Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Profiles of the Future: Alien Contact and Religion
"The proof, which is now only a matter of time, that this young species of ours is low in the scale of cosmic intelligence will be a shattering blow to our pride. Few of our current religions can be expected to survive it, contrary to the optimistic forecasts from certain quarters. The assertion that 'God created man in his own image,' is ticking like a time bomb in the foundations of Christianity. As the hierarchy of the universe is slowly disclosed to us, we will have to face this chilling fact: If there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they cannot be very important gods."
Here, I think, Mr. Clarke drastically underestimates the power of belief and the human need to believe in something to provide a sense of meaning to an otherwise pointless and often brutal existence.
I submit that if aliens did make contact with us, the vast majority of the Earth's religion would say "Behold the wonders that our god creates." In fact, I expect that the number of religious attendees would skyrocket as people attempt to put this new knowledge into some kind of perspective. But, just as Galileo, Copernicus, and Darwin did not destroy religion, neither will the radio astronomer/mathematician that can prove that we are getting signals from other life forms.