Post-Earth religion (and humanism)

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Jan 21, 2009 4:01 PM GMT
    I watched an space science program the other night that discussed Earth's place in our solar system and how the Earth is protected from external celestial junk (comets, asteroids, and similar potentially lethal accumulations of rock) through Jupiter's gravity and the Kuiper belt. Seeing it reminded me of the, primarily Abrahamic-associated, religious argument that divinity exists because why else would there be life on Earth, given the minute chance for life to develop as we know it.

    Specifically, it got me wondering on how certain Earth religions (again, particularly the Abrahamic ones) would possibly / eventually deal with these things that exist outside of the early Earth-Sun-space conceptions that form part of religious dogma / understanding. What does all that space do to conceptions that have, well, less space?

    Among non-Abrahamic religions, I'd imagine Buddhism should have little problem with conceivable post-Earth developments, given the general Buddhist rejection of attachment to physical reality and the suffering such attachment incurs.

    On a similar topic, what does it do to humanity (our sense of species-hood) if and when we start moving out into extraterrestial space and have generations born outside of Earth?

    (thought I'd try this topic as it's somewhat different from the former religion threads and the personal gratification threads some members are yammering against)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 4:40 PM GMT
    About twenty years ago I wrote a short story about a pan-arabic celestial empire where entire civilizations in distant parts of the galaxies used sophisticated cartographical technology to orient themselves toward Mecca for daily prayers.

    In my story the Muslim prohibition on representative art had come to be understood as an enlightened aid to the development of interspecies relations.

    Just a thought, and thanks for starting this thread.

    Terry
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 5:03 PM GMT
    As man needs less mystical explanations to understand natural phenomena, there will be less of a need for organized religion.
    I think Gene Roddenberry was right, reason and ethics will take the place of religion in dictating morality. At some point we will look at religions in the same light as we see mythology today: With admiration, a desire to understand the sociological, philosophical and historical concepts behind them, but with the assumption that they are just made up stories written in a specific time period with a specific moral or social purpose.

    But in any case, just because we go out in space and our conception of reality changes, doesn't mean that we will lose our spirituality... that's geared within our minds a priori.
    We will always be on the lookout for the Unmoved mover, though.
    Even in space.
    bendgerandgod2bi.jpg
    Yes, that's what God looks like.
    Yes, that's Bender.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 5:07 PM GMT
    Look we cannot do Occam's Razor again, please.

    This would make 999 times and the Earth will split to the core and Sed's minions will rain fire and destruction upon us. Even Ceiling cat will lose patience.

    Could we find any possible way to have fun with this?

    Try to imagine Fred Phelps on one of the moons of Uranus (the phraseology is quite intentional). Try to rasp out his hate prayer as he chokes on the frozen methane atmosphere (or whatever it is that I am sure some astromechanical pedant will correct me).

    Are Pope Benedict and the Baron Harkonnen really separated at birth?

    How many Wookies does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Imagine if Chuckystud came down with a really serious case of Vulcan Pon Far.

    What if BigSetx and KMR hosted a really hot Klingon orgy?

    Come on, lets have a bit of fun. Nick has so kindly offered us a chance to do that - and Nick you are looking really awesome these days I have to say. You have a serious Prince Valiant vibe going.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 5:26 PM GMT
    Ok, then... TOASTERS!
    cylon_centurion_new_002.jpg
    And that strange frakking philosophy they call "monotheism"
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 5:36 PM GMT
    *puts away Death Ray Cannons* icon_evil.gif

    I have read a very good SF book which deals with this indirectly. Fool's War by Sarah Zettel in which the protagonist is a Muslim Woman.

    There was one instance in the book on which it was explained how Muslims adapted to space, by turning to face Earth during prayer times instead of towards the Mecca. It also pointed as to how Islam became less dogmatic, after a time called the 'Slow Burn' or something, in which they were persecuted on Earth after several religious wars. The fact that the protagonist, a Muslim woman, who was also the captain of the ship itself speaks of religions evolving. However, a scene in the book is notable - the woman refused to be alone with any male not belonging to immediate family (part of the Shariah), which is why she had to adopt her co-captain. Heh

    So yes, religions will have to learn to be a bit more flexible or they'll die out.

