It’s always a tricky matter to ask academics about UFOs and not get a standard dismissive comment. After all, mainstream science doesn’t recognize what many of us have seen and interpreted as something out of the ordinary.
But if you phrase the question the right way, you can get some interesting answers. That’s what Gizmodo.com did asking a number of academics: “What religion is most amenable to life on other planets?” (Notice no mention of UFOs or aliens in the question.)
These are abbreviated answers. If you want to see their full answers, go HERE.
Diana Walsh Pasulka
Professor, Philosophy and Religion, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and the author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, and Technology
“In many indigenous spiritualities, for example, extraterrestrials, often called “star people,” exist and are even ancestors of certain tribes on Earth. Even in certain Western indigenous spiritualities, such as pre-Christian Irish, for example, extraterrestrials came from the clouds and provided humans with knowledge about how to live.
“Even in the Western traditions—take Catholicism for example—talk of extraterrestrial life has been going on for more than one thousand years. In 1891 Pope Leo XIII established a space observatory (which was there already) to study “unexplained flying objects.” Buddhism also references the existence of other worlds. It is obvious that most religions and spiritualities have considered the existence of beings from other worlds. It is actually not new.”
Buddhism was a popular choice…
Professor, Comparative Religion, Miami University of Ohio
“Buddhism, hands down. No other religion offers as vivid a depiction of what life is like on planets far from ours. In Buddhist texts we learn what it feels like, phenomenologically, to be on another planet.”
Professor, Comparative Religions, Drew University
“I think Buddhism is a good candidate for being the religion most friendly to the idea of life existing on other planets….The universal Buddhist prayer is “may all beings be (unselfishly) happy,” which is directed towards everyone, everywhere.”
This researcher included a couple of Christian sects….
President of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI), a non-profit research organization that creates and transmits interstellar messages to search for extraterrestrial civilizations
“Admittedly, some traditions will have an easier time than others in absorbing the news that we’re not alone in the universe. Numerous schools of Buddhism and Hinduism posit countless celestial realms, populated by beings more or less spiritually advanced than humans. News of extraterrestrial neighbors would be welcome and easily assimilated.
“Within Christianity, two prominent denominations arose recently enough to be informed by nineteenth-century astronomical observations of planets in our own solar system. The founder of the Seventh-day Adventists had visions of extraterrestrials, and the Latter-day Saint scripture The Pearl of Great Price claims the existence of other inhabited worlds than Earth. In these traditions, aliens are assumed to exist, so no adaptation will be needed.”
Islam got a vote from this prof….
Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of the Drew University Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC) at Drew University
“In the Islamic tradition, for example, the great twelfth and thirteenth century mystical philosopher Ibn al-‘Arabi would have likely been very comfortable with contemporary theory in physical cosmology that our own universe may well be only one of multiple universes, likely occupying multiple and different dimensions of time and space. Once you can accept something as wild as that, getting your head around extraterrestrial life should be a breeze.”
This lecturer knows which religion doesn’t want any space aliens showing up….
Lecturer, Protestant Theology, University of Muenster; recent papers include ‘Did Jesus Die for Klingons, too?’ and ‘Is the Origin of Life a Fluke? Why the Chance Hypothesis Should Not be Dismissed Too Quickly’
“Every major religion on Earth could easily accommodate the discovery of (intelligent) alien life, with one exception: Christianity.”
And finally, let’s not forget the space brothers…
Kelly Eileen Hayes
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University
“While it might sound like the plot of a sci-fi novel, the idea that benevolent and highly advanced beings from other planets are secretly facilitating human evolution is common to a number of religions. Members of the Brazilian religion called the Valley of the Dawn (Vale do Amanhecer), for example, claim to be the spiritual descendants of a race of beings from the distant star Capella, sent by God to jumpstart Earth’s evolution. According to Valley teachings, the elaborate pyramids built by various ancient peoples were actually technologically sophisticated structures for maintaining communications with Capella.”