This work of speculative non-fiction combines meticulous fact-finding from historian/researcher Richard M. Dolan and forward-leaning scenarios from journalist/screenwriter Bryce Zabel on the world’s most mind-bending subject. The authors predict radical changes after official acknowledgment that at least some UFOs are intelligently controlled craft from somewhere other than Earth. A.D. After Disclosure isn’t afraid to make mind-blowing, specific predictions.
Here we share a portion of Chapter 7 entitled Paradigm Shift: Our New Place in the Universe. This section specifically speaks of the reaction of major world religions to finding out that beings from other worlds do indeed exist.
The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the Earth, the continents,and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.
—Daniel J. Boorstin
There are times in human history when new information and new revelations can transform the world. Ideas that had been held as timeless truths can shatter overnight. In our world, Disclosure will be that trigger. It will usher in a time comparable to the era of Copernicus and Galileo, when humankind first realized that the universe did not revolve around the Earth.
The word paradigm was coined by the philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, in his 1962 study, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He used it to describe a coherent theory of reality. When scientists obtain data that fails to conform to the dominant paradigm, the data are considered anomalies and normally discarded. Kuhn agreed that sometimes this is reasonable to do, but when too many anomalies litter a paradigm, something is wrong. Every now and then, a great thinker comes along who sees the world differently. This new vision makes sense of the anomalies and incorporates them into a larger, more complete, more accurate paradigm.
was such a thinker, said Kuhn. So was Einstein. Newton
In this chapter, we discuss how the impact of Disclosure will affect the dominant paradigms in scientific thinking, as well as that other great interpreter of reality, religion.
Five centuries ago, it was the religious institutions that resisted the paradigm shift. The issue was whether the universe was Earth-centered or Sun-centered. The Polish astronomer, Nicolas Copernicus, was so fearful of Church reprisals to his great work on this subject, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, that it was published only after he died in 1543. It was an important theological issue, because the Catholic Church had taken a stand on the matter. The Church maintained that, as God had made humankind the centerpiece of his Creation, mankind’s world was at the center of the universe. Science, however, made it clear that this was not so.
Incidentally, the issue of extraterrestrial life was raised at around the same time, and received even greater resistance. The Italian scientist and free-thinker, Giordano Bruno, had the audacity to believe that the stars were in fact like Earth’s own Sun (he was the first known person to argue this). He believed in the existence of other worlds and of other beings created by God. In other words, Bruno said that there were extraterrestrials in our universe and that they, too, were God’s children. His reward was to be imprisoned for seven years, then burned alive for heresy in the year 1600.
During most of the ensuing centuries, Christianity in general has been silent on the matter of extraterrestrial life. Since the modern UFO era began, however, we have seen interesting developments on the matter. Christianity is a large umbrella, encompassing an impressive number of branches and sects, and its adherents have expressed every position on ET life and UFOs one can imagine.
Today, the greatest blind-spot regarding Disclosure belongs to the scientific community. Despite the evidence, it has steadfastly ignored the UFO mystery. Indeed, establishment science has hampered the search for truth by joining the chorus of naysayers who have made the experiencers of extraordinary events feel shunned, ridiculed, and possibly insane.
The situation regarding religion is different, if for no other reason than there is such a variety of them around the world. People’s spiritual beliefs may have certain things in common, such as the existence of a reality beyond the physical one of our five senses, but beyond that, almost anything goes.
Yet we should distinguish the science and religion from their institutions. Science, despite its institutional shortsightedness and conformity, is ultimately based on empirical observation and testing. That is why so many scientific conclusions, no matter how firmly believed, are called “theories” (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and
’s Theory of Evolution). As the philosopher of science
Bertrand Russell pointed out, scientific conclusions are always provisional.
They are subject to change when new evidence is presented. This may be an
emotional drawback for those who demand certainty in their lives, but Russell
argued that it is an advantage over the long term.1 Darwin
Religious truth, on the other hand, at least when it is based on revealed statements from Holy Books, is not so easily subject to modification. As a result, we may expect certain of those religions to push back when confronted with a reality as shattering as Disclosure. Many of their adherents will undoubtedly see this unbending quality as a strength, a firm shelter within the raging storm around them. Even so, there is reason to believe that many of the world religions will show the ability to adapt.
