Do you remember movies like ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind? The concept of aliens from other planets has been entertaining us for years. And sometimes the belief in flying saucers with strange passengers, and alien abductions becomes like a religious cult with true believers. Also, life on other planets is a mainstream scientific theory. One of the hottest things in modern astronomy is the search for Earth like planets.
When I was a boy, probably about eight years old, my big brother found a new hobby. He became a UFOlogist. He found a source of cheaply printed books with blurry pictures of weird things in the sky, and he let me read them. For a little boy, that was the best hobby ever. I still remember those stories about visitations and abductions, and things in the sky that the Air Force denied.
Eventually our mother learned about this and she was not happy. The tension was broken one Sunday, in church. The pastor said something about UFOs, in his sermon, and I sat up and listened carefully. I was hoping he would set our mother straight, but instead he told us those things were wrong and Christians should never believe in them. I remember how our mother scowled at us and nodded.
I realize now that she probably phoned the pastor and told him that her boys were going astray, and he set us straight from the pulpit. At the time I accepted my defeat, and looked for other hobbies.
Many years later, I was traveling in Arizona with some other people, and we drove into New Mexico and found the small city of Roswell. If you don’t know, about seventy years ago, a rancher found some debris on his land, near Roswell, and the military didn’t want to talk about it.
Now Roswell is a pilgrimage center for true believers. Shops that should be empty on main street have information centers and museums full of tourists. If you don’t believe in UFOs, it’s a lot of fun and the city needs the economy. I had a great afternoon.
New Mexico is east of Arizona, but if you travel north instead, to Las Vegas Nevada, you can drive north of that city into some wild country with a semi-secret airbase; Area 51. This is the other UFO pilgrimage site, with bus tours from Vegas. You can drive on Nevada State Route 375, the “Extraterrestrial Highway” in the desert, and watch the other tourists searching for mysterious things. I think that road would have almost no traffic if UFOlogists didn’t write about it.
Christians can know two things about UFOs and beings that are not from this world; people really are seeing something, and life does exist in other places. Reports of strange lights in the sky and flying objects that we can’t explain come from every part of the world. I don’t know what people are seeing, possibly there is an explanation, but people are seeing something.
Also, life does exist out there. I don’t know if Heaven is a planet and I don’t know what an angel looks like, but the Bible describes “hosts” of beings that are not from this Earth.
I think UFOlogy started when people stopped believing in God. If we don’t have angels, we can have intelligent beings in flying saucers instead. If we don’t believe in Heaven, we can search for planets that might support life. Christians worship Jesus, a being who came to this planet from somewhere else, and we communicate with Him when we pray. Skeptics and deniers might laugh, but then they wrap religion in pseudo-science and believe the same things.
We all know there is something out there.
Do you know these mysterious words from the first chapter of Job?
One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
We don’t know the story behind this scene, but we can know that this God loves us, and his message will make us better people.
And in the Christmas story:
And there were shepherds residing in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Just then, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2:8 to 15).
UFOs indeed. Someone is sending us a message.