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#1 2005-06-30 18:02:22

Trebuchet
Member
From: Florida
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]This really isn't a 'will faith X accept the existence of aliens' thread. Nor is this a thread for random promotion of atheism - pretend, for just this thread, that it doesn't exist. For purposes of discussion we will assume that intelligent life will develop religious traditions that provide the sort of background morality and narrative of existence which contemporary human religions do.

What I'm asking is, do you think that the big human faiths are sufficiently attractive and supply sufficient meaning to indivividual existence that they will gain lots of alien converts, or do you think that there would be more attractive alien religions and theological structures which would be adopted by humanity? Do you think religions are likely to be too strange and bizzare to those not of the originating species, or do you think there would be large areas of similarity ("As you would not have your neighbor devour your larvae, do not devour the larvae of your neighbor") regardless of underlying biology and instinct? That is, is religion primarily something done to adapt biology to match the mind, or the other way around?[/color:post_uid0]

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#2 2005-06-30 19:48:33

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000080:post_uid6]

Do you think religions are likely to be too strange and bizzare to those not of the originating species, or do you think there would be large areas of similarity[/quote:post_uid6]
*That's a good question.  I think all religious expression is merely psychological in origin, and then the writings of CG Jung come to mind.  Difficult to say, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are not many similiarities in our religions compared to alien religions...especially if there were enough pronounced differences in evolutionary patterns.  But egad, we're still trying to figure ourselves out, let alone others.  However, Jung did point out that mankind's true nature is unknowable because we have no other creature at our level with which to compare/contrast ourselves (chimps don't count).

Don't mean to go off-topic, just some thoughts.

("As you would not have your neighbor devour your larvae, do not devour the larvae of your neighbor")[/quote:post_uid6]

:laugh:

"Thou shalt have no other Pod before me." 

--Cindy

P.S.:  "By their archetypes ye shall know them."  That'd be a key ... would their archetypes be similar to ours?  Would they have archetypes to begin with?[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#3 2005-06-30 22:08:31

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Elsewhere I have suggested this angle:

If our souls and the souls of other sentient species seeded elsewhere in the cosmos will be saved for all eternity will "we" get to meet "them" in heaven?

What if we extinguish ourselves before leaving Earth and "they" colonize thousands of worlds. Will we get the less desirable rooms in the celestial mansion?

:;):  tongue

There is a Jesuit brother who has written some intelligent stuff on these subjects including a whole lot of shoulder shrugging and answers like" "Great question - - beats the heck out of me"[/color:post_uid0]


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#4 2005-06-30 22:20:11

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I also believe that the meaning behind a sincerely offered toast of Le Chaim! (To Life!) can be readily translated into any alien language from any alien star system, and embraced by all.

Talk about universal!

‘Never wish someone a long life’, a close friend of the family used to tell me, ‘Wish them a good life’. His comment was based on a double wisdom, firstly that it is not the sheer quantity of life we have that makes us happy, but the quality of it, secondly that there are many people who linger for years in a state of increasing loneliness and mental decline and that this may be far from a blessing. Though Judaism, with its cheerful toast of ‘LeChaim, to Life!’ and its greeting for later landmark birthdays of ‘Bis hundertzwanzig May you live to be a hundred and twenty’ (like Moses), does encourage us to hope for a long life, it teaches us even more to use the time that we have.[/quote:post_uid0][/color:post_uid0]

Edited By BWhite on 1120191631


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#5 2005-07-01 05:57:45

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,269

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I asked my alien friend what he/she/it thought (that’s the trouble with aliens, you never quite know for sure).

He/She/It laughed, well, I assume it was the equivalent of a laugh. Lots of shuddering and shrieking, so maybe it was horror and revulsion at the idea. Or maybe it was a morbid nervous laugh.

Anyway, he/she/it emphatically stated no. Well, by emphatically, I mean he/she/it waved its many unearthly limbs about, shuddering and shrieking, and seemed to state no. It’s hard to tell because he/she/it doesn’t exactly talk like us. Foreigners always have the oddest accents, don’t they?

So, he/she/it explained why…

From what I gather, human religions are too provincial. Too steeped in their own history and dialects and cultures. Sure, they could change to accommodate some of the sensibilities of the he/she/it alien, but then it wouldn’t necessarily be a human religion anymore.

