SETI for Dummies

by Nosferatu 8 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Nosferatu

    After I left the JWs, I was considering finding a new religion. The one that appealed to me most was SETI. However, I've only started reading up on it recently.

    To believe in SETI, you have to believe in two things:

    1) The Bible is not bullshit
    2) The existance of Extraterrestrials

    The problem I have is the first one. I personally believe the bible, well, at least the Old Testament is a load of crap. However, the New Testament does hold a little bit of hope (but not much).

    The existance of Jesus and God is really questionable. Nobody on earth has ever (sanely) claimed to have met either of them. However, there are many people on earth who claim to have encountered Extraterrestrials, or evidence of the presence of Extraterrestrials. This gives hope for (at least) the New Testament.

    The following I thought was quite interesting.


    Was Jesus an Extraterrestrial?
    by Tom Slemen

    The gospel of St Matthew opens the New Testament with a frightening visit from a skyborne being who descends from the starry heavens to proclaim a sensational message to terrified shepherds attending their flocks:
    Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God is with us.

    This event - if it happened at all - would have occurred between four and eight years before the era which came to bear Christ's name Anno Domini - which is Latin for 'in the year of our Lord.'

    Like his death and alleged resurrection, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is cloaked in mystery. Just as the pillar of light led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land in the Old Testament, another enigmatic object served to guide those with wisdom to the birthplace of a carpenter's son in the New Testament. The ufological angle certainly seems to fit the account of this guiding light in the sky which is depicted on millions of Christmas cards all over the world. It is sung about in carols, it shines down from the tops of Christmas trees, and foil imitations of it twinkle over Nativity scenes. But just what was the Star of Bethlehem? Is it just a myth or did the starry messenger really exist in the skies of Judaea? For centuries, theologians and scientists have argued over their interpretations of the celestial event, which was recorded only by the apostle Matthew. In the second chapter of his gospel, Matthew tells us: "When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, 'where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.' "

    According to Matthew, Herod summons the mysterious Wise Men and tells them that if they should find the newborn king, they must divulge the child's whereabouts to him. Later, the Wise Men see the guiding star in the East and it leads him to the stable where the babe Jesus is sleeping.

    In the 17th century, the great German astronomer Kepler, sent shockwaves through the Christian world when he suggested that the star the Wise Men had followed might have been nothing more than a conjunction of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. However, it is now known that no such conjunctions were visible in the Holy Land during the period St Matthew mentions, which historical scholars reckon is around 4 or 5 BC. After Kepler's heretical attempts to explain away the Star of Bethlehem as a natural phenomenon, many other scientists also tried to formulate theories to rationalize the stellar oddity. Halley's Comet was blamed but astronomers have calculated that the comet had already visited and left the heavens before Christ's birth. Another theory proposed that the star that hovered over the stable was actually a distant star that had exploded - or gone supernova, to use astronomers' jargon. Such explosions do occur from time to time and can remain visible in the sky for weeks, even during the daytime.

    Now, it is recorded in ancient Chinese texts that such a supernova explosion did occur - around 4 BC. Chinese astronomers of the time recorded that a star flared up in the constellation of Aquila the Eagle, just below the bright star Altair. What's more, it has been computed that, to anyone standing at the South Gate of Jerusalem, the brilliant star would appear to be over Bethlehem.

    The American scientist A. J. Morehouse, who discovered the Chinese record, therefore believes that the Star of Bethlehem is still in the sky, but it is very faint.

    Opponents of Morehouse's theory have pointed out that the exploding star of 4 BC occurred too late to be associated with the birth of Christ. Also, such a bright spectacle in the night sky would hardly have gone unnoticed by Herod and the other inhabitants of Judaea. Moreover, a supernova cannot hover in the sky as the star of Bethlehem did over the manger.

    Just as enigmatic as the Star are the Wise men who followed it. Matthew simply states that they were from the East without specifying what countries they came from, and, contrary to popular belief, St Matthew does not actually say there were three of them. In fact, according to the early versions of the Nativity in Medieval times, there were twelve Wise Men! Whatever their number, most Biblical scholars agree that the Wise Men were students of astrology, which was very popular among the Jewish community at the time. This theory was strengthened by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. Among the timeworn Hebrew and Aramaic texts - some of which date back to the birth of Christ there are astrological charts depicting signs of the Zodiac and mystical texts referring to the influence of the stars and the planets on the newly-born. The Scrolls also mention an unnamed individual who lived at the time of the Jesus who was known as the Teacher of Righteousness.

