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Vatican Debates Possibility of Alien Life 721

Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding its first ever conference on alien life, the discovery of which would have profound implications for the Catholic Church. For centuries, theologians have argued over what the existence of life elsewhere in the universe would mean for the Church. Among other things, extremely alien-looking aliens would be hard to fit with the idea that God 'made man in his own image' and Jesus Christ's role as savior would be confused; would other worlds have their own Christ-figures, or would Earth's Christ be universal? Just as the Church eventually made accommodations after Copernicus and Galileo showed that the Earth was not the center of the universe, and when it belatedly accepted the truth of Darwin's theory of evolution, Catholic leaders say that alien life can be aligned with the Bible's teachings. 'Just as a multiplicity of creatures exists on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God,' says Father Jose Funes, a Jesuit astronomer at the Vatican Observatory and one of the organizers of the conference. Others do not agree. 'If you look back at the history of Christian debate on this, it divides into two camps. There are those that believe that it is human destiny to bring salvation to the aliens, and those who believe in multiple incarnations,' says Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist. 'The multiple incarnations is a heresy in Catholicism.'"

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