Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . . . and Other Strange Questions from the Inbox at the Vatican Observatory - eBook  -     By: Guy Consolmagno, Paul Mueller
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Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . . . and Other Strange Questions from the Inbox at the Vatican Observatory - eBook

Image / 2014 / ePub

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Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Image
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 9780804136969
ISBN-13: 9780804136969

Publisher's Description

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Author Bio

BROTHER GUY CONSOLMAGNO, SJ was born in Detroit, Michigan, earned undergraduate and masters' degrees in Earth and Planetary Sciences from MIT (in 1974 and 1975), and a Ph. D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer at Harvard University's Department of Astronomy, and MIT's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; served in the US Peace Corps, teaching physics at the University of Nairobi; and was a physics professor at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, before entering the Jesuits as a brother in 1989. At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, his research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies.

FATHER PAUL R. MUELLER, SJ is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended a Jesuit high school and earned a degree in physics at Boston University before entering the Society of Jesus in 1982. As part of his Jesuit training, he earned masters degrees in both philosophy and theology, along the way developing an interest in religion-science issues. After being ordained a priest in 1993, he attended the University of Chicago, where he completed a third masters degree (in physics) and a doctorate in the history and philosophy of science through the interdisciplinary program in Conceptual Historical Studies of Science.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Who knew that the Vatican owned an observatory run by Jesuit scientists? Consolmagno, an astronomer who studied at MIT, and Mueller, with a doctorate in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Chicago, are brilliant scientists and theologians, and they both possess a slightly irreverent and refreshing sense of humor. The authors attempt to highlight how the perceived conflict between religion and science is severely overblown. To do this they employ a dialogue format, which works for a while but ultimately becomes tired. The content, however, is absolutely enlightening. Some of the topics the authors tackle include the Galileo controversy, an explanation for the star of Bethlehem, and the discrepancies between the book of Genesis and the big bang theory. Heady stuff for sure, but the casual writing style makes for an enjoyable learning experience. An excellent primer for anyone remotely interest in building a bridge between religious faith and scientific investigation.

"I can’t think of two people better suited to address some essential questions about science that Christians get asked (and ask themselves) on a regular basis. How can you reconcile the Big Bang theory with the belief in God as the Creator of the universe? Is the Catholic Church really against science? Can a scientific person be a believer? Can a believer look to science for answers that religion cannot provide? And what really happened with Galileo? These two talented Jesuit scientists answer these and many more of the most persistent questions about science and religion, in this fascinating, inviting, and frankly necessary new book."
—James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

Product Reviews

3.5 Stars Out Of 5
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Meets Expectations:
3.5 out Of 5
(3.5 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Good conversation starter
    January 19, 2015
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial left me shaking my head. Have you watched a conversation between two friends that have known each other forever and have a ton of inside jokes? Well that was this book.

    Guy Consolmagno, SJ and Paul Mueller, SJ both work at the Vatican Observatory. Their credentials are never ending. What I liked about this book was that the authors didnt talk down to you. But the book was written as a conversation between the two authors. Now that has a good and bad quality. I loved being able just to read this conversation between friends (which is what it felt like sometimes). I can say that I didnt always enjoy it because sometimes they would lose me in their AH-HA moments.

    Unfortunately this may not be a book for everyone. This is a must want to read book. Although I will say when one of my friends saw me reading it, he asked if he could read it when I was done. So I will be passing it on to him.

    I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review
  2. West Point, UT
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    As long as she asked - my comments on "Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?
    September 21, 2014
    West Point, UT
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Thanks to my friends at NetGalley I was able to get an advance e-copy of a fun book by Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, and Father Paul Mueller SJ. The book, Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?...and Other Strange Questions from the Inbox at the Vatican Observatory (Image, 2014).

    I have to admit that I had no idea what I was in for when I requested this book. But, like frequently happens, something about the title caught my attention. (Cmon, admit it, youre intrigued too at the thought of baptizing an ET.)

    And now that Ive read the book, I think I would, but only if she asked to be baptized. But the book is not science fiction, (although some of the questions come close). The authors, both Jesuits, are on the research staff at the Vatican Observatory. They have extensive backgrounds in science, and describe their book as being what its like when science encounters faith on friendly, mutually respectful terms.

    People ask questions all the time, and the authors are among those who try to answer them. They engage in a series about the questions over several meals over a 6 day period. The lively exchanges are bantering at times, and engaging as they try to use faith and science to answer questions about the creation, about planets what happened to Pluto?, about the star of Bethlehem, how the world will end, and yes, they talk about aliens.

    Im not a Catholic, so some of the references were not familiar, and it was not quite as light a read as I had mistakenly expected and been looking forward to (Think Matt Mikalatos and Night of the Living Dead Christian). It was not a book that once I started reading I couldnt put it down (actually I dont think Ive ever read a book like that) and it actually took me a couple of attempts to get started.

    The authors have done their research, and know their business, and they do present it in an enjoyable manner, but some of the material is, by nature, (at least from my perspective) not the most interesting subject matter. (Some of my STEM friends are shuddering at that statement!)

    The thing that most intrigued me though, were the questions. These are supposedly actual questions asked by real people, so its interesting to see what people are thinking about when it comes to creation, end times, Space: the Final Frontier and how to get around the idea that science and faith cant co-exist.

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