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Is There Something Else Out There?

Mateen Taghizadeh | May 21, 2020

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Mateen Taghizadeh | May 21, 2020

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Recently, the Pentagon released three videos of Unidentified Flying Objects. Is there life on other planets—and do they have souls, too?

Since the 1950s, the U.S. government has looked into reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, while NASA searched for conditions that could allow life beyond Earth. Astrophysicists cautiously claim that, despite what it looks like, these UFOs may be caused by atmospheric effects, reflections, or bugs in the imaging and display codes of fighter jets. But the recently-released Navy videos have us all wondering: is there extraterrestrial life out there?

Ever since I was a child, I wondered if there is life on other planets. At school, I learned that our universe is infinite, and that there are planets and stars that haven’t even been discovered yet. In a universe so vast and spacious, I thought, there must be life outside of our own small world. These ideas grew stronger as more movies, TV shows, and books focused on life outside of Earth, and these videos—and the public’s reaction to them—prove that I’m not the only one. 

I found a basis for my belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life in the holy writings of the Baha’i Faith. Baha’is believe that God’s creations extend throughout the universe He created. Therefore, one could interpret that life forms are not exclusive to Earth. Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote: “Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute.”

But if every solar system has its own planets, and every planet has its own type of creatures, how would we recognize them? These creatures may not be human-like—they could be microscopic bacteria, plants, or the green-looking organisms so often portrayed in Hollywood. 

The universe is an infinite source of mystery and unanswered questions, and so much of it has yet to be explored. If one day we do find life on other planets, I wonder how alike these creatures would be to us. Coming from different planets millions of light-years away, how could they not be drastically different from us? 

But regardless of the type of life that exists outside of the realm of Earth, I find it interesting that Baha’u’llah also describes humans like this: “…Man, the noblest and most perfect of all created things.” 

This implies that even if we find life on other planets, no other organisms will be as intellectually or spiritually advanced as humans. Baha’u’llah also says that God “chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as… the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation. Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man hath been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty.”

From this quote, I infer that God gave humans all of His attributes. He singled out humanity and, due to His love, gave us the capacity to know and to love Him. This generous bestowal of divine virtues brings us to another question: if humans have all the attributes of God, can there be a creature that is more spiritually empowered than a human being? 

Either way, this should not make us think of ourselves as superior. One of the core principles of the Baha’i Faith is the oneness of humanity. This unity surpasses barriers of race, religion and nationality—wouldn’t it also make sense for it to surpass planetary barriers?

The Baha’i writings affirm: “This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength… The parts of this infinite universe have their members and elements connected with one another, and influence one another spiritually and materially.” No matter how different we are from any other creatures, we are still connected to them, and we are responsible for their wellbeing.

The human race constantly advances, and our natural curiosity and determination will propel us forward and further than we have ever gone before. It seems as if we are bound to find some type of life, as modern science has just begun to develop the ability to discover other planets within our solar system. For example, we now have telescopes that can reach other galaxies! 

But as we continue our explorations of the universe, we must remember that just as we strive to achieve unity on Earth, we should be determined to establish peace with any potential extraterrestrial neighbors. As long as our approach is infused with understanding, compassion, and other divine virtues at its core, we will be ready for whatever we find.

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Comments

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  • Masoud Varjavandi
    Oct 10, 2020
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    Interesting thought about Baha'u'llah's quote "…Man, the noblest and most perfect of all created things.". The assumption understandably would be Man, or humans, only exist on planet earth. What if there are humans on other planets? Not in the same physical form but spiritually the same. There is another quote from Abd'u'lbaha " ... in every stage of evolution though which humans progressed – either mineral, vegetable, and animal – they were potentially humans". I understand from that we give the term humans to identify ourselves but it has a more universal meaning and that's the potential of the spiritual ...attributes of the noblest and most perfect. IMO
    Read more...
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Jul 30, 2020
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    Remember the words in the Movie „Contact“: „This was just a first step. In time you'll take another. This is the way it's been done for billions of years. Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.“ :-)
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Jul 30, 2020
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    We are not alone. We never were. We only have to take humanity's sacred traditions seriously. The history of mankind is a history of contact with celestial beings. Do not be afraid. This is the natural development that every civilization goes through on its way to maturity. Step by step we will become aware of the greater cosmic community and our true place in it.
  • Jul 29, 2020
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    I would also like to add that this quote might infer, in conjunction with the above analysis, that any creatures we do encounter that are living and human, could theoretically be further progressed towards perfection than us: “Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality -- that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the beginning of light; that is why it has been said that the condition of man is the end of the night and ...the beginning of day, meaning that he is the sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and that he possesses the degrees of perfection. "
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
    Some Answered Questions (p.235)
    Read more...
  • Grace J. Keene
    Jul 29, 2020
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    This was a brilliant article! I find it fascinating that there are so many references to extraterrestrial life in the Baha'i Writings and have written a book about it. I look forward to more excellent articles from you!
  • Brandon Naylor
    Jul 29, 2020
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    If mankind are the only race that are capable of reflecting all of God‘s attributes, wouldn’t that make us kind of lonely? Having no equal to be able to share our knowledge and engage in spiritual discussions?
  • Don Boykin
    Jul 28, 2020
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    Thanks for your interesting article. It should be understood the word 'man' is generic and based on my subjective understanding of the Baha'i Revelation, it is applicable in all the worlds of God, although the creatures may not resemble earth's 'man' in any form but potentially he just might look like us. Unity, justice, peace, love is in the heart of other creatures as it is in ours.
    • Mark David Vinzens
      Jul 29, 2020
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      The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. Maybe we should expand that a little in the time of the Hubble Space Telescope: there is one universe inhabited by one people; and we are they.
  • Mark David Vinzens
    Jul 28, 2020
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    We've never been alone. The universe is full of life. For example, the Buddhist scriptures speak very openly about it. You can find a description of an Alien visit in the Lotus Sutra (chapter 23). By the way. Our earth is called the SAHA WORLD (translation: “just barely tolerable” that's probably the most accurate description :-) )
  • Terry Tibando
    Jul 28, 2020
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    This is an interesting article on the UFO subject and the quote by Baha'ullah is a frequently used writing to acknowledge life in the universe. There are however many more such Baha'i writings by Baha'u'llah, Abdul-Baha, the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice which give more explicit information on this subject which science is just starting to recognize and acknowledge.I have written extensively on the UFO and Extraterrestrial phenomenon in six textbooks which I would be happy to share these additional Baha'i Writings with Baha'iTeachings.org if they wish. I may be reached at Tibando@telus.net for more information.
  • Jul 28, 2020
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    This is quite an interesting topic that has intrigued me since childhood too and classification and definitions of what to know God surely must have also the same kaleidoscope and meanings as the creatures which as Baha'u'llah states " Through His potency the Trees of Divine Revelation have yielded their fruits, every one of which hath been sent down in the form of a Prophet, bearing a Message to God's creatures in each of the worlds whose number God, alone, in His all-encompassing Knowledge, can reckon. Gleanings p. 104)
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