Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Theology of the Saucers

One topic that rarely, if ever, pops up in discussion amongst ufologists, who, like me, spend most of their time obsessed with proving and / or disproving their various theories about UFOs, is religion.

But the question of how a revelation that the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis was, in fact, true, would affect our religious beliefs - indeed, the very notion of our relationship (or, for many, non-relationship) to the Divine - has always fascinated me. One of my favourite books about the UFO phenomenon is Barry Downing's classic study The Bible and Flying Saucers. One of my favourite (and, alas, all too infrequent) topics of conversation with Stan Friedman is the ETH and religion, a subject that Stan has touched upon in some of his work.

Part of this has to do with my own cautious, always questioning religious belief system (I am a spiritual combination of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully - "I want to believe, but..."), part of it has to do with my family background (my grandfather was a Reformed Baptist minister, and some of my relatives are evangelicals), part of it has to do with my studies while pursuing a Master's Degree in history (my unfinished thesis was on 19th century Atlantic Canadian evangelicals) - and part of it simply has to do with the fact that most people on this planet have religious beliefs of one sort or another, which would undoubtedly be affected by an "ETH is true" revelation. How can ufology NOT consider the implications?

So, it was with interest that I discovered, while conducting some ufological research the other day, the following short article, which appeared in the Religion section of Time Magazine back on August 18, 1952 (at p. 62), titled "The Theology of Saucers" - here it is in its entirety:

"If a flying saucer swooped down to earth some day and disgorged a crew of bulbous-eyed Martians, Christian theologians might have to do some fast explaining. The Bible does not mention the existence of any inhabited worlds other than earth. Last week Father Francis J. Connell, C.Sc.R., dean of Catholic University's School of Sacred Theology, decided that the time had come to summarize his church's position on the question of invaders from outer space. 'It is well for Catholics to know,' he said, 'that the principles of their faith are entirely reconcilable with even the most astounding possibilities regarding life on other planets... Theologians have never dared to limit the omnipotence of God to the creation of the world we know.'

Theologically speaking, there are four principal classes into which outer-space dwellers might fall: 1) they might have received, like earthmen, a supernatural destiny from God, might even have lost it and been redeemed; 2) God could have created them with a natural but eternal destiny, i.e., like infants who die unbaptized, they could live a life of natural happiness after death, without beholding God face to face; 3) they might be rational beings who sinned against God but were never given the chance to regain grace, like evil angels of the Fall; or 4) they might have received supernatural gifts and kept them, leading the paradisiacal existence of Adam & Eve before they ate the forbidden fruit.

Father Connell added a practical point: 'If these supposed rational beings should possess the immortality of body once enjoyed by Adam & Eve, it would be foolish for our superjet or rocket pilots to try to shoot them. They would be unkillable.'"

This is fascinating stuff, written just after the great Saucer Flap of July, 1952. Most important, like Barry Downing's work, it reminds us that the religious (or "spiritual") aspect of ufology should not be completely forgotten in our rush to prove or disprove theories, and examine the evidence.

"The Theology of the Saucers" is another important piece of the search for the truth.

Paul Kimball

1 comment:

RRRGroup said...


Okay, you've done it now!

I'll have to work up the RRRGroup theology of the "flying saucer" -- at our blog. (It will be too big for a "comment" here.)

This is a fascinating aspect of the UFO phenomenon, and I thank you for broaching the topic.

Rich Reynolds