In a spate of recent interviews, former President Barack Obama repeatedly discusses UFOs. Obama claims that concrete proof of extraterrestrial life would not change any of his beliefs but would probably lead to the creation of “new religions.” What Obama is clearly not aware of is that the Bible already addresses the subject.
Obama: extraterrestrials and new religions
“It’s interesting. It wouldn’t change my politics at all,” Obama said in a podcast interview on the Ezra Klein show last Tuesday. “Because my entire politics is premised on the fact that we are these tiny organisms on this little speck floating in the middle of space.”
Normally, such conjecture by a former president would be considered decidedly abnormal however next month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Secretary of Defense will be required to provide the intelligence and armed services committees of Congress with an unclassified report on “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
“The differences we have on this planet are real, they’re profound, and they cause tragedy as well as joy,” Obama said. “The best thing we can do is treat each other better, because we’re all we got.”
“I would hope that the knowledge that there were aliens out there would solidify people’s sense that what we have in common is a little more important,” he said
“But no doubt there would be immediate arguments about like, well, we need to spend a lot more money on weapons systems to defend ourselves. New religions would pop up,” the former president continued. “And who knows what kind of arguments we get into. We’re good at manufacturing arguments for each other.”
Obama does, in fact, believe that the sightings are genuine and may indicate alien origins. In another recent television appearance on the Late Late Show, Obama said as much:
“What is true, and I’m actually being serious here, is that there are, there’s footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don’t know exactly what they are. We can’t explain how they moved, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so, you know, I think that people still take seriously trying to investigate and figure out what that is.”
New technology, Star Wars, and new religions
Though it may seem counterintuitive that proof of aliens would cause people to turn to new religions, religions have cropped up on flimsier bases. Star Wars was not only a wildly successful cinematic franchise but it also led to the establishment of a Jedi religion with hundreds of thousands of adherents. The development of computer-based artificial intelligence was incorporated into the transhumanist movement which is a strange mix of science, philosophy, and religion with its own vision of a computer messiah.
Extraterrestrials and the Bible
But the concept of extraterrestrials is no challenge for Bible-based belief. There is even a reference, albeit vague, to extraterrestrials in the Bible. The book of Judges 5:20-23 mentions the ambiguous ‘Meroz’, whose inhabitants have free will, and can choose whether or not to heed the call of God.
In his book, Chariot of the Gods, author Erich Von Daniken hypothesized that the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of a celestial chariot was actually an extraterrestrial spacecraft.
Still others suggest that the Nephilim (literally “the fallen”) described in the pre-diluvian sixth chapter of Genesis were, in fact, extraterrestrials attracted to the daughters of men.
So it is entirely reasonable to conjecture that the astounding announcement that extraterrestrials exist would send spiritual shockwaves around the world. Exotheology is a word that sends the etymological geek-meter spinning, and very few can claim to have even a passing knowledge of this esoteric field. Dr. David Weintraub, professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University and the author of Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal With It?, is uniquely qualified to answer questions on the subject. His book presents a staggering array of opinions, ranging from Aristotle’s premise that extraterrestrials cannot possibly exist, to the more recent Enrico Fermi, who, over 600 years later, came to the same conclusion.
“Judaism accepts the possibility of extraterrestrial life. At this level, Judaism is similar to most, but not all other major religions. A few other religions clearly demand and embrace the idea that extraterrestrial life exists. Except for a few extreme kabbalistic interpretations of a few passages in the Talmud, Judaism does not go that far,” Dr. Weintraub told Israel365 News.
The professor states that Jewish theology may actually require a belief in extraterrestrials since “there are no limits on the power of the creator. Thus, for Jews to say that no life beyond the Earth could possibly exist would be unacceptable, as such an idea would appear to place shackles on God’s creative power…the universe belongs to God (or is God) and God can do what God wishes to do with the universe.”
In any case, Professor Weintraub feels that contact with extraterrestrials will not affect Judaism or other earthly religions in any significant manner.
“Maimonides never considered man that important in the larger universe, though all other medieval and most present-day Jewish thinkers have argued that God is primarily concerned with the affairs of humankind,” he said, referring to a renowned twelfth-century Jewish thinker.