Beyond Peripheries: The Methodologies, Implications and Limitations of Studying Extraterrestrial Religions



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Ten years ago, Stephen Hawking said: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like." He was referring to the fact that scientists estimate there might be a hundred billion galaxies in the universe, and for example our galaxy itself, the Milky Way, contains at least a hundred billion stars – each of them being orbited by, on average, at least one planet. The possibility of extraterrestrial life logically raises questions about the nature of aliens and about the possible scenarios of contact and its impact. In the past decades, those questions have led to the creation of various protocols on both national and supranational level, as well as to the formation of new (sub-)disciplines of various fields of both life and social sciences. This paper, however provocative it may sound, aims to open the discussion about what implications and challenges would extraterrestrial contact pose to the scientific study of religions – by the means of methodology, ethics and limitations.

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