Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial: …And Other Strange Questions from the Inbox at the Vatican Observatory by Guy Consolmagno, SJ and Paul Mueller, SJ

I love science and religion, therefore I thought reading Would you Baptize an Extraterrestrial would be a great extension of these two interests. You often hear in the media how these two do not mix. You even hear about the Catholic Church being at odds with science, but this is a false impression. Consolmagno and Mueller point out that “God wrote both books of Scripture and Nature and God does not disagree with himself. Truth Cannot Contradict Truth.” The title is certainly catching to the imagination and the authors certainly do no let their readers down. What about ET being baptized, you might ask? Consolmagno and Mueller tell us that that would depend on whether ET wants to be part of the Kingdom of God and how he hopes to treat the least of his brothers. It is fascinating to ponder the analysis outlined by the authors regarding faith and extraterrestrials. The authors state that believers usually say evidence of ETs would support their religious faith, while nonbelievers sat this would invalidate religious faith. The format of the book is easy to follow since it is conversational between the two Vatican astronomers. Many topics are covered like Pluto becoming a non planet, the Galileo controversy, the star of Bethlehem theories, and the end of the cosmos as we know it. The book is fun and lighthearted while still being steeped deep in faith and scientific facts. I would recommend this book to all Christians as well as nonbelievers for information to bridge the gap between the two. The science was a little weighty at times but I learned a lot about physics and astronomy. Consolmagno and Mueller interpret these sciences well and open our minds with further questions. We can be steeped in these mysteries and further our faith because as the authors say, “Mystery is where the human capacity for understanding gets swamped-not because we haven’t yet figured things out, not because there is a problem to be solved, but because the proper response to God and to love is not to understand but rather to treasure and to ponder”

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