    Abrahamic religions will probably have problems, but not as bad as it would seem to be. They have already bridged that divide when the first man was put on Earth orbit. They have the advantage that the writers of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah etc. were quite ignorant of celestial stuff and paid little attention to it. In contrast to, say, Mayan religions or the Zodiac which was deeply rooted in astrology. A Mayan priest upon finding that Venus was actually a ball of boiling sands instead of the feathered serpent would probably lose all faith. icon_razz.gif But defending the vague gibberish concerning space in the holy scriptures of the Abrahamic religions isn't really that hard to do. Unless you're one of those kooky flat-earthers of course. And also, didn't they pardon Galileo already? ROFL

    And yes I agree, Buddhism would have very little problems when Earth begins colonizing space.

    Paradoxically enough, I think the religions which would have more problems would be the UFO cults (*cough* scientology). Their tenets can be proven much more empirically. It would be similar to what would happen if cargo cultist islanders would be suddenly taken on a sightseeing spree on the Al Maktoum Airport.

    Also I imagine a lot of sects would be splitting off the main religions, some of which would probably eventually eclipse them (like how Christianity eclipsed Judaism). And of course, new religions... some people really need something to believe in. Probably revolving around the divine truth of the Celestial Teapot.

    l_df5620d83b3189590732bc3cda617253.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 5:50 PM GMT
    On humanity... I doubt we will still be recognizably human a thousand years from now, barring civilization clock-resetting cataclysms of course. Genetic manipulation will probably be a big thing a few centuries from now. The film GATTACA is what comes to mind, but also much much more than that. Imagine children specifically tailored to survive in space, rather than on a planet. Or humans so adapted to the Martian environment that they would have to wear suits on Earth.

    Races will probably mean nothing, asides from the fact that we are already beginning the re-intermingling of genetic pools due to the ease of communication and transportation nowadays, it'd also be quite minor in comparison to say the difference between a normally proportioned Gaean (I hesitate to use Earthling LOL) human to a UV-proof jet-black, totally hairless, longlimbed, light-boned, human subspecies designed to live in space stations all their life. I only hope those differences will not be enough to start a galaxy-spanning genocidal war as we so often do already with the tiniest hint of differences.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 6:29 PM GMT
    ummmm.... Stars are pretty. icon_redface.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 6:44 PM GMT
    If religion survives into interstellar/intergalactic space, it will have no difficulty remaining an anthropocentric validation of God. "We found this lovely planet because THIS is the promised land about which the Lord spaketh." "Dewey died in the gel sac as punishment for his denial." That sort of thing.

    There'll be plenty of Joseph Smiths in the future, I don't doubt.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 6:47 PM GMT
    As a historian, I firmly believe there is no worst indicator of future behavior than the past. That said..

    The Abrihamic religions have adapted and changed considerably over the years. Christianity, for example, went from being a pacifist, communal religion to the faith of empire and conquest in just a few short years. Of course, the Catholic Church is not nearly as agile it once was, having taken nearly 500 years to address the concerns of the Reformation. Judaism is remarkable in that the very mooring of their whole religious tradition, the temple, was permanently destroyed and they have adapted and grown because of it.

    I can't wait to hear the space pope denounce the heresy of teleportation from Battlestar Vatican.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 9:37 PM GMT
    I imagine once we try to extend ourselves beyond terrestrial space we will inevitably bump into the glass wall of the jar in which our solar system sits, said jar residing on a bookshelf in the study of God, wedged between a very large book related to the study of solipsism, and the skull of a dead cat.

    Though the resulting 'ping' of our contact with the glass will be quite loud (outside, not inside, as sound does not travel in the vaccuum of our inner space), it will more than likely go unnoticed as I imagine God himself will be otherwise engaged.

    It is, I suppose, possible that "Trevor," God's manservant, will note the noise and will come to investigate, though I doubt it, as we all know Trevor is hot as hell, and hung like a horse, but nearly deaf in one ear.

    In any event, we will be left with the stark reality that we are nothing more than a childhood experiment of God, left to sit on a shelf in a study that he tends to avoid, due to its gloominess and general air of tediousness.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 9:47 PM GMT
    That was purdy, if a bit sad.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 9:54 PM GMT
    me? or the post?

    either way...ya, kinda.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 10:12 PM GMT
    Hmm, God has a dead cat skull on his bookshelf? I didn't realize that he like Goergia O'Keefe's work so much.

