I mean, what if "Thor" were an alien being who shot a laser in front of some Germanic people, who told and retold the tale in their own way with their own vocabulary (lightening, hammer, etc), and made up other tales along those lines over generations. In that case, Thor exists (or did exist) but in a material way, not in a spiritual way. Or that spirituality would change to accommodate the realization that I'm worshiping a long dead alien who had advanced technology, rather that the spiritual being I thought Thor was.

I'm not saying that extraterrestrial life would mean my gods don't exist -- just that I'd have to ask that question, and maybe modify my understandings of what it means to be a god.

It's VERY possible for my local gods and spirits to coexist with countless ones throughout the universe.

You haven't been watching the Ancient Alien show on the History Channel, have you?
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« Reply #21: March 22, 2011, 08:04:22 pm »

You haven't been watching the Ancient Alien show on the History Channel, have you?

 Cheesy Not me, but apparently my husband has.
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« Reply #22: March 22, 2011, 08:07:01 pm »

Or, for me, the Celtic gods could be "local" gods, and the aliens could have their own "local" gods on their worlds!

Obviously.  One expects foreigners to have their own gods, that's part of how you know they're foreigners.
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« Reply #23: March 22, 2011, 10:33:40 pm »

Yeah, I'm familiar with this belief amongst Mormons, but I've never read anything into it so I'm not clear on where these ideas come from and what evidence is put forward to support them. If you happen to have some knowledge of this, feel free to go into some detail about it. I think it's pretty interesting and have been meaning to look into the topic more.

Ok, I will give you a quick rundown, and I will try to use Pagan concepts to explain it more then the usual christian concepts. 

Mormons believe that every person has a physical body and soul.  God is a Godhead, instead of the usual christian trinity.   And we believe that two parts of the godhead.  Heavenly father and Jesus, have celestial bodies of Flesh and bone.   (The holy ghost is well, a ghost  Wink

Mormons believe that our souls are the offspring of God and a heavenly mother.  (Though we do not know much about the female heavenly mother(s) in heaven, except that we have one) and as offspring of Heavenly father, we have the ability to become like heavenly father (called exaltation).   While some more recent leaders have played down what we know about it, it has been generally accepted that that means that if you are exalted, that means you are allowed to make your own spirit children and populate your own world, thus, become a god or goddess to your own world.   

So in the end, Mormonism is very much Monolatrism in the sense that there is only one god (well, one godhead) worthy of worship, but there may very well be millions of gods out there who are being worshiped on other planets.

Now, in the end it is christian, as the requirements for exaltation is that Jesus atoning for our sins, having the proper rituals (ordinances) being done, such as baptism by those of proper authority, temple blessings, and so on.   For those who have died it can be offered to those who have passed on.   

On the bright side, even if your a heathen pagan who never wants to accept the christian faith, in this life or in the spirit world, I still think you get to heaven, as everyone will get resurrected bodies and some form of heaven, except for Sons of Perdition, which is very hard to do and you have to be Mormon to even start on that path.   

The basis of this belief comes from both passages of the bible and modern revelation, as Mormons believe that god can reveal things to each of us though proper prayer.   You can receive revelation for yourself,  while the bigwigs higher in the church can receive revelation for church matters. 

 

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« Reply #24: March 23, 2011, 02:37:19 am »

Interesting that this topic came up here, because my husband has been really interested in alien life lately. I don't know why. Maybe too much History channel?  Cheesy

I am pantheistic, and I believe that everything is Divine. I believe that the gods and spirits are part of this Divine Totality, just like everything else. Aliens and other worlds would just be part of that with no problem.

It's hard to say for sure since I haven't quite figured out what religion best conforms to my beliefs just yet, but I think that's fairly close to my current conception of the universe right now as well.


The only thing that kind of makes me scratch my head about all of that is the question of who, or what, is in charge of the whole thing. I mean, do the gods form clubs and get to vote on letting in new members? Or, maybe is it up to each individual god to decide which souls get to become other gods and which souls just have to hang around in that god's heaven for the rest of eternity? I'll feel a little ripped off if I die and meet God and he's all like, "Well, you lived an okay life, but I just don't think you're god material. Sorry! You could still hang out around here with me for the rest of eternity though." I'd pretend to be okay with it, but, secretly, I'd be totally jealous of all of the other people who got to become gods on other planets and all of that cool stuff.

I'm being a little silly, I guess, but that's not out of disrespect or anything. I just don't really see how the whole system would work without some sort of force higher than God dictating things like some kind of Supreme Force, karma, fate, or even a higher god that rules over all of the other gods. What if the god of the planet you get stuck on is a total jerk who just sends everyone on his planet to his version of hell because he still hasn't gotten over the fact that people on the planet he used to live on used to pick on him in high-school?

