Hypothetical Situation Involving Non-Human Earth Born Intelligent Beings.

Jan 2012
217
Pleasant Plains, Arkansas
I've been thinking about this for a while, and I still have been unable to come to a conclusion that I find satisfactory.

It is an hypothetical situation in which a non-human (homo sapiens) intelligent race is either discovered or evolves within the thousand years between Baha'u'llah and the period in which we (well, our descendants) are supposed to begin looking for the next Manifestation.

In this hypothetical situation they are intelligent enough to understand the concept of religion and perhaps even show an interest in it, but do not posses one native to their own species.

What would they do? Would they convert to an human (homo sapiens) religion? Or would they wing it until the next Manifestation comes and explains everything? Or, since they are a totally different species, would they perhaps not be bound by the same "wait 1'000 years" thing, and would be sent a Manifestation of their own?

There are a lot of variables that I have considered in this. One of the most important, in my view, is their origin.

If they are biologically different from us, and yet still intelligent, they must have evolved along with us on this Earth. If we haven't discovered them yet, then that means that they must live in an environment that is significantly different from our own so that our own "colonization" of this world will not have affected them until now.
This leaves the possibilities of either an aquatic race or a subterranean one.
In this case, they would most likely poses at the very least records of an ancient religion of their own and could simply resurrect it until a Manifestation comes to them (either their own, or the same one we are waiting for).

If, however, they evolve during our own era then that would require that either a species that was previously an animal became what Baha'is call human (in the spiritual sense) or that homo sapiens had evolved again producing a daughter race. In the light of the Writings, I find the second option most likely. In that case they would still be biologically quite similar to us, but may have significant biological and/or mental differences. And if the differences are purely mental, can they be considered a separate species or would they still be homo sapiens? Example: a group of beings biologically almost identical to homo sapiens (with the only differences being whatever genes control the way we think, which I really know nothing about or if they even exist so I am in no position to comment on that) but that thinks in a radically different way. Let's say they do not think of themselves as individual beings, but more like the cells of a single organism? In which case, there might be specific "cells" that do most of the thinking for this group organism, or perhaps they have a collective conscience of sorts (I have no clue how this would work, just an idea). Would these beings still even be in need of religion? If so, would it be one we could recognize as such? Would they even be -capable- of practicing human religions, such as the Baha'i Faith?

What are your thoughts?
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
Every fixed star...

It is an hypothetical situation in which a non-human (homo sapiens) intelligent race is either discovered or evolves within the thousand years between Baha'u'llah and the period in which we (well, our descendants) are supposed to begin looking for the next Manifestation.

In this hypothetical situation they are intelligent enough to understand the concept of religion and perhaps even show an interest in it, but do not posses one native to their own species.

What would they do? Would they convert to an human (homo sapiens) religion? Or would they wing it until the next Manifestation comes and explains everything? Or, since they are a totally different species, would they perhaps not be bound by the same "wait 1'000 years" thing, and would be sent a Manifestation of their own?

>>> "Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute." Baha'u'llah

The universe is literally "teeming" with life. Throw away the word "stars" for awhile, and substitute the word "suns". What are suns for? Oh, yeah... ;-) The are the power plants, the energy generating component of planetary systems. What are planets? Giant dirt balls where, when conditions are right, grow stuff. Some of them are duds, like deserts where you expect roses to grow, but it ain't a gonna happen. But the basic garden chemistry set of the whole solar units should "take" a certain percentage of the time, right? The astrologers have already concluded that there are more planets than stars out there. That makes sense, somehow.

Abdul Baha explains that man has always existed, in potential, even prior to the amalgamation of the elements of the earth, as a kind of pre-fetal stage, if I recall close to correctly.

"As to thy question concerning the origin of creation. Know assuredly that God’s creation hath existed from eternity, and will continue to exist forever. Its beginning hath had no beginning, and its end knoweth no end. His name, the Creator, presupposeth a creation, even as His title, the Lord of Men, must involve the existence of a servant." Baha'u'llah

"As regards thine assertions about the beginnings of creation, this is a matter on which conceptions vary by reason of the divergences in men’s thoughts and opinions. Wert thou to assert that it hath ever existed and shall continue to exist, it would be true; or wert thou to affirm the same concept as is mentioned in the sacred Scriptures, no doubt would there be about it, for it hath been revealed by God, the Lord of the worlds." Baha'u'llah

It is very logical to assume that the "men" of billions of other planets are also given the knowledge of God through the same process of progressive revelation by their Manifestations of God, the same as here. The equivalent of an Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, Bab, Baha'u'llah, etc is surely unfolding throughout the universe. There are probably "Baha'i Forums" going on right now... !!! ;-)
In the future, theirs or ours, our paths may well cross. Good thing there are several light years between us to slow down the rush. Hopefully, some sort of prime directive will have been issued by the Universal Houses of Justice throughout the galaxies, eh?
 
