Did Jesus Save the Klingons?

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Did Jesus Save the Klingons?
If or when we make contact with extraterrestrials, the effect on our religious sensibilities will be profound, says astronomer David Weintraub
 
October 16, 2014 | By Clara Moskowitz |

The discovery of life beyond Earth would be a triumph for science but might wreak
havoc on certain religions. Some faiths, such as evangelical Christianity, have long
held that we are God’s favorite children and would not easily accommodate the
notion that we would have to share the attention; others, such as Roman
Catholicism, struggle with thorny questions such as whether aliens have original
sin.
 
Now that researchers have discovered more than 1,500 exoplanets beyond the solar
system, the day when scientists detect signs of life on one of them may be near at
hand. Given this new urgency, Vanderbilt University astronomer David Weintraub
decided to find out what the world’s religions had to say on the question of aliens.
In his new book, Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal with It?
(Springer Praxis Books, 2014), Weintraub investigates the implications of life
beyond Earth on more than two dozen faiths. Scientific American spoke to him
about his findings, including whether Jesus saved the Klingons as well as humanity.
 
[An edited transcript of the conversation follows.]
 
Which religion will have the toughest time reconciling aliens with its
beliefs?
The ones that have decided that we humans are the sole focus of God’s attention.
The religions that see the world through that viewpoint tend to be some of the

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Christian evangelicals. The Eastern Orthodox Church, a branch of Catholicism, also
has that view.
 
There are some people who claim that if God had created extraterrestrials, then there clearly would be words in the Old and New
testaments, which we would have already found, that would have said explicitly that God created extraterrestrials—and since those
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words don’t exist, there can’t be. Well, there’s nothing in the Old and New testaments that talks about telephones either, and
telephones do seem to exist.
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Which religions are more12
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Asian religions for the most part are easily accommodating. In Buddhism, for example, there are lots of worlds. Reincarnation is an
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important part of that view of life. I could be reincarnated in principle anywhere in the universe. There’s nothing that says I could only
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be reincarnated on this planet. For
Buddhism,
there’s no single holy book, no single holy figure who wrote anything down. There are
so many big ideas and so many sacred writings, the volume of ideas is almost limitless. A Buddhist wouldn’t be surprised to find life
existing in other places.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/religion-extraterrestrials-jesus-save-klingons/?print=true[23/10/2014 17:12:54]

I think at bottom most people have this idea that we humans are pretty special http://www. and many of those religions had something to say about extraterrestrials.   Then you’ve also got to rethink some other ideas. There is a clear belief in Mormonism in extraterrestrial life. That was her solution to the Thomas Paine problem. A reasonable question should be why? If they live on planet Earth.   What about other religions.   Some Catholic theologians are wiling to wave their hands and say it’s simply not a problem.   Roman Catholic theologians are starting to rethink that in light of the possibility that there could be living beings on other worlds. they couldn’t suffer from original sin because they’re not descendants of Adam and Eve.Scientific American   You write that the Roman Catholics have a particular issue when it comes to extraterrestrials. and theologians started to address this and decided. God will take care of it. yeah. they could be descendants of Adam and Eve but if they are Klingons living on planet whatever.000 years ago provides redemption for human beings on Earth. Two hundred years ago [American revolutionary and political philosopher] Thomas Paine put these questions out there very eloquently.   Do any religions explicitly discuss the possibility of life beyond Earth in scripture? The middle of the 19th century is when a whole bunch of new religions were born. Those Mormons that receive the highest level of exaltation will be equals with God and have their own worlds.com/article/religion-extraterrestrials-jesus-save-klingons/?print=true[23/10/2014 17:12:54] . They’re not vague at all.000 years ago? Is that fair? It’s not for me to say. the founder had visions of extraterrestrials—Saturnians—in which she saw them and saw that they were pure. The Saturnians didn’t need Christianity because they didn’t suffer original sin. The idea that Adam and Eve shouldn’t have eaten the apple—they committed a sin and that’s how sin entered the lives of humans.   From all your research. they had not sinned. occupied with living beings seeking their own salvation and immortality. Some say it’s a serious problem. for example. They’d be unhappy if we didn’t find anybody. Jesus’s act of dying on the cross was to redeem all humans from that original sin.scientificamerican. If the redemption by the son of God who was incarnated in human form on the Plains of Galilee 2. does that also provide salvation for Klingons?   Or does Jesus have to separately visit their planet? Right. All Mormons have as a goal to become exalted. To become a god you effectively get your own planet with your own creatures on it and you’ll take good care of them. this is a problem. The idea of original sin may be recast not as sin that comes directly from a literal Garden of Eden and a literal Adam and Eve but that original sin somehow simply exists in the fabric of the universe. What is their viewpoint? Original sin is an important idea in Roman Catholicism. to become a god. In Judaism it doesn’t matter—there’s very little in Hebrew scripture that relates to the question. Christianity would make no sense for these creatures. But theologically it’s a pretty interesting problem. There’s no doubt that the Mormons are comfortable about the idea that there are others on other worlds. does it seem like the discovery of extraterrestrial life is likely to have a dramatic effect on people’s religious beliefs? I can’t think of anything that would be bigger. The prophet Joseph Smith taught that these worlds are or will be inhabited by sentient beings. the original sin problem. But they’d just say we haven’t looked hard enough. The only place in the universe where you have the opportunity to become exalted is Earth.   Let’s say you discover some aliens on some other planets and you decide that you should convert them to Christianity. That’s a serious theological problem. Most theologians are pretty seriously averse to the idea that the son of God will have to visit every planet and get crucified on every planet.Did Jesus Save the Klingons? . In Seventh-Day Adventism. such as Quakers or Jews? Quakers don’t really care if there are extraterrestrials. unless our understanding of original sin makes no sense.   Mormonism is pretty interesting. The only sinful beings in the universe were humans on Earth.   What if there’s another planet that’s been in existence for 100 million years before us? Do all of those creatures not get to go to heaven because the Jesus event didn’t happen until 2. to allow us to get to heaven. It is everywhere taken for granted. These questions have been sitting out there for several hundred years.

Suddenly if there are other beings out there.com/article/religion-extraterrestrials-jesus-save-klingons/?print=true[23/10/2014 17:12:54] . I will be billed for the one-year subscription. Later on when astronomers said the sun isn’t the center of the universe. If we find somebody else. Subscribe Now http://www.Did Jesus Save the Klingons? . that threatened our well-being again. that somehow would seem to make us less important. it’s just a silly star out in the suburbs of the galaxy. If I like it. most likely.Scientific American creatures and that God is paying attention to us. YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. theologically that meant we’re not the center of the universe anymore. I think it would be truly profound to know that. I think it changes completely the way we think about our place in the universe. When Copernicus first said the Earth goes around the sun. I think that is. psychologically. then there are lots of somebodies.scientificamerican. And if there are lots of somebodies. what has happened a number of times in human history.