About the Author
Christopher Shanahan is a current Sociology-Anthropology student at Towson University in Baltimore, MD. Previously, Christopher was in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Analyst for 4 years with a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Christopher has also written and published a novel under the pseudonym Noah Twain which can be found on Amazon.

Would The Discovery Of Alien Life Cause A Crisis For Religion?

Many people have asked the question, “Are there aliens out there in the universe?”, but the one question that rarely gets asked is “what would their discovery mean for the very foundation of organized religions here on Earth”?

In the course of writing this article, I took the time to ponder the question myself, as well as ask people of different faiths how they think people would react given substantial evidence that intelligent life exists outside of our planet.

It should be known that this article is entirely theoretical and opinion based, but it’s certainly fun to think about.

I firmly believe that there is intelligent life out in the universe; it is not a matter of if we will get in contact with these beings, but a question of when.

In the year 2000 it was known that astronomers had located about 50 “exoplanets,” and in the year 2013, that number had grown to 850.

In just 13 years, out of the 850 that have been discovered, 20 of the planets have been found to be “Earth-size exoplanets that occupy a habitable zone around their star, including the most recently discovered Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri,” according to the BBC.

The idea that something could be going on outside of Earth would surely be something that God would have told us about, right?

It is estimated that by the year 2045 the number of exoplanets discovered will be well over one million.

At a certain point, it just becomes silly to think that we are actually alone in the universe.

Now that the framework for this conversation has been laid out, and the argument made that it is only a matter of time before we find a form of advanced life that resides outside of our world; we can begin to examine the question of what the discovery of alien life would mean for religion on earth.

Photo Credit: William Murphy/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The very first thing that would probably happen is that there would be a period of denial for many people that have a religious life and background.

The idea that something could be going on outside of Earth would surely be something that God would have told us about, right?

The denial would just be dismissive at first, but then we would move into our second stage: anger.

Anger would envelop the masses of religious people, and for the first time in the history of religion, there might even be a shared understanding among all faiths to combat the false lies that are being spread about alien life that exists in the universe.

There would be a strong effort to dispel any rumor or fact that there is extraterrestrial life, and people would gather en masse to protest and show their anger for the contempt of their religion.

This brings us to step three and three and a half: denial and depression.

After being shown substantial evidence that alien life exists outside of our earth, and with all their theories and rhetoric thoroughly exhausted, the religious people that have no accepted the reality of this fact will have a severe attack of cognitive dissonance.

Photo Credit: Chris Murtagh/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

It’s a very unfortunate thing to say, but some people will no doubt be so overcome with doubt and depression that they will likely take their own lives as they see everything that they have ever known fundamentally shaken.

Luckily, I see this as a short period of time, and slowly the fog will begin to clear.

This will lead us to step four: acceptance and rationalization.

When I asked people of different faiths the question about how they would personally feel about being show substantial evidence of the existence of alien life, and how it would affect their belief in their religion I was generally given the same answer: “There are things that we just don’t know about, and in due time God will reveal them.”

It is no secret that the Bible, Torah, Qur’an and other religious text were all written by man.

I believe that these religious texts have been drafted through divine inspiration from a higher being and that higher being only gives us as much information that we are able to handle at any given time.

Photo Credit: Jason Trbovich/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

If you were to tell the people of the world back in 300 A.D. that we would have these magical machines that could fly us across vast oceans in a matter of hours they probably would have looked at you like you had four heads.

We are only given as much information that we can cognitively process, and that will continue to happen if people have a truth faith and allegiance to their religion.

Religion is rarely based on things that can definitively be proven.

Religion is based on belief and faith.

When there is tangible evidence of alien life existing outside of our Earth, the true believers of faith will continue to believe that there is a supreme being in the heavens that is looking out for all that it created, and in this circumstance, the creation extends to extraterrestrial beings.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: DeeAshley/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Does the Philippines Have A Dictator Now?

The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has become an internationally known figure in a remarkably short amount of time.

Oh course, so has Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

While only being in office for 253 days (as of March 10, 2017) Duterte has become an alarmingly important figure in global politics due to his awful human rights record and a penchant for bucking the status quo.

Some, including Duterte himself, have even started calling him by a new name- dictator.

Duterte was recently quoted as saying, “I will be a dictator against all bad guys, evil, I will do it at the cost of my position or my life. I won’t stop. That’s a solemn commitment.”

The world should probably start listening to him.

Human Rights Watch, an American-founded international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, believes that Duterte may have committed crimes against humanity by, “inciting killings during his bloody antidrug campaign.”

Crimes against humanity aren’t something to scoff at, and it certainly isn’t something to take lightly.

Other high-profile political people who have been indicted for crimes against humanity include the now dead Muammar Gaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad, the current President of war-torn Syria.

Duterte meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016.

Some people might look at what Duterte is doing for his country as an act of patriotism.

His stated goal is to rid his country of drug lords, their dealers, and anyone who is addicted to drugs.

Of course he is not creating massive amounts of new treatment facilities or encouraging other public health fixes, instead he is literally telling people to murder those who abuse drugs.

So has he already crossed the line from democratically elected leader to dictator?

The answer is obviously yes.

No one would argue against the fact that drugs and the trafficking of drugs are a global issue that has had disastrous ramifications for so many communities, but Duterte’s policy of slaughtering his own people in the name of reform cannot be tolerated by the people of the Philippines or the international community.

In the short time span of Duterte’s presidency, thousands of people have been killed by police or vigilantes, and the killings will only continue if no one is willing to speak up and demand a stop to an unjust judicial system.

The reason that many developing countries look to the west for a guiding hand in the building of their countries is for our rule of law.

A belief that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of justice.

Photo Credit: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The people of the Philippines are not being given this fundamental human right, and they are suffering in silence.

The principle of human rights is universal, and it is the basis for all democracies.

What Duterte, a democratically elected official, has done is spit in the face of democracy.

He has turned around and made the Philippines his own personal killing field, and “his people” are the targets.

The saddest part about the current situation in the Philippines is that by Philippine law, the president has immunity from prosecution while in office.

What this means to the rest of the world is that it is now our solemn duty to hold Duterte and his cronies responsible for their systematic attack against the civilian population.

The International Criminal Court and the U.N. have an obligation to launch an expedient investigation into this matter and stop these policies from continuing.

How many more people must die from extrajudicial killings before the rest of the world opens their eyes and sees Rodrigo Duterte for what he truly is: a malicious dictator?

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

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