The number of confirmed exoplanets stands at 3,500, of which, scientists believe, at least some are potential Earths, with very similar characteristics. This poses a theological and philosophical conundrum for many religions, especially Christianity, which focuses on mankind and teaches that God created man in his own image, exclusively on our one small planet.
So does God’s creation extend beyond a single planet? If so, do the inhabitants of those planets believe in the same God (gods?) as humans do? Does God, as creator of the universe, deny the inhabitants of those distant planets a chance to redeem their sins, and where does it leave people who believe they are the chosen of God? Where does it leave Jesus, and are there other versions of Jesus on other planets who died to redeem the sins of the world?
No doubt the leaders of the various Christian sects will come up with interpretations of the scripture that can include the inhabitants of exoplanets, without accepting apostate teachings from barbarian planets. The priority of most (not all) religions has been to expand their wealth and power, and has, over the span of history, taken precedence over care for others less fortunate than them, the justification being that the situation was the will of God that had to be accepted. The chances are that the religious elders will shrug and go on as usual, not accepting the beliefs of the new-found inhabitants of space – the ability to adapt and survive is enormous. What other non-religious organisations have so ably survived the centuries? A Carl Sagan commented, “Men may not be the dreams of the gods, but gods are the dreams of men”.
Epicureanism, like other variants of humanism, poses no religious dilemmas, addressed or ignored by believers. A good life, to Epicureans, means conducting yourself with kindness, respect and consideration towards others. It means getting pleasure out of life, with no threats of retribution or everlasting damnation. It stands for moderation, tranquillity (if you can get it), friendship and lack of fear. One doesn’t need a High Priest to advocate these ideas. If the exoplanetary people are intelligent, and even if they have only one eye and six arms, they will relate to Epicurean ideas. Can’t wait to discuss this with them!