The Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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    Clarke, Jonathan D. A.

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    Life in the Universe

    "Is our God large enough to be Lord of all these worlds and any inhabitants they may harbour, or is He just the God of our small corner? Some Christians seem to be frightened by the possibility of life, perhaps intelligent life, elsewhere in the universe. They believe that the Bible teaches that our earth, the life upon it, and especially humanity, are somehow special and unique. They fear that the discovery of any life, let alone intelligent life, will undermine the Bible and thus their faith. The Bible nowhere states that our world enjoys a special place in the universe...The Bible teaches that God is the Lord of creation, not humanity. Indeed, we are created a little lower than angels."
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    Conklin, Daniel G.

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    Jesus and E.T.: Identity of Jesus the Christ in View of Ultimate Pluralism

    "Christians have to ask themselves (and skeptics will certainly ask them), What can the cosmic significance possibly be of the localized, terrestrial event of the existence of the historical Jesus? Does not the mere possibility of extraterrestrial life render nonsensical all the superlative claims made by the Christian church about his significance? Would ET, Alpha-Arcturians, Martians, et al., need an incarnation and all it is supposed to accomplish, as much as homo sapiens on planet Earth? Only a contemporary theology that can cope convincingly with such questions can hope to be credible today.”
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    Davies, Paul

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    E.T. and God

    "Suppose, then, that E.T. is far ahead of us not only scientifically and technologically but spiritually, too. Where does that leave mankind’s presumed special relationship with God? This conundrum poses a particular difficulty for Christians, because of the unique nature of the Incarnation. Of all the world’s major religions, Christianity is the most species-specific. Jesus Christ was humanity’s savior and redeemer. He did not die for the dolphins or the gorillas, and certainly not for the proverbial little green men. But what of deeply spiritual aliens? Are they not to be saved?"
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    Laing, Jennifer

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    Christian Views of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (1600–2000): An Alien Concept?

    "For Christians, ETI has long been a difficult issue on which a wide range of opinions have been expressed or indeed suppressed; from dismissal of the idea as outright heresy, through to a belief that a wise and benevolent creator God could indeed have created a multitude of inhabited worlds replete with intelligent life. This paper will examine the opposing Christian perspectives on ETI from 1600 to the close of the 20th century, and consider why some Christians have found the idea of intelligent life populating the universe confronting to their faith."
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    McMullin, Ernan

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    Many Worlds: Theological Issues

    "McMullin's essay considers the implications of theoretical and future empirical probability/possibility of Extraterrestrial Life (ETL) and Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI) to the particularity of the Human and Earth-centered cosmologies of the Western theistic traditions. The plurality of worlds in the universe has long been a topic for theological debate, particularly in Christianity, going back at least as far as the Middle Ages. McMullin offers an illuminating survey of different theological interpretations of doctrines like Original Sin, the Body and Soul, and the Incarnation in light of the challenges presented by the possible plurality of worlds."
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    Peters, Ted

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    Exo-Theology: Speculations on Extra-Terrestrial Life

    "Astronomer and exo-biologist Carl Sagan has written: 'Space exploration leads directly to religious and philosophical questions.' Just what are these questions? Unfortunately, some of the first questions typically asked are very misleading. At the top of the list is a question posed all too frequently by skeptical scientists and tabloid journalists. The question goes like this: 'If we discover living beings in outer space as intelligent or more intelligent than we, will the Christian religion collapse?'...What is misleading here is the assumption that the Christian religion is fragile, that it is so fixed upon its orientation to human beings centered on earth that an experience with extra-terrestrial beings would shatter it. An alleged earth-centrism renders Christianity vulnerable. Yet, I find little or no credible evidence that such a threat exists."
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    Randolph, Richard O. Margaret S. Race and Christopher P. McKay

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    Reconsidering the Theological and Ethical Implications of Extraterrestrial Life

    "The prospect of discovering non-intelligent life somewhere in our solar system is also exciting. Unfortunately, in our rush to consider the implications of intelligent extraterrestrial life, we risk overlooking important ethical and theological questions associated with exploration for primitive or non-intelligent life forms. This kind of exploration, conducted closer to our home planet, raises some important questions concerning responsible human exploration of space. In this essay, we have examined two of the most pressing issues in this regard. The first issue concerns back contamination of Earth. How do we determine an ethically acceptable level of risk when returning samples to Earth from Mars and other places within our solar system? The second issue concerns the obligations which we owe to planets and other extraterrestrial bodies. Specifically, should we pursue terraforming, or planetary engineering, in which we attempt to create an atmosphere more hospitable to biological life as we know it?"