The way he/she/it explained it, the human concept of religion was a pretty straight forward hierarchy. You have your supreme being, then you have man, then you have beasts. Trying to fit aliens into that hierarchy might be a bit tricky because man wouldn’t want them above them on the hierarchy, and the aliens wouldn’t want to be below, and sharing space on that ladder can cause all manner of grief. I asked why, and he/she/it shuddered and shrieked some more and pointed to the struggle of various religions on earth. In effect, he/she/it was pointing out that all the conflict was mankind trying to mesh their separate hierarchies together. A complete mess he/she/it said.

Besides, he/she/it concluded, “every civilized species with a soul already recognizes that Thorak-XII of the Beta-Cigni Conglomerate is the true and rightful god. Silly provincial earthling.”[/color:post_uid0]

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#6 2005-07-01 06:03:16

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Aliens becoming Catholic, or Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, and Muslims?  Not a chance.  You think an alien species, who certainly has a high intelligence to get here, will bow before a human, kiss his ring, and confess their sins? 

Human religions are crowded with idol worship and strange traditions which distract from the truth.  God wants you to trust that He exists and He wants you to choose to be and do good.  That's it. 

Some interesting reading, but only if you have an open mind.
http://www.urantiabook.org/newbook/index.html[/color:post_uid0]

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#7 2005-07-01 07:22:32

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=000066:post_uid0]

Aliens becoming Catholic, or Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, and Muslims?  Not a chance.  You think an alien species, who certainly has a high intelligence to get here, will bow before a human, kiss his ring, and confess their sins?[/quote:post_uid0]

What if we get [i:post_uid0]there[/i:post_uid0] first?

Though I must admit to a great deal of skepticism to religions from one species being easily adopted by others, though alot of diffusion and mutual appropriating of ideas seems likely if the two cultures share enough points to begin with.

Somehow I suspect that extraterrestrials will either be so different that we can't effectively communicate or so similar that it's unnerving.

However I also have this nagging suspicion that the monotheistic concept of a creator/shepherd God is not a common idea. Even among humans, looking at our entire history, it's a bit odd.

But who can say, we're probably all missing the point entirely.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#8 2005-07-01 07:37:33

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Like Spaniards infecting natives with small pox and torturing them with the foreign ideas.  Are we going to make them bow and drink grape juice while telling them it's the blood of Jesus? 

Not a common idea?  Does science alone solve all of the mysteries of the universe?  Where it all comes from?  How matter even exists?

Each intelligent creature has a choice, to be concerned only with itself or to be concerned with others as much as itself.[/color:post_uid0]

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#9 2005-07-01 07:38:14

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000080:post_uid6]

However I also have this nagging suspicion that the monotheistic concept of a creator/shepherd God is not a common idea. Even among humans, looking at our entire history, it's a bit odd.[/quote:post_uid6]
*Based on what I've read, polytheism and pantheism were mainstays of ancient belief and thought for many millenia.

Monotheism is still a relative "new kid on the block."

The parade float passing in front of us at this very moment isn't the entire parade...

Then the phrase "the Gods of the old religion become the Devils of the new" comes to mind, but I don't wish to swerve too far from the original questions raised by Trebuchet.

Again, I'd be interested in alien archetypes and especially why they wouldn't have them, if they don't (if aliens even exist), because it seems our psychology is hinged upon the archetypes...and from that religion has evolved.

--Cindy

P.S.:  IIRC, monotheism got its first-recorded start with the Pharaoh Amenhotep.  Later -- though how much later I can't recall -- monotheism spread out from the Middle East.

Monotheism is, IMO, too narrow and constricting (understatement) to incorporate all of the human experience.  Sort of like trying to shove the Empire State Building into a shoe box.[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#10 2005-07-01 11:37:14

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,269

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]How exactly would the dietary restrictions work for would-be alien converts?[/color:post_uid0]

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#11 2005-07-01 11:51:13

Cobra Commander
Member
From: The outskirts of Detroit.
Registered: 2002-04-09
Posts: 3,039

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=000066:post_uid0]

How exactly would the dietary restrictions work for would-be alien converts?[/quote:post_uid0]

Does a slarfaxx count as meat and is it ever Friday on a tidally locked planet?  :laugh:

Vatican II to the rescue on that one.

