For a century now, the world has been looking to the stars and asking an important question: Is there alien life in outer space? According to a Gallup poll, 32 million Americans have seen a UFO; but these high numbers are not merely limited to our borders. Canada has estimated that 3 million of its citizens have seen a UFO with comparable figures in other nations around the globe. Other polls reveal 4 million Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens and a whopping 80% believe that the government is hiding the existence of extra-terrestrials. Is it any wonder that a FoxNews opinion poll calculates that more than 100 million of us believe in E.T.s?

In the media UFOs have indeed landed and, from the looks of it, they aren’t going anywhere.  Just read Newsweek or Time, watch the most recent Hollywood offerings (like last year’s “Dark Skies” or the upcoming “Extraterrestrial”), the pilot episode of “The Conspiracy Show” (recently re-aired on NBC), the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” or any of a slew of documentaries on Science or the Discovery Channel. The question of extra-terrestrial life saturates the pop culture, so much in fact that it seems any current objection to the idea of life on other planets has become an antiquated attack on science itself.

But do we have a definitive explanation for these strange objects, lights, and encounters that many have claimed to see and experience? Are they really all that they appear to be?

In 2009 NASA launched the Kepler satellite. Its mission: To search for planets outside our galaxy that are habitable to life. MSNBC ran a story on the satellite with this subtitle at the bottom of the screen: ARE WE CLOSER TO FINDING ALIEN LIFE?

This isn’t the first attempt to search for E.T.s. Nikola Tesla thought he had received radio transmissions from Mars going all the way back to the late 19th century. The important thing to note here is that, from Tesla to NASA, no evidence of extra-terrestrials has ever been discovered. A fair question to ask at this point is: Why have we not discovered E.T.s on other planets considering the abundance of sightings on our own?

In order to answer this question we must first examine the typical UFO-sighting scenario.  There appears to be a pattern with UFO sightings that can be broken down into a few commonalities: Strange lights or odd-shaped objects appear in the sky either hovering or maneuvering at speeds and angles that defy logic. One UFO eyewitness is quoted as saying: “They were moving faster than anything that I’ve ever seen or imagined, and turning – doing ‘u-turns’ without even slowing down.  It should be impossible for anything to do that – but they were!”[1] Other common features of UFO sightings are that objects appear to change shape and even disappear.

From this pattern we can infer that these objects are visible yet not physical, at least “not physical” in the sense that they are unrestricted to the laws of physics. Prominent UFO researchers J. Allen Hynek and Jacque Vallee articulate this issue of the non-corporeal characteristic of UFOs:

“If UFOs are, indeed, somebody else’s ‘nuts and bolts hardware,’ then we must still explain how such tangible hardware can change shape before our eyes, vanish in a Cheshire cat manner… seemingly melt away in front of us, or apparently ‘materialize’ mysteriously before us without apparent detection by persons nearby or in neighboring towns. We must wonder too where UFOs are ‘hiding’ when not manifesting themselves to human eyes.”[2]

Notice the interesting choice of words here: “… manifesting themselves to human eyes.”[3] Hynek and Vallee’s observations lead to a more fundamental question: Where are UFOs really coming from?

John Weldon notes in The Facts on UFOs and other Supernatural Phenomena that despite the millions of sightings, there has never been a single radar detection of a UFO entering our atmosphere from space.  Gordon Creighton the editor of Flying Saucer Review (which has objectively researched UFOs for over 40 years) posted an official statement saying: “There seems to be no evidence yet that any of these craft or beings originate from outer space.”[4]

Also, consider the fact that UFOs have been fired upon numerous times by fighter pilots around the world, yet no one has ever brought one down.  In other words, UFOs are not coming from somewhere out there; they are appearing out of thin air and are (apparently) noncorporeal, which explains the impossible angles and speeds they display when maneuvering.

Now, someone might ask at this point, what about Roswell? It is considered common knowledge that a UFO crashed in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico and the government covered it up. Since there was an extensive crash site discovered with debris it follows that the non-corporeal characteristic of UFOs should be dismissed. But what crashed in Roswell was not a UFO.

In the mid-1990s the government finally released classified information pertaining to a covert operation known as TOP SECRET 1A, later known as Project Mogul, which involved acoustic technology with radar-reflecting metal foil kites attached to balloons to spy on the Soviet Union. The project began in 1947 and the Roswell crash debris actually came from Mogul flight 4 launched in nearby Alamogordo Army Air Field. The reason for the government “cover-up” of this particular crash was fairly obvious considering the Cold War threat: If the Soviets knew we were spying on them, they would have moved their nuclear testing underground.

The Roswell account is indicative of an extremely high number of mistaken UFO sightings by explainable phenomena: “It would be fair to say that the majority of these investigations usually conclude that sightings can be explained as natural phenomena or man-made technologies. Figures on this are usually in the vicinity of 90-95 percent… The most common object mistakenly labeled as a UFO is the planet Venus (27 percent of all sightings).”[5]

This vast number of false sightings is rather large but it does nothing to explain the remaining percentage of real, unidentified flying objects; nor does it explain what people have experienced in classic alien abduction cases.

Perhaps the explanation for alien abduction experiences lies in the noncorporeality of UFOs. If you haven’t already considered it, there is another quite common phenomenon that exhibits all the same qualities of a UFO sighting; i.e. objects that appear and disappear at will, defy the laws of physics, and are noncorporeal. They are known as spirits, ghosts, or apparitions. In other words UFOs appear to be more in line with paranormal activity than extraterrestrial phenomena.

Continue reading in Part 2 of “Aliens and UFOs: A Christian Perspective”

[1] Gary Bates, Alien Intrusion (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc., 2004), 148.

[2] J. Allen Hynek and Jacque Vallee, The Edge of Reality (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Co., 1975), xii-xiii.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Official policy statement of Flying Saucer Review, quoted in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on UFOs and other Supernatural Phenomena (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1992), 12.

[5] Gary Bates, Alien Intrusion (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc., 2004), 149.