A Case of Conscience - Del Rey Impact Author:James Blish Father Ruiz-Sanchez is a dedicated man--a priest who is also a scientist, and a scientist who is also a human being. He has found no insoluble conflicts in his beliefs or his ethics . . . until he is sent to Lithia. There he comes upon a race of aliens who are admirable in every way except for their total reliance on cold reason; they are incapa... more »ble of faith or belief.
Confronted with a profound scientific riddle and ethical quandary, Father Ruiz-Sanchez soon finds himself torn between the teachings of his faith, the teachings of his science, and the inner promptings of his humanity. There is only one solution: He must accept an ancient and unforgivable heresy--and risk the futures of both worlds . . .« less
This is a great Sci Fi book, winner of the Hugo award way back in the day, that is unfortunately no longer in print.
The book is about Father Ruiz-Sanchez, a priest and a biologist, who is part of a UN commission to study the planet Lithia to determine its future. The Lithians are reptilian aliens that act like a perfectly moral race except that they have no conception of faith or belief--they are purely rational. This theological issue is the driving force behind the book.
In the end, I think the author shies away from making some bold claims about religion and human society in general. But still, it's well-written and a worthy read for anyone interested in Sci Fi. It really packs a lot into 181 pages.