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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?

Alien life would threaten some but not all religions Show more Show less

Some religions can support the existence of extraterrestrials (or aliens) better than others. A religion’s ability to accommodate the existence of aliens would depend on how open that religion’s belief system is. If it is not, dealing with the idea will be difficult.
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Some religions already support the idea of alien life

Asian religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, have already incorporated the possibility of life on other planets into their belief systems.

The Argument

Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, already have belief systems that can support the existence of life on other planets. Buddhists believe in a universe that is large and complex, with thousands of inhabited worlds, which means that life must exist outside of Earth. They also believe in reincarnation, and that when a person dies, their soul slips away from their body and into another part of the universe, and is reborn into a different life. Hinduism and Buddhism are very similar in their belief systems when it comes to reincarnation and life on other planets. A significant amount of people who practice Hinduism already believe in extraterrestrial life, with some Hindu thinkers theorizing that humans are reincarnated as aliens.[1] Eastern religions make up for a majority of religious believers in the world, but there are also smaller religions that can support the discovery of alien life. Some Eastern religions and indigenous cultures believe that aliens exist and could be ancestors of various tribes.[2] The idea of extraterrestrials and life on other planets is nothing new. For many religions, the possibility has already been theorized and incorporated into their belief systems. As science progresses, we seem to get closer and closer to the discovery of alien life. This discovery would not necessarily mean an end to all religions, but instead could validate many religious belief systems.

Counter arguments

If one religion can exist alongside the discovery of alien life, it doesn't mean all of them can. Beliefs differ in ideologies, some supporting the discovery of alien life, while others do not. Christianity is the largest single religion in the world, with 2.4 billion adherents, making up for 29% of religious populations.[3] It is also strict in its belief system that humans are made from God's image, and that there is only one God. Christianity is not supportive of alien life in its belief system. If the discovery of alien life is confirmed, it would mean the end of the largest and most practiced religion in the world.

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Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/25/how-different-religions-would-deal-with-aliens/LMaD7Mwuit4vQXELgICSQK/story.html
  2. https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/01/which-religion-is-friendliest-to-the-idea-of-aliens/
  3. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/05/christians-remain-worlds-largest-religious-group-but-they-are-declining-in-europe/

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This page was last edited on Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 13:24 UTC

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