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Exotheology


The term "exotheology" was coined in the 1960s or early 1970s for the examination of theological issues as they pertain to extraterrestrial intelligence. It is primarily concerned with either conjecture about possible theological beliefs that extraterrestrials might have, or how our own theologies have been or will be influenced by evidence of and/or interaction with extraterrestrials. One of the main themes of Exotheology is applying the concept of extraterrestrials who are sentient, and more to the point, endowed with a soul, as a thought experiment to the examination of a given theology, mostly Christian theology, occasionally also Jewish theology.

A Christian writer early to address the question was C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) who in a 1950s article in the Christian Herald contemplated the possibility of the Son of God incarnating in other, extraterrestrial, worlds, or else that God could devise an entirely distinct plan of salvation for extraterrestrial communities from the one applicable to humans.

Lutheran theologian Ted Peters (2003) asserts that the questions raised by the possibility of extraterrestrial life are by no means new to Christian theology and by no means pose, as asserted by other authors, a threat for Christian dogma. Peters points out that medieval theology had frequently considered the question of "what if God had created many worlds?", as early as the discussion of the Antipodes by the Church Fathers.

The Catholic Vatican theologian Corrado Balducci often discussed the question in Italian popular media, and in 2001 published a statement UFOs and Extraterrestrials - A Problem for the Church? In a 2008 statement, José Gabriel Funes, head of the Vatican Observatory, said "Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures on earth, there can be other beings, even intelligent, created by God. This is not in contrast with our faith because we can't put limits on God's creative freedom".



Not to be confused are UFO religions or ancient astronaut theories that posit that historical religious scripture or mythology was inspired by visits from extraterrestrials.
"Exotheism" is a fictional denomination in the Vampire: The Requiem role-playing game.
  • Thomas F. O'Meara, O.P. "Christian Theology and Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life." Theological Studies 60 (1999): 3-30.
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