With all of the seriousness about the latest from Rome about excommunications of female priests, I appreciated this question of comic relief from someone on a message board who had heard another recent story from the Vatican. Story goes that a Vatican astronomer released a statement affirming his belief in aliens. Here’s an excerpt about Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes’ statement:
“In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures. The interview was headlined “The extraterrestrial is my brother.” Funes said that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24598508/
I read this and remembered thinking, “Who thinks about this stuff?” Funes does, evidently. The other interesting part about this is that it has been billed by the media as though it’s an official Vatican statement, rather than the personal theological opinion of this priest astronomer. Now, I don’t know what you all think of his belief. Personally, I have no clue if there is life on other planets and don’t have a strong opinion on that.
I think it is one of those issues for me that would have little consequence on my faith if we found it to be true (or not). I sort of think, hey, that would be cool; weird, yes, but o.k. I celebrate anything and anyone that God creates and love the diversity of God’s creativity. I think there are very few things that I really hang my hat on having to be true. For instance, I really want it to be true that God is loving. I’m pretty sure of it anyhow, but that’s one of the big ones for me. We have some pretty strong beliefs that are important to be true, with great ramifications for our faith as outlined in our Apostle’s Creed. But take, for instance, evolution. I’ve never had a problem with it because I figure however the world was created, God did it. At this point I haven’t heard anything that would be difficult for me and my faith values.
See, I think that is because I know what is important to my foundation. I get concerned when I see what I think of as little issues wrecking someone’s faith. And part of what is behind my stance is simply my personality. I prefer things to be open ended, and leave room for flexibility, growth and change. I don’t like to close off opportunities. If any of you know the Myers Briggs, it’s all about the “P” in my INFP profile for sure! And it’s hard being in religion with this type of personality.
In my first summer of training in hospital chaplaincy I was the only “P” in my group and I seemed to befuddle them. One guy in particular kept asking me to substantiate my beliefs. Uhh, not really my style. But he really did me a favor in retrospect because I had been trying to change myself so I would fit in better. I thought I wasn’t being a minister “right”, and was never able to just affirm that I was being my type of minister! The experience helped me to settle into my personality more, and simply become more comfortable with my style of being and my way of ministering.
So, bring on the aliens. I’ve got room for that.