Theology in space? (Stephen O. Cist/Creative Commons)
It only took the Catholic Church close to four centuries to apologize over the whole Galileo fiasco, but today's Vatican seems to have some fairly progressive ideas regarding our place in the cosmos. Vatican astronomers Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Gabriel Funes continue to stir up discussion with talk of planetary exploration ethics and the possible existence of alien life.
Would it be cool to convert extraterrestrials to Christianity or might they already exist in a sinless state? These questions both seem fair game among Vatican scientists, and Consolmagno doesn't seem to think twice about dismissing intelligent design as "bad theology" hijacked by religious fundamentalists.
So what are we to make of all this? Is the Catholic Church ahead of the curve on humanity's future amid the stars? Does the pope really have nothing to fear from the discovery of alien life? Is the Vatican testing the waters or merely letting a few progressive voices off the leash for some positive PR?
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I will contemplate the Vatican's current stance on the cosmos and what it means for the future of belief on planet Earth. You can grab the episode on iTunes, Zune and the RSS feed.
Originally posted at HSW: Blow Your Mind: Pope on a Cosmic Rope