Nov 2012
601
United States
I think "human" is just our planetary term for the rational soul.

Any other biological species -- regardless of where it comes from -- that attracts the rational soul is our spiritual kin, our family.

This goes way beyond just Planet Earth.
 

Jcc

Mar 2013
594
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
In the hypothetical case of encountering another intelligent species we should first try to understand their culture and learn from them before we try to convert them to our religion. I just thought about Western encounters with Native Americans. Whatever we do, let it not be like that, nor have it done to us!

Secondly, I have thought about the quote: "Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute." I believe as many scientists do that there probably is life on many planets, including intelligent life. But we know that there is not life "as we know it" on some nearby planets, including Venus, Mercury, etc. so if our understanding of "creatures" is biological life, then Baha'u'llah's statement is not literally true.

But if "creatures" includes the mineral kingdom, then it is literally true because there are vast and complex mineral formations and processes on every planet. 'Abdu'l-Baha talked about mineral spirit, and the powers of the mineral kingdom, which are included as a subset of the powers of the plant and animal kingdoms, etc.
 
Jan 2012
217
Pleasant Plains, Arkansas
I fear some have misunderstood the hypothetical situation. This is not an alien race. It is a race that evolved here on Earth, either along side us or out of us. Thus they are "Earthlings", just like us. But they are either not biologically homo sapiens, or their minds are different enough from our own (not superior or inferior, just different) that they cannot truly be considered the same as us.

The question has absolutely nothing to do with any of the quotes about life on other planets. This is life here. Just not us. That's what makes this question so difficult to answer, for me. If they were aliens and they were advanced enough scientifically to reach us, then I would assume that they must have an equal amount of religious advancement, otherwise they would have killed each-other off. Thus the question would be a non-question for alien life. But this is terran. Earth life.

So again, what are your thoughts on a hypothetical situation in which another intelligent species is either discovered or evolves here, on Earth. Specifically, your thoughts on whether they would need to convert to a human religion if they do not poses one of their own, and would they also have to wait for the same Manifestation we are waiting for, or would another come for them sooner to give them religion again?

As for the comment on Native Americans... This is a very different situation. The Native Americans (my kin, by the way) had and have a very advanced religion. The beings in this hypothetical situation do not have any religion at all. They understand religion, and are interested in it, but do not have one currently in existence native to their own kind.

This hypothetical presupposes that we (homo sapiens, the species, not humans the spiritual beings) already understand them. Otherwise the question would be void, and the proper question would be: "How do we go about learning about their culture, their way of life, how they think, etc?".

Sorry if I've repeated things over and over. I just don't want any misunderstandings as to the question. Not a Columbus meets the Native Americans situation, and not aliens. Non-Human, evolved on Earth, possibly a daughter race of our own species but at the same time not our own.
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
Mitakuye Oyasin

In the hypothetical case of encountering another intelligent species we should first try to understand their culture and learn from them before we try to convert them to our religion. I just thought about Western encounters with Native Americans. Whatever we do, let it not be like that, nor have it done to us!

Secondly, I have thought about the quote: "Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute." I believe as many scientists do that there probably is life on many planets, including intelligent life. But we know that there is not life "as we know it" on some nearby planets, including Venus, Mercury, etc. so if our understanding of "creatures" is biological life, then Baha'u'llah's statement is not literally true.

But if "creatures" includes the mineral kingdom, then it is literally true because there are vast and complex mineral formations and processes on every planet. 'Abdu'l-Baha talked about mineral spirit, and the powers of the mineral kingdom, which are included as a subset of the powers of the plant and animal kingdoms, etc.
In Lakota, "Mitakoye Oyasin" All my relatives. Allah'u'Abha
 
Nov 2012
243
Germany
It is an hypothetical situation in which a non-human (homo sapiens) intelligent race is either discovered or evolves within the thousand years between Baha'u'llah and the period in which we (well, our descendants) are supposed to begin looking for the next Manifestation.
We've been the same in the last ca.40.000 years. What makes you think a new species can come along in the next 1000 ?!?!


If they are biologically different from us, and yet still intelligent, they must have evolved along with us on this Earth. If we haven't discovered them yet, then that means that they must live in an environment that is significantly different from our own so that our own "colonization" of this world will not have affected them until now.
This leaves the possibilities of either an aquatic race or a subterranean one.
If they are biologically different from us, they are another species, and they can't have evolved parallel to us...


And if the differences are purely mental, can they be considered a separate species or would they still be homo sapiens?
If they can produce fertile offspring when they mate with homo sapiens, then they are the same species. If not, then no.



The astrologers have already concluded that there are more planets than stars out there.
LOL !!!


