Posts Tagged ‘aliens’
Robbie Graham at Silver Screen Saucers recently posted this informative and interesting piece about one of my favorite UFO/alien-themed movies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The movie has long been the subject of a great deal of speculation among UFO researchers and enthusiasts. Robbie’s lengthy post takes you through all the ins-and-outs of those speculations.
I just posted this over at PaleoBabble, but it fits here as well.
A few weeks ago astronomer Stuart Robbins interviewed me for his informative Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast. Here is Part 1 of that interview. I’ll let you all know when Part 2 appears. The topic was the bogus use of ancient texts by Zecharia Sitchin and others to support their pseudo-astronomy.
It’s that time of year again – my annual summary of how the blog did this year, as well as other related websites that are mine.
The UFO Religions blog is my smallest blog, but has increased in views and visits every year of its existence. This year I had 69,932 visitors. All time (a little over five years’ running) there have been 422 posts to date at a word count of 159,619.
In a related effort, particularly with respect to the ancient astronaut quackery, my Sitchin Is Wrong website served a lot of customers:
unique visitors: 140,232
number of visits: 173,345
website hits: 1,240,863
The Ancient Aliens Debunked YouTube documentary has, to date, just over 2.8 million views. I appeared in that documentary, which was created by Chris White.
More comprehensively, my homepage averaged just under a million hits a month. (I need to start doing something intentional here … and that will happen soon … to get over that hump). Here are the homepage stats:
unique visitors: 362,522
number of visits: 1,034,272
website hits: 11,578,595
Astronomer Stuart Robbins has made a considerable effort in his PseudoAstronomy podcast to tell the truth about how real astronomy does not jive with the astronomical quackery of Zecharia Sitchin. I was recently interviewed by Stuart for his podcast (those episodes have not been posted yet), but as a prelude to those, I thought I’d post links to his series on Sitchin’s astronomical claims and their refutation. I’d posted some of Stuart’s work earlier, but this seems like a good lead-up to when my own interviews go online in early January.
- The True Story of Planet X (Episode 13)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 1 (Zecharia Sitchin) (Episode 23)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 2 (Gilbert Eriksen’s Wormwood) (Episode 28)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 3 (The Myth of the Southern Approach) (Episode 43)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 4 (Nancy Lieder) (Episode 51, cross-listed under UFO)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 5 (IRAS Discovery in 1983) (Episode 54)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 6 – Andy Lloyd’s “Dark Star” (Episode 71)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 7 – Mark Hazlewood (Episode 80)
- The Fake Story of Planet X, Part 8 – Zecharia Sitchin Revisited (Episode 95)
Jason Colavito has once again directed the attention of his readers to how people in Christian churches have begun to tout the ancient astronaut paradigm as a tool for understanding the Bible. His post draws on the thoughts of a Lutheran pastor over at the well-known Christian periodical First Things.
As I’ve noted before, this is ill-advised, misguided, and even dangerous. The Bible is not about alien visitation. While certain biblical passages (like Gen 6:1-4) can be read that way (e.g., as abduction narratives, since some of the elements are shared with such “accounts”), just because a reading of the biblical text happens (even if well-intentioned) does not make that reading coherent and does not serve as proof (or even evidence) that ancient astronaut ideas conform to reality. Put another way, using the Bible to prop up ancient astronaut myth does not result in the myth becoming respectable just because the Bible is respectable. That assertion is not a denial of the content or character of the Bible, since the biblical material, taken in its own ancient context, is not an obtuse mystery. There is no need for projecting modern myths on the Bible to make it understandable. It’s coherent on its own (ancient) terms. That people (even or especially Christians) are ignorant of the original languages of the Bible or the mountain of scholarly research from archaeology, linguistics, literary study, and ancient Near Eastern background material for the Bible is no excuse to opt for interpretive nonsense.
Why do Christians opt for this nonsense? A couple reasons come to mind right away. I’ve seen or heard the cycle of Bible boredom hundreds of times. It’s just that the victims don’t all end up resorting to ancient alien bunk to get excited about the Bible. Many others just quit church altogether. But the cycle is the same.
What am I talking about?
Watching Ancient Aliens is easier than doing serious research and engaging in careful thinking. Pastors have spent decades, through shallow (“relevant”) preaching that basically every passage is about Jesus, or tithing, or getting along with others, or healthy marriages, or raising kids, etc. When you’re trained to think that basically every passage you read in the Bible conveys the same messages, there’s no reason to read it closely or seriously analyze it. The Bible loses its mystery and fascination. Preachers do this because they are either lazy, are inadequately taught, think poorly, or go with the flow of their content-intolerant audience. People who want more than self-help therapy sessions facilitated by the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning go elsewhere — physically or out into cyberspace. They come across the fascinating worldview put forth by Ancient Aliens and get excited about the Bible, since some “researcher” (= nimrod) on the Fantasy Channel tells them that’s what their Bible is really describing. If they ever bother to ask the pastor about all of it, they’ll suspect they’re onto something as soon as they get derision or a chuckle as a rebuttal. They just need to love Jesus and forget about all that silly stuff. As if that answers their questions. Then they encounter Christian researchers — people who share their Christian theology — saying the same thing as Giorgio, but in ways that aren’t theologically offensive. Now they’re convinced they’ve found the truth.
This is all painfully predictable. It’s easy to pity the laity. Granted, they share responsibility for thinking so poorly, but I lay most of the blame at the feet of pastors whose sermons range from drivel to self-help pablum on any given Sunday. They underestimate what their people can absorb and their interest level. But the coffee and the worship band are good.
We reap what we sow.