When humanity reaches the stars, how will our current religion be affected? Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics etc. What kind of new religion will there be?

Here are some ideas that come to mind:

How will machines/technology go against religion? How will it affect current religions and how would it create new ones? A religion about machines? How would that play out?

Scientists and archeologists are finding new evidence that goes against the practices of today's religions which can truly affect the world but in what way?

Other beings from outer space (Aliens) could cause the belief of new religions. What if these aliens are the one's who created us?

A person who is seen as an advent or a man of power could possibly be seen as a God? What would it take for him or her to be seen as a God?

The ideas and possibilities can range to something unrealistic or realistic. I would prefer something that may sound practical but we can all go for a good laugh!.

Religion is a huge part of humanity's cultural behavior and practices. It can also cause wars but if we can set the present where we can reach the stars, how will religion play out?

Sorry for the grammar. I am working on it.

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    $\begingroup$ This question is far too broad. In fact I have read science fiction stories which portray humans in space from total atheistic to religious cult societies realistically. In fact I would say you could realistically portray any religious/non-religious form and mix when humans reach outer space, you only need to work out a convincing backstory. $\endgroup$ – Thorsten S. Jan 2 '17 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ sad face I just spent a few hours tapping up an answer and I was 45 min late. I thought I did decent given the scope too, although it was pretty vague and black&white. $\endgroup$ – Black Jan 3 '17 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ @black I feel your pain. Save it. Help edit the question so it might be reopened, or post your own new (better targeted) Q with the A. Or if the answer is broad, make it a WB Blog post instead. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 3 '17 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry everyone, I just added more info. I hope it is enough to have your creative brains flow! $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Perez Jan 3 '17 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ Now your question has 11 sub-questions in it. It's still too broad. Some of the sub-questions are specific enough that they could be standalone questions. $\endgroup$ – user45623 Jan 3 '17 at 4:08

Broadly, religions evolve for two purposes, and arguably for a third purpose:

  1. To explain how
  2. To explain why
  3. To control

I'll use some examples, but please understand I'm trying to make my examples as simple as possible and they may not fully or accurately reflect the views of their respective religions.


Using Greek mythology: Greek gods served as supernatural explanations for many natural phenomenon which they may not yet have had scientific explanations for. Lightning and thunder was created by Zeus. The sun moved through the sky because Helios drove it in a chariot.


Using Christianity, in a Q&A format:

  • a.) Q: Why do humans exist? A: God created them in his image
  • b.) Q: Why do bad things happen? A: Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Note: I have grossly oversimplified for brevity)
  • c.) Q: Why is it wrong to (steal/kill/cheat)? A: Because those behaviors are sins and forbidden by the Ten Commandments


In some cases, religions can arguably serve the purpose of controlling the population, perhaps to suit the purposes of the ruling structure. Using the excellent movie Max Max: Fury Road as an example: the primary antagonist Immortan Joe is a cruel dictator who treats most of the populace with indifference. However, he has built up (or allowed to build up) a religion centered around him as a deity. His 'war boy' soldiers treat him with fanatical reverence and will obey his every command without question. A mere glance of recognition from Immortan Joe is considered a great blessing, and they believe he has the power to grant them a place in Valhalla.

How to apply this

In creating a religion for a sci-fi setting, you generally want to think of important questions for which there is no known natural explanation. If you are describing a culture which is technologically advanced to the point of interstellar space travel, there are probably very few questions of "how" that haven't been answered by science. However, some questions of "why" can probably never be satisfactorily answered by science, so you still have some room to play there.

However, when you're writing a story (particularly a science fiction story), it's important to have details that are interesting or memorable rather than merely believable. A good way to handle religions is to come up with a belief system that will seem bizarre, amusing, or deplorable to a modern audience.

For example, you might have a story set a thousand years in the future, where scientists worship the Higgs boson like a god because they understand how to use it but have never figured out why it works.

Another way to amuse readers is to build a religion around some idea that is common knowledge today but has been forgotten in the future. For example, a group of humans become stranded on a distant planet and live there for generations. We encounter them worshiping a great metal god, which the reader understands to be a computer, because the culture has forgotten what a computer is.

Lastly, you can always come up with some society where religion is used as a means of control. Your crew encounters a primitive planet where everyone worships the god-king, but eventually the captain learns that the god-king is just an alien from a different planet who knows enough parlor magic to convince a more primitive species of his divinity. The religion on your colony moon is so pervasive that every citizen follows it without question, and eventually you learn this religion was created by the government several generations earlier because relying on religious beliefs to ensure good behavior is cheaper than having a police force, court system, and prison infrastructure.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a really good response. I love the examples. Thank you user45623 for the answer! $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Perez Jan 3 '17 at 2:13

There's a saying I like to go by: People need religion, religion doesn't need people.

Maybe in your world, humanity evolves to a point where they don't need religion at all, and end up believing that they are the gods themselves - especially if technology allows them to become extremely superior (like Interstellar with 5 dimensional beings).

But for the sake of argument, let's just say that your people do believe in religion.

A lot of religions have changed over time, with more and more scientific discoveries. Adding more scientific discoveries - which will no doubt happen - can possibly influence your characters into changing their religion.

Another possibility is that humans meet an alien species that is much more intelligent, and tricks humans into believing it is god. Humans could also potentially meet God, and it may be different that what any current religion suggests. These humans could come back and try to tell the world what is happening, but no one believes them.

There are a lot of possibilities like this, and as someone said in your comments, you can have any possible scenario, you just have to work on a convincing backstory.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you Sunny, this is an awesome response. The aliens tricking us that they are God and the 5th dimension beings is a good one. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Perez Jan 3 '17 at 2:18

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