It has been a strange year for humanity. And in perhaps the most 2021 news possible, NASA asked theologians at the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, to determine how the world’s major religions would potentially react if humans were to come into contact with aliens.
Carl Pilcher, the former head of NASA’s Institute for Astrobiology, said the space agency had invited theologians to “examine the implications of applying the tools of late 20th century science (and from the beginning of the 21st century to issues that had been discussed in religious traditions for hundreds or thousands of people. years.
The group will examine how various religious groups would react to news of extraterrestrial interactions in order to prepare for a potential contact, although there is no indication that this interaction would happen anytime soon. Reverend Dr Andrew Davison, a Cambridge University religious scholar and one of 24 theologians enlisted to help with the project, believes that if or when extraterrestrial contact occurs, “it will be helpful to have thought through the implications beforehand.”
More and more Americans believe in the potential of intelligent life that exists on other planets. A Pew Research Study released earlier this year shows that two-thirds of Americans believe intelligent life exists on other planets. Young Americans are more likely to believe in the existence of aliens.
The link between religion and belief in extraterrestrial life has grown in recent years. A research study by American scientist discovered that faith in a religion or alien life can come from the same human urge to find deeper meaning in life.
CTI Director Will Storrar said theologians hoped to see “serious studies published in books and journals” on extraterrestrial life, responding to “the deep wonder and mystery and the implication of finding the microbial life on another planet ”.
So far, no human has (knowingly) made contact with aliens, but the potential is there. If humans were to come into contact with an alien species, Davison believes that “a large number of people would look to their religious traditions for guidance” and the impact would have major implications “for the status and dignity of human life “.
This study is the latest news from a partnership between NASA and a religious institute. In 2014, NASA awarded the CTI a grant of $ 1.1 million to study the interest and openness of the faithful in scientific research, called the Study on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology.