UPDATE: More disclosure from the UK! - It's an ongoing controversy: Could the world's religions survive the discovery of extraterrestrial life? The Vatican is actively concerned about this: Aside from having their own array of telescopes in Arizona that are constantly searching the skies, they recently held a conference in Rome on UFOs. A lot of this revolves around a central question: Is there life after death? A doctor who treats cancer patients says that according to the scientific evidence, the answer is "yes."
A recent survey of religious leaders in the UK and US found that few of them are concerned. None of the 70 Buddhists questioned thought that the discovery of ET would undercut their belief systems, although 40% thought it could pose problems for other religions.
Maybe they're right: Many Catholics said that disclosure would cause them problems. But just like the Buddhists, many of them (in this case 30%) thought it would cause problems for OTHER religions. This held true for other Christian sects as well, and there wasn't enough data on Hindus and Muslims. Astrobiologist Paul Davies was one of the first people to suggest that the world's religions might not be able to cope with the discovery of aliens. In New Scientist, Jessica Griggs quotes him as saying, "They believe that Jesus came down to earth to save humankind, not dolphins, Neanderthals or extraterrestrials. To make sense of this, either you need multiple incarnations [of Jesus on other planets] or a reason why this planet and this species was singled out for special attention."
In contrast to this, Griggs quotes a fundamentalist Christian's reply to the survey: "There is nothing in Christianity that excludes other intelligent life."
Dr. Jeffrey Long is one scientist who isn't concerned: His experience treating cancer patients has led him to the conclusion that there is definitely life after death. He bases his opinion on the near-death experience (NDE). In Time Magazine, Laura Fitzpatrick quotes him as saying, "There have been over 20 alternative, skeptical 'explanations' for near-death experience. The reason is very clear: no one or several skeptical explanations make sense, even to the skeptics themselves. Or [else] there wouldn't be so many.
"Literally hundreds of scholarly articles have been written over the last 35 years about near-death experience. In addition to that, the media continues to present [evidence of] near-death experience.
"What happens after permanent death, after we're no longer able to interview people, is an absolute. To that extent, the work I do may always require some element of faith. But by the time you look at [the] evidence, the amount of faith you need to have [to believe in] life after death is substantially reduced."
Here's something special for subscribers: In Whitley's Room, there are now three short (15 min.) discussions by Whitley Strieber on bible verses. The first covers the meaning of the phrase "because man goeth to his long home" in Ecclesiastes 12:5. It explains this enigmatic phrase in a startling and deeply moving way. The second in the series covers John 13: 34: "Love one another." When Whitley begins talking about what the imposition of doctrine did at the Council of Nicea, this quickly becomes one of the most powerful discussions on any biblical passage you are going to hear. These brief fifteen minutes have the potential to free us from thousands of years of unacknowledged bondage to doctrine, and bring vivid new life to the experience of Jesus. The third is on the opening lines of Genesis (you've never heard an interpretation like THIS before)!
To learn more, click here, 8599,1955636,00.html,here and here.
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