Weintraub to discuss ‘Exoplanets, Extraterrestrial Life and Religion’

Professor of Astronomy David Weintraub will discuss “Exoplanets, Extraterrestrial Life and Religion” at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Stevenson Center, Room 4327. The possibility of extraterrestrial life and its impact on religion is the subject of Weintraub’s latest book, Religions and Extraterrestrial Life: How Will We Deal with It?

David Weintraub
Weintraub (Vanderbilt University)

“Astronomers have now discovered thousands of planets in orbit around other stars. I will briefly describe those discoveries and predict the progress astronomers are likely to make in their studies of these planets over the next 50 years as we begin to study them in detail, looking for evidence for the presence or absence of life,” Weintraub said.

“Then we will consider some of the consequences of those potential discoveries,” he continued. “Specifically, if astronomers develop convincing evidence that life exists beyond Earth, how will that discovery impact terrestrial religions and our understanding of our place in the universe? Are any of humanity’s religions universal, or does a particular religion only make sense for Earthlings? Would Roman Catholicism or Judaism or Islam or Mormonism or Buddhism work or make sense on another planet? Could a Klingon be a Southern Baptist?”

A reception will precede Weintraub’s talk at 2:30 p.m. in Stevenson Center, Room 6333.

Contact: Peggy Lucas-McGowan, (615) 322-2828