Friday, January 2, 2015

What Does Your Religion Believe About Extraterrestrials?

What different religions say about UFOs & Aliens

Religions have surprisingly diverse approaches to the issue of possible extraterrestrial life. Below, a quick survey adapted from his book “Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It?”

Evangelical Christianity
Certain evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, are of the opinion that God's sole intent was to create people here on Earth. Some believe that if God created life anywhere else, it would say that in Genesis.

For evangelicals, the discovery of advanced extraterrestrial life has the potential to be devastating. Humans, in the view of most evangelicals, are the singular focus of God's creative attention and Christianity is the universal religion. Therefore, other advanced intelligence's cannot exist.

Roman Catholicism
Rifts have emerged among Roman Catholic theologians in trying to understand whether all sentient beings in the universe suffer Original Sin, whether all require redemption, and how God will offer it to those in need. The question of whether or not Jesus died on the cross in other worlds has yet to be addressed. Depending on how these issues are resolved, it could cause a divide between the Vatican and it's parishioners.

The Vatican has been extremely vocal, saying intelligent life in the universe is part of God's plan and the they would be happy to baptize them. Pope Francis is doing his part by emphatically stating that intelligent extraterrestrial life is part of Gods plan.

Surprisingly, Islam shows and open mind on the subject of other intelligent life in the universe. In multiple places, the Koran asserts that other rational, intelligent beings exist on other worlds. Furthermore, those creatures worship and are accountable to Allah. The religion practiced by followers of Mohammad is only for humans on Earth. Other worlds would have their own prophets and their own prophetically revealed religions.

The earliest Buddhist sutras describe thousands of other worlds. They believe there's a strong chance there's other life out there. Buddhism also believes that human understanding grows and changes. If you are met with overwhelming evidence that something you believe is wrong, then you are supposed to change your view. As such many Buddhists believe in evolution, science and extraterrestrials.

Buddhism imagines a universe that is unimaginably large and complex and beautiful. Life forms beyond the Earth must exist in such a universe, whether we are able to find and identify them or not, and Buddhism works everywhere in the universe.

Mormon scripture leaves no doubt that other worlds exist and are inhabited by sentient beings who are "begotten sons and daughters unto God.” According to Mormon scripture the Earth is not unique, but that it is one of many inhabited planets, each planet created for the purpose of bringing about immortality or eternal life. This includes the planet and star Kolob, which is said to be nearest to the throne of God.

Christian Science
The Church of Christ, Scientist, appears to have nothing to say one way or another about extraterrestrial life. Scientology can be seen as a UFO religion in which the existence of extraterrestrial entities operating unidentified flying objects (UFOs) are an element of belief.

In Jewish scripture, there's pretty much nothing there. You really have to over-interpret to find anything that you can marginally say might have anything to do with extraterrestrial life."

Judaism offers a set of rules for humans on or from Earth that encourages them to develop a relationship with the God of the entire universe. Judaism is not for the Klingons, unless the Klingons wish to live on Earth, though Judaism could continue to make sense as a religion for descendants of humans living on other planets.

Hindus would embrace and not be at all surprised by the discovery of extraterrestrial life. The only concerns for Hindus would be where those creatures fit into the hierarchy of living beings, which extends from plants to animals to humans to gods. Hindus could practice their religion anywhere in the universe, and any sentient being anywhere in the universe could practice Hinduism.

Unitarian Universalism
Members of the UU Church embrace no single set of beliefs or sacred scriptures. The discovery of extraterrestrial life would trigger no issues.

Jehovah’s Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Earth is here is to provide a home to those faithful to Jehovah. Extraterrestrial life, whether in advanced or primitive form, does not exist.

It would be tempting for non believers to say that an advanced intelligent race would not believe in God or a Creator. Conversely it would be equally enticing for believers to say that it would only be natural for advanced beings to believe in God. The truth is no one really knows what ETs believe. 

We must find tolerance between religion and tolerance between believers and non believers before we engage alien races with an intolerant attitude. After all an intolerant attitude with a very advanced species could ultimately lead to our demise.

If there are thirty men hiking to the top of mountain, each taking a different trail, it would be best to follow your chosen path to reach the summit. The ones that sit around complaining about the path of other hikers will never reach their final destination. 

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