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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Can Aliens and God Coexist?



I woke from a dream this morning.  Or maybe it was conscious thought while still half asleep.  I dreamed that I sat before a panel of Congressmen or Senators.  Maybe it was both.  I do not know how these things work.

A wrinkled suit stuffed with a man who has eaten too many pork rinds grilled me on my experience in Gagetown, New Brunswick in 1992.  I felt like Mark Zuckerberg facing a Congressional hearing, except I was the good guy.  

The Senator asked me why I laughed at a disperaging question.  I responded, "When someone comes at me with premeditated skepticism bordering on scorn it's hard to take that person seriously."  The Senator was taken aback by my lack of respect for his vaulted position, high upon a dais as it were.

I am not one hundred percent sure why I was feeling so defensive hours before dawn this morning.  Maybe it is because there has been so much news lately about the  US Government finally taking the subject of UFOs seriously with the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2022.  Section 1683 establishes an organization to address Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, even to the extent of reverse engineering associated alien technology.  Cool stuff!  Yet, there are still skeptical clods out there who want to believe conspiracy theories about UFOs being weather balloons or swamp gas.  

Or maybe my dream was based on something that happened with my youngest son yesterday.  My little guy sat in my comfy TV chair, the throne of my castle if you will, while waiting for the school bus.  He told me that a Catholic kid in his class, let us call him Jonny, told him that UFOs cannot be real because that would mean that Jesus was not "the one true God."  Wow!  Try unraveling that with a ten year old, minutes before he has to run out the door...


Can Aliens and God coexist?


I quickly devised a method for my son to disabuse his friend of this misconception.  First, I validated the notion.  I told him that this is quite a common perception.  It is the same reason UFO Investigator Luis Elizondo left the Pentagon.  He was uncovering mounds and mounds of verified data proving UFOs were real and they did not belong to any country on Earth.  But Elizondo's superiors stymied him because this evidence contradicted their religious beliefs.  They put up so many roadblocks that Elizondo felt he had a better chance of getting the word out by leaving his government job and going out into the private sector.  He was, of course, correct.

Then, I told my son that UFOs and God were not incongruent.  Even the Pope has proclaimed that intelligent aliens may exist and that does not violate the Church's teachings.  I quickly opened a new browser tab and did a search on "pope life on other planets."

The first link I clicked on was from Reuters.  It was titled, "Vatican scientist says belief in God and aliens is OK."  I explained to my son that Reuters is one of the most trusted, unbiased news sources.  All other reputable news outlets use their stories.  MSNBC and Fox News and everything in between all trust Reuters.

Vatican Chief Astronomer
Vatican Chief Astronomer Father Emmanuel Carreira

But hold on!  Vatican Scientist?  It turns out the Vatican has a Chief Astronomer.  I never knew they even had an Astronomy Coordinator, let alone a whole team of astronomers.  Oh, this raises so many questions for me.  

Why does the Vatican have so many astronomers?  There are only like 800 residents in the whole country!  Is that all they do, is look up at the skies all day?  Are they waiting for the Son of God to come back in a beam of light but, you know, while they are at it, checking out what else is out there?  Do these astronomers only do astronomy or do they also have second jobs, like maybe some of them load incense into those smoke lantern things the Bishops swing around?  They are like, "Yeah, that's all handled by the Astronomy Department - real advanced stuff,  you don't wanna mess around with the thuribles.  We got this."

I skimmed the article to cherry-pick a few talking points my son could use with little Jonny.

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.

Extraterrestrial brothers!  Groovy, baby.  

“In my opinion this possibility (of life on other planets) exists,” said Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, a 45-year-old Jesuit priest who is head of the Vatican Observatory and a scientific adviser to Pope Benedict.

Good stuff there, although it was an older article and the current pope seems to have appointed a new Chief Astronomer.  

I then moved on to an article by the Catholic News Agency (CNA).  Surely, this was another source of information that would not cause conflict with Jonny's fragile sensibilities.  You have to take these things lightly with kids.  My son runs with the Jocknerds.  They are all really smart and can tackle these tough issues but they are also athletes with perhaps a touch too much confidence in their own physical and intellectual capabilities, for their own good.

The CNA article was titled, "Do aliens exist? Pope Francis tackles this (and other things) in new interview."  This ought to be good.  Let us get a quote for Jonny about the current Pope's take on aliens.

"Honestly I wouldn't know how to answer," the Pope replied, explaining that while scientific knowledge has until now excluded the possibility of other thinking beings in the universe, "until America was discovered we thought it didn't exist, and instead it existed."

"But in every case I think that we should stick to what the scientists tell us..."

Well, there you have it, folks.  Even the Pope believes in Science.  If he can get on board with this, why is Academia ignoring UFOs?  That is a whole other ball of wax.

I still was not satisfied with my search results.  I wanted to arm my son with the killer retort, something that would not put him at odds with his schoolmate but would rather allow the two to form some consensus without going against the other kid's religious teachings - I would not want someone evangelizing against my religion with my kid and also, I am friends with Jonny's parents and they are good people.  I did not want to start anything with them.

Can Aliens and God Coexist?
"Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears."

I went with the less-is-more approach this time and searched, "pope aliens."  The search turned up more about, "the Pope's astronomer."

He agreed with me that the Catholic intellectual tradition would have absolutely zero problem with the idea of intelligent life — that is, substances of a rational nature (the classic definition of a “person” in my field) — on other planets. 

But when asked in a later, more in-depth interview on these topics if he would be willing to baptize an alien, he said, “Only if she asked.”

A Time Magazine article expands on this.

[Pope Francis says,] “If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here… Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them… And one says, ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?”

Section 1683
The Pope's Martian?

Long noses and big ears?  What kind of aliens is the Pope chilling with?  I do not think he and I consume the same science fiction.  Maybe he grew up on The Flintstones and does not have Netflix.  He probably has more important Popey things to do than to spend time on secular entertainment.  The Beatles never did a show at The Vatican, for example - probably because there was that thing between John and Jesus - people burned records, it got ugly.

Beatles Jesus
Burning Beatles Records.  Yay!!!
(I'll repurchase this on 8-track in five years.
Then on casette.
Then on CD.
Then on mp3.
Then on Spotify.)

I saw the Little Bus go by the house which meant the big bus would be coming in about thirty seconds.  I knew I needed to wrap things up quickly.  I told my son to ask little Jonny, "Why can't aliens and Jesus coexist?  Why does one obviate the existence of the other?  Why can't Jesus be a god on other planets too?"  The Pope and his Chief Astronomer seem to think all this is possible.  Why is Jonny disagreeing with the Pope?

I heard the familiar turbo diesel engine wheezing from the stop sign down the street.  "Bus is coming," I said.  My son got up, put on his backpack and headed for the door.  "A coat!  Put on a coat!  It's freezing out!"  He grabbed a coat off the coatrack and tucked it under his arm and ran out for the bus.


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If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form at the bottom of this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.