If and when mankind develops the capacity for interstellar voyage, should religion com along for the ride? A group of religious leaders recently tackled the topic at a symposium in Texas, and opinions were more varied than you might think.
Some argued against it, including a California-based Southern Baptist minister (who has apparently never met his Deep South brethren):
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“The only way humanity can survive is if they leave behind the Earth-based religions,” charged Rev. Alvin Carpenter, pastor at First Southern Baptist Church West Sacramento. “If there’s any way to make this fail, bring Earth-bound religions.”
Religions, he argued, breed aggression and conflict, citing the violent history of his own faith, Christianity, in episodes such as the Inquisition and the Crusades. Many religions’ negative stance on homosexuality has driven young gay people to commit suicide, he said.
“When you bring a religion on a starship, you bring the toxicity that we have seen on Earth,” Carpenter argued.