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Author Topic:   Sentient life in the universe
Anquetas
Junior Member (Idle past 3273 days)
Posts: 3
Joined: 01-02-2010


Message 1 of 42 (541349)
01-02-2010 6:08 PM


A curious question to a religious believer.

Imagine that we have found extra-terrestrial life on a distant place of the universe, which is not very improbable event. Imagine that there are sentient beings, which are advanced that we are, so we can communicate with them by some reason that they have presented to us. Imagine that they gave us their own belief system, which is based on evidence and logic - that they are children of the universe. They also value only consciousness and they achieved immortality of it, by storing it. I think my point should be clear by now. Will you accept their belief system (and why) or will you try to convert them to your religion - Christianity or whatever, and how?

Edited by Anquetas, : No reason given.

Edited by Anquetas, : No reason given.

Edited by Anquetas, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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 Message 17 by Taz, posted 01-05-2010 11:02 PM Anquetas has not yet responded

    
Admin
Director
Posts: 12590
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 2 of 42 (541402)
01-03-2010 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Anquetas
01-02-2010 6:08 PM


A couple minor requests. Please edit Message 1 and remove the 2nd paragraph, and change "believe system" (2 occurrences) to "belief system."

Post a note to this thread when you're done and I'll take another look.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
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Anquetas
Junior Member (Idle past 3273 days)
Posts: 3
Joined: 01-02-2010


Message 3 of 42 (541435)
01-03-2010 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
01-03-2010 8:29 AM


My message was corrected as you requested.
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Admin
Director
Posts: 12590
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 4 of 42 (541450)
01-03-2010 5:19 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Sentient life in the universe thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 5 of 42 (541507)
01-03-2010 11:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Anquetas
01-02-2010 6:08 PM


Sentient life would mean christianity would be wrong in my mind. One of the empirical way christianity could be falsified from my POV.

(I don't think this is the case for every christian however)


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Replies to this message:
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Anquetas
Junior Member (Idle past 3273 days)
Posts: 3
Joined: 01-02-2010


Message 6 of 42 (541510)
01-04-2010 1:02 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by slevesque
01-03-2010 11:09 PM


Why do you think that it would be falsified? In case described, probably yes, since they went farther then us and it will proof that we just thought not good enough to eliminate all supernatural believes.

But there is a good bet that we can meet civilization at the same stage of development and with the monotheism, which will proof Christianity at some level.


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 7 of 42 (541511)
01-04-2010 1:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Anquetas
01-02-2010 6:08 PM


Hi, Anquetas.

Anquetas writes:

Imagine that they gave us their own belief system, which is based on evidence and logic - that they are children of the universe.

I'm having a hard time imagining what kind of "evidence and logic" could possibly demonstrate that any particular entity is a "child of the universe." In fact, I don't even know what you mean by"children of the universe," nor whether that is a particularly profound or important thing to recognize, and I would be sure to ask for very specific definitions and explanations for them about this particular point.

-----

Anquetas writes:

Will you accept their belief system (and why) or will you try to convert them to your religion - Christianity or whatever, and how?

Have you ever read Ender's Game and its sequels? I think it's the third book in the series when some primitive aliens become converted to Catholicism and then ridicule another alien of a different species who dares question them about this rather peculiar course of action by saying, "Maybe you evolved, but we were created."

Even though I was only 15 when I read it, it struck me as one of the most odd exchanges I had ever read in a science-fiction book.

-----

But, to answer your question, if they could demonstrate to me that faith in their particular belief system is required before immortality is achievable, then I would join their belief system (immortality sounds like a good thing to me, though it would depend on the conditions---if I could spend it with my wife; if I had to be an inert brain in a jar; etc.).

If, however, their methodologies were capable of making a skeptic immortal, I would doubt that their belief system had anything to do with obtaining immortality, and would neither attempt to convert them to my belief system nor feel the need to take on theirs.

Logically, why would I change my current belief system for something else if the new system is not inherently superior to the current system? Until I find something that's demonstrably more effective than my current system, I think I'll just stick with Mormonism.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the purpose of this thought exercise. Is your question simply, "If you found that another religion was superior to yours, would you switch?" Frankly, that's boring.

Or, maybe you were trying to see whether we would change our beliefs if someone else offered us a practical version of the same benefits, to determine whether our motivation to believe is purely selfish and practical?
Or, maybe you were trying to see whether any amount of evidence could lead us to believe in a religion in which we were not the special, "chosen race" of God?

Those would be more interesting questions, but I don't think your scenario actually gets at any of that: you need to be more specific and more direct. Furthermore, nobody religious is going to just come out and say, "Yep, I'm a hypocrit!"

Let me make a prediction: no religious person is going to directly engage your scenario, and will instead pick bones about how your scenario is set up.

Case in point: Slevesque (easily among the more logic-minded quantile of our religious contingent here at EvC) has started this off with a comment about how the scenario would trigger a logical tangent that would mean that your question is meaningless under the given conditions, thereby dodging the commitment to actually answer the question posed.

That will most likely be the closest you will get to a response to your actual question. We religious folks are notoriously immune to hypothetical scenarios that require us to deny our religion.

Edited by Bluejay, : Several typos.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 8 of 42 (541535)
01-04-2010 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Anquetas
01-04-2010 1:02 AM


Intelligent alien life doesn't fit at all with christianity. Since they aren't descendant of humans, they wouldn't need to be saved from his sinful nature.

And of course, I do think genesis implies that humans were the summum of God's creation, ''created in is image'' etc. etc.


