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Aliens and Religion, Part 1 - Catholicism
Recent Risen Snipit and a Boat Load of Deals
Fallen is available for $2.99 on Kindle, free on Kindle Unlimited, and $19.95 on paperback!
Religion and Aliens
Fallen and Risen Spoiler Free!
One of the unintended discussion themes I’ve had with readers is the debate over whether Fallen belongs in the category of religious fiction. About half the readers, from various backgrounds, have viewed it as a secular tale featuring both Brendan’s struggle with Catholicism and the Sabia’s religion in a serious manner. Yet the other half sees Brendan’s faith journey, his visions, and the background of the Sabia as evidence that the book is Christian fiction.
Several discussions have spun off into how how various religions view the possibility of aliens and reports of UFOs. While most of the religious-point of view communications I get are ambivalent to the possibility of aliens, several times I have gotten emails blasting for me for things such as “denying God’s creation” for depicting aliens in what the reader considers a religious universe. One even accused me of writing a “psyop” tricking people into supporting human-demon relationships. Yeah, that one was angry.
All these discussions got me thinking about what various religions believe about the possibility of alien life. I researched, shared my thoughts with others, and refined my results, all of which has led to this series of newsletter reports.
My Own Background
But first, it’s good to acknowledge potential biases influencing my thoughts. I am a Catholic, practicing, orthodox in faith in all matters defined by the Church, and where I fail in practice it is my own sin. As for aliens, I am open to the possibility of alien life, but I have no way of knowing either way.
On the flip side, I’d love to hear your own religious views on aliens (if you have any). Let me know what you think and what to look at!
With that out of the way, let’s look at our first faith.
From Not an Issue to Openness to the Possibility While Avoiding an Official Decision
Right off the bat, it's essential to state the Catholic Church's highly regularized set of beliefs has no position on the possibility of alien life. One can be a faithful Catholic, believe in aliens, believe there is no life on other planets, think aliens are demons in disguise, or many other things.
This does not mean Catholic Church minds have been silent on the matter. Alien life was not a question the early Catholic Church had, though there was a parallel to it with the antipodes issue. The ancients knew the Earth was round and had a good idea of its size. However, it was an open question of if there were people that were unknown to the European-Asian-North African realm. The debate raged in Christianity over the issue of whether there were people in these unknown lands who lived and died without having any possibility of hearing the Gospel from Jesus. Famed theologian Saint Augustine, who set much of the Church's thought even today, said the answer was a firm no. He was wrong, but it would take over 1,000 years to prove him wrong.
There were slight disturbances in the Augustinian consensus during the Medieval era. In the 1300s, the English theologian Richard of Middleton proposed that God could have created other universes, planets, and intelligent species. Ultimately, he was influenced by Franciscan thought and emphasized God can do whatever God wants and not to worry too much about it.
Others pondered the question of alien life. The German Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa believed "life, as it exists on Earth in the form of men, animals and plants, is to be found, let us suppose in a high form in the solar and stellar regions. Rather than think that so many stars and parts of the heavens are uninhabited and that this Earth of ours alone is peopled – and that with beings perhaps of an inferior type – we will suppose that in every region there are inhabitants, differing in nature by rank and all owing their origin to God, who is the center and circumference of all stellar regions." Further, he believed alien life could be so radically different that we would have no standard to judge them.
Though the discovery of the New World proved life was out there on the distant corners of the Earth and that they had souls like Europeans did, the question of extraterrestrials arose again. For a brief period, the astronomical discoveries of the cleric-possible priest Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei opened up radical thoughts on the debate. The Dominican priest-turned-pantheist Giordano Bruno proposed stars were suns with their own planets and possibly own people on them with their own separate relationship to God, a god, or gods. His later embrace of multiple heresies, practicing occultic arts, and opposing the Catholic Church's political power led to his capture, trial, and execution by the Roman Inquisition.
Bruno's theories started a debate that continues today in many denominations regarding aliens: what would be the relationship between extraterrestrials and God? Would Adam & Eve's Fall affect aliens? Would they need to be saved by Jesus? Could they have their own Fall and their own Christ? Is it possible they never sinned? These questions are a deep rabbit hole that I will avoid, but it's important to know it's out there.
However, these questions subsided for a while as the Church went through the most reactionary phases of the Catholic Reformation.
The 1800s saw the Church's re-engagement in many fields such as labor conditions, politics in a republican world, and scientific advancements. In 1891, Pope Leo XII opened the Vatican Observatory, stating truth could not contradict truth.
Since the start of the latter half of the twentieth century, the Catholic Church has taken the question of alien life seriously. The first modern saint to address alien life was the mystic Saint Padre Pio, who is reported to have said in one of his question and answer sessions the following:
“Question: Father, some claim that there are creatures of God on other planets, too.
“Answer: What else? Do you think they don’t exist and that God’s omnipotence is limited to this small planet Earth? What else? Do you think there are no other beings who love the Lord?
“Another question: Father, I think the Earth is nothing compared to other planets and stars.
“Answer: Exactly yes, and we Earthlings are nothing, too. The Lord certainly did not limit His glory to this small Earth. On other planets other beings exist who did not sin and fall as we did.
Meanwhile, Father Corrado Balducci, an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Rome and long time Vatican official, believed aliens were a reality. While this priest was firmly against rock and metal music and wrote much about demonic possession, he had no issue with alien life.
In the 2000s, the Vatican observatory’s chief astronomer stated there was no conflict between believing in God and the possibility of “extraterrestrial brothers.” Finally, Pope Francis indicated his openness to baptizing an alien if it asked.