    In the end, despite all the conjecture and historical research, we are still no nearer to uncovering the truth about the most mysterious herald in history - the Star of Bethlehem. If it wasn't a comet, nor a planetary conjunction, then surely there is only one logical hypothesis which can explain a light in the sky which behaves as if it is controlled by an intelligence: the Star of Bethlehem was a spacecraft; and if we can accept this explanation, we must ask: what was it doing hovering over the stable where Jesus was born?

    Read more at: (if you want)

  • Happy Guy :)
    Happy Guy :)

    Too much to read.

  • drwtsn32

    Hah, just the other day MegaDude posted an article where SETI is accused of being a religion because it doesn't follow this critereon for separating science from pseudoscience:

    "Scientific methodology exists wherever theories are subjected to rigorous empirical testing, and it is absent wherever the practice is to protect a theory rather than to test it."

    But what's this about SETI requiring a belief in the Bible? I have never heard that before...
  • Nosferatu

    Sorry, I eliminated some of it.

  • Nosferatu
    But what's this about SETI requiring a belief in the Bible? I have never heard that before...

    Well, if you want to believe it as an explanation for the New Testament. The two would go hand in hand. SETI alone is "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence" which is just what it says. Personally, I don't have much of an opinion on the existance of ETs since I've never encountered anything of this nature myself. However, the bible seems to be too much of a load of crap to be true.

    ...but then again, I can see your point. The NT may just be a story of an alien encounter on earth. Doesn't necessarily mean it happened.

  • Midget-Sasquatch


    Do you have the seti at home app running on your computer? Wouldn't it be cool if your computer were the one to first detect an actual ET signal?

    Anyway, I'd have to say that alot of the NT stuff is myth. Like you, I kinda would like for some of it to have some real basis, but look into Jewish midrash, and Jewish traditions about the Messiah. Matthew tries to make a strong parallel with the Jewish traditions of Moses and his "past" and what was supposedly Jesus' story. The murder of the innocent babies by Herod is just like the murder of all the hebrew males in Egyot. Both Moses and Jesus (to be chosen ones) escaped though. There was a jewish tradition that a star would indeed herald the coming of the messiah, as too there was a tradition that a star had also signaled the birth of Moses. Then Matthew adds other stuff like having Jesus and his folks flee to Egypt....that way an OT passage that says God would call his Son out of Egypt looked like prophecy and at the same time reinforce the pattern and link up with Moses and the Exodus of Isreal out of Egypt.

    Even cooler is how alot of the details in the story of the birth and death of Jesus has parallels in several pagan myths too.

  • peacefulpete

    Midget is right that star traditions predate the Jesus tale. A great number of famous men and demigods had stars heralding there appearance in their legends. Quite understandable given the primative belief that the stars reflected earthly events and activity. The Persians were influential in advancing this belief to the Jews.

  • Nosferatu
    Do you have the seti at home app running on your computer?

    No. Personally, I'm kinda neutral about the subject of ETs. I don't completely believe in them, nor do I completely doubt they exist. Unless one contacts me personally, I will remain in my opinion.

    Midget is right that star traditions predate the Jesus tale.

    This is why I could see them referring to the star of Bethlehem as, well, a star. There was no movies or books on flying saucers back then, let alone any kind of motor vehicles, aeroplanes, or electricity. How else are they to describe it?

  • Midget-Sasquatch
    This is why I could see them referring to the star of Bethlehem as, well, a star. There was no movies or books on flying saucers back then, let alone any kind of motor vehicles, aeroplanes, or electricity. How else are they to describe it?

    As to how they'd describe it, I'm with you. IIRC even Betty and Barney Hill (first publicized case of alien abduction) said that a star appeared to be following them...which then turned out to be the alien craft they were (allegedly) taken into. Jesus being an ET is plausible I guess. Definitely more interesting than the idea that Ezekiel's vision of the flying creatures with the wheels within wheels was a UFO & ET encounter. But so many mythic elements were lifted and incorporated into the story of Jesus, that it makes one wonder how much or how little truth is actually behind it?

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