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 806 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 9 of 42 (541552)
01-04-2010 12:40 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by slevesque
01-04-2010 10:30 AM


Hi, Slevesque.

slevesque writes:

And of course, I do think genesis implies that humans were the summum of God's creation, ''created in is image'' etc. etc.

There are many Christians who believe that God created more worlds than just Earth, and that many of these worlds are also inhabited by His creations. After all, if He did it once, why couldn't He do it again?

Nothing I've ever read in the Bible (or the Book of Mormon, for that matter) rules out the possibility that some of God's children live on other worlds.

-----

slevesque writes:

Intelligent alien life doesn't fit at all with christianity. Since they aren't descendant of humans, they wouldn't need to be saved from his sinful nature.

If God created life on other worlds, what's to say they wouldn't have a sinful nature of their own?

Furthermore, only evolutionary concepts require beings to be descended from humans to be humans; creationary concepts hardly require that.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 10 of 42 (541686)
01-05-2010 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Blue Jay
01-04-2010 12:40 PM


There are many Christians who believe that God created more worlds than just Earth, and that many of these worlds are also inhabited by His creations. After all, if He did it once, why couldn't He do it again?

Nothing I've ever read in the Bible (or the Book of Mormon, for that matter) rules out the possibility that some of God's children live on other worlds.

God can do anything and everything. It is no more difficult for him to create other habitable planets with sentient life on them. Just as it would not have been difficult for him to create us 'via' evolution.

However, I'm not concerned with what he could have done, but rather he said he did. And although the Bible doesn't rule out sentient extraterrestial life, it leaves little place for it in the way it positions humankind above all the rest of creation.

If God created life on other worlds, what's to say they wouldn't have a sinful nature of their own?

Then the question could be asked as to how they could pay the price of their sins. In christian theology, Jesus Christ comes to pay for our sins through his death on the cross. Now, if this same sacrifice would also pay for their sin, it brings up several difficulties.

How unlikely is it then that God decided to incarnate himself in a human rather then any other of those sentient kinds ? And how could they know about his sacrifice and that their debt was paid ? (Something like: My son has died for your sins, but it was on another planet. but I'll tell you how it happened their is this thing called a cross, which is made out of wood, which is a material which come from trees, which is a plant on this planet. And these crosses were used by romans, who were a nation of human, who were conquering all of the known world, un der Caesar, etc. ????)

What I tried to say here is that even the cultural background simply to understand the life of Jesus would be far too complicated to tell them, and by this then they could but by great difficulty understand why and how they could be saved.

The other option would be that Jesus's sacrific would only pay for humankinds sin. And that each other sentient life would have had their own son of God who would pay for their sins. Which is in clear contradiction with the trinitary aspect of God which I think is a biblical truth. (The other option of God's only son paying for all the different sins by incarnating in all the different sentient lifeforms is ruled out by the biblical teaching that Jesus is still supposd to be a human even in heaven.)

All this to say that I see lots of theological difficulties and logical inconsistencies with sentient life and christianity, and that the effort to overcome these in order for christianity to 'still be true' would be overwhelming and in the end, it would no longer look like anything we today call christianity. Also in my first post I clearly said that this was pretty subjective and so it was my personnal opinion. I can see how someone would accomodate his christian believes with such a discovery, but I couldn't.

Furthermore, only evolutionary concepts require beings to be descended from humans to be humans; creationary concepts hardly require that.[/qs]

Adam is presented in the Bible as being the father of humankind, the first through which all of humankind stems from. So God could not have created humans also on other planets. At the very least it could only be other types of life. (which as said above I would find extremely difficult to reconcile with the Biblical truth)


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ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 2619 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 11 of 42 (541693)
01-05-2010 12:54 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by slevesque
01-03-2010 11:09 PM


slevesque writes:

Sentient life would mean christianity would be wrong in my mind. One of the empirical way christianity could be falsified from my POV.

So out of the 100 billion stars in our own galaxy, not to mention all of the stars in the millions or hundered of millions of galaxies in the known universe, our sun is the only one to have a planet upon which there is sentient life?

What did God make all of the rest of the universe for, then?


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 14816
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 12 of 42 (541696)
01-05-2010 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by slevesque
01-05-2010 11:21 AM


quote:

(The other option of God's only son paying for all the different sins by incarnating in all the different sentient lifeforms is ruled out by the biblical teaching that Jesus is still supposd to be a human even in heaven.)

Something to think about: If Jesus can be human AND God at the same time, why can't he also be a member of any number of other sapient species as well ?


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 13 of 42 (541697)
01-05-2010 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by PaulK
01-05-2010 1:13 PM


Jeez Aliens
Something to think about: If Jesus can be human AND God at the same time, why can't he also be a member of any number of other sapient species as well?

Fair point. Except for the whole man in God's image thing maybe?

Unless that means metaphorically, spiritually, morally or something rather than anything to do with physical. Which would probably make more sense. If any of it makes any sense anyway.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 14 of 42 (541725)
01-05-2010 10:02 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by ZenMonkey
01-05-2010 12:54 PM


Because I think abiogenesis is impossible, the numbers don't make a difference for me really.

And for why God created such a vast universe, I think the answer is pretty straightforward you just have to look at all the posts from theists and atheists alike about how they marvel at it's beauty. Perhaps this was God's intent when creating it ?


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 15 of 42 (541726)
01-05-2010 10:06 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by PaulK
01-05-2010 1:13 PM


I'm not an expert on the incarnation, but maybe it has something to do with him having a human mother.
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