Tuesday, 26 June 2012

How will the discovery of extraterrestrial life impact religion?

What will the impact be on religion when extraterrestrial life is discovered? It is a common assumption that such a discovery will be detrimental to core beliefs of religions around the world. You might be surprised to hear, however, that some experts believe the religious impact will be minor.
(Credit: SETI Institute)

A panel discussion on this topic took place on Sunday, June 24 at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s SETIcon II conference in Santa Clara, California. This panel, titled “Would Discovering ET Destroy Earth’s Religions?,” concluded that the resulting impact on religion from an alien discovery is “probably not going to be as severe as we might initially think.” That is according to panelist Doug Vakoch, the director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute.

Mike Wall of Space.com points out that “the Bible, Koran and other sacred texts of the world’s major religions stress God’s special concern for humanity and for Earth,” so discovering ET “might seem threatening, by implying that we and our planet aren’t all that special.” But as SETI Institute senior astronomer Seth Shostak mentioned during the panel, “We haven’t been the center of the universe for a while now — four centuries.”
Ancient astronomers Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei countered the established belief that the sun and everything else in the universe revolved around Earth. Such crazy talk was viewed as blasphemy by the world’s largest Christian church–the Catholic Church. The present-day Vatican, however, is much more open to science and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe. In a 2009 interview with Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Father José Gabriel Funes, the director of the Vatican observatory, stated, “As a multiplicity of creature exist on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God. This does not contrast with our faith because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God.”
Ted Peters

In addition to this latest panel discussion on the topic of the extraterrestrial impact on religion, an “ETI Crisis Survey” was conducted in 2008 by Dr. Ted Peters, professor of systematic theology at both Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley California, to test the belief that, “upon confirmation of contact between Earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of Earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.” More than one-thousand people from varying religions participated in the study, and results showed that only a small percentage of the participants felt their personal beliefs would be affected by the confirmation of extraterrestrial life.

What are your thoughts? Would the discovery of intelligent extraterrestrials have any affect on your religious beliefs? Share your opinion with us on the Open Minds Facebook page.

Morphing UFO over Moscow Goes Viral (Video)

An amazing video going viral on YouTube shows what looks like a saucer UFO morphing shapes as it flies over the night skies of Moscow.

The video, posted by YouTuber olegen77, starts tracking a light in the distant sky over the rooftops of the city and then zooms in for a closer look.

The lights on the unidentified flying object look as though they wrap around a circular, disc-shaped craft.

As the three minute video plays out, the object seems to morph into a different shape as now multi-colored lights shift to align with a transformed contour. How is that possible?

The video is drawing a lot of comments, mostly agreeing that the UFO is not like any known aircraft they've ever seen. Its resemblance to an airplane at various points only deepens the mystery. How can it change shape?

This object seems similar to others seen on videos posted from around the Moscow area in the past two years, as well as other regions of the world.

Ufo Newspaper Clipping - The Sun 9.11.1967.

Glowing Orb UFO Buzzes Detroit Accident Scene (Video)

A weird, spherical, glowing blue orb UFO buzzed over the scene of a traffic accident being covered by a news team in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. What is it?

The unidentified flying object is like no other caught on video, being perfectly round and flying in a straight line until it disappears in the distant night. The scene it flies over is reportedly an accident with the emergency lights and vehicles clustered around the undescribed mishap.

It's easy to chalk this up to a meteor or falling star but it doesn't resemble those phenomenon.

In the case of this UFO the light emanating from the object is a soft blue and not fiery at all and there is no streaking tail. The video shows the raw image first and then plays the sequence again at half speed.

It doesn't help to identify the strange object, which bears no resemblance to aircraft, balloons or birds.

The Goblin’s Grimoire: Hopkinsville Reprised, or the Hollow Earth?

The month of August 1955 was a strange one for residents around the small town of Kelly, in Christian County, Kentucky. A number of locals, as well as area law enforcement, had claimed to have been experiencing various odd things of an “alien” variety; in fact, things would end up getting so strange for one group of locals, the Sutton family of nearby Hopkinsville, that their lives would be forever changed in the aftermath.
The events that led to a terrorizing evening for the family, along with a visiting friend from out of town, were both terrifying and wholly inexplicable. Things started as Pennsylvania native Billy Ray Taylor, along with Elmer Sutton, went outside to investigate noises coming from the forest nearby on the evening of August 21st, shortly after a series of odd lights had been seen in the distance. Both men, carrying guns, claimed to have witnessed a strange nonhuman entity emerge from the trees, prompting their return to the farmhouse. Soon afterward, the Suttons and Mr. Taylor would begin an evening secured within the home, as these strange “goblins” attacked them from the outside; thus began their nightlong bout with what have forever remained known as the “Hopkinsville Goblins,” an event in American Forteana that remains one of the strangest ever recorded.

On that fateful evening in August of 1955, the badly frightened Sutton family would eventually enlist the aid of area law enforcement, who sent no less than twenty officers out to the house, expecting a confrontation with some kind of otherworldly presence. Upon arrival, while evidence of a window-rattling conflict was found a plenty, there was no sign of any of these odd, diminutive beings, variously described as humanoid, though of smaller stature, light-skinned, and sporting large ears that stood upright off the sides of their heads.
The curious story does remain among some of the more odd urban legends and unexplained encounters ever collected, prompting a number of researchers over the years to suppose that the mystery of the “Hopkinsville Goblins” might have some basis in extraterrestrial intelligence visiting from afar… though the odd manner in which these creatures behaved could hardly be described as “intelligent,” at least in the human sense. Or perhaps these strange beings were something else… inter-dimensional visitors, cryptozoological monstrosities, or just plain hallucinations the occupants of the Sutton home may have somehow suffered en masse. But could there be other explanations than these listed here, which seem almost “conventional” at least within the realms of the strange and unusual? If so, what might they entail?

A recent report that appeared at the Who Forted? website discussed a strange story that, while almost entirely too good to be true, seems somewhat reminiscent of the fabled Hopkinsville Goblin encounter. According to blogger Greg Newkirk, he received an email from a Kentucky man claiming to have made contact with strange, diminutive creatures with pale skin, large eyes, and an odd method of “chirping” for communication. The man reports that these odd entities have appeared around his home at various times throughout the last several months, and that their presence has caused great distress among he and his family members, even to the point that they’ve been forced to leave the property for fear of these strange “cave dwelling” creatures. The complete article (which includes photos of the creatures alleged footprints) can be viewed here.
Could there actually be a race of semi-subterranean humanoid creatures that exist beneath parts of Kentucky, the likes of which might have appeared long ago around the time of the infamous 1955 Hopkinsville encounter? Or if not, what else might these strange creatures be… other than an elaborate hoax, inspired by the classic story of “Hopkinsville Goblins” from so long ago?