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The erstwhile Stephen Bassett of the Paradigm Research Group recently posted a petition on the White House’s new petitioning website, calling for the President Barack Obama to “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.” You can read a description of the petition at the Open Minds website; it’s nicely done.
Personally, I’m ambivalent about the request.
On the one hand, it’s worth proposing. As I have said many times, if the government actually knows of an intelligent ET presence, and if there is evidence to that effect, the public should at least know that much. The government can reserve information relevant to national security, but the public should at least know that much, and can handle it.
On the flip side, the present administration would only reveal any actual information if if served its larger left-wing anti-colonialist, throw-our-economy-into-the-crapper agenda. The Obama administration has shown that it is anything but transparent. Like other administrations before it, it is deeply, disturbingly corrupt.1
But it’s a nice thought.
- This is easy to establish for those who don’t get their news from TV talking heads. Here’s a sampling of my 100+ archived journalistic pieces on this topic:
Counter to its claims, the White House received emails about the administration’s own ATF-led gun-running operation to Mexico. ↩
Here’s the third argument as written by John Milor in his exchange with Gary Bates. My comments are inserted at MSH:
[Gary Bates}: Point 3: Since extraterrestrials would have no hope for salvation, this would mean that any ETs would be lost for eternity when this present creation is destroyed in a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10, 12).
MSH: Gary's argument assumes a very literal interpretation, which may or may not be the intent here. I'll assume it is for sake of discussion. Is the language here speaking of our solar system? Our galazy? The entire universe? Doubtful in triplicate. Some reasons include the vocabulary and logic. Since "heavenly bodies" here = "the elements" (stoicheia), a term that elsewhere refers to (hostile) divine entities. The point may therefore be the destruction of demonic forces. A "natural" take here would require that Peter knows what elements are, and there is of course no biblical evidence that the disciples or anyone else in the first century knew what elements really were. However, one *could* press this language to refer to a literal apocalypse of the things ancient people presumed made up all that is (earth, wind, fire, water). But then it would likely refer only to the earth and its atmosphere, not the entire cosmos. In which case Gary's point would be wanting. In short, this isn't a very good argument against ET being destroyed. It;s also not a good argument against ET existing, but I don't think that's really Gary's point.
Because of this, some have wondered whether Christ’s sacrifice might be repeated elsewhere for other beings. However, Christ died once for all (Romans 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18) on the earth. He is not going to be crucified and resurrected again on other planets (Hebrews 9:26). This is confirmed by the fact that the redeemed (earthly) church is known as Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5:22–33; Revelation 19:7–9) in a marriage that will last for eternity. Christ is not going to be a polygamist with many other brides from other planets. The Bible makes no provision for God to redeem any other species, any more than to redeem fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16).
For once, I [John Milor] actually agree with Mr. Bates, concerning Christ’s sacrifice not being repeated elsewhere. But where I disagree, is with Mr. Bates’ reasoning behind Jesus’ sacrifice not being repeated elsewhere, and also his conclusion that Jesus would be a polygamist if He saved other species in the cosmos.
MSH: agreed; that would be silly.
First of all, the scriptures that Mr. Bates quotes as saying that the redeemed church is “earthly,” (Ephesians 5:22-23; Revelation 19:7-9), do not say anything at all about the church being “earthly.” The Bride of Christ is simply all those who believe in Jesus, and no restriction is mentioned in scripture about where they come from, or what species they are.
MSH: This goes beyond silly; it’s wacky if I must say so. It requires readers to believe that, in biblical theology, the church, the Body of Christ, was *not* exclusively human-focused. Not only is that an argument from silence (where are the verses that mention the non-humans included in the church?), it runs contrary to a number of passages and theological considerations.
1. Ephesians 1:7 and Ephesians 5:2 make it clear that humanity is the object of redemption (“us”; “our transgression” – not “them” or “ETs transgressions”).
2. The point of the incarnation was identification with humanity; as is the whole point of the kinsman redeemer theology of the Bible is identification with humanity (the incarnation was what made Yahweh a kinsman-redeemer for humanity; he became a human, not an ET).
3. Paul links humanity (“your bodies”) to the body of Christ in 1 Cor 6:15.
4. In 1 Cor 12:27 Paul tells the (human) Corinthians that they were the body of Christ and individually members of it. He goes on to add that God appointed for that body apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. I wonder why he didn’t say God also appointed those things to ETs? because it wasn’t even in his mind. These “appointees” were supposed to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). If the body of Christ included ETs, I wonder which ancient apostles, prophet, teacher, etc. went to the ETs and how he got there (when the earthy apostles had to do their work by walking and ship voyages).
