I grew up in a pretty sheltered environment and I think that has a lot to do with why I am so outspoken about my lack of belief in deities and my support for skepticism and science. I had never met anyone who valued religion over science until I went to college.
In high school, after watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “First Contact,” I remember speculating with my friends about whether humans were ready to meet aliens. Of course, I thought it would be awesome if some Federation like group of aliens came to Earth. We would surely welcome them with open arms while at the same time have some healthy skepticism about their intentions.
But speculating on the same issue today, I would suggest that the aliens remain hidden for their own safety. There are just too many religious fundamentalists who would see aliens as the greatest threat to their dogma. There would also be a significant number of religious believers who would see this as an opportunity to win more converts for their imaginary deity of choice. So all in all, I think aliens would be best served remaining in hiding. Of course, this is all hypothetical, but it tells me something about my impressions about my own race… the human race.
The problem I see in the world is that there are many people like me who are excited about science and the universe. We can’t wait to get into space and explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations. But then there are far too many people in the world who fear the future. They cling to their gods and their guns and would rather focus on ancient superstitions than actually learning about the actual universe we live in. They would rather pray for the End of Days then hope for a positive future for all humankind.
This is one of the many reasons why I criticize religion so much. I see it as the single greatest threat to humanity’s future. How can I justify going out there and seeking new life and new civilizations knowing that some religious nut will be along for the ride and at best, that nut would push his or her beliefs on whatever unsuspecting new intelligent life we find (assuming we find any at all)?
Worse yet, religious fundamentalists will be fighting us tooth and nail preventing us from moving forward at all. They will constantly be holding us back every step of the way and may even be waiting to use any new technology we do develop to either push their beliefs on others or as a weapon to bring about the End of Days so that they can meet Jesus and bring about the “Kingdom of God on Earth” or something.
How can humanity really get to the 24th century depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation with so many people believing in this ridiculous religious garbage? We need to educate people about the bullshit that is religion if there is any hope of seeing anything like a Star Trek type future.