The End of Religion?
Many analysts have concluded that the announcement of intelligent life in the universe would destroy traditional religious faith. They point out that many of Earth’s religions continue to be heavily anthropomorphic, seeing humanity as the center of God’s plan. The announcement (or arrival) of sentient beings, therefore, would be too much for them to bear.
Other analysts, such as astrobiologist Paul Davies, theorize that visiting aliens might have discarded theology and religious practice “as primitive superstition,” and would persuade humanity to do likewise. Or, “if they retained a spiritual aspect to their existence, we would have to concede that it was likely to have developed to a degree far ahead of our own.”2
These assumptions seem to have become a mantra in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) community and elsewhere, repeated so often that it feels as though they were established fact.
In 1994, researcher Victoria Alexander conducted a survey of clergy from Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations that asked, “Would you agree that ‘official confirmation’ of the discovery of an advanced, technologically superior extraterrestrial civilization would have severe negative effects on the country’s moral, social, and religious foundations?” She concluded that ministers did not feel this would threaten their faith or that of their congregations. Religions would not collapse.3
Eight years later, in 2002, a Roper Poll similarly asked, “Would an announcement of extraterrestrial Intelligence precipitate a religious crisis?” Not only was the answer overwhelmingly “no,” it actually rose with age. Ninety-three percent of respondents over age 65 said it would not be a big deal. Roper concluded that “very few” Americans thought that an official government announcement on extraterrestrials would cause them to question their religious beliefs.4
In early 2010, another survey examined the issue, this time with respondents from around the world. The results put another nail in the coffin of the SETI claims of religious berserkers running amok over Disclosure.
The survey was designed by Ted Peters, a professor at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in
, and was called The
Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey. With his colleague Julie Froehlig,
Peters interviewed 1,300 respondents, including believers from Roman
Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, evangelical Protestantism, Orthodox
Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Atheists and
agnostics were also included. The survey tested this hypothesis: “Upon
confirmation of contact between Earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of
intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of Earth would
confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.”5 Berkeley, California
Here are some of the responses they received.
- “Finding ETI, I believe, would be a profound and wonderful event.”
- “Extraterrestrial religious beliefs and traditions will differ, perhaps greatly in some ways. However, they live in the same universe with the same God, and a similar array of religious responses and developments would likely have developed on their world.”
- “Nothing would make me lose my faith. God can reach them if they exist.”
- “I believe that Christ became incarnate (human) in order to redeem humanity and atone for the original sin of Adam and Eve. Could there be a world of extraterrestrials? Maybe. It doesn’t change what Christ did.”
The authors concluded: “Religious persons, for the most part, do not fear contact.”
A small minority did not believe in extraterrestrials. These respondents, in what can be described as the “rare Earth” camp, believe life on Earth to be so rare that a second creation of life is unlikely to have occurred elsewhere. Even this belief, however, does not necessarily make people fragile. One evangelical Protestant remarked, “I don’t think they are out there. But if they are, that’s cool.”
The only respondents who predicted the collapse of religious belief systems were self-described atheists and agnostics. Believers expected to carry on with their lives. Many even expected some form of Disclosure within their lifetimes.
The acknowledgment of Others demands that we look at our universe as larger, more crowded, and less Earth-centered than we have in the past. That, by itself, is not a fatal blow to any institution.
