Witty and thought provoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light on some of the strange places where religion and science meet.
“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?” – Pope Francis, May, 2014
Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it's not the first time that question has been asked.
Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?
With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.
Well, I must say that this is not something I would normally read, yet, I found myself drawn to it because I wanted to hear what Catholic scientist, who were ordained, had to say about these questions-Big Bang, Galileo, the Star of Bethlehem and the end times. It was different then what I had first anticipated, though a fascinating read nonetheless.
Okay, so, I was nervous going into Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial because I'm not all that fond of science-y type reads, especially of the non-fiction persuasion. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the fun, conversational tone that the authors' used throughout the entire book. I thought it helped to set the scene and definitely lightened the tone of the book making it a fun read.
On the one hand, I really enjoyed the light tone of the book since it was dealing with some pretty heavy yet interesting things. Yet, I would have liked to have seen things explained a little more in-depth with a bigger focus on straight up answers to some of those questions. Although I did really enjoy the antidotes they used to get their message across as they really did a) make sense and b) were ones that the everyday person, like myself, could understand.
As I forgot to place sticky tabs throughout the book as I read, I'm afraid that I will not be going as in-depth into each of the chapters as I originally was hoping to. Ah, but that is just how things came about so onward.
The chapter that I found the most intriguing would have to be the one on Galileo. I found it interesting to see how the happenings with Galileo was more political than anything else and how things could have gone so different had their not been a long, long war going on (try around thirty years in length). Without going into specifics, this chapter was interesting because it really shined some light on what was going on at that point in time and how things escalated to the endgame between the Church and Galileo.
Second most interesting chapter, that would have to be the one dubbed "Would You Baptize and Extraterrestrial" because it gave an interesting look and spin on the actual question. I liked how they turned the question on it's head and to on how baptism must be something that the person should be knowledgeable about and choose of their own free will. I could probably go on and on about this chapter, but I'm going to leave it to y'all to discover the full scope of this chapter and the entire book. Just now that I found this to be quite the read.
Final Verdict: Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . .. and Other Questions from the Astronomers' In-box at the Vatican Observatory- Such a fascinating and well written read the just keeps pulling you back in. I loved how well this one read and that it wasn't boring.
Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . .. and Other Questions from the Astronomers' In-box at the Vatican Observatory earns
This book was received from Image Books in exchange for an honest review.