How accurate does that [i:post_uid0]pray toward Mecca[/i:post_uid0] thing have to be, because if you're three degrees off from 60 lightyears away. . . I don't know if Allah's gonna let that go.[/color:post_uid0]


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

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#12 2005-07-01 11:56:26

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,269

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]What if they have three genders? How does marriage work for them?

Is it a sin against god if only same gender's can procreate together?[/color:post_uid0]

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#13 2005-07-01 11:57:18

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,269

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Do they have to still tithe, even if they don't use money?[/color:post_uid0]

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#14 2005-07-09 11:49:52

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid1]Successful or not, human missionaries would be inevitable.  Broadcasts from televangelists are already among the many programs offered by Earth television.  We don't even know if aliens exist, and we're already proselytizing to them.  If we're being monitored prior to first contact, then we may find that the aliens already know about our religions and are eager to learn more. 

Whether that eagerness will be for spiritual or entertainment purposes is hard to say.  "Amen siblings!" is just as likely a response as "Send us more christian programming!  It's [i:post_uid1]hysterical[/i:post_uid1]!"   yikes 

Trebuchet wrote:

Is religion primarily something done to adapt biology to match the mind, or the other way around? [/quote:post_uid1]
That's an interesting philosophical question.  My personal take on the matter is that religion is adapting body and mind to match something that is neither body nor mind.  Unfortunately, the only unifying aspect of all religions is that body and mind are adapted - not what they're adapted to.

Also, there's a more fundamental question here.  Consider the closest things in our own history to "sentient alien species": Homo Neanderthalis, Homo Erectus, etc.  Many of these species clearly had language, technology, and were arguably intelligent beings.  We've no knowledge of Neanderthal music or religion, but we know they had these because we've found their musical instruments and clear evidence of ritual burial.  Genetic studies of the domestic dog suggests that it's earliest common ancestor with wild canines lived too early to have been domesticated by modern man, meaning we can't rule out the possibility that the dog has been with us since before we were human.  They had families, made music, feared death, and just might have loved their pets.  Clearly, these were people, not human, but humane.

But they lacked large buildings, art, its younger handmaiden the written word, and other hallmarks of modern humans.  If art isn't necessary to be an intelligent being, what else can you be without and still fly a spaceship?  It's conceivable that aliens could have no understanding of what an "interesting philosophical question" is.[/color:post_uid1]


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#15 2005-07-09 12:02:53

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000080:post_uid6]*IMO it's all psychological.  We create the gods in our own image. 

I'm still reading C. G. Jung.  What interests me especially is the [b:post_uid6]origin[/b:post_uid6] of the archetypes; so far I've not seen an explanation in his (nor his pupils') writings pertaining to those origins.

Trebuchet wrote:
Quote 
Is religion primarily something done to adapt biology to match the mind, or the other way around? 

That's an interesting philosophical question.  My personal take on the matter is that religion is adapting body and mind to match something that is neither body nor mind.[/quote:post_uid6]

And that's where the supernatural comes in?  Sincere question.

Treb's question is profoundly philosophical, IMO.  My guess is it's the former (adapting biology to match the mind). 

Another question would be how do certain minds reject religious interpretations/claims as fact and instead consider them only as constructs, and yet retain a grasp on the archetypes?  But maybe that's another thread.

--Cindy

P.S.:  I wouldn't count on aliens being oh-so interested and accepting, either (except for sociological and psychological value).  If they're astute enough, they'll likely quickly notice that what many religious adherents -say- is usually quite different from what they -do-, as ethics and behavior goes...[/color:post_uid6]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#16 2005-07-09 16:15:15

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

*IMO it's all psychological.  We create the gods in our own image.  [/quote:post_uid0]
Good point.  There is a recurring refrain in Christian theology, which can be paraphrased as: Do not anthropomorphisize God.  Perhaps theology recognizes this trend as well, but if so it denounces it.

My personal take on the matter is that religion is adapting body and mind to match something that is neither body nor mind.[/quote:post_uid0]

And that's where the supernatural comes in?  Sincere question.
[/quote:post_uid0]

A good question. 

Perhaps instead of "religion", I should say "religious observance".  Rationally, there's no purpose in adapting if there's nothing to adapt to.  So the assumption is that the necessity precedes the adaptation.  The widely acknowledged function of religion as a form of education, socialization, legitimization, etc., should indicate that the superatural isn't the only necessity that religious observance is intended to deal with. 

