Do aliens need to be saved? From us?

A news story today about the Vatican Observatory’s recent conference about extraterrestrial life reminded me of an opinion by the director of the Observatory last year that speculated that if aliens do exist, they may not require salvation. I have always believed that it is more likely that the universe is populated by other life than not. I was most taken by Fr. Funes’ observation regarding the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:10-14) and his speculation that it may be us, human beings, who are the only lost sheep and all other lifeforms never fell from grace.

Asked about implications that the discovery of alien life might pose for Christian redemption, Father Funes cited the Gospel parable of the shepherd who left his flock of 99 sheep in order to search for the one that was lost.

“We who belong to the human race could really be that lost sheep, the sinners who need a pastor,” he said.

“God became man in Jesus in order to save us. So if there are also other intelligent beings, it’s not a given that they need redemption. They might have remained in full friendship with their creator,” he said. Link to the entire article.

Laura and I were watching “V” tonight and it made me think about how aliens are almost always portrayed as evil in movies, games and on TV. But what if we are the evil species? Is our search of space a lead-up to us brutally conquering some peaceful alien civilization? I don’t see that human history has given a lot of reason to think that we are anything but the murderous war-mongers of the galaxy. If aliens do find us, do you think they will be peaceful? Will we destroy them anyway?

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