An interesting philosophical conundrum is discussed:
Religion-in-general and aliens is an interesting debate, but Christianity would be in the unique, and difficult, position of having to explain the role of Christ. If then aliens turn out to be pure and sin-free, that would eliminate their need for salvation through Christ… but it’d make humanity look kinda bad. But if they were sinful little buggers, then they’d either need Christs salvation, or they’d have already had it. If the latter, that indicates that Christ keeps having to pop up across the universe and play out the same tale over and over (and it means that humanity and Christs story here on Earth are not unique). If the former, then that means Jesus never wandered on by their world.
A few responses to this hypothetical situation – humanity encountering intelligent aliens and how that plays in to Christianity – that I’ve seen over the years:
1) Aliens aren’t described in the Bible; therefore they don’t exist; thus, shut up.
2) If we *did* actually meet aliens, they’re actually demons trying to trick us (I *really* hope these people aren’t the ones to make first contact).
3) If we meet un-saved aliens, it’ll be our job to minister to them and convert them.
4) If we meet un-saved aliens, we should avoid trying to convert them… God would have a separate plan for them.
5) Shrug… I dunno… we’ll deal with it when it happens.
From a theological perspective, I’d say that #5 is probably the best answer. “Intelligent extraterrestrial” covers such a vast range of possibilities that it’s logically impossible to come up with even the tiniest fraction of possible contingency plans. For all we know, the first aliens we meet will have actually had Christ show up, but rather than crucifying him they made him their king, but it was a disaster, they overthrew him and formed a religion in direct opposition to Christian teachings. Which means that when they get here, there’s gonna be a ruckus. Or the aliens will be simply incapable of processing the idea of believing in entities that exist solely through belief/faith, and thus they think our species is dangerously insane. Or they are religious fanatics of a caliber to make our most zealous nuts look like San Francisco coffee-shop atheists. Or on the 0 to 10 scale on the x-axis of religiosity, they are well off on the i-axis.
One thing that’s safe to assume: regardless of what the aliens beliefs are, if they get *here* before we get *there,* there’ll be a whole lot of people who try to adopt the aliens religion as they own… or at least, what they *assume* to be the aliens religion. Search your feelings: you know it will be true. California will be the center of the alien cargo cult religions as the addictively trendy try to adopt Martianism or Klingon Space Jesusism or Mormonism or whatever wacky incomprehensible religion the aliens bring.
I just hope they don’t land in the Middle East. No good could come of that.