In the United States of America, a very specific program has started, within the framework of which the National Aerospace Agency (NASA) is preparing a “squad of priests” for contact with representatives of hypothetical e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ c̳i̳v̳i̳l̳i̳z̳a̳t̳i̳o̳n̳s̳. This is reported by The Mirror.
Twenty-four priests and theologians representing different denominations were selected to participate in the new NASA program.
Experts will have to work out important issues related to contact with hypothetical a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s. Among the problems that the priests will tackle, there are, for example, questions about how the appearance of e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s in itself will affect earthly religions.
The Rev Dr Andrew Davison, a priest and theologian at the University of Cambridge with a doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford, is among 24 theologians chosen for the programme.
“Religious traditions would be an important feature in how humanity would work through any such confirmation of life elsewhere,” Davidson shared in a blog post on the University of Cambridge site.
“Because of that, it features as part of NASA’s ongoing aim to support work on ‘the societal implications of astrobiology’, working with various partner organizations, including the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton.”
Modern priests accept hypotheses according to which planet Earth is not the only place in the universe where life could originate.
This does not in any way contradict the existing religions, so the church will not lose its positions if tomorrow representatives of distant cosmic c̳i̳v̳i̳l̳i̳z̳a̳t̳i̳o̳n̳s̳ suddenly arrive on Earth.