Don't get me wrong though, it's certainly an intriguing concept and I definitely appreciate you sharing a little overview of it here. It's something I'm certainly going to look into more. It's kind of hard to come by materials that talk about it in any even-handed way. Most of what you find on the internet is just Christian sites criticizing the doctrine as being evil and un-Christian and such, so I'm sure that I don't have a completely accurate understanding of it. 
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« Reply #25: March 23, 2011, 02:30:46 pm »


The only thing that kind of makes me scratch my head about all of that is the question of who, or what, is in charge of the whole thing. I mean, do the gods form clubs and get to vote on letting in new members? Or, maybe is it up to each individual god to decide which souls get to become other gods and which souls just have to hang around in that god's heaven for the rest of eternity? I'll feel a little ripped off if I die and meet God and he's all like, "Well, you lived an okay life, but I just don't think you're god material. Sorry! You could still hang out around here with me for the rest of eternity though." I'd pretend to be okay with it, but, secretly, I'd be totally jealous of all of the other people who got to become gods on other planets and all of that cool stuff.

I'm being a little silly, I guess, but that's not out of disrespect or anything. I just don't really see how the whole system would work without some sort of force higher than God dictating things like some kind of Supreme Force, karma, fate, or even a higher god that rules over all of the other gods. What if the god of the planet you get stuck on is a total jerk who just sends everyone on his planet to his version of hell because he still hasn't gotten over the fact that people on the planet he used to live on used to pick on him in high-school?


Try reading Harlen Ellison's books 'Paingod, and other Delusions' and 'Deathbird Stories', they do touch on creation of Gods.
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« Reply #26: March 23, 2011, 03:51:34 pm »

Ok, I will give you a quick rundown, and I will try to use Pagan concepts to explain it more then the usual christian concepts. 

Mormons believe that every person has a physical body and soul.  God is a Godhead, instead of the usual christian trinity.   And we believe that two parts of the godhead.  Heavenly father and Jesus, have celestial bodies of Flesh and bone.   (The holy ghost is well, a ghost  Wink

Mormons believe that our souls are the offspring of God and a heavenly mother.  (Though we do not know much about the female heavenly mother(s) in heaven, except that we have one) and as offspring of Heavenly father, we have the ability to become like heavenly father (called exaltation).   While some more recent leaders have played down what we know about it, it has been generally accepted that that means that if you are exalted, that means you are allowed to make your own spirit children and populate your own world, thus, become a god or goddess to your own world.   

So in the end, Mormonism is very much Monolatrism in the sense that there is only one god (well, one godhead) worthy of worship, but there may very well be millions of gods out there who are being worshiped on other planets.

Now, in the end it is christian, as the requirements for exaltation is that Jesus atoning for our sins, having the proper rituals (ordinances) being done, such as baptism by those of proper authority, temple blessings, and so on.   For those who have died it can be offered to those who have passed on.   

On the bright side, even if your a heathen pagan who never wants to accept the christian faith, in this life or in the spirit world, I still think you get to heaven, as everyone will get resurrected bodies and some form of heaven, except for Sons of Perdition, which is very hard to do and you have to be Mormon to even start on that path.   

The basis of this belief comes from both passages of the bible and modern revelation, as Mormons believe that god can reveal things to each of us though proper prayer.   You can receive revelation for yourself,  while the bigwigs higher in the church can receive revelation for church matters. 

 

  So, on this topic, does this doctrine then imply that alien creatures of high intelligence may have their own godparents but there is one godhead to govern all of them?  Do these planets end simultaneously or is there a continuing cycle of gods moving on to new planets?
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« Reply #27: March 24, 2011, 02:31:17 am »

I can't speak to Christianity or Islam

Father Gabriel Funes, the Vatican's chief astronomer, has stated that aliens are a possibility. 
He also speculated that other intelligent beings may be free from original sin. 
As far as I was able to find, there's been no official statement from the Holy See, but Father Fune's words would carry some weight due to his position.   

*edit for mobile phone causing weird formatting.
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« Reply #28: March 24, 2011, 10:45:49 am »

Father Gabriel Funes, the Vatican's chief astronomer, has stated that aliens are a possibility. 
He also speculated that other intelligent beings may be free from original sin. 
As far as I was able to find, there's been no official statement from the Holy See, but Father Fune's words would carry some weight due to his position.   

*edit for mobile phone causing weird formatting.

  That's so interesting!  Thank you Spectacular.  This continues to become a more and more fascinating discussion.
  The notion of a sinless alien being begets original holiness, or perhaps for some races original unholiness.  It also brings to mind images of angelic beings with unusual abilities and appearances.  Sinless, intrinsically "holy" aliens?
  This is all a Christian context of course.
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« Reply #29: March 24, 2011, 07:33:57 pm »

 That's so interesting!  Thank you Spectacular.  This continues to become a more and more fascinating discussion.
  The notion of a sinless alien being begets original holiness, or perhaps for some races original unholiness.  It also brings to mind images of angelic beings with unusual abilities and appearances.  Sinless, intrinsically "holy" aliens?
  This is all a Christian context of course.
I was raised in a evangelical Christian church and it's hard to state what they think regarding aliens.  
They definitely think the paranormal is demonic.   Again though, there are so many independent churches in the evangelical church it could vary a bit.


I think catholicism may be able to adept itself better than some of the other forms of Christianity in that they're more open to communicating with angels and saints.  I think a lot would depend, for all beliefs, on the character of the aliens.  For instance if they're these noble maybe angelic beings, catholicism may have an easier time than if the aliens were evil  or cruel.

I think polytheists wouldn't have much of a problem adapting alien gods to their own.  Again though, I think a lot would depend on the nature of the aliens and their gods.  

My two cents Smiley

*edit for my phone throwing a fit again.
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