Principle 9: We believe that discovering the true nature of consciousness and human existentialism will ultimately have a positive impact on human evolution and peaceful coexistence.
What would humanity’s reaction be if science discovered objective proof that the human consciousness coherently survives the physical death of the body? Obviously, the religions of the world would be vindicated, but the scientific community would have a lot of explaining to do about why they narrow-mindedly pooh-poohed the subject for so many decades.
A second scenario: What would humanity’s reaction be if today it was reported on the news that extraterrestrial contact had been made with a species that has been studying earth and the leaders of the world were planning international talks to assess their presence on our planet? In this case, the reaction might be very different. Science would undoubtedly be elated, but many of the religions of the world (especially fundamentalist Christians) would likely plunge into chaos to one degree or another because most teach that humans are it as far as intelligent life goes in the universe.
Such earth-shaking discoveries as these would certainly precipitate a global paradigm shift for most of humanity. Some would welcome it, some would take it in stride, and others might freak out. We would almost certainly see changes in religious dogma with some even leaving religion undoubtedly now seeing it as outdated. However, not everyone would leave religion; they would merely adjust to the new reality. Even the Catholic Church has positioned themselves in the past few years for the likely confirmation of extraterrestrial life by stating that such a concept does not contradict the Bible. Wow, did they see the “writing on the wall?” Yes, and frankly this was a brilliant move knowing the potential impact of such news on their faithful. They have, in effect, already done “damage control” by embracing the idea. I would think that confirmation of extraterrestrial intelligence will have the least impact on Catholics.
But in the end (very likely after a few short weeks), equilibrium would be re-established and life would by-and-large go back to normal. However, humanity would be forever changed, and this is good for such a shift would be an evolutionary step in the right direction.
What about the positive side of such news stories? In the first scenario, think of the relief that everyone would feel knowing that their dead loved ones are not really dead at all, and that they might see them again. Such news would also give hope to those who are struggling because they would know that this life is not all there is.
In the second scenario we discussed, if we were to get proof of extraterrestrial intelligence, our suspicions that we are not alone in the universe would be validated. We would realize that we are part of a much greater “brotherhood” as the ET’s would also be made of star material. Perhaps such news would help us to stop taking ourselves too seriously and focus on resolving our problems instead of killing each other.
How about a third scenario? What if we discovered objective proof that our consciousness does not survive the death of the body, and what if we discovered that extraterrestrial intelligence does not exist ultimately leaving humans as the only intelligent life in the universe? Would not these two theoretical findings also mean a major paradigm shift for humanity? Indeed they would, and here is the fascinating thing: virtually the same outcomes would happen as described above, namely, religious dogma would have to change because most religions teach the immortality of the soul; and we as a race would stop taking ourselves so seriously and stop killing each other because we’re it; there is no one else.
Of course, this discussion of these hypothetical outcomes is not exhaustive at all, but it serves to make the point of this Principle, specifically, discovering our true nature as well as our place in the cosmos will ultimately have a positive effect on the human condition. Yes there would be struggle, but there always is, and change is often difficult even though the benefits far outweigh the consequences.
Furthermore, no one else including (and especially) governments have the right to withhold such knowledge from us. It is our moral right to know the truth of our reality regardless of what happens as a result. What is, is; and we have the right to know “what is;” moreover, we have a responsibility to know “what is.” To withhold knowledge from others that directly affects them is nothing short of excessive control.
—Rev. Douglas R. Kelley, PhD, CH, CSL