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Orwell
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25 Jan 2011, 12:36 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I think it is a shock, but I don't think it is a shock of the same magnitude.

I disagree. We have been speculating on the possibility of encounters with extraterrestrial intelligence for over a century now. The natives of the New World were not in any way expected.


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25 Jan 2011, 12:38 am

John_Browning wrote:
The aliens would have to hold a Judeo-Christian belief system even before first contact with humans for any of that to matter.

No, most of that relates to a human Judeo-Christian belief system. The aliens don't have to do anything, and for all we know, they may not have a concept that really fits what we consider "religion". Their existence just creates questions that are difficult to answer.



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25 Jan 2011, 12:39 am

Orwell wrote:
I disagree. We have been speculating on the possibility of encounters with extraterrestrial intelligence for over a century now. The natives of the New World were not in any way expected.

I am not saying we haven't been speculating, the real issue is whether aliens are compatible with the Christian revelation in a meaningful sense. The New World natives have no issue, but an alien life form would. Now... as I already stated, I think Christianity would survive, I just don't think the Christian answer will be a credible one.



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25 Jan 2011, 12:44 am

ChrisVulcan wrote:
Sure, I think they're compatible. For the Bible to say, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth, oh, and by the way, there are 300 million other civilizations living in the galaxy right now..." would be meaningless to the people who originally received the Bible. It's not surprising that Genesis doesn't mention aliens. Even if they do exist, they would be totally irrelevent.

Actually, it wouldn't be meaningless, and a religion very easily COULD talk about the millions of other worlds as part of its cosmology. The Biblical cosmology though, portrays a world that does not really cohere with this well. I mean, it really doesn't cohere with heliocentrism well either, but aliens just magnifies that issue.

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Here's an intriguing idea. The way I see it, human beings are set apart from other sentient beings (animals) by the presence of free will*. Free will, I think, implies the need to be saved. Perhaps there is a species that has the cognitive capacity of a human being, but no free will, and therefor no need for salvation. I would imagine that perhaps they would have a connection to the divine without the need for organized religion. Or perhaps they have free will and their society evolved to exclude religion.

Well, ok, but the problem with invoking "free will" is just that there is not evidence of human beings actually acting in an acausal manner, nor are their mechanisms that suggest the ability. Even if we claim we have that, we can't really compare our neurology to the alien neurology to find the difference.

I think that either answer you give would be somewhat problematic. Organization in religion does not seem to be a side-note for the Bible, but rather the idea of spiritual leaders was instituted for both Judaism and Christianity in an official sense. And excluding religion involves a lot of problems for the damnation of these creatures, especially given that unless we have Christ dying 300 million times, they'd have no option to be saved, and having Christ die 300 million times in different bodies would just be an absurdity.



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25 Jan 2011, 12:45 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I am not saying we haven't been speculating,

Well, on the "surprise" front aliens would definitely be less of a shock. We've anticipated their existence, and people have already been contemplating the theological implications. Not so with the Native Americans.

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The New World natives have no issue, but an alien life form would.

They were a pretty significant theological problem at the time.

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I just don't think the Christian answer will be a credible one.

So? You don't think it is credible in the absence of aliens either.


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25 Jan 2011, 1:10 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
91 wrote:
^^^

An atheist prognosticating about the future of religion is a bit like an undertaker providing first aid in an ER.

Ok? That only goes back to the medical experience of the undertaker. I would imagine that an undertaker with a medical background would do about the same as any other person with that medical background.


We really do think along very different lines. I suppose using your logic, you would then be fine with letting my Catholic brethren run every family planning service, so long as they are qualified?


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25 Jan 2011, 8:04 am

91 wrote:
We really do think along very different lines. I suppose using your logic, you would then be fine with letting my Catholic brethren run every family planning service, so long as they are qualified?

Catholicism is more than a career, it is an ideology, and that's the difference. An undertaker may be presumed to "want people dead", but I really doubt that in practice they would actually go around letting folks die or killing them. A Catholic family planner though, really may actually feel the need to push for something, but it really depends on the Catholic. If a lot of these Catholics are liberals and the sort that the main church would want to expel, then there might not be an issue at all.



