The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

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The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:16 pm

So, a lot of folks (myself included) believe that there is intelligent life on other worlds in the universe.

Some folks (myself not included) believe that at least some of the governments of the Earth have been in contact with them.

Discussions of whether or not there should be "disclosure" by governments on the existence of extraterrestrials always boils down to a question of whether or not we, as a society, are ready for such news. Often cited is the idea that religious people in particular would completely freak out.

Personally, I'm inclined to believe that we, as a culture, ARE ready for such an announcement, were one coming. The majority of people (something like 60% IIRC) already believe in extraterrestrial life already.

That does leave a question though: Is there room in religion for aliens? What would the implications of the Gospel be with the knowledge that there are other living beings in the universe?

My personal opinion is that nothing in the LDS Church would change, except that maybe we'd start gearing up to send missionaries to other worlds 8)
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby Beastbot » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:14 pm

I myself am unsure/ambivalent on whether there's other intelligent life in the universe. Honestly the more we learn about the universe, the more and more things have to be "just right" for a planet to possibly harbor life. I think-- and I'm going off of memory here from a video I saw months ago, so don't quote me on this-- but I THINK out of how ever many trillions of planets are thought to exist in the universe, there are SO many things that have to be exact that the number of planets that can possibly harbor life.. our estimates are now, what, in the higher double digits? In the ENTIRE universe.

That to me basically means it doesn't really matter whether there's other sentient life in the universe because we'll never find it, even if we assume the Rapture is centuries or even millennia away.

As for whether there's "room" in religion on aliens, I see nothing forbidding it. If it does exist, I could see how it would be like in Arthur C Clarke's RAMA series where every species has had a Jesus-like figure some time in their history-- i.e., God has contacted all his children in some way in the past.

Personally, though-- and obviously when it comes to God's actions, my personal feelings aren't really that important-- but I agree with Michael J. Nelson that if we DID find extraterrestrial species that are intelligent/sentient enough to basically have a soul, it'd be kind of letdown. Like "God had another whole family he didn't tell us about", in MJN's words. "But if it's just something like a space rhino or whatever, then cool!"
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ccgr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:02 am

It could be an Aslan scenario like Lion Witch and the Wardrobe ;)

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it were proven that they exist. What I wouldn't pay to the look on atheists faces as aliens proclaim that there is indeed a God/Intelligent creator out there :P

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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:38 pm

I myself am unsure/ambivalent on whether there's other intelligent life in the universe. Honestly the more we learn about the universe, the more and more things have to be "just right" for a planet to possibly harbor life. I think-- and I'm going off of memory here from a video I saw months ago, so don't quote me on this-- but I THINK out of how ever many trillions of planets are thought to exist in the universe, there are SO many things that have to be exact that the number of planets that can possibly harbor life.. our estimates are now, what, in the higher double digits? In the ENTIRE universe.
It's actually less even than that. The calculated probability of life forming spontaneously on its own, through nothing but random chemistry, is so un likely as to be statistically impossible... Yes, even with the size of the Universe being what it is. That tells me that God alone was the cause of the beginning of life on this world. That being the case, since it's God who decides what planets will have life, then the Universe is as populous as He chose to make it. There may be only one civilization for every hundred galaxies, or there may be a thousand civilizations in each. It's all up to Him.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it were proven that they exist. What I wouldn't pay to the look on atheists faces as aliens proclaim that there is indeed a God/Intelligent creator out there :P
Actually, that's exactly the plot of the novel "Contact" by Carl Sagan:
Spoiler:
In the novel, (not the film, it was left out) Ellie encounters aliens just like in the movie, but they explain to her that yes, there is a God, and that He left them a sign of His existence in the very fabric of the universe. They had calculated pi out to some huge number of digits and discovered, deep in the decimals of the number, a repeating pattern that couldn't possibly be naturally occurring... That meant that it was set by an Intelligent Designer -- God.
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby Beastbot » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:25 pm


It's actually less even than that. The calculated probability of life forming spontaneously on its own, through nothing but random chemistry, is so un likely as to be statistically impossible... Yes, even with the size of the Universe being what it is. That tells me that God alone was the cause of the beginning of life on this world. That being the case, since it's God who decides what planets will have life, then the Universe is as populous as He chose to make it. There may be only one civilization for every hundred galaxies, or there may be a thousand civilizations in each. It's all up to Him.
I knew that about evolution, but I was talking more about just the conditions to keep life sustainable.

