Chapter 2: The Secular Perception of UFOs

There is a group within the secular community whose members are entirely indifferent to the UFO issue. This group can be categorized as consisting of imagination-challenged, intellectually shallow people who are focused on the mundane throughout their lives, being aware of only those events that might affect their own highly-developed self-interest. Not only is this camp indifferent to UFOs, it is also indifferent to the subject of God (except, perhaps as God might relate to Santa) and pretty much to anything not involving the next hamburger or the next episode of the Wheel. I dismiss it with a matching indifference, with the exception that I do enjoy watching the unsuccessful attempts of such people to answer the ridiculously elementary questions posed by Watters on the O’Reilly Factor.

The remainder of the secular world is divided into two sharply opposed camps regarding UFOs. A substantial segment of mainstream society, having bought into the prevailing paradigms of the world, places those who claim involvement in the UFO phenomenon as credulous, out of touch with reality, and rather on the fringe of social acceptability. They deny the existence of UFOs altogether, assuming that accounts of them originate with individuals who are burdened with problems of one sort or another. They are supported in large part by the mainstream media, the mainstream educational system, and mainstream science, to whom they prefer for answers to their own minds and common sense. This group, being marginally more intelligent, are marginally more aware of the world about them than those who are completely indifferent to the UFO phenomenon. They also are marginally more interesting.

The opposing secular camp not only believes in the existence of UFOs, but sees in them an alien presence, irrelevant to God, that has invaded us both now and in the past. This more interesting group consists of those who not only believe in UFOs, but acknowledge their historical existence and generally think that they are up to no good. Investigators within the camp of historical or ancient encounters are represented by authors Von Daniken, Sitchin and Temple. The more speculative details presented by them include mythological connections to Sirius or alien visitors in our past who came from an unknown planet of a highly eccentric orbit within our own solar system. There are a number of investigative organizations such as MUFON that focus on more modern sightings. Such can be readily acquired on the Internet. We shall set aside the speculative details as interesting but somewhat irrelevant to a demonstration of the reality of extraterrestrial visitors. For the most part we will confine our attention here to the core thesis of past and present visitations to earth by extraterrestrial beings, whatever their possible origins. The basic questions alone raise a variety of issues important to the speculative Christian.

If there is reality behind the UFO phenomenon – and that’s a very big if to the secular mind – the perception of their craft is consistently viewed in naturalistic terms. Whether they come from a different planet or galaxy, UFOs belong to the same universe as we inhabit, along with our own dimensional constraints. The craft, to them, are electromechanical devices like our own aircraft and space vehicles but designed and fabricated with the aid of a technology that is more advanced than ours. The implications of this standard perception have both technical and social components.

Technically, we are intrigued with the capabilities of UFOs, because evidence of their existence includes features such as their maneuverability, speed, power source, mode of overcoming gravity, and electromagnetic effects when they are in proximity to our own vehicles and appliances that extend rather far beyond our own capabilities in these areas. Some individuals would welcome contact with UFO occupants for the superior knowledge that they might be able to impart to us and thereby raise us up to new levels more compatible with their own. Such individuals are in the minority due to the social implications noted below.

The social implications of a more advanced society go beyond perceptions of UFO occupants as alien beings. Whether they are similar to us or not, their presence on earth represents de facto superiority. We know from experience within our own human society that when two peoples of unequal civilizations meet, they will clash, with the more advanced civilization dominating and eventually destroying the less developed one. This understanding is not lost on those who contemplate a future world in which UFO occupants would openly interact with humanity, and the thought is sufficient to generate real fear. This perceived threat to our way of life and even to our own continued existence would be more than sufficient to erect a governmental barrier of secrecy around the UFO phenomenon and to downplay the existence of such to the general public.

Difficulties have emerged regarding a materialistic view of UFOs. The enigmatic features of modern UFO sightings initially raised a number of questions relating to the technology that aliens might possess to enable them to perform the radical maneuvers associated with them or their vehicles. Over the several decades that have elapsed since the first well-publicized modern sightings in 1947, it was recognized that technology alone furnished an insufficient explanation of their characteristics and capabilities, which led a number of researchers in that field to question whether the aliens might have a spiritual quality. The mindset of Dr. J. Allen Hyneck, who came into the field of UFO investigations as a consultant to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Bluebook, evolved over the course of his investigations from skeptic to believer in the alien hypothesis, but he went beyond the extraterrestrial notion to a belief in something perhaps more spiritual in the nature of the alien beings than the common understanding admits. Jacques Vallee, a long-time UFO investigator who has gained a considerable measure of respect in the field, echoes this thought.

In his 1988 book Dimensions, Vallee asserts that UFO visitations, with many of their modern characteristics, have been with us since the beginning of mankind’s civilization. He traces the evidence for this assertion throughout our history, noting the many famous sightings which extend past a number of recorded incidents from the present down through the middle ages into antiquity. Most important to our subject, he cites the numerous Biblical passages such as the vision of Ezekiel, which overtly refer to such visitations as having a distinct flavor wherein the UFO aspect merges into Judeo-Christian canon. Moreover, he notes, the nature of these visitations, in which the ‘beings’ appear to be beyond the constraints of mass, space, and time in their ability to levitate, withstand violent maneuvers, and pass through solid objects, possess the same features that make the modern UFO sightings so enigmatic. It is these disturbing characteristics which so oppose modern rationalist thinking, Vallee claims, that put the UFO ‘occupants’ into a category beyond the mere extraterrestrial. He speculates on the possibility that they might be interdimensional, occupying a universe parallel to our own.

Secular accounts of ancient UFO visitations and theories regarding them will be explored in more detail in a later chapter. Here it will be simply noted that in general troubled and partially-formulated speculations like Vallee’s serve to emphasize the ultra-rigid boundaries of the modern rationalist way of thinking. The notion of a spirit-based entity capable of passing through solid objects is usually rejected quite rapidly as ridiculous. The assertion of this as impossible in our ‘real’ world also denies the possibility that the soul, so important to the Christian belief, can exist. A passage in Chapter 20 of John’s Gospel directly refutes this denial. In that passage the resurrected Jesus performs the same acts that the UFO debunker uses to discredit the reality of UFO sightings:

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither they finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

In the above passage, Jesus not only passed through solid walls to appear to the disciples, but presented the form of flesh to Thomas. He also ate with them. These capabilities that include the materialistic but extent beyond materialism are precisely those characteristics of many UFO sightings which cause such consternation among the investigators and their audience. Yet many of our cutting-edge physicists confront these mysterious capabilities on a daily basis in their investigations into quantum physics.

[to be continued]


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