OK, this has nothing to do with NZ politics, but I’m trying to stick to my resolution not to rant as usual on Sundays. Instead I’ll sometimes post on a random interesting topic – interesting to me that is, if it isn’t interesting to you there are plenty of other threads!
This article fascinated me for two reasons. First because I find the topic of extraterrestrial life inherently interesting. And second because of the way it illustrates the huge range of variation in thought and temperament within current religious thinking:
Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life
Four hundred years after it locked up Galileo for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church. “The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration,” said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory.
The Church of Rome’s views have shifted radically through the centuries since Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600 for speculating, among other ideas, that other worlds could be inhabited. … Today top clergy, including Funes, openly endorse scientific ideas like the Big Bang theory as a reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter. Earlier this year, the Vatican also sponsored a conference on evolution to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.” The event snubbed proponents of alternative theories, like creationism and intelligent design, which see a higher being rather than the undirected process of natural selection behind the evolution of species.
The Catholic Church sure has come a long way in some respects. (Pity that they still have so far to come in others.) If even the Vatican can finally accept science on its merits then perhaps there is hope for us after all. On second thoughts, no, I guess not. After all, it took centuries for the church to get to this point. At the moment scientists are trying to deliver the world other messages too about sustainability and the environment. Far too many of us don’t want to hear, and we don’t have centuries to spare on this one…