A survey of Catholic priests on social media reveals an openness to alien life as well. Many online priests stress that the Catholic Church already believes in intelligent life beyond humans: angels and their spin-off demons, and that the Catholic Church’s beliefs would be unaffected by the discovery of alien life.
The Flip Sides
However, the openness to the possibility of alien life is not universal. Especially in more American conservative circles, there is a growing belief that aliens and UFOs are demons meant to trick people into not believing in God.
Daniel O'Connor states the Catholic Church's Catechism opposes the possibility of human life because of the word choices used. He and others propose that claimed sightings of aliens are in part a demonic deception (more on that in the Eastern Orthodoxy post).
Father Donald Calloway, a popular advocate for the Rosary and Divine Mercy devotions, flat out states there is no such thing as aliens. He further goes on to suggest the recent news about UAPs are either demons or government misinformation.
Popular exorcist priest Father Chad Ripperger does not take a firm view but states many of the stories of UFOs and alien abductions are similar to stories of demons and demonic abuse.
And Taylor Marshall, a popular yet controversial commentator who claims he is running for president, states that aliens are demons.
However, not all conservative American Catholic media personalities share this view. David Gordon, who has published articles for the media platform Church Militant, made a short response to Taylor Marshall. Gordan stated Marshall had no special insight to make a religious call on what aliens are.
The minority belief that states aliens are demons is more common in Eastern Orthodoxy and sections of Protestantism, though that is for another post.
Risen Snip It
Porters take away the last remaining packet from Esfirs’ hands. As it is lifted, her hands feel lethargic and oversized. Rubbing her belly proves difficult as the numb fingers flop on top of her protruding womb. Now you give up? Then, rolling her eyes, she waddles over to one of the beds and plops herself on top of it.
“You did too much, doctor,” Second Class Defense Force Officer Khorsoam says. He then sits down on a seat next to the medical bed. “I should have ordered the young ones to come over and do this. It would have been good for them to see the cost of carelessness out here.” A loud clicking sound shoots out of his mouth. “Like they would not know the costs, though.”
“The Legion ordered me to save lives through medicine, so I obey. If you had told someone else to do this, no amount of orders from you would stop me from barring them from entering, Khorsjan.”
A high-pitched laugh escapes from the black-clad officer. “I have not heard anyone call me that name since I left for camp. How long have you been waiting to say that to me?”
Esfirs closes her eyes and develops a Cheshire grin. “Since cheering on the beating Berina gave you that day.”
“Ugh,” he says as he kicks out his feet, “I still do not know if my mother could beat her mother, but I know that pilot can beat me senseless.” He pulls off his hat, revealing striking gray hair strains infiltrating his thick curly black mop. “Back then, I was a little boy, and she had all those colorful ribbons in her hair. Such a beautiful rainbow she was.” He holds up his hands, looking at them longingly. “I understand why we must mute our skin color out here, but I still do not like being monochromatic.”
Other Independent Book Promotions
This newsletter, I have a boat load of summer deals for you.
First, there is a Clean-ish Adventures in Scifi and Fantasy Samples and Novellas that offers short reads and samples. Nothing goes beyond the PG-13 rating in terms of violence and romance.
Then, there is the $2.99 or Less Series Starter in case you are interested in starting a book series.
There are two sample reads to get you interested in some author’s works. The first offering is Cliff Hock: Right Place, Right Time by M. Rothmus.
This man is not where he’s supposed to be. He’s on a space station. He’s light years away from where he should be. And he’s dead. Cliff Hock is an elite galactic bounty hunter. But even he can’t explain what’s going on.
Cliff finds himself prisoner to a police officer that’s gone mad with power. But, by partnering with an attractive alien, Cliff unravels the conspiracy and holds the guilty accountable.
You’ll love this quick, fun read. If you like puzzles that keep you guessing until the end, this Cliff Hock adventure is for you.
Then there is The Hunger by Michael D. Young.
In a distant land, political upheaval shakes civilization. Poverty and corruption run rampant. Three great clans stand on the brink of war.
The god Rahim has abandoned mankind.
Azil the scholar enjoys a life of wealth and comfort while he studies the nature of Rahim. But uncovering long-hidden truths leads Azil to a mysterious woman who wants to do more than learn—she wants to change the world. Claiming to be a divine messenger, she promises Azil all the answers he is looking for if he helps her steal the sacred gems of Sustenance, which are guarded in forbidden fortresses across the land. The gems are the key to restoring Rahim and ushering in a golden age for the world.
But the journey will be treacherous; bloodthirsty bandits, floating cities, and ravenous mage wraiths bar the way. And even more troubling is the gems’ volatile magic—magic so strange and powerful it could turn its wielder into the darkest of villains.
As for books for sale, Space Pirate Reunion (Viraquin Voyage Book 4) is out!
Being a space pirate can be complicated…
Ben and Lois are closer to reuniting Bubbles with her long-lost alien mother, but just because they're closer doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. They must face off against an army of spiderbots, killer mushrooms, and a colossal cave monster the size of a '69 Buick … and that’s just the warm up!
Buttercup finds herself in mortal peril and our dynamic duo have no idea how to save her.
So it leaves a big question hanging out there; Will Ben and Lois conquer these outrageous obstacles to save Buttercup and achieve the most epic reunion in the galaxy?
Until Next Time
Thank you for reading this newsletter update. Next time, I’ll share with you with what happens when we take the various role players who have helped me form Fallen and Risen and put them in an AI to make character art. The following newsletter will continue the religion and aliens series.
As always, feel free to leave a comment with any questions, reviews, thoughts, whatever about Fallen, Risen, or whatever else I have discussed; I promise to reply!