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Shaker

Could religion survive contact with aliens?

Quote:
Buddhism and other nontheistic forms of spirituality might emerge relatively unscathed from a close encounter with extraterrestrial life. But most forms of Christianity (like Judaism and Islam) would be profoundly shaken by the definitive demonstration that life — let alone intelligent life — exists elsewhere in the universe.

Consider the theological implications of discovering even the most primitive form of microscopic unicellular life on another world (perhaps in the polar ice caps on Mars, or in a subsurface ocean of water on Jupiter's moon Europa). Such a discovery would seem to vindicate the evolutionary hypothesis that life can and does emerge from (seeming) nothingness all on its own, without divine intervention of any kind. And that would raise the possibility — perhaps a greater possibility than ever before in the minds of believers — that precisely the same thing could have happened on Earth.

... theological adaptation to the discovery of simple extraterrestrial life is one thing. Adapting to the discovery of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe would be something else entirely — and I seriously doubt that most of the world's great theistic faiths could succeed in pulling it off, at least short of a truly radical shift in orientation.

I don't think religious believers will ever have to cope with an extraterrestrially inspired theological crisis — because contact with intelligent life from elsewhere in the universe is exceedingly unlikely. But we shouldn't kid ourselves about the challenges that such contact would pose, if it were to happen, to the world's religious traditions.

I, for one, can think of no scenario more likely to turn us into a planet populated by convinced atheists — or devout Mormons.


(Link).
cyberman

Am I reading this wrong, or is this just yet another ignoramus who thinks that religious people can't cope with the idea of evolution?

There is plenty of evidence for evolution on this planet - which is why most Christians (I can't speak for other faiths) believe in evolution. I am not sure why this writer thinks that finding some more evidence somewhere else would make any difference.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Am I reading this wrong, or is this just yet another ignoramus who thinks that religious people can't cope with the idea of evolution?

Yes, as I see it you are reading it wrong - he's not referring to evolution (though needless to say, scads of religious people do indeed have an insuperable problem with evolution) but with the anthropocentrism, the human exceptionalism that goes hand in hand with most forms of religious adherence bar the most wispy and rarefied. When you strip away the verbiage most theistic belief hinges upon an interested personal/personalistic deity who just happens ( ) to have made humanity its special favoured creation. You can tell because this is the sole and single species of creature on the planet endlessly bowing, scraping, kneeling, praising, and petitioning this supposed entity.

The unambiguous discovery of life elsewhere in the cosmos - life in general but especially life with some form of intelligence - would, as the man says, rock this because it would demonstrate conclusively what is now already strongly suspected: that life even as we know it is incredibly hardy and tenacious, quite likely relatively easy to get going and incredibly diverse once it's underway. The discovery even of the simplest kind of life somewhere else could be and would be studied: it would be a further nail in the coffin of the belief that life needs some sort of woo element, some sort of divine nudge, to get it going. Hence his comment: "Such a discovery would seem to vindicate the evolutionary hypothesis that life can and does emerge from (seeming) nothingness all on its own, without divine intervention of any kind. And that would raise the possibility — perhaps a greater possibility than ever before in the minds of believers — that precisely the same thing could have happened on Earth."
cyberman

Shaker wrote:

Yes, as I see it you are reading it wrong - he's not referring to evolution "


Yes he is!

 
Quote:
 

Consider the theological implications of discovering even the most primitive form of microscopic unicellular life on another world (perhaps in the polar ice caps on Mars, or in a subsurface ocean of water on Jupiter's moon Europa). Such a discovery would seem to vindicate the evolutionary hypothesis that life can and does emerge from (seeming) nothingness all on its own, without divine intervention of any kind. And that would raise the possibility — perhaps a greater possibility than ever before in the minds of believers — that precisely the same thing could have happened on Earth.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
anthropocentrism, the human exceptionalism that goes hand in hand with most forms of religious adherence bar the most wispy and rarefied.  


First of all, in what you have quoted there is no hint of a reference to anthropocentrism.

Secondly, though, I did enjoy this creative use of the "no true scotsman" fallacy. "All theists make this error, because I hereby declare that the ones who don't make this error aren't proper theists - they are just wispy ones!!"
cyberman

I see that the greater article itself does indeed deal with anthropocentrism. It also seems to hang upon the idea that Christians believe that God has nostrils.

He is an odd chap, that writer!
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
I see that the greater article itself does indeed deal with anthropocentrism.

... which is a sterling advertisement for reading the entire article for onself rather than pinning a response on the few sentences that I thought were the most salient points.

Quote:
It also seems to hang upon the idea that Christians believe that God has nostrils.

He is an odd chap, that writer!

Is that what the author of the article actually says?
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
It also seems to hang upon the idea that Christians believe that God has nostrils.

He is an odd chap, that writer!

