Why the Vatican Held a Conference on Extra-terrestrial Life
It has generally gone unnoticed in mainstream Catholic literature that over the last two decades or so, the Vatican has publicly turned its attention to the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects and the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life on other planets. It is known that both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI were given secret information about the existence of extra-terrestrial beings during their meetings with USA presidents, and maybe that is why the Vatican appears to be preparing itself to handle the biblical fall-out from the possible public disclosure of the reality of non-earthly intelligent entities.
The Holy See’s increasingly openness to discussion about the possibility of the existence of intelligent space-faring extraterrestrial beings appears to be part of a new policy secretly adopted by the United Nations back in February 2008, and the Vatican’s permanent representative to the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, was reported to have been in attendance in the discussions about the implications of extraterrestrial visitation. As a result of the outcome of the United Nations decision, the Holy See hosted a week-long conference on astrobiology in November 2009, convened jointly by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Vatican Observatory. Though the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican grounds may seem an unlikely location to hold an ‘off-the-planet’ event, it was attended by more than 30 astronomers, biologists, geologists, scientists (many of them nonbelievers) and religious leaders who gathered to discuss extraterrestrial life. The Vatican’s astrobiology conference is a sign that maybe major global institutions are preparing for some kind of upcoming formal disclosure concerning UFOs with interstellar propulsion technology and piloted by advanced alien life-forms. It would only take the discovery and retrieval of a genuine other-worldly space craft downed in a remote location to challenge the very basis and validity of major world religions, and such an event could also provide the genesis of an entirely new scientific discipline.
Extra-terrestrials and the current meaning of religion
Speaking at the conference, Jesuit priest Father Jose Gabriel Funes, the Vatican’s chief astronomer and one of the officials in attendance, offered this explanation for the Vatican’s interest in UFOs and their occupants:
‘Although astrobiology is an emerging field and still a developing subject, the questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very interesting and deserve serious consideration. These questions offer many philosophical and theological implications’.
(‘Guardian’, November 11th, 2009)
Fr. Funes had previously maintained that there is no clash between believing in Catholic doctrine and believing in the possibility of alien life on other planets. In an interview published in 2008 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, he said: ‘I think there isn’t [a contradiction]. Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures over the earth, so there could be other beings, even intelligent [beings], created by God. This is not in contradiction with our faith, because we cannot establish limits to God’s creative freedom’.
Not everyone agreed. Professor Paul Davies, a notable theoretical physicist and cosmologist from Arizona State University and a guest speaker at the Vatican event, told the ‘Washington Post’: ‘I think the discovery of a second genesis would be of enormous spiritual significance’. Around the same time, he added this comment:
‘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’.
(‘Guardian’, November 11th, 2009)
Professor Davies commented on the religious implications of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life: ‘If you look back at the history of Christian debate on this, it divides into two camps. There are those that believe that it is human destiny to bring salvation to the aliens, and those who believe in multiple incarnations’. Davies pointed out that from the theory of multiple incarnations, the idea that multiple examples of Jesus Christ would be found in the universe ‘is a heresy in Catholicism’.
The theological implications of intelligent extra-terrestrial life
Fr. Funes’ idea that Christianity could be exported to extraterrestrial worlds that have not experienced a ‘fall’ and are free from original sin, was not taken very seriously. However, amidst the intriguing discussions there is something of vital importance that has been generally overlooked, and it may be the true motive for the Vatican’s interest in intelligent, non-human, extra-terrestrial life. The Church presents the Holy Bible as the ‘word of God’, but if a race or variant races of extra-terrestrial beings landed on Earth, that claim would no longer be sustainable because the existence of non-humans would immediately nullify that presentation from the Bible’s own narratives.
It is not generally known that in the world’s oldest Bibles, narratives are found that negate the Church’s modern-day portrayal of the existence of only a singular God. The Aramaic Bible’s book of Genesis (Vol. 6, Wilmington, Delaware; Michael Glazier, Inc, 1987) relates that ‘gods’ called the Elohim (Elio; singular), created humans, with this written; ‘Let us make an earthling in our own image, according to our likeness’ (Gen; 1:26). The following verse (1:27) adds that the Elohim then proceeded to create ‘male and female’, a race of beings ‘in their own image’, words that imply that their new creations for Planet Earth were physically similar in appearance to the Elohim themselves. The original Hebrew word, Elohim appears in older Bibles, and suggests that a grouping of gods originally created mankind, not a singular God, as is now preached in both Christianity and Judaism.
A singular God came into Church dogma when later scribes replaced the word Elohim with YHWH, the name of the tribal god of the Hebrews, and that editorial adjustment removed the original references to a grouping of gods. Thus, a singular God was created with the flick of a scribe’s quill and a new religious concept was thereby created. In English Bibles, YHWH was later redefined as the Lord God, removing further still the ancient descriptions of a plurality of gods being involved in the creation of mankind on Earth.
The ‘Others’ in ancient traditions
As Fr. Funes presented a summary of the Vatican conference’s considerations, he added that questions about extra-terrestrial life are ‘very interesting and deserve serious consideration’. So too do the ancient traditions of Easter Island where references are found to several strange races of beings the locals called the ‘Others’. Carved petroglyphs depict some of them with enormous black eyes divided into sections like those of an insect, so much so that the islanders called them ‘the insect-man … their bodies were vividly striped with veins on the surface’ (‘Mysteries of Easter Island’, Francis Mazière, Collins (Publ.), St. James Place, London, 1969, pp. 40; 197). This is a definition of a race of beings considered by Easter Islanders to have been different in nature than humans, and the question then to be asked is this:
‘If the race of the ‘insect-man’ was to return to Earth today, how would the Pope explain to Catholics who or what created these non-human entities? He would be unable to say that they were the product of the God of the Old Testament, for the ‘insect-man’ is conceptually different from the ‘earthlings’ that old Bibles say were created by the Elohim’.
If ‘earthlings’ were made after the ‘likeness’ of the Elohim, then in whose ‘likeness’ was the ‘insect-man’ made? If there are dozens of different types of non-human extra-terrestrial races throughout the Universe, then that presupposes there are dozens of different creator-gods with dozens of different ‘Bibles’. Therefore, if interplanetary entities are proven to exist, the Church’s presentation of a singular God is immediately eliminated, and the Bible would be shown to be the ‘word’ of only one of many gods. Put simply, the existence of non-human, intelligent life forms would expose biblical texts as having no special authority, and then there would be no basis for the existence of either Christianity or Judaism.
Maybe the Vatican’s real concern is that it will have a major doctrinal updating situation on its hands if the existence of extraterrestrial entities is authoritatively announced by world governments at any time in the future. Worse still, what would the Pope say if an interstellar ‘star-ship’ from another dimension landed in the Vatican gardens and its captain asked to speak to the ‘leader’ to present him with the next Bible with a new belief system.
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