May 13, 2008

"To Serve Man -- It's a COOKBOOK!"

THE VATICAN HAS GIVEN its imprimatur to believing in sentient extraterrestrial life, according to an interview which the director of the Vatican's observatory gave to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's newspaper. Since the wire services have done a poor job at providing their readers with anything but a short snippet, I would direct readers to a translation of the interview which a Dutch priest has provided.

The key part, as I see it, is reproduced here, in which the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes discusses the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life elsewhere:

Q: And that wouldn’t be a problem for our faith?

Fr FUNES: I don’t think so. Just like there is an abundance of creatures on Earth, there could also be other beings, even intelligent ones, that were created by God. That doesn’t contradict our faith, because we cannot put boundaries to God’s creative freedom. As Saint Francis would say, when we consider the earthly creatures to be our “brothers” and “sisters”, why couldn’t we also talk about a "extraterrestrial brother?" He would still be part of creation.

Q: And what about redemption?

Fr FUNES: Let’s borrow the image from the gospel about the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 of the sheepfold to search for the one that got lost. Let’s imagine that in this universe there are 100 sheep, corresponding to the different forms of creatures. We who belong to the human race, could very well be the lost sheep, the sinners that need the shepherd. God has become man in Jesus to save us. In that way, even when other intelligent beings exist, it’s not said that they would need redemption. They might have stayed in full friendship with their Creator.

Q: I insist: when they would, on the contrary, be sinners, would redemption also be possible for them?

Fr FUNES: Jesus incarnated once and for all. The incarnation is a unique and non-repeatable event. However, I am certain that they too, in one way or another, would have the possibility to experience God’s mercy, just like we men have.

This interview, as you can see, is yet another example of the Roman Church's tradition of intellectual rigor and discourse. I am only sorry that Fr Funes did not discuss this subject at greater length.

Well, OK, only partially sorry. I mean, I'm not seeing anything in this interview that contradicts my ideas about how to deal with the discovery of intelligent alien life. For instance, if aliens do land on Earth, we apparently still get a pass to confiscate their ship, reverse-engineer their hyperdrive technology and seize it for our own. Also, if we're lucky, we can convince (or force) the aliens to teach us the secrets of their advanced technology and commercialize it for untold profits.

Some of my more conscientious readers may be shocked at this expression of outright greed and aggression, but I am inherently a realist. It is one thing if this alien intelligence turned out to be good and cuddly, but I think we all know the chances of that being the case are practically nil. Even if they seem good, they will undoubtedly have some diabolical ruthless plan in the works to force us off guard or turn us against each other, and then they'll go for our jugular.

Remember -- "To Serve Man" was a cookbook! A COOKBOOK!

Then again, maybe I should just stay home when we have the welcoming ceremony for the aliens' advance party.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 13, 2008 09:36 PM | TrackBack
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