Vatican Moves Toward Disclosure
The world’s largest church seems to be positioning itself to be at the forefront of Disclosure. The
has long maintained several major astronomical
observatories and a collection of radio telescopes. In recent years, its
hierarchy has stated, in one form or another, that we have company. Perhaps
they know something is afoot, or suspect its inevitability. Vatican
Until his death in 2008, Monsignor Corrado Balducci, long-time friend of Pope John Paul II, and the
’s leading exorcist, had stated his personal opinion
many times about the reality of extraterrestrial life. “There must be something
between us and the angels,” he told an interviewer. “If there are other beings,
they are surely more evolved than we are.... It is illogical and a bit arrogant
to believe that we are the only intelligent beings in God’s creation.” Balducci
believed that Jesus died for these beings, just as he did for humanity. “He is
called King of the universe,” emphasized the Monsignor. “Never underestimate
the great mercy or compassion of God.” Balducci was not speaking in purely
theoretical terms. He stated more than once his belief that contact between
humans and extraterrestrials was real.6 Vatican
’s astronomers have also expressed their belief in
extraterrestrial life. In 2005, Vatican Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno concluded that chances are
better than ever that humankind is facing a future discovery of
extraterrestrial intelligence.7 In 2008, Vatican chief astronomer Father Jose Gabril Funes granted an interview to the L’Osservatore Romano newspaper that made
headlines around the world. Father Funes stated his opinion that intelligent
life may exist elsewhere in the universe, and that such a notion “doesn’t
contradict our faith.”8 The same year, the
Reverend Christopher Corbally, the vice director of the Vatican Observatory,
said, “How wonderful it would be to have other life beyond our own world
because it would show how God’s creation just flows out without abandon.”9
It is doubtful that all of these
Vatican authorities would speak so openly if they felt they
were in conflict with official doctrine. Quietly, a policy appears to have been
Christians and Aliens
Some Evangelical Christians have placed the Bible squarely into the middle of the UFO issue. They have no problem believing UFOs are real, and some even welcome the idea of extraterrestrial visitors. One respondent of the Peters Religious Crisis survey wrote, “From an evangelical Christian perspective, the word of God was written for us on Earth to reveal the Creator. Why should we repudiate the idea that God may have created other civilizations to bring him glory in the same way?”
Yet this viewpoint is a minority among Biblically-based Christians. The Bible makes no reference to other worlds. Such Christians who do believe in UFOs usually interpret them as demonic, not as extraterrestrial. One respondent of the Peters survey spoke for many Christians when he stated, “I personally believe that Satan, the enemy of Jesus, will attempt to deceive the world into believing he is an ET and many will fall for it.”
Charles (Chuck) Missler is one of the world’s leading Christian ufologists. He is a graduate of the
and Air Force flight training, and holds a Master’s
Degree in Engineering from UCLA. He also knows as much about UFOs as most
non-Christian ufologists. He is well-informed about their history, the
cover-up, and specific cases. He knows about the testimony from astronauts,
radar controllers, and jet pilots. He simply explains UFOs and aliens through
the lens of Biblical interpretation as inter-dimensional beings that have a
physical reality. United States Naval Academy
In his book, Alien Encounters (coauthored with Mark Eastman), Missler argued that what we call UFOs are not aliens from another planet, but demonic entities described in the Bible. Read the Book of Genesis and you will find this passage: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the Earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the Sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them wives of all that they chose.”10
The offspring of these encounters were known as the “Nephilim” or “Fallen Ones.” Some ufologists interpret this passage as interbreeding between humans and extraterrestrials posing as “the Sons of God.” Missler replies that the truth is the other way around: what people think to be aliens are actually “the Fallen Ones.” They are not from another planet, but have been here all along. They oppose the will of God and seek to undermine God’s creation, humankind.
That UFOs often appear to be physical and are even tracked by the world’s militaries does not alter this. Such entities, according to Christian ufologists, can be completely physical, and there is nothing stopping them from appearing to use technology. During abduction experiences, they also manifest in physical form, yet this remains a form of spiritual attack. Christian ufologist Dr. Michael Heiser describes these as most likely “an inter-dimensional (that is, spiritual) reality … one that can manifest in truly physical form, and not beings from another planet.”11
There is also a Christian school of thought in ufology that claims abductions can be fought with prayer, specifically by invoking the name of Jesus Christ.12 Not surprisingly, this has been rebuked by non-Christian abduction researchers, and is questionable by a review of abduction literature. One of the most famous of all abductees, Betty Andreasson Luca, was a devout Christian who experienced multiple abductions spanning most of her life. She also certainly did not interpret her experiences as demonic.
