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Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 1104 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... ENCYCLOPEDIC SOURCEBOOK OF UFO RELIGIONS By Austin
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2004
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      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 1104
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.


      By Austin Cline

      Recent years have seen a great deal of growth in what might be called "UFO
      religions." These are faith communities based not upon gods or demons, but
      rather aliens and flying saucers. Followers of these religions haven't
      exactly displaced traditional religions, but their influence on society has
      grown - and who knows what the future might bring?


      Title: The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions
      Author: edited by James R. Lewis
      Publisher: Prometheus Books

      Available via Amazon.Com:

      Pro: Very comprehensive resource covering a wide variety of material and

      Con: Expensive - not at all for the casual reader


      - Collection of scholarly essays about UFO religions

      - Explores psychological and sociological issues relating to UFO religious

      - Argues that there are common themes in all UFO religious movements



      It is a good idea for anyone interested in the study of religion to gain a
      better understanding of this particular religious movement -- one which has
      so many similarities to traditional religions but which is also an outgrowth
      of modern society and modern science. To that end, James R. Lewis has edited
      a volume of essays on these religious groups: The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of
      UFO Religions.

      A noted expert in new religious movements, Lewis has created an
      authoritative resource for both scholars and students. The title is somewhat
      misleading, I think, because an "encyclopedia" brings to mind a
      comprehensive reference book, alphabetically organized and detailing the
      basic structure, history, and beliefs of various religious groups. This book
      isn't like that.

      It is "encyclopedic" because it covers an incredible amount of ground and
      the extensive appendices explain basic beliefs and history to an amazing
      degree. The "meat" of the book, however, is in the nearly 400 pages and
      twenty articles that address all manner of issues relating to UFO religions:
      the role UFOs play in American society, how some of these religions see the
      world as a dangerous place, how believers react when prophecies fail to come
      true, etc.

      Why have UFO religions become popular not just in America, but also in other
      places like Canada, Europe, and Taiwan? A great deal of insight can be
      gained from the study of the Cargo Cults of the South Pacific. In these
      religious movements, people look forward to an "End Time" when current
      inadequacies will be made up for when "cargos" of Western consumer goods are
      delivered. This delivery is expected to be simultaneously a resurgence of
      material prosperity as well as a spiritual salvation or liberation.

      Followers of UFO religions have similar expectations. Current ecological,
      spiritual, and social problems will be resolved once superior aliens arrive
      and deliver to us not only their superior technology, but also their
      superior spiritual abilities which will allow us to overcome hatred, war,
      bigotry, and so forth. Also like the Cargo Cults, the UFO religions are
      millennarian in nature, looking forward to a time when a lost paradise can
      be recreated on Earth.

      Although their most prominent feature is belief in aliens and UFOs, it
      shouldn't be assumed that these religious groups are entirely new in their
      orientation. On the contrary, they frequently incorporate much from other

      It's unlikely that they would be so successful otherwise. Some use beliefs
      from Theosophy and American spiritualism. Others make use of traditional
      Christian and Jewish ideas.

      Raelians, for example, believe that many past religious teachers, like Jesus
      and the Buddha, were actually sent by aliens to teach humanity things we
      should know at culturally and historically appropriate times. Rael himself
      (an alien/human hybrid like Jesus) is simply the most recent (and final)
      prophet in a long line of prophets. Only now are we ready to understand that
      these teachers in the past weren't representing gods but, rather, beings
      from other planets -- beings who plan to come to Earth soon and complete
      their revelation to and education of humanity.

      This book is not for the casual reader or anyone with only a passing
      interest in UFOs and religion. It's expensive and it's not always an easy
      read. It is, however, the most comprehensive and scholarly resource out
      there in a single volume. So, for those who do have a serious interest in
      these issues, this is probably a must-have book; for people with a more
      casual interest in the subject, I recommend Lewis' earlier book Odd Gods,
      which includes a section on several UFO religious groups.


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