Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vatican Seeks Signs of Alien Life

Vatican Seeks Signs of Alien Life - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com

During the spring of my junior year at college (1968) at a rigorous Christian liberal arts college where I majored in Physics, yet had a strong interest and Philosophy, I was selected to participate in a interdisciplinary seminary. One student from each of the college's 17 majors was selected to participate. Each of us had to present a paper on a major philosophical challenge that we might face in our chosen line of work. I was headed into the space program (trained astronauts for a few years) and my paper posited the discover of intelligent life outside of Earth, and what we as Christians should do about it, or with it, or what implications it would have for the Faith.  (During the semester the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. That year I saw the movie 9 times, and finally got the class to go. Our instructor explained it all... wonderful philosophical premises.)

Unfortunately, no one else in the class shared my curiosity about alien life, and after my report everyone challenged my premise: that there probably was intelligent life out there. We never did discuss what the Vatican is now wanting to explore.  I wish I had been invited to the Vatican ... well, just listen in. It is still a fascinating topic to me....not scientifically, but what the implications for Christianity it might hold.

Arthur C. Clarke, the co-writer of 2001, and a scientist in his own right (he's the guy that came up with the idea of revolving satellites, geosynchronous satellites, and the space elevator that's recently in the news) was an agnostic. But he wrote a couple short stories that explored the concept of what it might take to convince him there was a God. One story had deep space explores coming upon the Crab Nebulae, at the center of which they discover the remains of a civilization on a planet. 2,000 years earlier the planet and all the inhabitants were burned to a crisp from a nearby Supernova. The explorer's discover that during the life time on this planet, the inhabitants never experienced any conflict, war, or what Christians call sin. They were a morally perfect society. And the Supernova? It was the star of Bethlehem.

But I am fascinated more by the possibility that Earth is the ONLY place in the universe where life exists. Imagine the philosophical impliations of that. Wow!

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