When, and if we ever discover life outside of Earth it is going to be extremely monumental. It will be a turning point in human history, thinking, and most definitely religion. At the moment we have not discovered life outside yet obviously, and has anyone ever thought about the wake up call this is going to bring when we do?
Think about it... whether we find intelligent alien life, or microsopic bacterial, all the worlds religion and faith in those old religions will be questioned. This cannot be denied. And more than likely, new religions and revisions of old ones will surely be created. For example, How else will the christian religion be able to explain itself once life outside Earth is found? Earth is suppose to be special and unique and alone among a sea (heh) of planets and stars devoid of life... according to the bible.
And when, if, we do find life outside Earth... this is going to give humans a new way to view themselves. We will truly see we are just a species thriving and carving our own niche in our own ecosystem and soon, the universal ecosystem. In a new way, humans will bond. Maybe I'm being too optimistic here, but racism and hostility between groups of humans will cease, or atleast be greatly reduced in the event of finding intelligent alien life.
It will be us versus them. The aliens. We are humans. Not blacks, whites, latinos, asians, so on and so forth. Humans goddamnit.
We will be divided in a new way... not by the color of our skin or upbringing, but how we view the approach we take to an intelligent alien species. Do we offer peace? Do we trade technology? Do we try to develop a friendship and mutual understanding? Do we declare war? Do we eliminate them out of fear?
What do you think we would, or should do in the event of discovering alien life?
I personally think we should develop a watch and learn mentality. We should try communicating with them and try opening up a line of understanding between us and them. I am certain that, as long as this intelligent species in question, "speaks" or has a language of some sort, we could possibly trade "rosetta stones" between eachother.
Let me know what you think.