    Anywhooo....I think that the more we know, the more we realize how much we don't know.
    (looks smug and sits quietly down)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 10:20 PM GMT
    No, I feel sorry for poor Trevor. What a fucked-up job to have. We'd all rim the guy if he weren't halfway deaf and God wouldn't (apparently) notice because he would be watching Fantasy Island repeats and thinking poor old Khan doesn't have the faintest notion he is giving birth to J.J. Abrams. Consequence, eat it MOFO I invented LOST and you all live in a jar, you all live in a jar, you all live in a jar. If you don't like it FIRST I will let you all rim Trevor, then when he goes on his "lunch break", I open the lid and flush your "civilization" down my giant DEITY TOTO WASHLET.

    Yeah, that is kinda sad.


    tommysguns2000 saidme? or the post?

    either way...ya, kinda.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 10:50 PM GMT
    I highly doubt anyone will convince ~95% of the people are delusional, and that ethics will replace religious doctrine anytime soon (which seems to contradict what is "ethical" sometimes); and even so, who or what defines what's ethical?

    There is, for whatever reason, innate spirituality seemingly hard-wired into humanity. There is, for whatever reason, innate hatred hard-wired into humanity. It often doesn't make sense to me, but I don't spend too much time thinking about it.

    I have always found it fascinating why a person, why so many people, put their faith into one person (such as their religious leader, pastor, father, rabbi, etc...), effectively allowing that person to "make decisions about how they should live their lives" such as they do with Pat Robertson, or the Pope, for instance, or the issuing of fatwas, for instance. Granted there is a purpose, but I find it remarkable.

    Perhaps I take my righteous liberty a little too seriously.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 11:05 PM GMT
    Richard Dawkins in his book "The God Delusion" mentions something about a teapot flying through space as it orbits the Sun. But I wasn't aware that this idea originated from Bertrand Russell, one of Dawkins' heroes. However, Dawkins also mentions the Goldilocks Zone, where the earth orbits the Sun at exactly the right distance to keep water as a liquid which in turn sustains life. He also mentions, as in the OP, that Jupiter's gravitational pull helps protects our planet from space junk, he also says that the size, mass and gravitational pull of the moon stablises the Earth's rotation.
    Dawkins refers to Fred Hoyle, the mathematician who had calculated that the chance of a single cell evolving by chance is one in one followed by 40,000 zeroes. This means that even if the whole Universe is a hundred billion years old, this time span is WAY, WAY TOO SHORT for the cell to evolve. In British numerics, a hundred billion has only 15 zeroes, a little bit short of the number, should I say, that Hoyle has worked out.
    Unfortunately, Dawkins does not say much about the Jew, whose bloodline has been kept virtually pure for thousands of years. And now, the sovereign State of Israel was born on the 14th May, 1948 after being non existant for 2,600 years or more.
    The works of Dawkins, Hoyle and Russell has proved to me that the God of Israel who inspired the Bible - exists, and there is nothing absurd about the idea the everything was created by Him.
    Including the orbiting teapot.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 11:15 PM GMT
    NotThatOld saidUnfortunately, Dawkins does not say much about the Jew, whose bloodline has been kept virtually pure for thousands of years. And now, the sovereign State of Israel was born on the 14th May, 1948 after being non existant for 2,600 years or more.


    What? That is entirely false.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2009 11:29 PM GMT
    'virtually pure'... icon_confused.gif Are you, by chance, supporting the idea that Jews are 'God's chosen' and hold a special destiny unique from the other races?

    Anthropocentric indeed...

    Anyway. This is not the topic of the thread.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2009 12:01 AM GMT
    Jews as God's chosen people? YES!, YES! YES!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2009 12:05 AM GMT
    I think religion will continue to evolve, much as it has done into the various forms that exist today.