I think I’ll stop here. This is just plain wacky.
After Mr. Bates’ three main points, none of which disprove the existence of extraterrestrials, he then attempts to refute a well known scripture that some UFOlogists have used to support the possibility of extraterrestrial life, which is John 10:16. Jesus is quoted as saying ‘I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.’ To this, Mr. Bates states the following:
However, even an ET-believing astronomer at the Vatican (thus a ‘hostile witness’ to the ‘no ETs cause’), a Jesuit priest by the name of Guy Consalmagno, concedes, ‘In context, these “other sheep” are presumably a reference to the Gentiles, not extraterrestrials.’ Jesus’ teaching was causing division among the Jews (vs. 19) because they always believed that salvation from God was for them alone. Jesus was reaffirming that He would be the Savior of all mankind.
Just because a Jesuit priest at the Vatican has an opinion about what this particular scripture means within its context, doesn’t mean his opinion is infallible. I believe that scripture is infallible, but I trust no one person’s interpretation of scripture, including my own, as being infallible. I do agree that Jesus was talking about Gentiles, but He may have also been talking about extraterrestrials as well.
You’ll be interested in this recent post by UFO Digest (authored by Michael Cohen). Cohen’s observations range from the “insightful, but it’s obvious” to the propagandistic level of “sweeping generalization.” Some examples:
In the “insightful but it’s obvious” category are his criticisms of mainstream Christianity, specifically the health and wealth consumeristic nonsense you see on TV:
Much of what passes off as religion in current Western civilization is not designed to provide any fulfilment.
These religions are not antidotes or islands of respite from materialist life outside the church or the temple. They are in fact merely there to egg on western consumer society and further push the interests of empty materialism. Plastic religions for plastic societies.
Since this disdainful slice of Christianty seems to be the level of Mr. Cohen’s exposure, what he says is understandable (and I think accurate, since I don’t consider this hucksterism to be authentic Christianity in any way, and a large percentage of Christians would be with me there). But therein is the problem as well — under-exposure makes some of his other comments little more than sweeping generalizations. Cohen dopily equates the Protestant work ethic with the Prosperity Gospel nonsense. Sorry, but I can’t see Martin Luther or John Calvin as televangelists. We are also treated to such profundities as this:
Spiritually satisfied people are not economically productive: Angry, disappointed ones are. Making people disillusioned is the very purpose of these faiths and those genuinely seeking answers or meaning in life beyond the newest flat screen television might be advised to shop elsewhere.
It’s hard to describe how far from reality this description is in terms of the vast majority of Christian endeavor. Has Mr. Cohen ever heard of charitable work? Missions? Hospitals? Christians are behind a large percentage of these things. Economically unproductive Christians? Uh, how could you be following a WORK ethic and be unproductive?
But maybe Mr. Cohen didn’t know where to look as he busied himself doing research for his article. Here’s a short list of well known Christian business people that took about thirty seconds to find:
Truett Cathy – founder Chick-Fil-A
Cecil Day – founder Day’s Inn
Arthur DeMoss – businessman and author, founder, DeMoss Foundation
H.G. Heinz – founder, Heinz ketchup
Norm Miller- Chairman of the Board, Interstate Batteries James Cash Penney (1875-1971) – founder, J.C. Penney department stores
Dave Thomas – founder, Wendy’s
Sam Walton – founder, Wal-Mart
But we all know it isn’t the large businesses that make the economy go. It’s small businesses. Maybe there are some Christians there, too. If I were doing any research for an article where I’d be making statements about non-productive Christians, I might spend another thirty seconds on Google and find sites like Christian Businessmen Connection, or the International Fellowship fo Christian Businessmen. Heck, I might even check the Internet for whether there’s a “Best Places to Work” site that focuses on Christian businesses.
Putting all that exhaustive research and analysis aside, anyone who reads UFO material with an eye to its belief systems knows that there is nothing *new* to the “spirituality” being put forth by the UFO sub-culture of today. It’s simply an amalgamation of ancient paganism (and I’m not using that term pejoratively; I’m using it academically) and “eastern” spirituality modified for a technological culture. It’s easy to find essays on this (cf. Christopher Partridge’s book, UFO Religions, or his other volume, The Re-enchantment Of The West: Alternative Spiritualities, Sacralization, Popular Culture, and Occulture, which includes more discussion of UFO spirituality).
I also have to wonder what’s spiritually fulfilling about a belief system centered on conjecture and anecdote. Until we actually have hard *science* for intelligent ETs, that’s what you’ve got, Mr. Cohen.
Nothing new here, but you might be interested anyway.