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In the twenty-first century, the debate about life on other worlds is about to change from the realm of informed speculation to the domain of hard science. Astronomers are putting together some hard facts about the universe and exoplanets that will change our conversations about extraterrestrial life forever.
This book starts with the assumption that millions of other planets exist, that life could exist on many of those planets, and that astronomers will soon determine whether life exists on them. It then asks the simple question: Can we humans handle having firm knowledge that life does exist beyond the Earth?
The teachings and writings of most major religions are examined one at a time to see whether a given religion has a pre-conceived notion about the uniqueness or superiority of earthbound life relative to extraterrestrial life. Do these religions make a claim that life on Earth is unique? Superior? That other beings in the universe need to be converted? How would these beliefs hold up if extrasolar life is actually discovered?
Whether we are alone or have company out there, knowing the answer will trigger one of the greatest intellectual revolutions in history. This re-evaluation will present a challenge for at least some terrestrial religions. Which religions will handle these discoveries with ease and which religions will struggle to assimilate the new knowledge about our place in the universe?
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