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25 Jan 2011, 10:55 am

ETs in the Bible?: Read Gen 6: 1 - 4.

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26 Jan 2011, 12:05 am

Ah, the speculation on the nature of the Nephilim. I have heard of this before though I don't know too much about the Bible to be perfectly honest so I can't speculate with any real authority on that subject
On another note, I have read a few 'ancient astronaut' theories that try to explain religious experiences as early encounters with extra terrestrials. Unfortunately I also notice that people who support ancient astronaut theories also tend to think aliens built the pyramids or introduced civilization to early man; which I think is a silly under-appreciation for our species' capacity for intellectual growth, and also inability to recognize that situations analogous to each other (multiple civilizations built pyramids... :x big deal) can exist despite no relation. It is actually pretty obvious throughout history that simple geometric patterns such as triangles are often the first artistic works of a given civilization



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26 Jan 2011, 12:23 am

There is no reason God couldn't have created life on other worlds and just chose not to let humans know about that little fact.



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26 Jan 2011, 12:24 am

^ Its very true. It seems to me that an omnipotent being would have better things to do then tell one of its creations about all its other creations. A God probably doesn't need to boast after all



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26 Jan 2011, 12:40 am

Vigilans wrote:
^ Its very true. It seems to me that an omnipotent being would have better things to do then tell one of its creations about all its other creations. A God probably doesn't need to boast after all


Or it may be he felt humanity wasn't ready to know about life on other planets, it could also be that it was forgotten by humans when we were cast out of the garden and we weren't ready to know about life on other worlds when the Book of Genesis was written.



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26 Jan 2011, 6:52 am

Vigilans wrote:
. It is actually pretty obvious throughout history that simple geometric patterns such as triangles are often the first artistic works of a given civilization


And for a good reason. The triangle is an essentially rigid structure. Its sides completely determine its angles. That is why all construction is ultimately based on triangular bracing of some sort. Friction by itself will not do since all frictional joints will loosen up over time. But a triangle is rigid as long as the linear members remain intact.

The discovery of the triangle is as important to the human race as the discovery of the wheel, the wedge and the lever.

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26 Jan 2011, 8:33 am

"As near as i can tell they are fighting over which religion is the most peaceful"

Image

If a higher being did create us, they would perhaps love the atheists more for not believing all the BS which was written about them.

Religious people often tell me since i do not believe in god i have something wrong with my brain literally for not understanding "god"

I think many religious people have just discovered their spiritual self and found a stronger sense of peace with themselves and the world around them. (this is the view i hold regardless of religion)

ET life would probably share the same spiritual views if you ask me.


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26 Jan 2011, 9:40 am

John_Browning wrote:
The question whether alien religious beliefs are compatible with human belief systems cannot be answered until we have some idea of what the aliens (if any) are like.


thats very arrogant to assume that on this galaxy where there are hundreds of thousands of solar systems and even more planets and hundreds of thousands if not millions of galaxies that we were the only planet to develop intelligent life

in fact, NASA has already found aliens on Mars there are microscopic organisms they may not be intelligent yet but they are 100% aliens cuz they originated on Mars and not Earth which already disproves your "if any" statement

personally i think discovery of intelligent alien life could disprove the view of the universe through the bible after all it says its only 6-12 thousand years old(look up Young Earth Society) there is also a christian society called the Flat Earth Society they believe that the earth is coin shaped which allows it to be flat but still let you travel around it those literalist christians deny every bit of evidence and science even actual pictures of the earth saying its all fake a big conspiracy to spite them or something like that


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26 Jan 2011, 9:45 am

TheKing wrote:
thats very arrogant to assume that on this galaxy where there are hundreds of thousands of solar systems and even more planets and hundreds of thousands if not millions of galaxies that we were the only planet to develop intelligent life


Swap hundreds of thousands for billions and millions for billions and you are a bit closer. That is a load of potentially habitable solar systems.


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