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In Avatar, we see a lot of Jarhead vs Egghead conflict. Well, when it comes down to it, that's just one faction of the ethical standpoint: Atheism. As a rule of thumb, they tend to cooperate better with alternative religions, faith systems and philosophies of every make and size. What we don't see (, hear about or even is suggested towards) is the inevitable headbutting of a major world religion(s) with:
A) the notion of another habitable world
B) the notion of sentient life outside our own world
C) the paganistic 'religion' (I struggle to use the term, cause Eywa's more like gaia and fate rolled into one, not really a celstial deity) adopted by the Na'vi, and the rites and 'apocathary voodoo' that goes along with it.
Let's be perfectly honest with ourselves here. The discovery of an inhabited alien world would be problematic for a handful of religions texts, documents and statements - and by that, I mean 'head-on train collision' sort of problematic. Less severely conflicting, we are looking at dozens to a couple hundred statements and allusions from nearly every conventional religion that exists today struggling to cope with the concept of extra-terrestrial sentient life. Now it must be argued that there will be those who can say "Well God made them too!" which is fine to me - just don't say it to the Na'vi. But don't forget, those of a more ardent standpoint will be faced with a bit of a brick wall. Like the ocean is a bit wet.
Now, as entertaining a subject as it would be to sit the Pope and a Tsahik at a table and let the fireworks fly, it's not particualrly practical or feasible to move the pope to pandora to have a one-on-one with the more esoteric aspects of the culture (not sure if I used that term correctly, but oh well). Nor is it really feasible to move *any* professional religious figure due to simple logistics. (I bet this is why Hell's Gate did not have a chaplin as almost all military instellations are required to, or the events of the movie would never be endorsed.) Disbelief can only be suspended so far, especially considering just who created this world.
So, I had to ask myself - would anyone with a stringent religious belief, let alone background, even apply for a position on the avatar program? (Once there, getting in can be believed as selection criteria are based largely about aptitude and mental fitness). I think it's safe to assume that all SecOps forces are either atheists, or do not feel a particularly strong attachment to their religion, but the same cannot be so easily said for the 'civvies' on Pandora. Miners, technicians, even the scientists themselves.
Frankly, my self-questioning has been inconclusive, so I figure I might as well ask it here. What do you all think would be happening back home when pandora is discoved? Religious hysteria? Mass rejection? Simple refusal to accept the facts presented, aruging it as a hoax? (there is just no pleasing some people.) Let's here some opinions!