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UFO religion is an informal term used to describe a religion that equates extraterrestrials with gods or other semi-divine beings and that humanity either currently is, or eventually will become, part of a preexisting extraterrestrial civilization. Adherents believe that the arrival or rediscovery of alien civilizations, technologies and spirituality will enable humans to overcome their current ecological, spiritual and social problems. Issues such as hatred, war, bigotry, poverty and so on are said to be resolvable through the use of superior alien technology and spiritual abilities. Such belief systems are described as millenarian in their outlook.[1][2]

UFO religions have predominantly developed in technologically advanced societies, particularly in the United States, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.[citation needed] The term "flying saucers" and the popular notion of the UFO originated in 1947. The 1950s saw the creation of UFO religions, with the advent of the contactees. The 1990s saw renewed interest, though such religious groups had never gone away.

Contents

Notable UFO religions

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Aetherius Society

The Aetherius Society was founded in the United Kingdom in the 1950s. Its founder, George King, claimed to have been contacted telepathically by an alien intelligence called Aetherius, who represented an "Interplanetary Parliament." According to Aetherians, their Society acts as a vehicle through which "Cosmic Transmissions" can be disseminated to the rest of humanity.[citation needed]

Church of the SubGenius

Founded in 1979 with the publication of SubGenius Pamphlet #1 by Ivan Stang and Philo Drummond, the Church of the SubGenius has been known as a "parody religion" due to its extensive use of comedy and parody. In spite of this, the organization claims over 10,000 followers worldwide who have paid $30 to become "ordained SubGenius ministers," and it has been embraced by many skeptic and atheist groups. With the publication of The Book of the SubGenius in 1983, the Church of the SubGenius prophesied that its founder, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, was in contact with an exterrestrial race called the Xists ("X-ists"), and these Xists were scheduled to launch a worldwide invasion of Earth on July 5, 1998. (See also: X-Day (Church of the SubGenius)) The day of the scheduled invasion came and went without an appearance by the Xists, but Church members remain unconvinced. The Church now holds annual "X-Day" celebrations on July 5 of each year. The Church also claims that its members are not entirely human, having descended from the Yeti.

Heaven's Gate

The Heaven's Gate group achieved notoriety in 1997 when one of its founders convinced 38 followers to commit mass suicide. Members reportedly believed themselves to be aliens, awaiting a spaceship that would arrive with Comet Hale-Bopp. The suicide was undertaken in the apparent belief that their souls would be transported onto the spaceship, which they thought was hiding behind the comet. They underwent elaborate preparations for their trip, including purchasing and wearing matching shoes. For a time, group members lived in a darkened house where they would simulate the experience they expected to have during their long journey in outer space.[citation needed]

Industrial Church of the New World Comforter

The Industrial Church of the New World Comforter is a UFO religion founded in 1973 by Allen Michael.

In 1947, Allen Noonan was a pictorial sign painter in Long Beach, California who that year claimed to have a telepathic encounter with a UFO. He then changed his name from Allen Noonan to Allen Michael. He claimed to have physically encountered a flying saucer in 1954 at Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert of California. During the Summer of Love, he had a restaurant on the northwest corner of Haight and Scott streets in San Francisco, California called the Here and Now (also called the Mustard Seed). His group lived in two communes in the 1960s in Berkeley, California called The One World Family. They had classes in tantric sex. In 1969, the vegetarian restaurant moved to a much larger space on Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in Berkeley and the name of the restaurant was changed to the One World Family Natural Food Center. They published a vegetarian cookbook called Cosmic Cookery. There was a large mural on the side of the restaurant painted by Allen Michael that had written above it the phrase Farmers, Workers, Soldiers—Revolution by 1976! The farmer was holding a pitchfork, the worker was holding a hammer, and the soldier was holding a gun, and they had their arms around each other's shoulders. In 1973, Allen Michael founded the The Industrial Church of the New World Comforter and published the first volume of his revelations, The Everlasting Gospel. In 1975, the church headquarters and the vegetarian restaurant relocated to Stockton, California. Allen Noonan ran for President of the United States in the 1980 and 1984 elections on the Utopian Synthesis Party ticket.[3][4]

Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam subscribes to the belief that UFOs are responsible for "raising mountains" and will destroy the world on the Day of Judgment. Its former leader, Elijah Muhammed, claimed that the Biblical Book of Ezekiel describes a "Motherplane" or "Wheel". The movement's current leader, Louis Farrakhan, describes the "Motherplane" thus:

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us of a giant Motherplane that is made like the universe, spheres within spheres. White people call them unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Ezekiel, in the Old Testament, saw a wheel that looked like a cloud by day but a pillar of fire by night. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad said that that wheel was built on the island of Nippon, which is now called Japan, by some of the original scientists. It took 15 billion dollars in gold at that time to build it. It is made of the toughest steel. America does not yet know the composition of the steel used to make an instrument like it. It is a circular plane, and the Bible says that it never makes turns. Because of its circular nature it can stop and travel in all directions at speeds of thousands of miles per hour. He said there are 1,500 small wheels in this mother wheel which is a half mile by a half mile (800 by 800 m). This Mother Wheel is like a small human built planet. Each one of these small planes carry three bombs.[5]

Raëlism

The International Raëlian Movement has been described as "the largest UFO religion in the world."[6] Raëlians believe that scientifically advanced extraterrestrials known as the Elohim created life on Earth through genetic engineering, and that a combination of human cloning and "mind transfer" can ultimately provide eternal life. Past religious teachers, like Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad are said to have been sent by these scientifically advanced extraterrestrials to teach humanity. The Elohim are said to be planning a future visit to complete their revelation and education of humanity.

Raelian Priest Thomas said on this topic, "The difference between Raëlians and Heaven's Gate and Jim Jones etc., is that the others destructively believed in a God who would give them a better life after death, just like most believers in a monotheistic religion do today, and hence the risk for suicide chasing afterlife rewards... as Raëlians we want the best right now in our life, who would want to die now in that scenario with all those pleasures to enjoy? Raëlians believe in enjoying life now, with happiness and laughter."[citation needed]

Scientology

Scientology has been discussed in the context of UFO religions in UFO Religions by Christopher Partridge,[7] The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions by James R. Lewis,[8] and UFO Religion: Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Culture by Gregory Reece.[9] Stories of extraterrestrial civilizations and interventions in past lives form a part of the belief system of Scientology. The most well-known story publicized and held up to ridicule by critics is that of Xenu, the ruler of the Galactic Confederacy who is said to have brought billions of frozen people to Earth 75 million years ago and placed them near a number of volcanoes, and dropped hydrogen bombs into them, thus killing the entire population in an effort to solve overpopulation. The spirits of these people were then captured by Xenu and mass implanted with numerous suggestions and then "packaged" into clusters of spirits.[10]

From the early 1950s onwards, Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, published a number of books, lectures and other works describing what he termed "space opera".

Scientology teaches that all humans have experienced innumerable past lives, including lives in ancient advanced extraterrestrial societies such as Helatrobus and the Marcabians. Traumatic memories from these past lives are said to be the cause of many present-day physical and mental ailments. Scientologists also believe that human beings possess superhuman powers which cannot be restored until they have been fully rehabilitated as spiritual beings through the practice of "auditing", using methods set out by Hubbard in his various works.[11]

According to Hubbard, when thetans (the Scientology term for a human being) die they go to a "landing station" on the planet Venus, where they are re-implanted and are programmed to "forget" their previous lifetimes, thus causing amnesia. The Venusians then "capsule" each thetan and send them back to Earth to be dumped into the ocean off the coast of California, whereupon each thetan searches for a new body to inhabit. To avoid these inconveniences, Hubbard advised Scientologists to simply refuse to go to Venus after their death.[12][13]

Unarius Academy of Science

Founded by Ernest L. Norman and his wife Ruth in 1954, the Unarians are a group headquartered in El Cajon, California who believe that through the use of fourth dimensional physics, they are able to communicate with supposed advanced intelligent beings that allegedly exist on higher frequency planes. Unarians believe in past lives and that the solar system was once inhabited by ancient interplanetary civilizations.[14][15]

Universe people

The Universe people or Cosmic people of light powers (Czech: Vesmírní lidé sil světla) is a Czech movement centered around Ivo A. Benda. Its belief system is based upon existence of extraterrestrial civilizations communicating with Benda and other "contacters" since October 1997 telepathically and later by direct personal contact. According to Benda, those civilizations operate a fleet of spaceships led by Ashtar Sheran orbiting and closely watching the Earth, helping good and waiting to transport the followers into another dimension. The Universe People teaching incorporates various elements from ufology (some foreign "contacters" are credited, though often also renounced after a time as misguided or deceptive), Christianity (Jesus was a "fine-vibrations" being) and conspiracy theories (forces of evil are supposed to plan compulsory chipping of the populace).[citation needed]