Is that what the author of the article actually says?


Well, he certainly seems to be under the impression that Christians believe that God bears a literal physical resemblance to human bodies, and he specifies nostrils as part of his list of features in this context.

Do you think he doesn't believe that Christians believe that? If he didn't, what is the significance of his reference to nostrils?

Quote:
If the aliens have symmetrical body structures — two legs, two arms, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils — then it may be plausible to assume that they were created in the image and likeness of the same God as we were.
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
It would appear some Christians think the deity looks like a human male!


Would it? I don't know any adult Christian who believes that.

Are you getting confused by the fact that he is sometimes depicted that way in art? Or by the fact that we traditionally use male pronouns when referring to it?
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
It would appear some Christians think the deity looks like a human male!


Would it? I don't know any adult Christian who believes that.

Are you getting confused by the fact that he is sometimes depicted that way in art? Or by the fact that we traditionally use male pronouns when referring to it?


You need to get out more!


I get out quite a bit thanks.

So, do you have any examples of adult Christians believing that God has the physical form of a human male?
Shaker

According to the article Moromons do:

Quote:
Some Latter-day Saints (including, on some readings, Mormonism's founding prophet Joseph Smith) have claimed that God resides within the universe rather than serving as its transcendent ground, that he began as a human being and evolved into his current state of exaltation, that he has a body, that he didn't create the universe so much as form parts of it from preexisting matter, and that Mormon men and women can themselves evolve into gods and goddesses.
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
It would appear some Christians think the deity looks like a human male!


Would it? I don't know any adult Christian who believes that.

Are you getting confused by the fact that he is sometimes depicted that way in art? Or by the fact that we traditionally use male pronouns when referring to it?


You need to get out more!


I get out quite a bit thanks.

So, do you have any examples of adult Christians believing that God has the physical form of a human male?


Yes, I have met many in my times in reality and on forums!


And what did they say exactly which led you to believe that they think that God has a physical resemblance to a human male, nostrils and all?
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
It would appear some Christians think the deity looks like a human male!


Would it? I don't know any adult Christian who believes that.

Are you getting confused by the fact that he is sometimes depicted that way in art? Or by the fact that we traditionally use male pronouns when referring to it?


You need to get out more!


I get out quite a bit thanks.

So, do you have any examples of adult Christians believing that God has the physical form of a human male?


Yes, I have met many in my times in reality and on forums!


And what did they say exactly which led you to believe that they think that God has a physical resemblance to a human male, nostrils and all?


They believed it to be so as the male was apparently created in its image, the female of the species being a lesser bi-product!!!!!!


You are making this up. If these were biblical literalists they would believe that both male and female were made in his image. Sticking a load of exclamation marks on the end fails to hide the fact that you are making it up. Sorry x
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Floo wrote:
It would appear some Christians think the deity looks like a human male!


Would it? I don't know any adult Christian who believes that.

Are you getting confused by the fact that he is sometimes depicted that way in art? Or by the fact that we traditionally use male pronouns when referring to it?


You need to get out more!


I get out quite a bit thanks.

So, do you have any examples of adult Christians believing that God has the physical form of a human male?


Yes, I have met many in my times in reality and on forums!


And what did they say exactly which led you to believe that they think that God has a physical resemblance to a human male, nostrils and all?


They believed it to be so as the male was apparently created in its image, the female of the species being a lesser bi-product!!!!!!


You are making this up. If these were biblical literalists they would believe that both male and female were made in his image. Sticking a load of exclamation marks on the end fails to hide the fact that you are making it up. Sorry x


I am not making it up I assure you!


So what did all of these many people actually say to make you think that they believe that god has the physical form of a human male?
IvyOwl

Most Christians of my acquaintance will witter on about God being beyond our understanding and our feeble human brains can't possibly comprehend Him in all His Glory (which in itself begs the question 'if we've been created in his image how come our brains are so feeble?' but I'll let that go) blah blah spiritual waffle. However when pressed will answer my question 'well who/what do you imagine is listening when you pray/worship?' will come up with ..... well the male fatherly figure. How could they not what with all the 'our father which art in heaven' stuff?

Floo is right, the language used to describe this 'great mystery' has a very powerful influence and goes far deeper than you are allowing for. Cybers you and others may well have got beyond it, people who don't see themselves as Bible literalist or fundamentalist in any way may well have got beyond it but for so long in the history of Christianity God has been presented as just that, a kind of super MALE humanoid figure. A notion that has done a great deal of harm especially to females, and I'm reasonably certain still sits somewhere in the conciousness of many.

But I've not popped back to get into all that. It's the coinkydinkyness of seeing the title of this thread just when I was wondering the same thing myself and during last nights insomnia was wondering whether to break my silence in this forum and pose the same question.

