How Would We Handle Intelligent Alien Life?

I hope we never find intelligent alien life in the cosmos. Granted, it would be exciting, especially to science fiction buffs to see how accurate our imaginations were. But even within our own galaxy, the distances are vast and we don’t have the technology to make travel practical. So if there was contact, they would probably find us, which means they would be technologically superior.

When was the last time that happened? When Europeans “discovered” the New World, they came to colonize and exploit. Plus they brought new diseases for which the Native Americans had no immunity. Star Trek notwithstanding, I don’t see how alien contact could end well for us.

Then there are some cultural issues. How would our religions deal with proof that Earth is not unique? Would we have any chance of converting them? Or would we be forced to accept whatever supreme being they believed ruled their world?

These are heavy thoughts, brought about by a recent article, “How Will Our Religions Handle the Discovery of Alien Life?” by David A. Weintraub ( As professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University and the author of Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It? , Weintraub speculates how the major Earthly religions — Judiasm, Seventh-day Adventism, Creationists, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism — would accommodate extraterrestrial contact.

Not wanting to get into a theological debate, I’m not going to try to summarize his views, and I’m sure this issue will never come up anyway (at least in my lifetime). But if you think we might have to confront this situation someday, you’re welcome to click on the link and speculate along with the author.

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