1.6 – The Return (5.25.10)

RELIGIOUS VIEWS [7i]

The Vatican, Rome. This walled enclave has been the center of power for the Catholic Church since the 5th-century. It’s not only the Pope’s residence, but a place of homage for one billion Catholics, and represents nearly 2,000 years of Christian teaching and tradition. But in 2008, the Vatican made an announcement that some say might threaten its own existence. The Chief Astronomer of the Vatican Observatory, Father Gabriel Funes, acknowledged the possibility alien life exists on other planets.

“They basically said that belief in planetary life outside of Earth does not negate one’s belief in God. Now, 500 years ago, if the Vatican would have said that, they would have burned everybody on the stake.”

George Noory (Radio Host, Coast to Coast AM)

“The present Pope, Benedict, of course, has a very scientific bent, and he respects intellectual life in a way that is quite extraordinary. He seemed quite open to entertain the idea: What if there is life on other planets? It’s certainly an interesting question for a Christian to approach it scientifically, and challenges your belief of how much of this you attribute to God.”

– Fr. William J. Fulco, Ph.D.
(Archaeologist, Loyola Marymount Univ.)

Many wondered about the church’s motives and timing. Why, after centuries of belief in man as God’s supreme creation and the only intelligent life in the Universe, did the Vatican make an announcement that could turn Christianity on its head? Did they know something the rest of us did not?

“This is something that is completely new in the history of the church that the extraterrestrial question is not only addressed, but at the same time, it’s okay. I mean, that is a major change in opinion. A major change in the status quo. And I ask: Why? Would it have huge ramifications? Of course. Does it change anything? Of course. But at the same time, would that change religion or belief in God? Not really.”

– Giorgio A. Tsoukalos
(Publisher, Legendary Times Magazine)

“Some people say, well the Catholic Church must know something. Maybe they’re trying to get ahead of the game here. On the other hand, it may just be that they’re being very clever and simply trying to cover all the bases in case there is some great announcement or discovery about alien life. Because make no mistake about it, if it is announced that alien life has been discovered, people are going to look to their religious leaders for some sort of guidance about this, whether it’s Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus.”

Nick Pope (British Ministry of Defense, 1985-2006),

(Author, Open Skies, Closed Minds)

“If extraterrestrial life was found, then the church would react presumably as it does with any data – see what there is. I don’t think there would be any conflict in the way that we look on our humanity. What we would find is that God creates intelligent life in a variety of ways. And I think what we would learn from that is, we can’t restrict God to any one mode of making intelligent life.”

– Fr. Christopher J. Corbally, Ph.D.
(Vice-Director, Vatican Observatory)
(Vatican Advanced Technology
Telescope, Mt. Graham, Arizona)

The idea that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the Universe has been debated by religious leaders, historians, and scientists, but not everyone agrees how its proof would affect human spirituality or the many religious institutions.

“What would happen to our interpretation of the Book of Genesis? Well, the Book of Genesis looks at the Universe from the point of view of Earth. We look at the sun, we look the Moon, we look at the stars. So, to realize that the Earth is just one small, pale-blue dot in this immense Universe, I think it would only expand our interpretation of Genesis. I don’t think it would change it in any fundamental way.”

– Ted Peters, Ph.D.
(Prof. of Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary)

“It’s an interesting question for Christianity in general, since Christianity would teach that salvation comes through Jesus who was apparently an Earthling. What do you do if there are people on Mars? Are they saved? According to our viewpoint, I don’t know.”

– Fr. William J. Fulco, Ph.D.
(Archaeologist, Loyola Marymount Univ.)

“Christians have always had this problem that if there are aliens out there, are they not to be saved? It’s not a problem for Jews. It’s certainly not a problem for Buddhists or Hindus. But Christians are in a particular fix. For a very simple reason that Christianity alone among the world’s religions has an incarnation. What they mean by that is that God became incarnate in the form of Jesus Christ in order to be the savior. When you talk to Christians they sort of say, oh, well, there isn’t a problem really because, you know, we have accommodated Galileo, we’ve accommodated Darwin. Why can’t we accommodate E.T.s? Well, I think there is a big difference.”

Paul Davies, Ph.D. (Theoretical Physicist/Astrobiologist, ASU)

“I think science and religion have more in common than perhaps the popular perception suggests. The one hand, we have science, which deals with reason and fact. On the other hand, we have religion, which deals with faith. Science is an evolving proposition, and what we know today will almost certainly be reformed and maybe even replaced at some point in the future. So, to think that science somehow provides the truth in contrast to religion, I think is a mistake.”

– Paul Levinson, Ph.D.
(Prof. of Media Studies, Fordham Univ.)

While scientists and religious leaders may still ponder the notion of aliens visiting Earth, Ancient Astronaut Theorists claim that the evidence exists in plain sight around the world. But if this theory was accepted, would we have to change our beliefs about our knowledge, our history, and the very beginnings of human civilization?

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References:

[1] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: Season 1. [DVD Back Cover]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[2] History™. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.1 – Chariots, Gods, & Beyond. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: April 20, 2010, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-1.

[3] History™. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.2 – The Evidence. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: April 20, 2010, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-1.

[4] History™. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.3 – The Visitors. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: April 27, 2010, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-1.

[5] History™. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.4 – The Mission. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: May 4, 2010, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-1.

[6] History™. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.5 – Closer Encounters. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: May 18, 2010, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-1.

[7] History™. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: May 25, 2010, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-1.

[7a] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: Introduction]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7b] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: SETI]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7c] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: Modern Methods]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7d] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: The Battle of Los Angeles]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7e] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: Foo Fighters]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7f] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: July 8, 1947]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7g] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: UFOs Today]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7h] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: First Contact]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7i] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: Religious Views]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[7j] Prometheus Entertainment. (2010). Ancient Aliens: 1.6 – The Return. [DVD Footage: The Ultimate Questions]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

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Who were they?… Why did they come?… What did they leave behind?… Where did they go?… Will they return?…

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