Monday, January 23, 2017

There is Life on Other Planets

I have long been convinced that we are not alone in the universe. Perhaps my love of science fiction fuels my dreams of visiting far-flung societies. Or perhaps it's my suppressed adventurous spirit that makes me wonder what exactly is out there, in the deep black, beyond our current reach. Maybe it's because I hope another civilization did better than us.

Right now, there could be another world where the population is preparing for an annual festival, with colored streamers, music, and fancy dress. Or maybe there's a raging war on a once prosperous world where tragedy and turmoil are ripping society apart. Maybe a teenage alien is sitting by her window, staring up at the moons, wondering if we exist.

Or just maybe aliens from outer-space are planning to invade Earth and eat us all, but wouldn't it be worth it, just to know? Okay, maybe not the being eaten part...

According to Space.com:
All in all, Hubble reveals an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe or so, but this number is likely to increase to about 200 billion as telescope technology in space improves.
Given that the universe contains billions of galaxies, on the balance of probabilities alone, there is a good argument that sentient life exists on other planets. Is it really probable that Earth is the only planet out of all those planets to support sentient life?

The answer to this question might come sooner, rather than later. We are making great progress with space exploration, propulsion systems, communications, and telescope technology, which bring us ever closer to finding life out there.

Conspiracy theorists maintain that the US government already has evidence that we have been visited by aliens of the extraterrestrial kind. The conspiracies maintain that this information is kept top secret because, if revealed, the government worries that it would cause widespread panic and the fall of religion.

Why should religion fall? Does the notion of "aliens" conflict with Creation? Does "life on other planets" contradict the words of the Bible? Well, I don't profess to be a scholar, but I think not. I think that it can be easily and neatly reconciled by understanding the Bible in the context of "the universe", rather than in the narrower context of "the world". And is "discovering new peoples" on another planet really any different to discovering the previously unknown societies of the American Indians, Australian Aborigines or the Incas?

So, if the idea of aliens is indeed compatible with religion, isn't it important for clergy to get ahead of the issue and declare now (well before the "discovery") that the notion of extraterrestrial life is compatible with religion?

If left too late, it will look like religion is just making things up.

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