As you may know, astronomers for several decades have been finding planets outside of our own solar system. The total number found so far is, I believe, over 400.
For reasons having to do with the discovery process, most of those are very large planets. Also, most of them are too close or too far from their suns to be able to have liquid water, which is believed to be vital to the existence of life. Therefore, so far there haven't been any earth-like planets found where life could exist (according to our understanding of how life can form and even exist). But even within our own solar system, some of the moons of Saturn or Jupiter might be able to support life.
In any event, it is probably only a matter of time before planets similar to our own Earth are found. Of course that does not mean that they will be found to have life, let alone intelligent or highly evolved life.
But also, astronomers have been speculating about intelligent life outside of our own earth for a long time; and the famous, late Carl Sagan in fact proposed a formula for calculating the likelihood of extraterrestrial life given the enormous number of galaxies, each with many stars, and many stars no doubt having planets.
So if you want to believe the speculation and calculation, they're out there--though we have not yet contacted them. (Some people of course believe they have visited us.)
Well, if we do ever confirm the existence of creatures like ourselves (or not) elsewhere in the universe, that will pose a problem for religion. Christianity holds that God sent his Son to Earth. Did God send the same son--or anyone else that he progenerated--to other planets? If not, why was Earth singled out? Can we assume that somehow Earth is special in God's sight and was singled out for the blessing of having His Son sent to us?
So the eventual discovery or confirmation of life elsewhere should, in principle, pose a problem for religion--at least for Christianity. But you know what? I think it will survive. Some sci-fi writers have even speculated that Christianity will simply send missionaries and export its religion throughout the universe, just as it did all over the Earth.
Now you're going to get the Earth Exceptionalists upset. Even if god made other planets, this Earth is his favorite!
Even if it is his favourite, that doesn't mean he didn't supposedly do other stuff elsewhere. The young Earth creationists will have a problem though, as the universe cannot be much more than six thousand light years across.
Considering how large the Milky Way is, that should already be a problem, but astrophysicists are either mistaken or lying, don'cha know.
The church I grow up in, the Adventist church, specifically says God DID run other experiments and that they were wildly more successful. Specifically, the other worlds, and there are believed to be hundreds of them, are all completely perfect, without a hint of sadness, death, or decay.
They remained so, because the beings on those worlds chose to reject the knowledge of good and evil when offered to them, as it was offered to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. By choosing to remain ignorant, they guaranteed peace and perfection for their children forever after, and the choice was removed from these future generations, just like it was removed from us and our world remained crappy forever.
Isn't it great that we have our own prophet to tell us these things? Aren't you jealous?
So we're NOT special?
MY MOM always told me I was special! lol
All this misery over a lousy apple?! Could God be any more petty? Get over it already!
The best part of this story? I once heard someone argue that "scientific evidence" led them to believe the fruit in the garden wasn't an apple... it was a peach! HAHAHAHAHA! XD
And you would think he would make us the center of everything. As it is, we are the center of nothing.
Astronomy already poses problems for Christianity and has for some time now. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was a Unitarian minister, gave a sermon in which he said:
I regard it as the irresistible effect of the Copernican astronomy to have made the theological scheme of Redemption absolutely incredible. Sermon CLVII, 1832, preached May 27, 1832
The problem lies in getting Christians to recognize that, as Richard Feynman put it, "The stage is too large for the drama." They are emotionally attached to their beliefs and that makes it difficult to change even in the face of new evidence.