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Is alien life a threat to religion? Show more Show less
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When Copernicus and Galileo championed a heliocentric view of the universe, they were demonised by the Catholic authorities for fear of threatening their legitimacy. Would the discovery of alien life on other planets threaten the power and importance of modern religions in a similar way?

The existence of alien life would be a threat to religion Show more Show less

Alien life would challenge the legitimacy of modern religion. Religions have a clear set of beliefs, and some of them do not account for life on other planets. Some reject the possibility outright. The discovery of aliens would conflict with what these religions teach, undermining their credibility.
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Religious creation stories do not account for other worlds

Religious creation stories are earth-centered and do not account for alien life. Scripture does not provide any factual knowledge about the universe we live in. The existence of aliens will prove that scripture is a relic of early superstitions.

Context

The discovery of alien worlds will show that religious scripture cannot provide a true account of creation.

The Argument

There is no explicit information in religious scripture about other worlds and alien species. Some religious figures have even stated that it is impossible that extraterrestrial life exists because it is not in the bible. It is absurd not to believe in the existence of aliens due to scripture, especially when there is mounting evidence that is not only possible but very likely.[1] With the discovery of alien life, people with unwavering faith in centuries-old prophetic books will be left questioning their beliefs. Modern science has already presented a challenge to religious belief, as ancient religions do not account for scientific discoveries such as evolution. If religious documents truly are works of divine revelation, they should be able to produce scientific knowledge and expand human understanding. The discovery of life on other worlds would be their greatest challenge yet as scripture does not mention aliens, and places earth at the center of all creation.[2] Religious institutions have a long history of murdering those who propose scientific ideas that contradict scripture. If discoveries were not a threat to religion as others claim, there would not be a long history of persecution. The catholic church burnt Giordano Bruno during the renaissance for suggesting, among other things, there are a multitude of other worlds.[3] Religious preachers are threatened by the steady development of science, including the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Counter arguments

While some used to see extraterrestrial life something foreign and dangerous, that’s not quite the case today. People feared the idea of unknown entities but with the worlds knowledge of science and astronomy continuing to evolve, so too does human understanding. While there’s still fear that it’s outshined the curiosity of these unknown and mysterious beings. Religion did not account for the sciences to discover ideas such as life outside of earth or evolution but has adapted to fit with the era. That’s not to say that religion has fundamentally changed what it is or stands for, but that it has been looked at with new eyes to determine its meaning. [4] Depending on a person's faith and religion, it might affect how they view alien life and whether they exist.[5] What it boils down to though is not if alien life exists for humanity to discover or convert; it’s if humanity is ready for aliens. People like Giordano Bruno have died for their own beliefs, and in the past, it’s quite easy to say that the revelations of today would’ve never been accepted as truth. Humans don’t know if aliens exist, but their existence would not necessarily derail their faith.

Proponents


Premises

[P1] Religious writings do not mention aliens or other worlds. [P2] The discovery of extraterrestrial life will strengthen accusations that religious writings have no truth in them.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://slate.com/technology/2015/04/creationist-cosmology-conflicts-with-astrobiology-extraterrestrial-life-would-be-evidence-of-evolution.html
  2. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3743/3743-h/3743-h.htm#link2HCH0014
  3. https://cosmology.com/GiordanoBruno.html
  4. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20161215-if-we-made-contact-with-aliens-how-would-religions-react
  5. https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/09/29/religion-ready-for-et/

This page was last edited on Thursday, 15 Oct 2020 at 20:59 UTC

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