Friday, February 27, 2015


I'm going to take the Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey:

1. “Official confirmation of the discovery of an advanced, technologically superior extraterrestrial civilization would have severe negative effects on the country’s moral, social and religious foundations.” 

We need to distinguish between what would happen and what should happen. If that happened, I don't think that discovery ought to have any negative effect on the foundations of Christianity. 

But in reality, it would become a new religion for many clueless people, including nominal Christians. They'd seek moral and spiritual guidance from the wrong source.

2. “My congregation would perceive any contact made with a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization, direct or indirect, as a threat.”

Of course, that's hypothetical. It would only be threatening of the aliens were threatening. A hostile invasion. That scenario. 

But in principle, contact with an alien civilization would not be intrinsically threatening. Mind you, it would certainly be disruptive. 

3. “The discovery of another intelligent civilization would cause my congregation to question their fundamental concepts regarding the origin of life.” 

That's a non sequitur. If they exist, they're creatures–just like us. God made them. 

4. “If highly advanced intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, the basic tenets of religion would be present.” 

If they're unfallen aliens, then they'd worship the same God as Christians do. Mind you, that depends in part on how much divine revelation they are privy to. It's possible that God reveals himself more extensively to fallen, but redeemed creatures like us.

5. “Genetic similarities between mankind and an advanced extraterrestrial civilization would challenge the basic religious concepts of man’s relative position in the universe.” 

That's no different than the issue of genetic similarities between mankind and other terrestrial lifeforms. So that wouldn't add anything new to the issue. 

6. “If an advanced extraterrestrial civilization had religious beliefs fundamentally different from ours, it would endanger organized religion in this country.” 

No, that would simply mean they're a fallen race–or evil spirits in alien guise.

7. “Scientific confirmation of contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization is probable in our lifetime.” 

I doubt it. 

8. “It is unlikely that direct contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization has occurred or is currently ongoing.” 


9. “My congregation would question their beliefs if an advanced extraterrestrial civilization had no system of religion.”

Same answer as #6. Again, though, assuming that they even exist, there's no presumption that God revealed himself in the same detail to every alien race. 

10. “If an advanced extraterrestrial civilization proclaimed responsibility for producing human life, it would cause a religious crisis.” 

Same answer as #6. 


  1. "It would only be threatening of the aliens were threatening. A hostile invasion."

    You mean...they could be infralapsarians?

    1. That would certainly be a worst-case scenario. The human race might as well commit mass harakiri in that event.

    2. On a more serious note, why accept paranormal claims and reject extraterrestrial claims? Is it just a matter of the state of the evidence? Is the case for ET's just that flimsy?

    3. Here's a senario for atheists to ponder: what if we find ETs and they have a concept of God, sin, and salvation?

    4. They'd probably say "See, we got our idea of God from these aliens. But the fact that they are so much more advanced than we are and still believe in fairy tales just shows you that just because someone is a technological genius doesn't mean they aren't stupidly naive." :)

  2. Short answer: extraterrestrial claims must be naturally plausible. ETs and ET technology must comport with our understanding of physical laws. By contrast, the paranormal isn't constrained by those criteria.

    1. Because life is short, we have to make snap decisions about where to put our time. You can be swallowed up by ufology. That's a study unto itself. You can devote (or waste) a lifetime winnowing the wheat from the chaff.

      As with many other things, I read enough to make a preliminary judgment about whether or not it's worth pursuing in more detail. In the case of ufology, my interest in the subject is quite limited.

      There's a certain inevitable circularity to that prejudgment. Because I doubt it's true, I don't invest much time in it. If I gave it more attention, perhaps I'd take it more seriously.

      Since the existence of ETs is compatible with Christian orthodoxy, there's not much at stake one way or the other. So I don't have to make it a priority.

  3. Well couldn't be that they are aware of laws that we are not yet aware of? And take advantage of them? Like if someone in the 1600s before knowledge of electromagnetism saw an iPhone 5 laying on the ground?

  4. We can always postulate that future science will be different. But we have no specific evidence that intergalactic space travel is technically possible. That's not something we can just pull out of thin air to float ufology. We can only evaluate the claim based on current knowledge.