Exotheology

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Exotheology is a term sometimes used for the theological implications that would arise from the discovery of extraterrestrial life. It is much less than a developed field of study, but it has drawn the interest of some theologians and philosophers, including C.S. Lewis. The term can also be used to mean the religious beliefs of a fictional alien race, or those of hypothesized intelligent extraterrestrials in general.

Some see exotheology as a liberal Christian reaction to the widespread modern belief in extraterrestrial life. A 1978 Time Magazine article claimed "Scientists today generally assume, and the mathematical probabilities favor, the existence of intelligent life among the myriad planets wheeling through the cosmos."[1] Some atheists believe that the existence of life on other planets would disprove Christianity. Some Christians, such as the Irish writer C. S. Lewis, have therefore tried to consider ways in which the existence of aliens could be harmonized with religion, such as suggesting that aliens might not have experienced a Fall in the way humans did.

Some conservative Christians reject the whole debate as pointless and deceptive. They say that, according to the Bible, the Earth is the centerpiece of God's creation, and the only place where He created life. On the other hand, Rev. José Gabriel Funes, a Jesuit priest who is head of the Vatican Observatory and a scientific adviser to Pope Benedict, says "The existence of alien beings would not create a problem for believers. This is not in contrast with our faith because we can't put limits on God's creative freedom." [2][3]

References

  1. Time magazine Apr. 24, 1978
  2. Vatican scientist says belief in God and aliens is OK Reuters, May 14, 2008
  3. Pope's astronomer insists alien life 'would be part of God's creation', The Independent, 15th May 2008.
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