May 25, 2012

Are They Aliens or Followers of the Devil?

People's theories on different alleged paranormal phenomena really interest me. I don't mean to say that I don't believe in anything paranormal, nor do I simply laugh at anyone who does. Sure, I have run across a fair amount of people who have really overactive imaginations or might even need some medication or institutionalization, but they are often the exception. In fact, I have found most people are embarrassed to share what they have seen or heard because they fear being labeled an idiot or a lunatic.

In any case, I was reading about a book called Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture. The review I read quoted some of the statistics from the book. There were some that were not horribly surprising to me, like that women are much more likely to believe in ghosts and hauntings than are men, while men are much more likely to believe in UFOs and aliens than are women. One of the most interesting pieces of information I read over had to do with religious belief and aliens.

I am going off of memory here, so this is not a direct quote, but the review essentially said that people from more fringe religions (Evangelicals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, etc) had less excepting viewpoints on the paranormal than members of more mainstream religions (such as Catholics). These people from less popular religions were far more likely to see pretty much anything paranormal as a manifestation of evil, or as a tool of the devil. For example, many people from these religious groups that were surveyed for the book expressed the personal belief that aliens were actually the devil's angels in disguise.

I had heard this theory many times before, both when I was a child and as a teenager. What was always explained to me by people who held this aliens-are-the-devil's-henchmen belief was that the devil was trying to distract people from God by making it appear that aliens were visiting the Earth.

Personally, I think the theory is a little convoluted. Sure, there are some people who have set up UFO churches, which seems to only support such theories. There are also people who seem to seek God out even more because they figure he is over the aliens and them, and that they need his protection from any aliens who might be hostile. Just like anything in life, I think a belief in aliens affects people's belief in a superior being in the way people allow it. After all, some people after a huge natural disaster stop believing in God, while others are strengthened in their belief of one who can help them through the aftermath.

I haven't read Paranormal America yet, but I plan to in the near future. Perhaps the findings published there will shed more light on why some people think aliens are really of the devil. If I do figure out more about the theory I will post about it on here. I honestly have never fully grasped the theory, other than people are afraid of the unknown and want to label it as bad so they don't have to give it any more thought, but can simply cast it away as rubbish.

What do you all think?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, I'm a Christian, so I guess that explains why I don't view aliens as demons. Besides, the devil isn't that obvious.

Steven said...

Alex, the research I read over stated it was not a difference between Christian and non-Christian denominations, but rather larger and more mainstream versus smaller or fringe groups, both those who are Christian and are of other persuasions.