    Many of the Christian religions have accepted some form of evolution as part of the divine plan. It does not seem to be too much of a stretch to imagine that they will evolve the idea of a "divine plan" to include the serendipity of our protective space junk (although, calling Jupiter "junk" seems to be a bit hyperbolic). They might run into trouble when we discover (most likely in my opinion) that other solar systems are also protected by a variety of stellar detritus. Third-in-line is a pretty safe place to be. I think that we will continue to see that as scientists search for more and more solar systems. However, religion will continue to evolve and a large section of the populace will always need to rely upon it. It is a social tool that has existed since pre-civilization. It will evolve, just as all other things do.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2009 12:26 AM GMT
    do we all have our towels for this trip?? make sure we all have them ready for when we leave please, I only have a few spare and I do NOT want to be having to break up fights over them!!!
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Jan 22, 2009 1:03 AM GMT
    I'm going to have call Godwin on you not-so-sedate Sedative.

    Instead of referring to racial supremacy movements, you'd have a better time referring to how Jewish / Hebrew persons have intermingled with non-Jews / -Hebrews for centuries and how persons have converted to Judaism without necessarily having "Jewish blood" (I have a Norwegian relative who did so and raised her son Jewish). Judaism has prescriptions for keeping Jews Jewish (such as that only Jewish mothers may give birth to Jewish children), but they seem to have mostly fallen out of favor.

    Though, when one doesn't believe that Jews are divinely chosen, the claim of being Chosen becomes hubris at best.

    As for post-Earth religion, the claim of being divinely chosen takes on new aspects when it goes extraterrestial. It is superficially reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2009 1:10 AM GMT
    I grew up in Christian (Lutheran) school, and a primary argument for God was the extreme unlikelihood of the evolution of life on earth. This was "proven" by the "Goldilocks Zone" the earth lies in, the special function of the earth's magnetic field in protecting us from solar winds, the deflection of Jupiter's gravity, etc etc etc. Basically, the probability of this perfect situation arising randomly and life (and us) happening to evolve here is so impossibly small that it MUST be because of God.

    However, if you really think about it, it is actually very possible that this situation could arise by chance, maybe even PROBABLE. With the trillions of stars we are aware of in our galaxy and others, and the possibility of trillions upon trillions more, it becomes very likely that at least one would just happen to evolve life and intelligence. If the universe is infinite, then it would be nearly impossible for this situation to NOT arise somewhere. (see the Drake equation).

    Beyond that, even if the chance of this situation arising was still only one in a trillion, there is still a chance that we just lucked into our own existence. I mean some think that the universe constantly collapses and reforms again and again over the course of eternity. Maybe this just happened to be the time that life occurred. Personally, I think life is far more common (maybe even in our own solar system), but in the course of the universe over eternity life was bound to happen at some point or another. Since we cannot experience or comprehend those kinds of time scales, we do what we always do when we can't understand something, we invent our own explanation (religion). Plus, tree falls in the forest argument, if life never evolved because it was too unlikely it's not like anyone would be there to know about it.

    Now there is no evidence that God DOESN'T exist, so I have to admit that there is a chance that he/she does. But God doesn't HAVE to exist. Plus we have no idea what the deal was before the big bang, so maybe God is there somewhere.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2009 1:44 AM GMT
    NickoftheNorth saidI'm going to have call Godwin on you not-so-sedate Sedative.


    LOL Touché! icon_razz.gif

    But considering the current circumstances in the Middle East, I do not take assertions of the 'divinely chosen few' lightly. It can oh so easily lead to a very easy rationalization of acts like wiping out a few villages or conversely, blowing up a few subway stations because they were, after all, chosen. And it is actually already being done. I just find it ironic that even though once prosecuted by a nation who believed in the destiny of their race, they would still fall for the 'my race has divine destiny' thing.

    Transplanted to a post-Earth environment... I assume you were referring to the Battlestar Galactica itself (i.e. humans) when you made the comparison... Chosen to save the human civilization from the menace of the alien inavders and all that.

    But think of it in another perspective. The primary reason why Cylons (in the new series) attacked the human civilization was also because they believe themselves chosen by God (the same one humans worshiped, apparently, since they are originally creations of humans themselves) to wipe out the sinful and flawed race of beings - humans.

    Anthropocentrism and Cylonocentrism. Heh. Nothing good really comes off the belief that your group/race/species is better than everyone else because of divine favor. It all boils down to an excuse to trample down those excluded without guilt.