what if e.t. believed in god?
6/15/2007 05:30:00 PM
I was driving down the road one day thinking about another post, and wondered, how would the discovery of aliens affect my beliefs in God? I responded along the lines that it would probably depend on the religious beliefs of aliens. With that in mind, I divulged my mind into thinking up possible case scenarios and their implications on the theism/atheism debate. Here are 6 that I came up with. This is by no means definitive, but I think it at least a good start.

The first possibilities are those related more to atheism:

Possibility #1: The Aliens are Atheists -- By this, I mean that the aliens had at once believed in God, and at one point disbelieved in God for some reason, similar or dissimilar to the reasons given by many atheists. If the aliens were atheists, I don't think I would it would add to either case, because it wouldn't add anything new to the debate.

Possibility #2: The Aliens are Apatheists -- They have no concept of God. This is distinct from atheism, because atheists disbelieve God. The aliens in this case have nothing to disbelieve, so there is no disbelief. If the aliens were indeed apatheists, then I think this would give some credibility to the argument that God is a delusion, something created by human imagination, thus be in favor of atheism.

There are three distinct possibilities under theism:

Possiblity #3: The Aliens are Autotheists -- They think of themselves as God or gods. If anyone is familiar with the Stargate franchise, you know that the premise behind the series is that many of the gods of mythologies were in fact aliens that had propped themselves up as gods, and enforced the delusion through technological marvels and other means. The aliens may present themselves as gods with full knowledge they are not gods, or they may present themselves as gods and be fully convinced they are gods.

There are several implications here. In this case, we could implement C.S. Lewis' trilemma: either they are liars, lunatics, or gods. If they are liars as Stargate proposes the gods are aliens who are posing as early humans and lying about it. I think this would help explain many of the objections raised by atheist, in that the plurality of gods shows that perhaps there isn't a single god, but that all gods are fictitious. It could be that the aliens are delusional in thinking they are gods. From the human perspective, this wouldn't be a whole lot different from the aliens posing as God and being liars, but from the aliens' perspective, humans would be blaspheming gods should they deny the deity of the aliens. The last possibility is that they are indeed gods. I find this highly unlikely. Such beings wouldn't really fit the traditional definition of what a god would be.

Possibility #4: The Aliens are Anthropotheists -- They think of humans as gods. Humans aren't gods, although some might think of themselves as such, so the aliens would be deceived.

Possibility #5: The Aliens are Traditional Theists -- This like Possibility #1 would seem to add to the fray without significantly changing it.

Possibility #6: The Aliens like earth have a hodge-podge of religious different beliefs -- Again, this like Possibility #1 would seem to add to the fray without significantly changing it.

I think the odds are in favor for the propagation of atheism, should aliens land and we learn that are like Possibility #2 or Possibility #3, but all in all, I don't think such an event would kill religion or theism for that matter.

Thoughts? Other Possibilities?
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