Currently SkyWatch TV is hosting a limited-time televised special investigation on UFOs and “aliens” featuring excerpts from a groundbreaking new documentary The Great Delusion that was 10-years in making. Among other things it notes how recent surveys show that American adults are more likely to believe extraterrestrials are visiting Earth than to believe in God as He’s revealed Himself to us in the Bible.
I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not.
A study commissioned by the National Geographic Channel found that 36 percent of Americans believe that UFOs exist. The same percentage said they believed that aliens have visited Earth. Seventy-seven percent said there is evidence that Earth has been visited, regardless of whether they’d made up their minds on the question one way or the other.[i]
That may seem surprisingly low to you, but it was a slight improvement over their 2009 survey. The prophet Hosea would feel at home on the streets of America today. God’s people are truly being destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Some Christians believe we’re wasting time on UFOs that’s better spent preaching the gospel. We’ve been criticized by some for helping to spread the ET meme. With all due respect, it’s time to wake up and smell the ozone. That ship has sailed.
It’s simple math: A third of America’s adult population—about eighty-one million people—believe ET has been phoning home from a domestic area code, and only 10 percent of us—about twenty-four million—believe in God as He is described in His book. In other words, doctrinally sound, Bible-believing Christians are outnumbered in America by ET believers three to one.
Christians should be disturbed by this. Something has changed in our culture since the end of World War II. Hollywood and the media have pushed the idea that visitors from the stars make Earth a regular vacation spot. The messaging has been effective. Popular science fiction has become, as Dr. Michael S. Heiser terms it, “televangelism for the ET religion.”
There is another aspect to the phenomenon that we’ll discuss in this series. Every four years, ETI (ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) disclosure activists—yes, that is a thing—get excited that an outgoing or incoming American presidential administration might finally open the books on the government’s secret UFO investigations. The recent Pentagon report was the result of Trump so ordering, though the major details were not provided to the public as yet. The idea that “official disclosure” of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence would happen in 2016 was ignited by the role of John Podesta as chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Podesta, an adviser in the Clinton and Obama administrations, is known to be a believer in the existence of ETIs, and emails from Podesta’s Gmail account released by WikiLeaks added fuel to the fire. The UFO research community was stunned to learn that a former NASA astronaut reached out to Podesta more than once to arrange a meeting with President Obama about “nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe.”[iv]
That didn’t happen, but it raises an important question: What if Fox News breaks into its programming one day soon to announce that an extraterrestrial craft has just landed on the White House lawn? Setting aside the military questions (like, how it got past our air defenses), Christians need to be prepared to respond to such a report.
Why? Because the media beats the UFO meme like a two-year-old with a new toy drum. The public is being primed to accept the arrival of ET, and the propaganda pushed by Hollywood and the media includes the idea that we’d need to rewrite the Bible as soon as the saucer lands. We’d be told that the crazy-haired guy on cable was right all along[v]—our distant ancestors weren’t visited by God and His angels, you see; they were just too primitive to see advanced ETIs and their technology for what they were.
The truth is just the opposite: Westerners, indoctrinated by the cult of scientism, don’t recognize divine imagery from the ancient world for what it is. We see a UFO where Mesopotamians of 2,600 years ago would instantly recognize a royal throne and its divine guardians.
Hardly a day goes by without a news site somewhere serving up clickbait of a fuzzy UFO video or an out-of-place “artifact on Mars.” Nothing is ever proved, but it keeps the flickering flame of hope aglow. This Chinese water-torture approach to ETI disclosure is frustrating for UFO believers, but it’s effective. See the statistics above—one in three Americans believe, and with far less evidence than we have—in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
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Even the Vatican is hedging its bets to stay ahead of the disclosure meme. In 2014, Pope Francis indicated his willingness to baptize an ET if one landed in St. Peter’s Square and expressed that wish.[vi]
Please understand that we’re not saying we believe evidence of alien contact exists. We do not. As Christians trying to emulate the example of the people of Berea, who listened to Paul and then carefully compared his words against Scripture, we should be discerning in all things with the Word of God as the final authority. And His Word gives us a theological framework to accept a disclosure event without deleting a single jot or tittle—even if, as we believe, such a “disclosure” will be a lie.
You see, your status on this planet and in the universe is not affected by a green-skinned entity in a silver jumpsuit suddenly appearing on the White House lawn—or an angel of light manifesting on the Temple Mount, for that matter.
You are created in the image of God. In this series, we’ll explain what that really means and why it matters in this context.
When we compare God’s silence on the possibility of extraterrestrial life to the volumes written by the prophets and apostles about powerful, dangerous entities who already share the planet with us, it’s clear that Christians should pay less attention to theoretical ETIs and pay more attention to the all-too-real principalities, powers, thrones, and dominions that Paul warned us about—especially since the latter are working very hard to persuade us that they’re the former.
To that end, in this series we’ll follow a chain of evidence and suggest, for the first time anywhere to the best of our knowledge, that the modern, “ancient alien” gospel has its roots in a very old supernatural source—and we’ll name the entities involved. This enemy has tried to claim the Earth and all that lives on it literally for thousands of years.
The enemy is not extraterrestrial, although it’s part of their deception to convince the world, like Baudelaire’s generous gambler, that they don’t exist—at least not in the way they’re described in the Bible.
Demonic? Actually it’s much darker than that.
The modern preachers of their false gospel probably don’t recognize it for what it is. That’s by design. To these otherworldly entities, humans are at best useful idiots. At worst—well, when they tell contactees that their only desire is to serve man, just remember: That might be the title of their cookbook.
