Have you ever noticed how people, no matter how successful or accomplished, always want to be something else?
7 foot centers always want to dribble the basketball up court.
5’6″ guards always want to dunk.
Actors always want to sing. (Like Clint Eastwood in “Paint Your Wagon”)
Singers always want to act. (Like Mariah Carey in “Glitter”)
But to our list of people rising to the level of their own incompetence we could also add this increasingly common and annoying trend.
Scientists always want to play theologian.
And theologians always want to play scientist.
Or at least try to be loved and admired by scientists.
The Vatican joins the search for alien life
The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding its first ever
conference on alien life, the discovery of which would have profound
implications for the Catholic Church.
For centuries, theologians have argued over what the existence of life elsewhere in the universe would mean for the Church: at least since Giordano Bruno, an Italian monk, was put to death by the Inquisition in 1600 for claiming that other worlds exist.Furthermore, Jesus Christ’s role as saviour would be confused: would other worlds have their own, tentacled Christ-figures, or would Earth’s Christ be universal?
However, just as the Church eventually made accommodations after Copernicus and Galileo showed that the Earth was not the centre of the universe, and when it belatedly accepted the truth of Darwin’s theory of evolution, Catholic leaders say that alien life can be aligned with the Bible’s teachings.
Father Jose Funes, a Jesuit astronomer at the Vatican Observatory and one of the organisers of the conference, said: “As a multiplicity of creatures exists on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God.
“This does not conflict with our faith, because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God.”
Not everyone agrees. Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and author of The Goldilocks Enigma, told The Washington Post that the threat to Christianity is “being downplayed” by Church leaders. He said: “I think the discovery of a second genesis would be of enormous spiritual significance.
“The real threat would come from the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence, because if there are beings elsewhere in the universe, then Christians, they’re in this horrible bind.
“They believe that God became incarnate in the form of Jesus Christ in order to save humankind, not dolphins or chimpanzees or little green men on other planets.“
So is Dr. Davies correct?
Would the discovery of an alien civilization spell the end of Christianity?
In a word, no.
If you are a regular listener to Scott Richards Live, you know that I am extremely skeptical concerning the existence of alien civilizations.
The centrality of events here on earth, from the creation, to Jesus’ incarnation, to the re-creation of the new heavens and new earth strongly indicate the unique place we hold in God’s plan.
But Christianity stands or falls on the basis of a single event in human history – the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
I will not waste Paul Davies’ time with my takes on the Hadron Accelerator and the search for the Higgs Boson, if he will keep his takes on the future of Christianity to himself.
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