One of the most famous phrases in the Christian Bible is “God created man in his own image” which has been interpreted in many ways to exclude those of other skin colours, or with deformities. This belief is shared in one form or another by other Religions and now science will force the religious fanatics to understand that the term may have other meanings.

New planets

Wednesday’s announcement by #NASA that a team of astronomers of the discovery of seven new earth sized planets around the relatively close TRAPPIST-1 system has increased the probability of finding life on other planets.

Nobody know when we will eventually meet this life, or whether or not any alien civilization will be more or less advanced than we are, but one thing is certain. It will be highly unlikely that any other life form will be identical to us human beings.

This will place the more fanatical members of the world’s monotheistic religions into a crisis of conscience in regards to how they will consider our eventual new neighbours.

God’s image and the horrors of the past

The phrase “God’s image” already holds many meanings and has been used to justify many horrors in our History. The Christian Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas met new civilizations and for a long time these peoples were considered subhuman by the Europeans.

The Hindus have their form of castes which defines categories of Human beings and the Nazis were not the only group to practice genocide against what they considered an “inferior species” of human beings. Although the Nazis were not a religion, most of the other civilizations that considered foreigners as inferior did so on the basis of their religious beliefs and all these groups have committed monstrous crimes in the name of some form of religious or racial purity.

New civilizations and consequences

The discovery of the Trappist-1 system of planets, three of which are within the zone which scientists consider suitable for forming life, has given us proof that life will be found in the universe. The measure of our own civilization will be how we manage these encounters with the other civilizations.

The religious communities of our planet must be prepared for this eventuality. The Catholic Church has already looked into the question and in all probability some theologian will begin reviewing the findings in consideration of the new information.

But the danger will not be from the hierarchies of the religions, but from their fanatical groups which are the ones that unleash destruction in the name of Gods that usually preach peace and not war. This is the possibility that must be foreseen and prevented in any eventual encounter with other civilizations and therefore with the possibility of new theologies that would be radically different from those we have developed here on Earth.

Peace not war

The possibility of meeting other civilizations is exciting and frightening at the same time. Our planet’s history is full of what happens when civilizations meet and beliefs are put into doubt.

Let us learn from our History and we must prepare so that the first encounters will become ones of peace and not the beginning of another period of conflict and bloodshed.

Our planet has already suffered and still suffers too many wars and conflicts in the name of one God or another. Yet there is a ray of hope.

In preparing for our meeting with other civilizations let us look at the same time to resolving the issues for which too many are still dying in the 21st Century. That is the best preparation for our future alien neighbours.