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Lights in the Sky & Little Green Men

[Lights in the Sky & Little Green Men] Lights in the Sky & Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials
by Hugh Ross, Kenneth R. Samples, & Mark Clark
NavPress, 2002
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Recommended by: Greg Slade

For years now, the idea has been going around that the Earth is receiving regular visits by spaceships occupied by extraterrestrials. Some believe that these aliens are malevolent beings out to exploit, enslave, or even destroy mankind (such as portrayed in films like War of the Worlds, V, or Independence Day), while other see them as benevolent beings who are here to bring us to a new age of enlightenment (such as portrayed in films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., or Cocoon.) In fact, some UFO enthusiasts are convinced that the U.S. government is "covering up" evidence of alien landings, either to keep alien technology to itself, or to prevent mass panic.

Now, as a science fiction fan, I have to admit that I find the idea of aliens from other worlds fascinating. I can't help but wonder how their lives would be different from ours, and how God would be dealing with them. Would they be unfallen, as C.S. Lewis posits in his Cosmic Trilogy, and therefore have a closer relationship to God than we can have? On the other hand, I have to admit that what I have learned in biology and astronomy classes when I was at UBC indicates that life in the universe, let alone intelligent life, is likely to be vanishingly rare, and even if there were intelligent life around other stars, the distance between the stars makes interstellar communication virtually impossible. (In science fiction, you can wave your hands and make believe that such things as travel faster than the speed of light are possible. In the real world, it looks almost as if the universe were specifically designed to keep human beings in "quarantine.")

So what is a Christian to make of reports of UFO sightings? Hugh Ross, the director of the apologetics ministry Reasons to Believe, together with co-worker Kenneth Samples and political scientist Mark Clark, look at the issue from multiple perspectives, discussing the scientific, philosophical, theological, political, and military issues involved in the UFO phenomenon. They discuss the history and nature of UFO sightings and "abductions", the likelihood of life on other planets and issues involved in interstellar travel, allegations of government cover ups, and the religious side of the UFO phenomenon, including UFO cults.

The conclusion that Ross, Samples, and Clark come to is that UFOs are not, in fact, spacecraft carrying aliens to visit Earth, but rather demonic deceptions. They bring forwards a great deal of evidence to buttress their convictions, including the somewhat surprising fact that the likelihood of somebody seeing a UFO is actually inversely proportional to the amount of time looking at the night sky:

These RUFO witnesses were not astronomers with the greatest amount of observing time. In fact, the sample indicated a reverse correlation. Astronomers with only a few observation hours per year witnessed RUFOs, whereas astronomers logging more than a thousand hours saw nothing. (p. 119)

In fact, the single factor which seems to be most directly correlated to seeing a UFO is involvement in occult activities. In other words, UFOs seem to appear to people who have gotten the most involved in activities which render them vulnerable to demonic oppression. Ross, Samples, and Clark are not alone in drawing this conclusion. Lynn Marzulli makes much the same argument in fictional form in his books Nephilim and The Unholy Deception.

I am not sure that I quite agree with all of the arguments in this book. For one thing, I came up with a different number for the transit time to the next nearest star than they do, when travelling at the speed of the fastest spacecraft built by NASA so far. (I came up with 74,000 years vs. the 112,000 years that Ross gives. Possibly he was using Voyager I, which, at least when I made my calculations, was the farthest spacecraft from Earth, but Voyager II had a higher final velocity, so I used it for my calculations instead.) For another thing, a fair number of the variables related to whether or not life is possible seem to me to be less rigid than the book implies. For example, a fair number of the variables related to keeping the surface of a planet within a fairly narrow temperature range. (After all, liquid water seems to be an essential prerequisite for life, so planets which are too hot or too cold for water to remain liquid would not make good candidates to support life.) However, rather than assuming that every single variable (such as the amount of radiation coming from the local star, the radius of the orbit, the albedo of the planet, and so on) must be just like Earth, it seems to me that a different combination of factors which result in the same temperature range would still make a planet a possible candidate for life. Still, there are some factors which are so extreme (such as interstellar distances) that everything else is just quibbling. On the whole, I cannot find reason to dispute the main thrust of the argument. That means that we're not going to be travelling among the stars any time soon. It also means that the UFO phenomenon is as much of a threat as some people have always assumed, albeit for different reasons. After all, we've always known that demons are malevolent being, who are indeed out to exploit, enslave, or even destroy mankind. (July, 2005)


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