The World Is Primed for ET Disclosure
The world is ready to welcome ET. This is especially true in America, which has clearly moved into a post-Christian era. Some argue it’s already gone beyond that into openly anti-Christian territory, which isn’t hard to believe if you pay attention to the news. So, in a nation that has rejected the concepts of sin and salvation as obsolete, a belief system that offers salvation without sin, or the stress and effort of defending it, is perfect. The ET gospel sells because guilt feels bad, thinking is hard, and the only sin in a postmodern world is telling someone else that his or her worldview is flawed.
Doctrine in this ET religion is built on scraps of evidence, some of it contradictory, and since there is no central office to enforce orthodoxy, believers are free to read into their “gods” just about anything they want.
Christians, on the other hand, believe in a Deity who told His followers to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds.
Surprising Statistics of ET Believers and Christians
We need to unpack some of the data we shared in the introduction. To repeat, about a third of American adults believe it’s “somewhat” or “very” likely that we’ve been visited by an ETI,[vii] while only 10 percent of us have a biblical worldview.
This would be just another topic for talk-show conversation if it wasn’t for one critical fact: The UFO phenomenon isn’t scientific, it’s spiritual. What’s truly distressing, though, is that most of the people who think they have a biblical worldview really don’t. According to Barna’s 2017 survey, “only 17 percent of Christians who consider their faith important and attend church regularly actually have a biblical worldview.”[viii]
In other words, 83 percent of regular churchgoers don’t believe all the key tenets of the Christian faith. To them, Christianity is a sort of spiritual buffet where you can load up on the things you like and ignore the things you don’t.
It’s important that we define our terms, especially when we’re dealing with what people believe about eternity. There are huge gaps, spiritual sinkholes, between what people say and what they actually believe and do. For example, when people were asked if they had a “biblical worldview,” 46 percent of Americans said “yes.”[ix]
So what is a biblical worldview? According to Barna:
A “biblical worldview” was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.[x]
In other words, basic Christian doctrine. Christianity 101. But digging deeper into Barna’s findings over the last decade or so is eye-opening for serious Christians. For example:
61 percent agree with ideas rooted in New Spirituality [i.e., New Age teachings].
54 percent resonate with postmodernist views.
36 percent accept ideas associated with Marxism.
29 percent believe ideas based on secularism.[xi]
Among the concepts drawn from New Spirituality that have entered the Church, Barna found that about a third of American Christians strongly agree that “if you do good, you will receive good; if you do bad, you will receive bad.” More than a quarter (28 percent) strongly agree with the statement that “all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.”[xii]
Now, we’re not into the Sacred Name nonsense (the idea that if you don’t call God by His correct name, you’re praying to a pagan deity), but the percentage of practicing Christians who agree with that statement should be zero.
The influence of postmodernism is reflected in the finding that 23 percent of America’s practicing Christians strongly agree that “what is morally right or wrong depends on what an individual believes.”[xiii]
Really? Even for Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler?
Worse, Millennials and Generation X-ers are up to eight times more likely to accept these competing worldviews than their elders. Men, who should be the spiritual heads of their households, are twice as likely to be open to these views as women.[xiv]
Consider this: Donald J. Trump was elected president at least in part because of his platform to address border security and unrestricted immigration, especially from Islamic nations. Conservative Christians are aware of the potential conflict that could erupt from importing millions of Muslims into a predominantly (if only in name) Christian nation.[xv]
As of this writing, Muslims make up slightly more than 1 percent of the American population. Imagine the outcry if one of every three people you saw on the street believed a religion that was completely alien to the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Oh, wait—they already do.
But because the face of this faith is an ETI, which can be almost anything believers want it to be, rather than Ayatollah Khameini or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the church ignores it. Most pastors and Bible teachers don’t even acknowledge it. It’s weird. It’s “woo.” It’s harmless.
Except that it isn’t.
UP NEXT: The Religion of UFO Phenomena
[i] “More Than One Third of Americans Believe Aliens Have Visited Earth,” June 28, 2012, Christian Science Monitor. https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0628/More-than-one-third-of-Americans-believe-aliens-have-visited-Earth, retrieved 7/14/17.
[ii] “The State of the Church 2016,” September 15, 2016. https://www.barna.com/research/state-church-2016/, retrieved 7/14/17.
[iii] “Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians,” May 9, 2017. https://www.barna.com/research/competing-worldviews-influence-todays-christians/, retrieved 7/14/17.
[iv] Email from Edgar Mitchell to John Podesta dated Jan. 18, 2015. https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/1766, retrieved 7/14/17.
[v] You know the one: “I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens!”
[vi] Claire Giangravè, “Could Catholicism Handle the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?,” February 23, 2017, Crux. https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2017/02/23/catholicism-handle-discovery-extraterrestrial-life/, retrieved 7/14/17.
[ix] “Groundbreaking AFCI Study Reveals How Many Adults Have a Biblical Worldview,” American Culture & Faith Institute, February 27, 2017. https://www.culturefaith.com/groundbreaking-survey-by-acfi-reveals-how-many-american-adults-have-a-biblical-worldview/, retrieved 7/14/17.
[x] “Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years,” March 9, 2009. https://www.barna.com/research/barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years/, retrieved 7/14/17.
[xi] “Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians,” op. cit.
[xv] It may not seem like it, because of the emergence of the Islamic State in 2014, but the historic conflict between Islam and Christendom has been unusually quiet since the end of World War I. It’s easy for us in the West to forget that the caliphate nearly destroyed Western civilization during the Middle Ages. The Ottoman Empire was only turned back from Vienna, Austria in 1683, more than sixty years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and established the Massachusetts Bay colony.