Ok I wasn't going to come from quite the same angle. It was just as a result of random thoughts that had flittered through my wakeful brain and recalling a conversation I had with a friend many years ago about UFOs and her saying she'd come across the notion that human life had been seeded on earth as an experiment by extra terrestrials who pop back from time to time to see how we're getting on. IIRC there had been some documentary or other about alien abduction which had sparked off the convo.  We'd played with it for a bit and concluded that is seemed no more or less likely than the many of the worlds religious beliefs and indeed could chime in quite well with some of the Bible stories.  Anyway in the cold light of day I gave it no more thought until last night. I'd peeped out to see if I could see anything of the meteor shower and thought what if instead of falling stars I saw a great big spaceship?

No I haven't gone all woo on you Shaker I don't have rigourous intellectual thoughts when I can't sleep! However I was just playing with the notion and wondered just how Christians would react if Christ turned out to be not the creator of the whole universe but just one more life form that had developed just ahead of us? (Ok a bit more than 'just' ahead)

How would the rest of us feel if we realised we'd got it all wrong as well?

Ok daft notion. But is it so very daft? ('yes' says Shaker 'stop interupting my perfectly serious thread!') There are people who are perfectly sincere in their beliefs about aliens being here already and abduction stories and stuff. Some claim that the powers that be are well aware of it and just keeping it secret so as to either have more power over us or not to frighten us. I can't prove them wrong anymore than I can prove their isn't a god. Neither seem likely but what do I know?

What I do know is I have a lot of fabric and thread and I must reimpose by mb embargo (this and the sewing forum lol)  if I'm to get through it before it ends up in a house clearance auction. Toodle pip for now xxxxxxx See you when I've finished one more embroidery, one more quilt and have landscaped the garden ('spose I'll have to do the latter myself being as how Trent declined my kind invitiation by demanding Alan Titmarsh fees!! humph )
Shaker

I will get back to all that in due course ... I'm just delighted to see you here again IO  
cyberman

cyberman wrote:


Are you getting confused by the fact that he is sometimes depicted that way in art? Or by the fact that we traditionally use male pronouns when referring to it?


IvyOwl wrote:
 the language used to describe this 'great mystery' has a very powerful influence and goes far deeper than you are allowing for. Cybers you and others may well have got beyond it, people who don't see themselves as Bible literalist or fundamentalist in any way may well have got beyond it but for so long in the history of Christianity God has been presented as just that, a kind of super MALE humanoid figure. A notion that has done a great deal of harm especially to females, and I'm reasonably certain still sits somewhere in the conciousness of many.


Obviously yes, you are getting confused by that!

"I'm reasonably certain"...? Really? Well as long as you're "reasonably certain", then I guess no further evidence is needed! That settles it!
Farmer Geddon

I was reading in the HuffPo that Ken Ham, everybodies favourite Kentucky Fried Creationist, is claiming that Aliens don't exist so we should stop looking for 'em.

Anyways even if they do exist they are all going to burn in hell:

Quote:
"You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe," Ham wrote on his blog on Sunday. "This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation."

The post was driven in part by NASA experts saying that they expect to find evidence of alien life within the next 20 years.

"It's highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said last week.

But Ham, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., said we probably are alone. He wrote "earth was specially created," and the entire hunt for extraterrestrials is "really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!"

If aliens do exist, however, Ham said even Jesus can't save them.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/201...-aliens-go-to-hell_n_5608368.html


So there we have it... conclusive proof that we are all alone!!

 

For further reading check out his musings here:  https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/alien-life/are-aliens-going-to-hell/
cyberman

Quote:
NASA experts saying that they expect to find evidence of alien life within the next 20 years.

"It's highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said last week.


Do you think NASA are right about these two claims?
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
I think it is quite possible.


Of course it is possible. That doesn't come anywhere near answering the question.

Do you think that NASA are right to give a 20 year timescale for finding evidence that it is true?

Do you think that guy is right to say that it is "highly improbable" that aliens don't exist?
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cyberman

Floo wrote:
I think it is quite possible.


Being unable to say "I don't know" tells a lot about a person.
cymrudynnion

cyberman wrote:
Quote:
NASA experts saying that they expect to find evidence of alien life within the next 20 years.

"It's highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said last week.


Do you think NASA are right about these two claims?
If I firstly dismiss Floo's contribution and answer you directly. The first statement, I personably believe alien life has been visiting this planet for many years. As for the second statement, the science of Astronomy will give an indication that other life forms exist outside the Known Space.
cyberman

cymrudynnion wrote:
I personably believe alien life has been visiting this planet for many years.  


OK, we need to unpack that a little bit...

Why do you believe this? What evidence is there? (Please tell me this is not von Daniken stuff!!) What do you think these aliens have been up to?

(As you use the word "visiting", I am assuming you are talking about intelligent life).

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