14 May, 2008

Thanks, Vatican! I Feel Ever So Much Better!

I can't say I'm haunted by niggling fears that God doesn't approve of astrobiology, for obvious reasons, but there's great news for those who do: the Vatican says it's okay to believe in aliens! Rejoice! Oh, joyous day!

VATICAN CITY (May 13) - Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican's chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.

*snicker snort guffaw* What? Oh, don't mind me. I just have this strange involuntary reaction whenever I see the words "the Vatican's" and "chief astronomer" juxtaposed. It must be an allergy.

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said. "Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation.

I'm sure all of the aliens will be delighted to hear it, especially when the evangelicals follow up your message of brotherhood with a "convert now or die!" P.S.

In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom, he said.

Aw, you're letting God out of His box? But you'd built such a nice one for Him.

Does anyone else feel strange when they agree with what the Vatican post-John Paul II says? I've always thought it ridiculous myself, all those silly little limitations humans seem dead-set on imposing on a supposedly omniscient, omnipotent being, but I thought that was just me being an atheist again. And yet, here's the Vatican's chief astronomer *HAHAHA sorry* arguing for God's freedom of expression. The mind boggles.

Funes said science, especially astronomy, does not contradict religion, touching on a theme of Pope Benedict XVI, who has made exploring the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy.

The Bible "is not a science book," Funes said, adding that he believes the Big Bang theory is the most "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.

That sound you just heard, you know, the one like a barely-ripe melon hitting the street after a twenty-six story fall, was the sound of an IDiot's head exploding at the notion of a Christian saying the Bible is not a science book. Oh, wait. That's the "Apostate church" saying that. Never mind.

This is one reason why, although I poke fun at the Catholic Church and have no problem calling bullshit on them, I still have a lot more respect for them than I do the fundies. They're actually having a decent go at this whole "science is okay with God!" thing. Dare I say, the Catholic Church has been around long enough to have mostly grown out of its angry, insecure, "convert now or die!!" phase?

The Vatican Observatory has been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap between religion and science. Its scientist-clerics have generated top-notch research and its meteorite collection is considered one of the world's best.

All right, all right. We're so over that Galileo thing (400 years later), and I'll grant you, you're doing some good science. But still. I break out in helpless laughter when I hear the term "scientist-clerics." I just can't help myself. Father forgive me.

No, what the Vatican is doing here is respectable and noble and a damned good idea, seeing as how religion may never get kicked to the curb. At least this way science gets a ringing endorsement. I just find it sad that some people need the Vatican to tell them Little Green Men and God go together like cheese and crackers.

Now if only the Church could develop an enlightened attitude toward contraception, we might have a winner. There's still people who won't buy a rubber if they think God might get angry, you know.

Ah, humanity. How silly you are.

Scientific Method - Grail Style

"Every Sperm Is Sacred"

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