There is a story going around that makes the claim that NASA hired 24 theologians to help determine how humans would respond to news of finding aliens.
Except, that’s not entirely how the matter went down. As pointed out by Inverse, NASA provided an $11 million grant to a Princeton study that looked into how humans would respond to finding extraterrestrial life. What’s more, the team didn’t consist entirely of theologians, it consisted of a variety of experts, a theologian being among them.
Most people alive today are religious, so the question of how religious people would respond to the idea of extraterrestrials is a valid one. I suspect that the Christian world would take the news well, considering that it was out of a predominantly Christian background that we got Star Wars and Star Trek, with Star Wars having more apparent religious themes.
The religious group that I’d be more concerned about would be the Muslims. They have a tendency to respond not-so-kindly when anything challenges their worldview, which happens to be easy to do, even accidentally. It doesn’t help that their worldview is seriously narrow. If the first land that aliens were to set foot in was the Middle East, we might be in trouble.
Some have taken what they heard to mean that NASA has made a huge discovery, and they decided to look into how to deliver the news to the world at large. That sounds plausible, considering the amount of money they invested into the project. But it might be that they were curious as to the possible sociological impact of a potential discovery in the near future.
The story got some folks from the Project Blue Beam crowd buzzing. If you’ve never heard of Project Blue Beam… I’m hesitant to call it a “conspiracy theory” due to the sheer number of things conspiracy theorists have gotten right, lately. Maybe we need to think up a new term to use for crazy, crackpot fringe ideas. But if you’ve never heard of Project Blue Beam, look it up. You might get a laugh out of it.
And before we get carried away, ”extraterrestrials” doesn’t necessarily mean “advanced interstellar civilization”, it could just mean, ”we found some moss on Mars” or something like that. Which would still be an awesome discovery, but not necessarily a childhood dream-come-true.
But if we did find some interstellar travelers, one thing to be concerned about is that they might not have our ideals. It might be that they’d be giving socialism its 5482nd chance to fail tragically, and our own lives might become miserable again for the time it takes for the hundred-or-so million people to be killed to realize that it’s still a garbage economic philosophy.
But hey, if they’ve managed to master interstellar travel, they had to have figured it out, right?