TED Conversations

Jacky Tang

writer,

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Alien invasions signal the next step in the evolution of religion and religious principles beyond convention

I have been reading Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God" and a lot of primitive reasoning that lead to the emergence of religious thought stems from explaining the inexplicable phenomena relevant to the times. Tribal shamans and their people believed that natural phenomena like the sun, clouds, wind and water, for example, were great powers that bear the fate of their people with their behaviour. Many of these themes continued onwards into monotheism with God being the modulator of the living standards of the people. The only major difference was a shift towards abstraction of the perception of God's powers as well as an increase in focus on abstract principles like morality.

Religion from this point of history onwards is very recent when perceived within the larger historical context of cultural evolution and development. The current uses of religion still focus on these abstract principles though they are gradually losing power and along with it, persuasion, mainly due to their lack of credible reasoning. It was once acceptable to believe that the sun was a god. And it is currently acceptable to believe a god governs human morality. But at some point it seems that the greater explanatory power of modern academics will eventually trump this form of reasoning.

This is where the aliens come in. There is a growing trend in pop culture of alien invasion. Same can be said of vampires and zombies. But with aliens in particular we are beginning to witness a shift in scale. No longer are we confined to the religious boundaries of nations or even continents, but entire worlds are at stake. There is emergent thinking of humanity as a unified world against external forces, forces that we consider possible though we have no direct evidence for their existence. The realm of science fiction is based on possibility and natural phenomena as well as abstract principles like life and its extension beyond humanity. Maybe within sci-fi lies the next gods.

+1
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 4 2011: Ah a universal third party which threatens humanity as a whole forcing us to put aside all differences and unite.

    Aliens.... "Independence Day" seems too far fetched if aliens can travel across great distances that they 'need' our resources is a bit extreme to me, human beings would be harvest before resources. (War of the Worlds concept). Again highly unlikely therefore such high level of technology would come manipulation/ability to copy humans/blood much easier than harvesting us.

    I am a total believer of alien life, in fact I consider an outside alien species a plausible replacement of the Judo-Christian God. I mean if the holy books are right that means God is a reflection of man and vice versa so perhaps our alien creator is of alien-like origin. Aliens exist no question. UK released files!

    Zombies.... Never been to Texas? Maybe large but EVERYONE has a gun. I think the average of Americans have one gun per household also. Vampires in respects to "Daybreakers" is the most likely to me (besides the cure lol) but still again too many guns exist today for these two to be plausible, in my opinion.

    I love science fiction because it just adds to the "what if" list of thoughts that are fun to entertain.
    • May 7 2011: "Never been to Texas? ..."

      I guess now would be a bad time to show this...
      http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-28/states-with-the-most-guns/3/
      Texas isn't even in the top 25...

      "too many guns exist today for these two to be plausible"

      Why?
      • thumb
        May 7 2011: I think he means we're too well protected and trigger happy for any so-called creatures to conquer us. =D
      • thumb
        May 7 2011: Well, if aliens can travel millions of miles in fractions of our time, I think they can handle bullets.

        Plus that link is only counting background checks lol not gun numbers dude.

        Zombies and Vampires taking over is impossible because we are armed!
        • May 7 2011: Oh haha, I misunderstood what you were saying earlier.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.