It is very logical to assume that the "men" of billions of other planets are also given the knowledge of God through the same process of progressive revelation by their Manifestations of God, the same as here.
But it is highly illogical to think that there is anything even close to "humans" on other planets. Evolution can't have happened on another planet exactly as it took place on earth.
 
Aug 2012
62
united states
I've been thinking about this for a while, and I still have been unable to come to a conclusion that I find satisfactory.

It is an hypothetical situation in which a non-human (homo sapiens) intelligent race is either discovered or evolves within the thousand years between Baha'u'llah and the period in which we (well, our descendants) are supposed to begin looking for the next Manifestation.

In this hypothetical situation they are intelligent enough to understand the concept of religion and perhaps even show an interest in it, but do not posses one native to their own species.

What would they do? Would they convert to an human (homo sapiens) religion? Or would they wing it until the next Manifestation comes and explains everything? Or, since they are a totally different species, would they perhaps not be bound by the same "wait 1'000 years" thing, and would be sent a Manifestation of their own?

There are a lot of variables that I have considered in this. One of the most important, in my view, is their origin.

If they are biologically different from us, and yet still intelligent, they must have evolved along with us on this Earth. If we haven't discovered them yet, then that means that they must live in an environment that is significantly different from our own so that our own "colonization" of this world will not have affected them until now.
This leaves the possibilities of either an aquatic race or a subterranean one.
In this case, they would most likely poses at the very least records of an ancient religion of their own and could simply resurrect it until a Manifestation comes to them (either their own, or the same one we are waiting for).

If, however, they evolve during our own era then that would require that either a species that was previously an animal became what Baha'is call human (in the spiritual sense) or that homo sapiens had evolved again producing a daughter race. In the light of the Writings, I find the second option most likely. In that case they would still be biologically quite similar to us, but may have significant biological and/or mental differences. And if the differences are purely mental, can they be considered a separate species or would they still be homo sapiens? Example: a group of beings biologically almost identical to homo sapiens (with the only differences being whatever genes control the way we think, which I really know nothing about or if they even exist so I am in no position to comment on that) but that thinks in a radically different way. Let's say they do not think of themselves as individual beings, but more like the cells of a single organism? In which case, there might be specific "cells" that do most of the thinking for this group organism, or perhaps they have a collective conscience of sorts (I have no clue how this would work, just an idea). Would these beings still even be in need of religion? If so, would it be one we could recognize as such? Would they even be -capable- of practicing human religions, such as the Baha'i Faith?

What are your thoughts?
Eternal,

that is a very interesting scenario but in my opinion I could not see it ever happening for one simple reason. I do not believe that God would have created another intelligent race of beings without sending them Manifestations for guidance. It would be the same as if one were to come out and say that God has completely left us to ourselves.....Contrary to everything that Baha'u'llah has taught us in my opinion
 
Jan 2012
217
Pleasant Plains, Arkansas
Eternal,

that is a very interesting scenario but in my opinion I could not see it ever happening for one simple reason. I do not believe that God would have created another intelligent race of beings without sending them Manifestations for guidance. It would be the same as if one were to come out and say that God has completely left us to ourselves.....Contrary to everything that Baha'u'llah has taught us in my opinion
It is not that they have never had Manifestations. Just that they have no currently surviving religion.
 
Jun 2011
1,543
Somewhere "in this immensity"
Eternal Student,


I think the problem you have stated is only difficult because you have mixed up categories. If we resolve the categories, there really isn't a problem, as far as I can see.

First, when you say non-human, I presume that you are using the biologist's definition (whatever that is) of a human, and are able to determine it is something other than human. Then you wonder what is the status of their soul since they apparently have no religion or at least no memory of religion in their past.

Here is the mix-up.

First, it is not being human that gives man his soul, and thus the need for the manifestations to cultivate that soul. It is the other way around, that the association of a soul with the human body that makes a human. Obviously, then, religion has a completely different set of definitions about what a human is than a biologist.

Second, although you have established that according to a biologist definition, it is non-human, you have not established that it is a non-human according to religious definition, eg having a rational soul. However, since I infer that this creature is somewhat civilized and rational, since you are able to converse with it, and it is able to relate to spiritual and ethical truths to a level of being interested in them, that is highly unlikely that this is something "non-human" from the religious point of view, and certainly possesses a soul. If you accept this, then it is certainly reasonable to teach this being your faith and admit it into our religion, since it lives among us and lacks any spiritual teachings of its own. But I want you to also consider how improbable such a scenario actually is according to our own teachings, to suggest that beings in possession of rational souls having to ethical, moral, spiritual beliefs, religion, manifestations, etc. Surely God would raise up a manifestation of God among them and provide for the education of His creatures, (even if by proxy through us) most likely they would have something of their own, at least before coming in contact with us.