Presentation: 2012 100YSS Symposium
Rev. Dr. Alvin L. Carpenter
Pastor, First Southern Baptist Church West Sacramento CA
Email address removed
Title: The Non-promise of Earth bound Religions into Space.
The incompatibility of earth bound religions for an interstellar community. You will never get a religion with out getting their doctrine in the bargain. You will never get a religion without their claim that they speak "for" God. All ministers say they are "called of God." This means, I am called and you are not. Any one who has the title Rev. before their name has an agenda. What is that agenda? You have to learn to ask over and over until you get an answer that makes sense. How will the agenda of advancing a religion be compatible on a starship that has the sole agenda of staying alive and living at peace with one another.
Ask any representative of an earth religion, "Why should we carry your religion to the stars." With the terrible history of religion, and the terrible acts carried out today under the banner of religion it is a very valid question"why should you come to the stars? Then ask again and again until you find the true answer: The goal of religion is to convert and impose. That is the task of all religions otherwise they would disappear in a generation. In Christianity it is called the Great Commission: " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20.
Today, I would like to pose for your consideration, in the strongest terms possible, that our earth religions are not only nonessential for a interstellar community but are in fact detrimental to the success and well being of a Colonized Interstellar Vessel. One charismatic fundamentalist of any religion will be enough to destroy the entire ship.
An important question:
There are many different religions in the world; of these there are many varieties of each religion. Within Christianity alone the World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford Univ. Press, 2nd edition, 2001) states there are 34,000 different branches comprising the Christian religion. These divisions within Christianity did not occur over a cup of tea but were the result of infighting of the worst sort. One thing we know for certain and that is Christians themselves cannot get along with one another. With that in mind how will they get along with others on a starship?
All of these religions claim a special relationship to the Divine, and all seek to expand by some form of coercion. If they did not reproduce themselves in some form they would cease to exist. Coercion is the most effective. Fortunate for us, history has recorded the acts of these religions as they made war with one another and with the King. Historians have preserved for us the long history of violence, war, anti-science, anti-scientists, anti-education, homophobic, xenophobic, patriarchal, religions.
Yesterday (9/13/12) in a speech by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ask the question: "Can we have religion without violence? Because until we do the world will never have peace." I think these same words will be repeated a thousand years from now here on earth because there is little indication much has changed and there is no willingness to initiate change by religious leaders.
Religions acknowledge this history and yet they feel they are ready to take to the stars. No, they will demand you take them to the stars. They say they have come a long way but the daily newspaper tells a different story.
The question is: Why? What is their motive? What can they
bring that will be so valuable that it will compensate for all their potential
to do evil?
Having been a minister for over 40 years I find their motive a simple one: To convert, to spread the word, to evangelize, to insure all in the interstellar community will not burn in hell for all eternity as infidels. The word Islam means to "submit," and the Christians are commanded to "Go into all the world and make disciples of all people." "Turn or burn," as they saying goes. Religion must make new converts or else it will die in a generation. All power and wealth a religion possesses comes as a result of evangelism and on a starship it will be no different than it is here on earth. Already I have heard one religionists bring up the idea of using the tithe on the starship. The tithe is a doctrine that 10% of all income belongs to God. This lunacy has enriched the church and impoverished the people. Do we need 10% of the wealth of all the citizens on a starship going to a religion?
Were this star ship to leave next year, instead of 100 years, which religion would you take with you? Scientologists, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Southern Baptists, the fundamentalists of any religion, Unification church, Falun Gong, who would you take right now? Most likely none. This decision will be faced some day and if they (religions) are not willing to be a part of the scientific community and act for the benefit of all humanity, even if they must act against their own self-interest, then they are unworthy of being a part of future humanity.