Theological Implications Regarding the Impending Discovery of Extraterrestrial Humanities
(This is an updated version of an article previously published in 2012)
The term “Catholic” means “universal” but is the official Roman Apostolic Catholic Church doctrine truly universal in relation to what we are gradually discovering about the Cosmos? If we consider that at least some of the most important elements of Roman Catholic doctrine and (and of other religions) are ESSENTIALLY and principially universal, there will be room for an interpretive development suitable to the current growing awareness that we are being “visited.”
What is happening right now? Perhaps the unofficial (yet-semi-official because of being high-level in the hierarchy and not being formally suppressed) declarations of Mons. Corrado Balducci and Fr. Gabriel Funes S.J. (director of the Vatican Observatory) are the first intended and un-intended stage of promoting a revolutionary conceptual move in the direction of a truly more “universal” (catholic) and cosmically appropriate kind of interpretation. This entails not just making faith more agreeable with modern science but also developing or extending/amplifying more adequate theological interpretations that attend to the increasing factual evidence connecting Earth humans with the extraterrestrial presence. The growing awareness is happening now and the role of “God” (also understood not just as “creator” but as “sustainer of being” in some alleged and real ET contact experiences) should increasingly become a matter of discussion and study.
I bet that in trying to find fresh explanations matching settled theologies with current ET-related surprising facts theoretical leaders of many religions will come to recognize how much they share in common. A transdisciplinary-theological, trans-religious approach (if that is a correct term) based in deeply shared commonalities may be born. It is not just that the nations of the world will set aside their differences in case of an “alien threat” as president Reagan once suggested at the UN, the news will be that religious and fundamental metaphysical commonalities should also be gradually realized. Many of the faithful will come to realize that ETs can be welcome in the classical versions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism. While some ETs may be kind and respectful to us and not all ETs may be benevolent or ideal in our terms, we’ll still be brethren in the Cosmos.
The ET presence will inspire the finding of inter-faith ecumenical connections and -perhaps- more sophisticated concepts about God’s nature such as “PANENTHEISM” will form a basis to supersede strict, intolerant “this vs. that” more superficial doctrinal disagreements. Furthermore, these enhanced interpretations should inspire many of the faithful to update their cultural perspectives. In relation to Christianity, how are we to understand the redemptive role of Jesus when the extraterrestrial presence becomes widely known?
Is “original sin” and Jesus redemptive intervention on Earth applicable to extraterrestrial beings in the Cosmos? This is a crucial issue here. This was mentioned and discussed in the Vatican sponsored conference (in Vatican grounds) regarding the plausibility of extraterrestrial life in the universe in 2009. However, we should probably not assume that there’s ample awareness about intelligent ET life visiting Earth at the Vatican. As in most cases within large, conventional social institutions, most people either avoid the subject not to imperil their credibility or lack sufficient information about it.
I believe that, after periods of being on the wrong side of the rational debate by rejecting scientific advancements which routinely and quantitatively displace Earth’s Man as the center of all creation, the Vatican curia’s attitude is now becoming quite auspiciously agreeable with the findings and extrapolations of biological-cosmological-material-astrobiological science. This is becoming obvious in articles like those of investigative journalists Paola Harris and Marc Kauffman in which public opinion-relevant, researcher-priests (like Fr. Funes and Mons. Balducci) were consistently allowed the freedom to declare that God may have created intelligent extraterrestrial beings. While both Funes and Balducci suggested that extraterrestrials would be like cosmic brothers to us, the latter was allowed to speculate (beyond a scientifically safe orthodox view) that extraterrestrials may have already visited Earth. There is a time when excessive doubt against so much human testimony about an ET presence is not prudent or wise he basically said.
Whether most conventional academic scientists look at the best objective evidence today or do it later on, the fact that serious persons are reporting ET encounters and even some air forces in the world are not excluding seriously considering the possibility that some UFOs can be of extraterrestrial origin (besides serious whistle blower testimony, photographs, analyzed photos, videos, archaeological signs, scientifically analyzed, alleged ET implants and more) should be taken into consideration by objective, open-minded, critical thinking individuals able to think and to express themselves with freedom. On the aggregate, the more serious types of evidence overcome often criticized, flimsier types of evidence also provided in less rigorous form by individuals with less critical thinking skills. One piece of evidence being genuine would be enough to warrant a serious, responsible interest. Not wanting to see this evidence as a whole is a serious and sad oversight which – nonetheless – can and should be remedied for the good of humanity.
Personal dislike for the ET presence theme or for it not conforming to established theory, regular methods and procedures and known facts (as implicit grounds for not looking into this) already smells incredibly out of touch and in itself less credible. Evidence (however unique) and experience (however different from stable reality patterns) should dictate the scientific course to follow.
In my view, the Funes and Balducci declarations are part of a tardy but, nonetheless, healthy move towards the really valid idea of complementing faith with reason, even if it was in principle done in order to remain culturally relevant in the modern world. However, I think that complementing faith with classical “and intuitively-obvious” physical science is simpler than what may be in store for upcoming theologians. All cultural leaders will have to stop sustaining extremely conservative stances as per the ever-more-evident extraterrestrial presence not necessarily manifesting in a classical material ‘realistic’ or classical- intuitive way. The space-time altering phenomenon seems to interact more with subjectivity, meaning and qualitative factors than classical phenomena.
