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NerdyKeith's avatar

If we found intelligent life on a distant world; do you think they would have a concept of religion or spirituality?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5446points) March 29th, 2016
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

Mariah's avatar

I doubt anything about us is unique on the scale of the universe.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Mariah There is a good chance that from an evolutionary perspective certain philosophical views may exist in other species. So I agree with you there.

picante's avatar

I suspect that the greater one’s intellect, the greater one’s sense of introspection and desire for understanding how they came to be. While the details around religion and spiritual insight might differ from planet to planet, just as they do across time and geography on our planet, “mankind” has an insatiable appetite to explain itself.

Pachy's avatar

If they did, they wouldn’t be “intelligent” life, would they?

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Pachy I think it’s safe to say, most of us here agree that there is no correlation between faith (or lack of) with intellect. I’ve previously brought up this topic here

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We have a particular kind of intellect that is singular among millions of species on this planet. It’s likely very rare we’ll find anything that resembles it on an alien one. Simply finding intelligent life does not mean we will have enough in common to be able to even communicate.

kritiper's avatar

I think it would depend on how technologically advanced they were. The more primitive, the more likely to believe in some magical whatnot.

Zaku's avatar

I think they’d be alien enough that the types of thinking they would have would be alien to ours, so that they would have different taxonomies of concepts. So from their point of view, religion and spirituality would probably not map from their thinking into our thinking directly. After all, on earth, not only are their non-humans who most/all have no freakin’ concept what religion or spirituality are in modern terms, but even a few hundred years in the past, humans would not mean the same things when using those words, and would not think about them the same way. Even if you travel between communities in the same town in the USA, you will find significant differences in how people relate to those concepts.

So, people who try to understand the aliens may or may not think of what they try to understand about the aliens in the context of those humans’ own ideas of religion and spirituality, and find ways to use those words in regard to the aliens, but I am sure it won’t be a completely accurate match or mismatch.

Also, there are human spiritualists of various flavors, not including delusional folks, nor charlatans or fools, who believe they have experienced spiritual contact with aliens. Just sayin’.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Yes they would, it would be impossible for them not to.

Bill1939's avatar

If the universe whose laws we are discovering using mathematics and observations enhanced by technological advancements is universal, then it seems likely that the intellectual evolution of any sentient specie would develop along similar pathways as has ours, including imagining explanations of their reality that parallel our early religious ideations.

As their knowledge of the physical universe expands, their notions of its source and maintenance will also evolve. However, just as many humans try to keep traditional views, many of them would resist changes to their systems of belief even to the point of rejecting discoveries by their scientists. Some distant worlds will be more and some less advanced than we are. However, I would be surprised if any world would become wholly atheistic.

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