In the post-Disclosure world, many Christians will see the Others as demonic beings. To them, the Bible is not a matter of interpretation or conjecture, but the unerring word of God for all time. Christian author and former television producer Coleman Luck recalled that the New Testament speaks of a “great deception” to take place during the “End Times.” At that time, the Anti-Christ will be appear and will deceive most Christians away from their faith. He added that “an essential part of that deception will have to do with what appears to be alien contact.” Beings claiming to be extraterrestrials will seem to prove that Jesus was not the savior of mankind. “Ultimately,” Luck concluded, “that lie will be overthrown.”13
It is a clear that most evangelicals will interpret the “Others” according to strongly held Biblical-based beliefs. In this context, some of the most relevant passages in the Bible will be:
“For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”14 This is from Ephesians, a letter from the Apostle Paul, and one of the earliest Christian documents. What Paul appears to be saying here is that humanity’s great struggle is against spirits that are literally “in the heavens.” In the same letter, he refers to Satan as “the prince of the Power of the Air” and “the prince of the aerial host.”15
Another passage from Paul, this one from Thessalonians, will resonate with Christians in the post-Disclosure world, as it speaks of the arrival of “Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”16 Might the shock and awe of a more technologically advanced civilization be interpreted in this way?
Another passage, this one from Matthew, will surely be read in Churches around the world: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”17
Ultimately, many Christians will interpret a Disclosure announcement in light of the Book of Revelation, which discusses the Second Coming of Christ being preceded by natural disasters, famines, the arrival of the Anti-Christ, and a war in the heavens.18 During the Cold War, it was easy for Christians to interpret this last as a nuclear exchange between the United States and Soviet Union. However, the announcement of extraterrestrials could provide just as much fodder for interpretation. What this means is that Christians will be wary, at the very least, of a major Disclosure statement. They may well take on a more serious opposition as matters develop, expecting that the battle of Armageddon is at hand.
People do not change overnight. For better as well as for worse, during times of stress, during periods of great uncertainty and even fear, believers will hold more closely than ever to their faith. One key article of faith among Christians is that God will not allow his creation, humankind, to be possessed by dark, Luciferian forces. Instead, it remains within the power of all souls to accept God and reject Satan.
If the Christians are right about how they interpret the UFO phenomenon, it is hoped that the rest of humanity will thank them for their stand against a demonic presence masking as extraterrestrials. If they are wrong, or even incomplete, in their analysis, they will be seen as obstructionist or even dangerous, refusing to see the truth that stares them in the face.
Disclosure may not resolve this matter. The dispute may continue for a long time.
Other Faiths, Easier Transitions
Some faiths appear positioned to accept the reality of “Others” arriving or living on Planet Earth.
Belief in extraterrestrial life is integral to members of the
Chapter One of the Mormon Book of Moses,
we find this explicit statement: “And worlds without number have I created; and
I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which
is mine Only Begotten. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which
is many. But only an account of this Earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I
unto you.”19 Church of Latter Day
God tells Moses that there are other worlds and other peoples. These other worlds are God’s business, and need not concern Moses or people on Earth. Yet Mormons do believe that they will have interaction with extraterrestrials after their death. Similar to other Christians, and like people of other faiths, Mormons see themselves as children of God. Unlike other versions of Christianity, however, they believe they will become God—who, according to their belief, was once a man. Members of the Latter Day Saints believe they are Gods in training, so to speak, who will rule a world with its own population in their next incarnation. How this might affect their attitude toward extraterrestrial or interdimensional entities that are here on Earth would certainly be interesting.20
Islam, with 1.5 billion adherents, is the world’s second most-practiced religion (after combining all the various Christian faiths). It does not have a strong position on the existence of extraterrestrial life; belief one way or the other is not related to the fundamentals of its creed. But neither does the religion provide any roadblocks toward accepting an extraterrestrial or interdimensional reality. One respondent of the Peters survey stated, “Islamically, we do believe that God created other planets similar to Earth.” Another wrote, “Only arrogance and pride would make one think that Allah made this vast universe only for us to observe.”
The texts of the Koran give support to these positions. “All praise belongs to God,” states Islam’s holy book, “Lord of all the worlds.” One commentator on this verse continues: “Worlds of Matter and Force, worlds of Spirits and Angels, worlds of Beauty and Goodness, worlds of Right and Law—worlds that we can imagine or understand and worlds which we cannot comprehend even in our imagination.”21
The Islamic scholar Mirza Tahir Ahmad quotes another verse in the Holy Koran discussing the creation of “the heavens and the Earth, and of whatever living creatures He has spread forth in both ….”22 Islamic scholars have long commented on the extraterrestrial implications of this verse. During the 1930s, Abdullah Yusuf Ali commented, “It is reasonable to suppose that Life in some form or another is scattered through some of the millions of heavenly bodies scattered through space.”23
Passages such as these will certainly hearten Muslims in the face of the acknowledged presence of Others on our world, whether they be extraterrestrial, interdimensional, or anything else. Allah rules over all, and may introduce them to humanity at His discretion.
