Earth Versus the Flying Saucers
It all began on an ordinary day in June of 1947. The pilot of a small plane named Kenneth Arnold saw some unusual objects flying near Mt. Ranier in Washington state. They were not circular in space—actually more crescent-like. But he described their motion as being like saucers skipping over the surface of the water. Later this would result in people calling these objects “flying saucers.” Thus was born not only a new entry in our popular vocabulary, but a cultural phenomenon.
It was only a month later that another incident occurred near Roswell, NM. Something crashed in the desert there. The government officially declared that a weather balloon had come to earth. Others thought it was something more otherworldly—that an alien spacecraft had smashed into the desert sands. Whatever these two incidents really were, the fact is we had now entered the age of UFO’s, ETI’s and close encounters.
Fascination with flying saucers exploded on the American scene. It has never gone away. Through the late ‘40’s and the 50’s, it was the stuff of science fiction and B-grade movies. Not something to be taken too seriously. But then came George Adamski, who claimed that in 1952 he saw a flying saucer land and an alien being emerge from the craft. The alien was supposedly from the planet Venus, and was named Orthon. He communicated via mental telepathy. And he began to teach Adamski all about the universe, including many ideas of a religious and philosophical nature. This was beginning of another phenomenon—UFO religion.
Since the ‘50’s and 60’s there have been waves of interest in extraterrestrial life and UFO’s. According to the accounts of many contactees, the UFO occupants have come to earth with a specific purpose—to aid us in our evolution as a species. They come bringing not only advanced technology, but superior mystical knowledge. They are here to teach us the ways of God (or the gods), to help us in our search for enlightenment, and ultimately to realize our spiritual potential.
There are numerous cults and religious groups that center around UFO’s and the message these otherworldly visitors want to convey to us. These include cults like Unarius, the Raelians, Ashtar Command, the Order of the Solar Temple, and Urantia. We all remember Heaven’s Gate, the weird cultists who received messages through episodes of Star Trek, whose members committed corporate suicide, enabling them to leave their bodies and take a ride on a comet. Both Scientology and the Nation of Islam have theology rooted in the idea of aliens being involved in human history. In addition, many New Age groups believe strongly in UFO’s—some even asserting that the next World Teacher may come to us via an alien spacecraft.
When it comes to the belief systems of the UFO religions there is a true hodge-podge here. There is sometimes a veneer of Biblical religion, a lot of the occult, Eastern mystical ideas, New Age beliefs, paganism, and a host of imaginative and wacky ideas from science, pseudo-science and science fiction. UFO’s devotees believe in everything from the Greys (the small, bald, bug-eyed, large-brained aliens) to invading alien reptiles—who are disguised as humans and hide in plain sight, e.g., as members of the British Royal family.
This all may seem somewhat odd, but not too threatening. But don’t be fooled. There is much spiritual error, and not a little of the diabolical in the UFO’s cults. For example, I remember watching the video of one contactee channeling an alien intelligence. It was obvious that there was a demonic presence at work speaking through this individual. Scary!
Summary of Beliefs
God: Varies from group to group. The most common ideas are some form of pantheism, or the
belief in many deities.
Jesus: Usually believed to be either an alien visitor, or a contactee.
Salvation: Usually some form of enlightenment experience, similar to Eastern or Gnostic
concepts. Some believe in reincarnation.
Human nature: Man is usually seen as basically good, often divine.
Sin: Varies. Usually the greatest sin is our ignorance of spiritual truth, cf. Gnosticism.
Afterlife: Varies. May be an advancement to another planet, or another dimension.
Scripture: Many different writings, often channeled via demonic agency.
Truth: Generally relative, individual and existential in nature.
Mather, George A. and Larry A. Nichols. Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult.
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993.
Lewis, James R., ed. The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects and New Religions. 2nd ed. Amherst,
NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.