That is the gist of this blog post from Greg Bishop. Follow the link to his post, which leads to a news article about how more people in the UK say they believe in ETs / aliens and “the supernatural” than God.
This isn’t news to anyone who follows the intersection of UFOs and religion. Way back when I started this blog, I began with Christopher Partridge’s book UFO Religions. Partridge also authored a book called The Re-enchantment Of The West that I reviewed for an online publication. As this book notes, a few years ago the religion of “Jedi” had a more significant following than mainline Christianity. That ought to tell you something. It isn’t any sort of intellectual battle that’s being waged that has led to this reversal of religious adherence (Jedis are fiction, you may recall). Rather, it’s about three things: (1) a distaste for the deadness inside the church, something that is the result of the church’s moral compromises; (2) the yearning for the supernatural that is characteristic of postmodernism, which movement itself is a reaction to the INABILITY of modernistic science to provide conclusive answers to the big “why” questions; and (3) an intellectual apathy within the church that refuses to creatively address how sacred Scripture dovetails nicely with the wondrous scientific advances that point to the design of our world, choosing instead old, dead, creedal formulations or tired, unworkable prooftexting of the Bible that shows anything but intellectual rigor.
One wonders that, if it’s about intellectual superiority, why figures very opposite to the UK are the norm in the United States. You wouldn’t wonder that if you had been with me at the conference last week. Among the 6000 attendees I doubt we had any Jedis. But scholarship has also failed. It’s amazing to me the number of believing scientists I have known (university professors in all the hard sciences) when juxtaposed with the number of lay people who have little or no theistic or Christian faith. Scholarship has failed to excite the laity, and those ministers who reach the laity.
And for Greg Bishop: If John Lennon would be smiling at this, it wouldn’t be because he’d reached some satisfying conclusion after careful thought and research. It would be because he’s either willingly among the intellectually bankrupt, or had been consigned to that place because of the failures of the church context in which he grew up, including his home life. I’m a friend of one of Lennon’s childhood friends (through the teen years), a scholar with whom I’ll be getting together here in the states in early December. I think I’ll ask him about this. My guess is that he’ll put John in the second category. Lastly, Greg, if given the choice, who’d be burning books today? Would the people who believe in intelligent design be burning books about Darwinism (for the record, I don’t plan to burn the one I just bought), or would it be the other way around? Intelligent design scientists are the ones that want both sides heard, not the other way around. So please don’t hold your breath waiting for a book burning (they’d be too apathetic in the UK anyway).