Not so long ago, people interested in aliens were seen as weirdos who needed to get their heads out of the stars and focus on creating a flourishing life for themselves on earth.
To be honest, they’re still seen that way by a lot of people. But interest in extraterrestrials has become more mainstream. Even many Catholics are fascinated by the subject.
But is it wrong for a Catholic to be interested in aliens? After all, there’s no clear statement in the Bible that they exist. What are we to think?
Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. The Church has no official position on the existence of aliens
This seems to catch some people by surprise. But it’s true: The Church doesn’t officially say that aliens do or do not exist.
That means you’re free to follow the evidence where it leads. You do want to be careful about getting too much into the theological implications of the existence of extraterrestrial life, at least without the guidance of the Church or solid theologians.
We explored a few of these theological implications in another blog.
2. God may want us to come into contact with aliens
One may argue that extraterrestrials exist, but that God doesn’t want us to spend our time searching for them.
But how do we know that? After all, God gave us an inquiring mind and the means to uncover secrets of nature that, a mere century ago, were inaccessible, such as landing on the moon. It may be that God’s grand plan for the universe includes us making contact with His children in other galaxies.
However, for this to happen, inquiring human minds need to drive the search.
3. Make sure your interest in aliens doesn’t override your spiritual life
People who abandon belief in God may still seek transcendence in another form. It’s not mere coincidence that many atheist, agnostic, New Age, and nonreligious writers have been fascinated by the idea of intelligent life on other planets.
If you’re interested in investigating alien life, make sure to do a check on your spiritual life first. How’s your relationship with God? Do you pray throughout the day? Do you frequent the sacraments?
If your answer is “no” to these questions, be careful. We’re not saying a nonreligious person’s interest in extraterrestrials is necessarily bad, but it’s very easy to let it become an all-consuming replacement for the life of grace.
4. Don’t get carried away with conspiracy theories
Just because you’re allowed to believe in aliens doesn’t mean you should get carried away by conspiratorial winds. As with all things in life, prudence is needed. It’s always easier to create a conspiracy theory than to prove one.
It’s possible that, at some point, the Church may issue more guidance on the theological and moral implications of the extraterrestrial question. As children of Holy Mother Church, remain open to its teaching, even if it contradicts what you believe. Because, in the end, the most important event for the human race will not be making contact with aliens — if that even happens. It will be when we all stand before God at the Last Judgment and render an account of our lives.