The post-Disclosure world will also prompt many Islamic scholars to re-examine the nature of the jinn, commonly translated into English as genie. The jinn are frequently mentioned in the Koran as creatures occupying a parallel world to that of humankind. Along with humans and angels, they are one of the three sentient creations of God. Interestingly, only humans and jinn have free will. The jinn live in their own communities and, similar to humans, can be good or evil. The Koran mentions that they are made of “smokeless flame.” In other words, a source of heat or light.
Unlike Christianity, where the devil is a fallen angel (Lucifer, or “light bearer”) who had rebelled against God, the Islamic devil is a jinn named Iblis. He was granted the privilege to live among angels, then rebelled against God, and ever since—like his Christian counterpart—has continued to lead humans astray, which he will do until the Day of Judgment.
We can easily see, then, how other beings that become known to humans in the world AD, might be interpreted as fallen angels by Christians, or as jinn by Muslims. In the case of Muslim believers, however, the attitude may well be less antagonistic than those of Christians, because some jinn are said to be good. Furthermore, according to Islamic belief, while the jinn Iblis may be a deceiver, he has no power to mislead true believers in God.
Although Judaism has little to say about the idea of extraterrestrial life, the religion, similar to Islam, should have little difficulty in assimilating it. According to the Talmud, there are at least 18,000 other worlds, although little else is said about them, including whether or not they are physical or spiritual. One kabbalistic book, the “Sefer HaBrit,” even mentions a planet called Meroz, where extraterrestrial creatures exist.
Buddhists, too, will have no problem assimilating the new reality. Buddhism has always understood that there are beings throughout the universe. This was taught by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, more than 2,500 years ago. One Buddhist response to the Peters survey was that “ETs would be, essentially, no different than other sentient beings, i.e., they would have Buddha Nature and would be subject to karmic consequences of their actions.” Another wrote: “As a Mahayana Buddhist, with a worldview that includes in scriptures Buddhas and bodhisattvas from many different world systems, such news would not be shattering theologically, though of course institutions and practices might reverberate.”
The same reactions can be expected from adherents of Hinduism, which also holds to the idea of multiple worlds and their relationships with each other. In addition to these material worlds, there is also the unlimited spiritual world, where all purified living entities live with a perfect conception about life and reality. Indeed, spiritually evolved humans have received guidance and help from these entities of the spiritual world.
Given the sheer diversity in worldwide religions, there will be no single religious response to Disclosure. Some already agree with the premise, others are moving in that direction, others have never considered it, some embrace the Others as divine emissaries, and some assail them as the work of the devil himself.
No matter what the disposition of the many religious institutions, standing pat will not be viable. Change will be a bumpy ride, more so for some faiths than others. In the end, most of the world’s faiths will expand their message. God will be seen to rule over all life in the universe, although undoubtedly some faiths will continue to claim that humankind has a special place in God’s plan.
Religion has never been a static human endeavor. We have seen Christianity and Judaism compete for loyalty, and we have seen Christianity fracture into its many permutations. Other faiths, too—such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam—have gone through their own historical changes.
Undoubtedly, new religions will be formed in the post-Disclosure world, influenced by who the Others are and what we learn of them. They will also be influenced by some of the adept and facile minds that spring to take advantage of the instability.
At least one of these religions will explode into the public consciousness with the right message at the right time. It is possible that the top religion of the future is one you have not yet heard of.
Bryce Zabel has created five primetime network series, notably NBC's Emmy-winning UFO series Dark Skies, and worked on a dozen TV writing staffs. He has collaborated with producers such as Steven Spielberg and David E. Kelley. Zabel is a former CNN correspondent and was the first writer elected as chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences since Rod Serling. He lives in Los Angeles, California.