"Baptism of Christ," Aert de Gelder, 1710 (with saucer overhead)
In a far-reaching analysis of the potential impact on humans of learning that extraterrestrials exists, Christians likely would be scrambling to reconcile the idea of Jesus Christ with life on other planets.
“It's been argued for a couple of centuries now whether one incarnation of God as Jesus Christ for the entirety of creation is sufficient,” says theologian Ted Peters of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. For instance, aliens might lead religions to question whether a second genesis of life elsewhere belongs within the biblical understanding of creation. Might Jesus Christ have appeared more than once in the universe?
According to Space.com:
To see what effects the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence might have on religion, Peters and his colleagues surveyed more than 1,300 individuals worldwide from multiple religious traditions ~ including Roman Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists and non-religious groups.
They found the vast majority of religious believers ~ regardless of religion ~ were overwhelmingly confident that they wouldn’t suffer a collapse in faith in the face of evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. In addition, roughly one-third of religious people thought that the faith of other religions would be threatened, while two-thirds of nonreligious people thought that aliens would sway the faith of the religious as a whole.
There are many open questions as to how people on Earth might view beliefs from space. Could advances that alien civilizations could bring be perceived much like a secular form of salvation? Might advanced civilizations and their perhaps equally advanced philosophies make our religions feel primitive?
Alien religions could draw converts, and if there are many points of agreement between religions on Earth and from space, one might see communication of ideas across species as well, Peters believes. “Greek philosophers never met the God of Moses, but there were people who said, ‘Doggone, there seems to be much that coheres,’” he added.
Click here for the Space.com article.