NASA is recruiting priests and theologians to assess how the world’s major religions would react to the news of discovering extraterrestrial life and advise the agency on how to quell civil unrest upon the revelation.
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“The agency has enlisted 24 religious experts to develop protocols for the discovery of alien life in its Center for Theological Inquiry program at Princeton University in New Jersey.”
A $1.1 million grant was provided by NASA to create the program devoted to researching “the societal implications of astrobiology” in 2015.
The agency is invested in “serious scholarship being published in books and journals” addressing the “profound wonder and mystery and implication of finding microbial life on another planet,” Will Storrar, the director of CTI, told the publication.
In a recent blog post shared on the University of Cambridge website, Davis summarizes his work to date with NASA.
“I am researching and writing a survey of the main topics in Christian belief – what is sometimes called ‘systematic theology’ – from the perspective of life elsewhere in the universe. I am thinking about its bearing on the doctrines of creation, sin, the person and work of Jesus, redemption, revelation, eschatology, and so on,” the priest wrote.
“So far, my attention has mainly been focussed on what theologians call Christology: the discussion of who Jesus was, and in particular of what it would mean to hold that he is both human and divine. The most significant question there is probably whether one would respond theologically to the prospect of life elsewhere in terms of there having been many incarnations, or only the one theologians talk about in Jesus. I have also been thinking about the doctrine of creation, especially in terms of how it deals with themes of multiplicity and diversity.”