A study conducted by a psychologist at North Dakota State University, USA, Clay Routledge, demonstrates a clear relationship between religious faith and the belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life.
According to Routledge, there is a strong tendency among those who profess a religious doctrine to disregard the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, on the other hand, those who consider themselves atheists or agnostics usually believe in this possibility, based on the premise that given the vastness of the Universe it is highly probable that life has also developed in other parts of the galaxy.
“Believing in extraterrestrial intelligent life is similar to religion, but without depending on the traditional religious doctrines that some people have deliberately rejected,” explains the researcher.
This belief, he clarifies, is compatible with the scientific understanding of the world.
This tendency seems to be intimately related to the need to look for a deeper meaning to existence, enabling the idea of belonging to a drama that is broader and more complex than worldly life.
As explained by the NY Times, people who do not regularly attend church are believed to be twice as likely to believe in ghosts as those who are regular churchgoers.
Furthermore, the less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse empirically unsupported ideas about U.F.O.s, intelligent aliens observing the lives and development of humans and related conspiracies about a government cover-up of these phenomena.
But, who could blame them right?
If we look back a decade into the past, we will find countless ‘whistleblowers’ who claim to have worked for the Government, NASA or the military, and who during their employment witnessed things that cannot be explained as man-made technology.
Furthermore, during the last couple of years, UFO sightings have quadrupled around the world.
Routledge and his colleagues note that “ETI beliefs serve an existential function: the promotion of perceived meaning in life. In this way, we view belief in ETI as serving a function similar to religion without relying on the traditional religious doctrines that some people have deliberately rejected.”
“Accepting ETI beliefs does not require one to believe in supernatural forces or agents that are inconsistent with a scientific perception of the world.” If you don’t believe in God but explore a deeper meaning outside our world, the thought that we are not alone in the universe “could make humans feel like they are part of a larger and more significant cosmic drama,” they observe.