UFOs in other religions

  • Believers in the Urantia book, and Talmud Jmmanuel also believe in aliens.[citation needed]
  • Though rarely mentioned after introduced in 1991, Harry Palmer asserts a Galactic Confederacy story similar to Scientology in his "Avatar" courses and literature.[citation needed]
  • The Theosophical guru Benjamin Creme claims that the Messiah figure he refers to as Maitreya, whom he teaches will soon declare himself publicly, is in telepathic contact with the space brothers in their flying saucers.[16] Creme subscribes to the view that Nordic aliens from Venus pilot flying saucers from a civilization on Venus hundreds of millions of years in advance of ours that exists on the etheric plane of Venus. These flying saucers are capable of stepping down the level of vibration of themselves and their craft to the slower level of vibration of the atoms of the physical plane (Creme accepts George Adamski's UFO sightings as valid).[17] According to Creme, the Venusians have mother ships up to four miles long. It is also believed by the Theosophists in general as well as Creme in particular that the governing deity of Earth, Sanat Kumara (who is believed to live in a city called Shamballa located above the Gobi desert on the etheric plane of Earth), is a Nordic alien who originally came from Venus 18,500,000 years ago.[18] The followers of Benjamin Creme believe there is regular flying saucer traffic between Venus and Shamballah and that crop circles are mostly caused by flying saucers.
  • A neo-Nazi esoteric Nazi Gnostic sect headquartered in Vienna, Austria called the Tempelhofgesellschaft, founded in the early 1990s, teaches a what it calls a form of Marcionism. They distribute pamphlets claiming that the Aryan race originally came to Atlantis from the star Aldebaran (this information is supposedly based on "ancient Sumerian manuscripts"). They maintain that the Aryans from Aldebaran derive their power from the vril energy of the Black Sun. They teach that since the Aryan race is of extraterrestrial origin it has a divine mission to dominate all the other races. It is believed by adherents of this religion that an enormous space fleet is on its way to Earth from Aldebaran which, when it arrives, will join forces with the Nazi Flying Saucers from Antarctica to establish the Western Imperium.[19]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ (Partridge 2003, p. 274)
  2. ^ When We Enter Into My Father's Spacecraft. Andreas Grunschloss. Marburg Journal of Religion, Vol. 3, No. 2 (December 1998),pp. 1-24
  3. ^ (Tumminia 2007)
  4. ^ Michael, Allen The Everlasting Gospel Industrial Church of the New World Comforter 1975
  5. ^ Nation of Islam website
  6. ^ Susan J. Palmer, "Women in Controversial New Religions", in New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America, ed. Derek H. Davis & Barry Hankins, p. 66. Baylor University Press, 2004. ISBN 0918954924
  7. ^ (Partridge 2003, p. 188, 263–265)
  8. ^ Lewis, James R. (editor) (November 2003). The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Prometheus Books. p. 42. ISBN 1573929646. 
  9. ^ Reece, Gregory L. (August 21, 2007). UFO Religion: Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Culture. I. B. Tauris. pp. 182–186. ISBN 1845114515. 
  10. ^ OT III Scholarship Page
  11. ^ Bednarowski, Mary Farrell (1995), New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America, Indiana University Press, p. 88, ISBN 9780253209528, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gx42u7cGkYQC 
  12. ^ Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (1990-06-24). "Defining the Theology". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-scientologysidea062490,0,7631220,full.story. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  13. ^ Cempa, Joe; "Petrolia's New Neighbors", North Coast Journal, June 1991.
  14. ^ (Lewis 1995, p. 85)
  15. ^ How Prophecy Never Fails: Interpretive Reason in a Flying-Saucer Group (Sociology of Religion 59.2 (Summer 1998), pp. 157-170)
  16. ^ Creme, Benjamin Maitreya's Mission--Volume II Amsterdam:1997 Share International Foundation Page 217
  17. ^ Creme, Benjamin The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of the Wisdom London:1980 Tara Press Page 205
  18. ^ Creme, Benjamin The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of the Wisdom London:1980 Tara Press Page 117
  19. ^ Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2002). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-3124-4. (Paperback, 2003. ISBN 0-8147-3155-4.)

References

Further reading


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