t’s not Balducci speaking (yet). There have been a lot of articles lately on how the Vatican’s chief astronomer says there might be ETs. I’m trying not to yawn.
Actually, this is OLD news–as in CENTURIES and even a MILLENNIUM old. Amazing how people don’t know that Christianity has asked many times whether there are other worlds and whether those worlds might be inhabited. Even more unknown (except to people who have read The Facade) is the fact that an ET reality would not of necessity be a huge theological hurdle (it depends on how the data is processed–there we go again). Here’s the first paragraph of an article entitled “Vatican Astronomer Cites Possibility of Extraterrestrial ‘Brothers’“:1
The Vatican’s chief astronomer says there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of extraterrestrial “brothers” perhaps more evolved than humans.
No kidding. But what he’s NOT thinking of here is what Msgr. Balducci is apparently thinking of (hey, he’s been courted by retail ufologists for years).
- Thanks to Matt Landis for this! ↩
I think that even though the question has been asked and contemplated by Christians in the past, we are now in a situation in which society and culture have been saturated with scenarios of aliens which is absolutely devoid of any christian element or that presupposes a worldview or a world narrative which excludes or contradicts Christianity. And so, I suppose, that from a pastoral point of view this is a necessary proclamation, especially in light of the fact that few are even aware of christians in previous centuries contemplating this. I am only vaguely aware of such contemplation and I only know of such in the 19th century.
I’d agree that the way ET life is foisted on the public that little room is left for thoughtful theological discussion — but that’s basically true of anything. Take stem cell research. We now have nitwits (Stephen Pinker) ranting about how human dignity is a farce. Just because bioethics is repeatedly cast as utilitarian doesn’t mean it should be. Same for the ET issue. If it turns out that there really is ET life, and the discovery is used in ways quite antithetical to Christian theology, that doesn’t mean a coherent alternative isn’t obtainable or worthwhile putting forth.