However, yes, I would say that religious observances are also directed to the supernatural as well.  "Supernatural" is a rather subjective term, of course.  (If something has been part of the universe from its inception, it's only supernatural from our viewpoint.)  I prefer "holy", but that's a semantic can of worms, too.

Another question would be how do certain minds reject religious interpretations/claims as fact and instead consider them only as constructs, and yet retain a grasp on the archetypes?
[/quote:post_uid0]
So many people feel the drive toward religion that the development of religions probably has "hardwired" or "collective unconscious" elements (pick your favorite poorly defined psychological adjective :;): ).  Something along these lines is inevitable. 

Probably people in this state still feel those drives (sense the archetypes?  feel the force? :;): ), but don't buy the garbage other people try to pile onto their experience.

P.S.:  I wouldn't count on aliens being oh-so interested and accepting, either (except for sociological and psychological value).
[/quote:post_uid0]
Well, why else would they be interested, unless they intended to send their own missionaries [i:post_uid0]here[/i:post_uid0].

If they're astute enough, they'll likely quickly notice that what many religious adherents -say- is usually quite different from what they -do-, as ethics and behavior goes... 
[/quote:post_uid0]
Well, thank goodness religious adherents are just like everybody else on this planet!   big_smile[/color:post_uid0]


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#17 2005-07-10 00:09:41

el scorcho
Member
From: Charlottesville, VA
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 61

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Any religion of either human or extraterrestrial origin that has an analogue in the opposite civilization will use the existence of its counterpart as "proof" of its own legitimacy. Say 50 light-years away, there are those who believe that an all-powerful being created the universe and then sent a messiah to die for everyone's sins; Christians, as well as their alien counterparts, will come out saying "See? We were right all along!" But inevitably, there would be dissenters who think that no, the real messiah hasn't come yet, and then it's the Jews' turn; and on and on and on.

So essentially, nothing would really change except that the next Jerry Falwell might have tentacles and eight eyes :laugh: .[/color:post_uid0]


"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."

-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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#18 2005-07-10 11:42:32

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

[color=#000000:post_uid1]Religious aliens - either with independently identical beliefs, or with converts from our own religious traditions - would have profound implications for ecumenism. 

Biologically impossible practices for members of one species that convert to another's religion might make sects inevitable.  Ecumenical philosophies might allow an atmosphere of acceptance to exist between the human and alien congregations even if they can't share a pot luck supper or even breathe the same air. 

Human religions that don't accept ecumenism would be lit out of shuck, though, unless they were in the market for some new "demons".[/color:post_uid1]


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#19 2005-07-22 08:54:51

reddragon
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2005-01-24
Posts: 193

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

We keep wondering if aliens will convert to our religions. What about humans converting to alien religions. I'm sure some people would immediately, thinking that aliens would be our saviours or something. And if the aliens wanted to convert us, they could do many things that would seem like miracles to us even if they only relied on advanced technology. ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clark, I think) And if they wanted to force us to convert, they'd probably have the firepower necessary.

Personally, I think that the advance of science leads to an increase in atheism and agnosticism. Therefore, advanced civilizations will probably be less dominated by big organized religions than ours is.


Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

             -The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
              by Douglas Adams

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#20 2005-07-22 09:49:58

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

It would be good news for the Raelians.


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

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#21 2006-01-05 21:58:09

Trebuchet
Member
From: Florida
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: The Extraterrestrial Pope - Religion and aliens, how will they mix?

Personally, I think that the advance of science leads to an increase in atheism and agnosticism. Therefore, advanced civilizations will probably be less dominated by big organized religions than ours is.

Actually, religious feeling comes and goes in intensity, without any seeming bearing on what science is doing at any given time. Emperor Julian II the Apostate preferred then-current philosophy and science to religion, there was an enthusiastic embrace of irreligiousness by the French Revolutionaries, etc. There's always a new Great Awakening that sweeps religion back in after a while. I think that Neal Stephenson's explanation for the intermittent popularity is probably right - an intelligent person will look at how people approach religion, conclude that 90% is crap, and erroneously forget that Sturgeon's Law applies to all human endeavors. That other 10% though, it's pretty damn important.

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