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NASA-backed research found alien discovery would see the world turn to religion

NASA paid to find out how the world's religions would react to bombshell proof of alien life.

The space agency partially funded research which found religious people are better prepared for an extraterrestrial discovery than atheists.

In 2016, 24 experts gathered at Princeton University's Center for Theological Inquiry for a programme exploring how easily certain religious sects could accept news of otherworldly beings.

Reverend Dr Andrew Davison of the University of Cambridge revealed earlier this month that he was one of the two dozen theologians delving deep into the discussion.

According to the director of the Princeton based Inquiry Will Storrar, NASA was keen to produce "serious scholarship" on the "profound wonder and mystery and implication of finding microbial life on another planet."

A NASA spokesperson told The Hill that the agency's astrobiology program backed the inquiry with partial funding of $1.1 million (£815,000) in a grant for studies between 2015 and 2017. The spokesperson added that NASA had did not handpick the researchers but left personnel selection to the inquiry.

Dr Davison, whose own work involves studying how astrobiology and Christianity interconnect, says religious people around the world are likely to be more accepting of aliens.

Atheists on the other hand could be left searching for faith if alien life is proven, Insider reports.

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The Times reports that in his new book 'Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine', Davison writes: "The headline findings are that adherents of a range of religious traditions report that they can take the idea in their stride."

Dr Davison also wrote in the book set for release in the new year, that the nonreligious community appears to "overestimate the challenges that religious people" are likely to come up against following evidence of aliens.

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He said a "large number of people would turn to their religious traditions for guidance" if we learned of life beyond Earth.

He added that detection of alien life "might come in a decade or only in future centuries or perhaps never at all but if or where it does, it will be useful to have thought through the implications in advance."

Other religious experts, including a rabbi, an imam, and an Anglican priest agreed that the discovery of aliens would strengthen their followers' faith – not end it.

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