Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 10 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Damien de Veuster
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Would You Baptize An Alien? Maybe, If They Exist

Jason-Scragz-CC

Russell E. Saltzman - published on 03/31/15

When it comes to baptizing an alien, there’s them and there’s us. If it is only us, then the alien lets us examine the depths of God’s inclusivity and his exclusive love for all individual human beings, in much the same way as the pope. 

But if an authentic flesh and green-blooded alien shows up, then the focus shifts necessarily from us to the alien. Then we ask what is asked of each of us: What are his beliefs, his desires; what is his declared need for baptism? 

In Michael Flynn’s novel Eifelhem, aliens, looking very much like five-foot ten-inch grasshoppers, find themselves stranded in plague-ridden 14th century Germany. More than a few of them are engrossed by human behavior, shaped by faith and displaying an elemental kindness. This was an experience, well, alien to their own society. They seek out the priest for baptism. 

They become the alien “us” we seek, confirming the better qualities of human life with which we flatter ourselves. The pope’s Martian becomes the foil against our inclination to self-centeredness when confronted with the unbounded love of God that can bridge even light years. 

Russell E. Saltzman is a web columnist for First Things magazine whose latest book is Speaking of the Dead. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri and can be reached at russell.e.saltzman@gmail.com

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
Books
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
3
OUR LADY OF FATIMA,SUN
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
4
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
5
CHURCH
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
7
Silvia Lucchetti
Sr. Anna Maria, vaccinated at 101, talks about prayer
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.