Good point about God deciding that, though.
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:57 pm

I think the element that would pose the greatest challenge to religious people, especially Christianity, is the question of how people from another world fit into God's plan. Here's what I mean:

If an alien starship landed on Earth, and it turned out that they knew about Jesus too and had scriptures about Him and everything, Christians all over the world would feel delighted, because we'd be completely vindicated. Such an event would be nigh irrefutable evidence of the existence AND divinity of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, if the aliens had never heard of Him, and no religion from their world seemed to match up with Christianity, we'd have a real dilemma. Why wouldn't they know about Jesus? Did God choose to leave them in the dark? One could say that it's our job to share the Gospel with them, but that seems unlikely, since in this scenario it was they who visited us. It isn't like we had the abilit to bring the Gospel to them. So what then? I think it would cause a great many people to doubt.

There's also a psychological phenomenon where it's likely that many humans would adopt the aliens' religion, if not worshipping the aliens outright. The idea is that with a culture having superior technology and cultural advancement, people may assume they also have a superior morality.
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby Beastbot » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:53 pm

On the other hand, if the aliens had never heard of Him, and no religion from their world seemed to match up with Christianity, we'd have a real dilemma. Why wouldn't they know about Jesus? Did God choose to leave them in the dark? One could say that it's our job to share the Gospel with them, but that seems unlikely, since in this scenario it was they who visited us. It isn't like we had the abilit to bring the Gospel to them. So what then? I think it would cause a great many people to doubt.
I don't doubt that a lot of Christians might "abandon" their religion if that happened (look how many are abandoning it in all-but-name already), but I don't think that's any different of a circumstance than having some culture visit you from halfway across the globe that's never heard of Jesus before. God chose to reveal his Word and nature to the Israelites, and via them the world. He didn't do that to every civilization on the globe, for whatever His reason was. I think whether they come to us or visa versa is irrelevant, the point is we'd have contact with each other. Thus, although I would like to believe He would've revealed his nature to all intelligent alien races if they exist, it wouldn't really shake my faith if He didn't. He does some things I don't understand the logic behind, and I never will (until Heaven, at least).
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:25 am

Yeah good points. In my personal opinion, the distance between worlds is vast enough that it feels like Jesus would almost have to visit each world personally. But then again, that's my mortal view. Besides, I'm a member of the LDS Church. In our theology, He made a separate trip to the Americas. If just crossing an ocean was worth it... :wink:

I once heard a quote... and I wish I knew where it was from... that basically said words to the effect that, of all the worlds God has created, Earth had the extremes in goodness and in evil. Only on Earth could the Savior's message survive and grow, but also it was only on Earth that men would crucify our Lord and Savior.

That always stuck with me.
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby J.K. Riki » Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:45 pm

On the other hand, if the aliens had never heard of Him, and no religion from their world seemed to match up with Christianity, we'd have a real dilemma.
Would we, though? If we did, I think it would be an entirely invented dilemma.

We get very caught up in the salvation of others, aliens or not. Yes, we're to spread the gospel, absolutely. But the salvation of others has never been our job. Our job is loving and sharing and everything that goes with it. And that would remain our job if aliens arrived, unless given some sort of divine instruction otherwise. If God is the Creator of this whole Universe of ours, why would we think He wouldn't have plans for those in another galaxy? It might even look completely different, who knows.

But then I am a heretic in the sense that I believe God will take care of his children (all of them) in the most loving, just, and Good way as He sees fit in his entirely loving, just, and Good way. (Though I must admit, I find this a fair conclusion based on Scripture, so I'm not sure if I agree with the idea this is heretical. Others certainly say that it is.) He has proven trustworthy to me, far more than I have to myself. It's what allows me to be free to take part in his glorious creation, fallen or not, and know that I will neither dang (the other word, but apparently there is a filter in spite of that being an accurate use of da with the mn after it) or save someone myself, no matter what planet they're from.

God is bigger than we often give him credit for.

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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:10 pm

I think you're right about Heavenly Father, which is why I'm convinced that if there are other populated worlds, He's got a plan for them as well.

I think the question of whether there's such a dilemma would probably vary wildly between denominations and even between individuals. I think for many of us who grew up in this era where the concept of extraterrestrial life is all but mundane the dilemma has already been settled in our own minds, though the reality of it may shake that for some.

Back in the 1800s it was very common for people to believe that there were living beings on the Moon as well as on Mars. Christians form many denominations looked forward to the day the Gospel could be shared with them. I think that kind of mentality would prevail if real aliens were found.

That said, not everybody believes there may be life out there, and I think the shock of finding out differently might be too much for some.
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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby J.K. Riki » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:14 pm


That said, not everybody believes there may be life out there, and I think the shock of finding out differently might be too much for some.
Too true. Guess that is another reason to do our best to study now so that should such an event occur we can provide comfort for those who find the event faith-shaking.

Or even some future event that doesn't involve beings from other parts of the Universe!

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Re: The Impact of Interstellar Aliens

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:25 pm

Too true. Guess that is another reason to do our best to study now so that should such an event occur we can provide comfort for those who find the event faith-shaking.
This is a really great point.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens


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