The Historical and Philosophical Perspectives


The idea that humans are not alone in the Universe is ancient and lost in the mist of mythology. The myths of all ancient peoples are crowded with intelligent beings, often endowed with magical powers greater than those of humans. Often they dwell on Earth together with humankind or, if their abode is extraterrestrial, they live in a heaven that has little in common with the physical Universe. Actually, most ancient men and women could not distinguish between the physical Universe and the spiritual world. Astronomy dealt with fantastic creatures of all the types and, even in relatively recent times, the theological space occupied by God and the angels in Christian tradition often coincided with astronomical space.


Solar System Celestial Body Philosophical Perspective Extrasolar Planet Term Plurality 
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    A 1998 statistic states that 13% of the world population is nonreligious; of the remaining 87%, 26% are Christians, 20% Muslims, 13% Hindus, 6% Buddhists, 6% follow Chinese folk religions, and 10% other minor religions such as Baha’is (0.1%), Confucianists (0.1%), ethnic religionists (4.2%), Jains (0.1%), Jews (0.2%), New-Religionists (1.7%), Sikhs (0.4%), Spiritists (0.2%), seventy minor world religions, and Religionists (1.7%), Sikhs (0.4%), Spiritists (0.2%), seventy minor world religions, and more than 10,000 national or local religions. (Source: 1999 Britannica Book of the Year, p. 315.)Google Scholar
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