Alien Church (TWO)

Public opinion polling indicates that over 36% of Americans believe that extraterrestrials exist.  That’s almost as many who voted in the 2012 Presidential election!  In order to appeal to a laspockrger voting block, maybe presidential hopefuls should start making campaign promises to reveal the classified information on aliens and UFO research.  Can you imagine the TV ratings?  Live debates would be wildly anticipated, especially if Spock was behind one of the podiums!

Governments and aliens are old news.  However, “church and aliens” is making recent news these days.  You probably never thought of putting the two words together, have you?  Though atheists make up the largest group of E.T. believers (55%), people of faith are not far behind.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • 44% of Muslims
  • 37% of Jews
  • 36% of Hindus
  • 32% of Christians

Of the Christians, more than one third of the Eastern Orthodox faithful (41%), Roman Catholics (37%), Methodists (37%), and Lutherans (35%) profess belief in extraterrestrial life.  Only the Baptists (29%) fall below the one-third threshold, however, just barely.  Are you surprised by the numbers?  That’s an average of almost 36%; the same percentage of E.T. believers in the general American population!

Belief in aliens is not so “fringe” after all, is it?  And… it’s on the rise.

 Pope Francis + Billy Graham + E.T. = ???

In the summer of ’08, the Vatican issued a statement saying that belief in aliens doesn’t negate faith in God.  Father Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible that 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.”

Adding to the growing controversy, Pope Francis (whom I like and respect greatly) recently said that he would welcome martians being baptized (May 2014).

“If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here… Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them… And one says, ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?  When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way…’” (source)

If you think Pope Francis is off his rocker, you might just have to think the same about the famed Protestant evangelist Billy Graham:

“I firmly believe there are intelligent beings like us far away in space who worship God… we would have nothing to fear from these people.  Like us, they are God’s creation.”  (source)

Want to learn more about the debate religion is having with the possibility of aliens?  Check these articles out:
Did Jesus Save the Klingons?
How Would Christianity Deal With Extraterrestrial Life?
What Different Religions Say About Aliens

It’s a big day for E.T.!

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My Angel Is Better Than Your Angel!

Nothing New!

Debating over angels is nothing new.  In the Middle Ages it was what everybody was doing!  The Catholic Church was the governing power, making decisions for every one about everything, and their views reigned supreme.  Open air debates between philosophers, politicians, and theologians took place daily and everyone had their favorites.  Among the top two were Thomas Aquinas and John Dun Scotus.  These two presented strong opinions about everything angels – do they live forever, do they have free will, what are they made of, what do they do, where do they live, how do they interact with humans, do they evolve to higher states of being, etc.?

“Top Dog”

Thomas’ viewpoint gained the most attention, giving him the “top dog” spot.  He believed angels didn’t have specific bodies, that each one was a unique individual not belonging to a certain “angelic race.”  He argued that angels came from a higher spiritual level, and could appear on earth by temporarily taking on flesh bodies at will.  But primarily, they stayed within their domains, governing earth’s environment and influencing human affairs.

Thomas’ positions were deeply rooted in the teachings of a much earlier “angel-technician” from the 500s – Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a writer based in Syria.  His book, The Celestial Hierarchy, was acknowledged by the Catholic Church as a reliable textbook on angels.

Angel Spock?

John Dun Scotus believed angels were not simply individual beings, but were also part of a distinct race of beings with real human-like bodies made up of a very fine, spiritual matter.  This type of “body” allowed them to transmit their appearance in a “hologram” fashion, enabling them to be in more than one place at a time.  He argued that they were like humans, possessing individual personalities, being able to reason and think for themselves, but on a higher, more wise level (kinda makes me think of Spock from Star Trek).  And he was convinced angels were approachable, and could be contacted.

During the Middle Ages, the most popular way of contacting an angel was to prayerfully gaze at a picture or sculpture of an angel until you felt their energy/presence.  This belief eventually proved rather lucrative for the Church through the mass marketing of angel pictures, cards, charms, artwork, sculptures, figurines, and more.  And, yes, this market still remains strong to this day.

So what do you think?  Who’s angel is better than the other?

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Merry Christmas!