Issues for an Upcoming Theology After rather simple generalizations about possible intelligent extraterrestrial biological existing only in our physical universe are superseded by a realization of the multilevel-multidimensional diversity of actual contacts with extraterrestrials already ocurring semi-discretely, a conceptual challenge will arise. I think this will occur when science and gradual ET disclosures advance to the point of exposing extraterrestrial diversity and complexity in relation to the dependence of multiple physical realms on non-physical realms. This sophistication about the multi dimensionality of creation will call for a more sophisticated theology.
According to some believable contactee friends, this gradual reconnection with -a long forgotten- ET life will increase after December 21st, 2012 which will mark a “point of no return” towards ending our relative and conceptual isolation from the rest of the intelligent Cosmos. What may ensue is an awareness of additional theological implications in relation to how different extraterrestrial beings may have been affected by a more universal type of Fall into sin (defined as an interpretive mistake or deviation from an adequate relation with God through the Logos).
The “Fall” would also have included non-physical (non-ET) angelical creation-helpers established in a higher, non-physical realm and capable of negatively influencing and-or challenging a variety of physical civilizations some of which may have also “fallen” for it and some of whom may have resisted. Many civilizations may have suffered a form of Fall. Perhaps all of creation was somehow implicated. This is also part of contactee lore. Considering that human witnessing is decisive for faith and for validating human experience in general (as Monsignor Balducci proposed), I would say that in-depth ET contact research also suggests that there is credible witness evidence that some extraterrestrials some some the many mansions in the “Physical Multiverse” may have also been swayed more than others by this Fall originating in beings from yet other higher ontological mansions in a higher ontological non physical realm. Accordingly, different context-dependent ways to reconcile with the Creator (the Profound LOVE of Cosmic Consciousness) by positing different kinds of interventions by the LOGOS, perhaps other incarnations of the Christ-Logos Principle may become necessary as we gradually learn how complex the history of the entire Cosmos may really be and grow out of our cosmic parochialism.
Again, we must collectively find how in relation to extraterrestrials- the partially understood essential truths expressed by today’s religious leaders (of all sincerely-inspired world faiths and denominations) may harmonize much better with each other. To advance the cause of reasonable faith in this global-planetary (and perhaps soon-to-be) new cosmically aware age we need to converge the most plausible truths under a truly spiritual, non-reductionist, integral attitude. In our untapped potentials must be ways to overcome excessively dividing fractional thinking.
Integral metaphysicians like Fritjoff Schuon which profoundly and reasonably explored the mystical and simultaneously rationally “PRINCIPIAL” core of WORLD RELIGIONS discovering common truths could be guides for the mind-expanding and sentiment-expanding stages leading to a more mature world civilization to come. Protestant minister Gary Bates (2009) of Creation Ministries International stated that the entire focus of creation is mankind on this Earth. He may be correct in that the entire focus of creation is mankind but he may be clinging to a false interpretation if we limit mankind or human kind to Earth. He may be rightfully defending his understanding of a pure version of Christianity against excessive flights of fancy and I applaud him for that. nonetheless, the expansion of concepts is slowly but surely coming.
Perhaps, if we think about mankind not as quantitatively limited to this Earth, but as defined by an essential quality of consciousness and mode of being capable of personally relating with God in a uniquely profound way, a being created by Gods infinite power in innumerable beautiful varied forms and measures in His Cosmos an intelligent, self-aware being equally capable of saintliness as of paying homage to temptation into sin (or error) we may approach a more useful understanding.
The outer appearance of this essential being “created in His image and likeness” may be similar or vary but the essence -qualifying as human- may not. The role of God personally creating Man in each habitable planet or as a universal template (the Adam Kadmon of Jewish mysticism?) after which particular beings representing God and His template molded particular human-suitable forms will need to be carefully addressed. We may also need to further inquire and discover which created physical beings (of different physical forms and physical “densities”) do not correspond to the category of “Man” but must, nevertheless, be essentially loved and respected as they would still be part of God’s Creation.
Some beings may have instincts and a biology that enslave them more reducing their free will and some may be quite benevolent and protective of our highest potentials but nonetheless more mental and lacking a degree of sentiment necessary to approach the higher creative echelons of reality and God. We will also need to essentially understand those (human or humanoid in appearance or not) who do not respect us because we have been unconscious and a peril to the planet, becoming more aware, not necessarily allowing them to hurt us or to replace us as a species but assisting them with compassion to align themselves with God’s will. It is us who need to awaken first and be an example without co-dependencies on extraterrestrials or traditional enmity responses.
Bates, Gary (2009). Did God create life on other planets? Retrieved from http://creation.com/did-god-create-life-on-other-planets Harris, Paola (2008).
The Vatican Officially Proclaims that Extraterrestrial Life most Probably Exists, retrieved from http://exopolitics.blogs.com/exopolitics/2008/07/exopoliticsco-1.html Kauffman, Marc (2009).
The Religious Questions Raised by Aliens retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/06/AR2009110601899.html
Dr. Leir interview analysis of alleged ET implants http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jijBJEXSmAE
Whistleblower evidence from the Disclosure Project and CSETI http://www.youtube.com/user/csetiweb