Religion and Astrobiology: Challenges and chances for mutual interaction

This seminar is part of the EAI on-line seminars

By Michael Waltemathe, Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

5 April 2022, 16:00 CEST

Religion has played a role in human space exploration from the very start. Whenever humans left planet Earth, they took their religious convictions with them into space. Religion has also been transformed by space exploration and the scientific progress that came in line with it. Vice versa, religious assumptions have been behind debates and ethical evaluations of scientific results.

In this seminar we will be discussing concepts from the history of religion that inform current theological, ethical and philosophical debates in Astrobiology. We will also look at possible challenges and chances Religion faces from Astrobiology research. During the seminar topics like the framing of biodiversity, protection of the environment (stewardship for creation in religious terms) will be discussed, as will be the extension of these principles and their possible religious foundation toward the search for extraterrestrial life. How will religious heritage be transformed through Astrobiology research? How will traditional assumptions inform our future research and the interpretations and social communication of the results?