Very interesting article on whether the discovery of alien life would shatter religious belief..
By Gavin Allen
Last updated at 4:27 PM on 3rd October 2011
A Christian professor has told a U.S. Government-backed conference on space travel that the discovery of aliens would lead to significant problems for his own religion.
In a speech entitled 'Did Jesus die for Klingons too?', German academic Christian Weidemann outlined the possible ramifications that the ultimate space discovery would engender.
Speaking at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Orlando Florida, Professor Weidemann also attempted to outline how the inevitable theological conflict might be resolved.
Saved by God too? Was the Klingon character Worf, played by the actor Michael Dorn, also saved by Jesus, played here by actor Jim Caviezel
Weidemann, a professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum, said that the death of Christ, some 2,000 years ago, was designed to save all creation.
However, the whole of creation, as defined by scientists, includes 125billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy.
That means that if intelligent life exists on other planets, then Jesus or God would have to have visited them too, and sacrificed himself equally for Martian-kind as well as mankind.
The alternative, posits Weidemann, is that Jesus chose earthlings as the single race to save and abandoned every other life form in the galaxy.
Or, it could have been because humans were the only race who had sinned and required 'saving', said Weidemann, who added: 'You can grasp the conflict.'
'If there are extra-terrestrial intelligent beings at all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners too,' he said, according to Space.com.
Are they out there? The Darpa-backed 100 Year Starship is designed to engender a deep space programme and alien discoveries could result from that
Science v religion: Professor Christian Weidemann, right, gave a speech to the symposium, wondering loud if Jesus died for the people of other worlds too
'If so, did Jesus save them too? My position is no. If so, our position among intelligent beings in the universe would be very exceptional.'
Among Weidemann's suggestions as to how Jesus and God may have tackled the issue of visiting other alien planets, he argues it is possible God could have sent multiple incarnations of Himself into space, with one attending each inhabited planet.
Given scientists' best guesses as to how many civilisations there may be in space, that would require around 250 incarnations of God to exist at any one time.
However, this theory would also lead to much beard-scratching among Christians as God is assumed to have taken on corporeal form as Jesus, making the multiple-Gods theory difficult to absorb into prescribed Christian thinking.
Prof. Weidemann's speech is highly theoretical and based on two very different instances of faith, which means one could be forgiven for dismissing it.
However, the 100 Year Starship Symposium is not a conference for those on the fringes of society.
The event is sponsored by U.S. defence department Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and is designed to further the discussion of issues surrounding long-distance space travel.
It is an off-shoot of the 100 Year Starship programme, which seeks to inspire a new space race using contributions from the various worlds of science, mathematics, engineering, biology, economics and the social sciences too.
However, the conflict of theology would be more of a problem for Christians than it would for other religions.
Hindus believe in multiple gods, and would therefore not have an issue with Weidemann's suggestion about multiple incarnations of God, and in the Muslim world Muhammad was not God incarnate, simple a prophet, which would also allow for the 'multiple God theory'.