Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, July 06, 2007

Roswell 60 Years Later

For those non-sci-fi geek people, this weekend marks the 60th anniversary of what has become known as the "Roswell Incident" and thus the beginning of modern day UFO mythology.

A week or so before Roswell, a private pilot by the name Ken Arnold, made the first "official" UFO sighting when he claimed to have seen a group of winged-shaped objects flying around Mt. Rainier in Washington. His report sparked a series of UFO eye-witness accounts. But, on July 8th, 1947, The Roswell Daily Record ran a sensational headline claiming the Air Force had captured a flying saucer on a ranch. Unusual debris had been found by a rancher, William Brazel, and hearing about other "flying saucer" stories, he thought it could be a crashed saucer.

The next day the paper retracted the headline and story, and carried a more accurate report of a downed weather balloon. The Air Force showed the debris to the media, some photos of it were taken, and the events were forgotten until...

Thirty years later, in the late 70s, a UFO researcher interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris. He claimed there was much more to the Roswell crash than a "downed" weather balloon, and that the Air Force and the U.S. government were covering up the truth about what was found. In addition to the mysterious debris, a crashed spaceship was recovered, along with the 3 bodies of its alien pilots. Apparently, advanced races of extraterrestrials can master the physics necessary to traverse great distances of space so as to travel from world to world, but lack the technological know-how and basic navigational ability to keep from crashing in the New Mexico desert.

Anyways, from 1978 onwards, Roswell has become the "Mecca" of sorts for UFO proponents who believe firmly the government is hiding the truth about UFOs and extraterrestrial visitations. Each year there is a festival drawing crowds of thousands of UFO enthusiasts many of who believe a real spaceship from another planet, or dimension depending upon your understanding of where these aliens are coming from, crashed near Roswell. They would also claim American scientists have performed experiments on the wreckage and many of our best technological wonders of the 20th century like microchips, stealth fighters, velcro, and Tang, were "reversed engineered" from that crashed ship.

The question I have in light of the 60th anniversary is, "How should the Church respond?" Its easy for Christians to wave a dismissive hand and declare all UFO believers as kooks. Christians, I believe, should be prepared with something of an apologetic response.

The X-filing of America does have an obvious foundation in science fiction literature, but more so than that, there is a deep connection to naturalism and evolution. The reasoning plays out like this: If life evolved here on earth over millions of years, and we know there are millions of galaxies with millions of stars similar to our own, then the chance of life evolving elsewhere in the same way it evolved here is a real possibility. If this evolution is a million years a head of us here on earth, well then an advance race of intelligent beings could easily visit us in a craft. Thus, the idea of biological evolution is a key factor in UFO mythology.

One resource that may help Christians with a sound apologetic response to UFO beliefs is Gary Bate's Alien Intrusions: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. Gary has done extensive research as a Christian into the UFO phenomenon. His book is the detailed product of what he uncovered and found. He covers the historical development of UFO lore and goes into an examination of alien abductions, showing how the good portion of individuals reporting to have been abducted were involved with new age mysticism and other occultic activity. Gary was recently interviewed by Gary DeMar and though you have to suffer through nearly 25 minutes worth of commercial interruptions every 6 minutes shilling DeMar's products (thankfully, I could fast forward) in order to hear him, the program is worth the listen.

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Blogger Dan said...

You might also want to check out Michael S. Hieser's book on UFOs.

Dr. Heiser is a Christian, has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and ancient Semitic Languages, and was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in ufology by FATE Magazine.

3:12 PM, July 06, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...



I just ask because he left a comment under another post around the same time you left this one.

Any ways, I am quite familiar with Michael Heiser, whom I believe has some troubling, if not heretical views about God and the "divine council."

By your positive comments, I take it that you would think it is ok for a Christian to believe UFOs - extraterrestrial life is compatible with biblical Christianity?

Just curious.

5:49 PM, July 06, 2007  
Blogger Joanna Martens said...

Makes sense why organizations are fighting for governmental funding to support their "research" into the vast unknown...

while the rest of us struggle to pay for college.

speaking of UFO's, I saw you at church sunday walking into the office. I would have said hi but you seemed to be a man on a mission...

12:38 PM, July 07, 2007  
Blogger Rhology said...

My mom was born in July 48 in Roswell...
Makes you wonder how long the aliens' gestation period is. \\Shudder//

1:35 PM, July 09, 2007  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

I think UFOs are probably demonic beings or some natural spectacle.

3:32 PM, July 09, 2007  
Blogger lee n. field said...

"showing how the good portion of individuals reporting to have been abducted were involved with new age mysticism and other occultic activity."

Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe has pointed out that astronomers, who hang out in prime close encounter places (lonely country roads at 4AM) tend not to see UFOs. Those that do, often turn out to have an occult background.

As an amusement, take a look at L. Neil Smith's Roswell, Texas.

6:17 PM, July 12, 2007  

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