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The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey
The Impact of UFOs and their Occupants on Religion

DEVELOPMENT OF QUESTIONS AND ANALYSIS OF RESPONSES

Would irrefutable proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life in the universe have any effect on religious ideology in the U.S.? The UFO Community maintains there are several reasons the U.S. government has withheld information on the UFO phenomenon (and its component aspects). A reason prominently offered is that there would be a religious crisis in this country. Yet, in my research I could find nothing to substantiate this premise. This conundrum led to the hypothetical question: if a mass UFO landing were to take place how would pastors, priests and rabbis address the event to their congregation? What if, in the weeks that followed a face-to-face contact, we found out (as the UFO Community's leaders proclaim) these obviously technologically superior beings had no religion?

The development of the survey was predicated upon designing concise, simple questions addressing these concerns without bias. Careful analysis of the questions by UFO aficionados will note that attention was paid to addressing the prevailing theories within UFO circles. The aim was not to dispute or confirm any position, but to allow those individuals who are directly responsible for community religious life to express their opinions and general attitudes.

Question 1, "Official confirmation of the discovery of an advanced, technologically superior extraterrestrial civilization would have severe negative effects on the country's moral, social and religious foundations," was designed to introduce the basic concept to be surveyed, without alienating the potential respondent with such oft-putting buzz words as "UFO sightings, E.T.s, abductions, evil aliens, hybrid babies, etc. An overwhelming 77% of the respondents, representing the three major religions in this country, rejected this hypothesis.

Whereas, Question 1 dealt was the country's moral, social and religious environments, Question 2, "My congregation would perceive any contact made with a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization, direct or indirect, as a threat," goes straight to the heart of another ongoing UFO controversy. In the context of current Ufology, UFOs and their inhabitants are threats to our society. 67% of the total respondents chose "Strongly Disagree" or "Disagree"; secondarily, a total 16% chose "Neither Agree Nor Disagree," while only a total of 2% chose "Strongly Agree" and a total of 13% chose "Agree." Clearly, another indication that this is merely a perceived threat entertained solely by the UFO Community. This question also subtly addresses the implied threat of "advanced technology" and "hostile intentions." Excepting what is meant by "threat," respondents elected to dismiss the consideration altogether.

Question 3, "The discovery of another intelligent civilization would cause my congregation to question their fundamental concepts regarding the origin of life," addresses the issue of the unique status of humans in the universe. Since some religious organizations maintain Man at the pinnacle of development, the existence of another advanced civilization could challenge that concept. The question impacts on the meaning of the doctrine that God made Man in His own image. Once again, a majority of the three groups surveyed agreed. 82% of the total respondents chose "Strongly Disagree" and "Disagree"; while a total of 6% chose "Neither Agree Nor Disagree." Question 3 received the smallest total percent, indicating a strong interest in the statement. Evident by the statistics stated herein and confirmed by the comments of respondents, the majority feel the religious faith of their congregation would overcome such proclamations by an unknown, external group.

Question 4, "If highly advanced intelligent civilizations exists elsewhere in the universe, the basic tenets of religion would be present" queries the respondent on his/her views regarding the relationship between intelligence and religion. This question introduces the philosophical aspect of religion's place in Man's development. Would a "highly advanced intelligent civilization" have long since dispensed with religion in favor of science and knowledge? The theologians comments are straightforward and unambiguous in supporting their faith: Man's relationship to God is unique; however, God is the creator of all things. Many respondents, in fact, would be very curious about God's relationship to other beings; was there "original sin" and how did God reveal Himself to them. Since our Judeo-Christian model is based on Adam and Eve's fall from God's grace, God's relationship to other beings would be different in all its dimensions. 70% of the total respondents to the survey chose "Strongly Agree" or "Agree," while only a total of 2% chose "Strongly Disagree" and 3% chose "Disagree." Viewed as an indicator, one would infer these responses are not those of individuals whose belief structure could be easily shaken.

Question 5, "Genetic similarities between mankind and an advanced extraterrestrial civilization would challenge the basic religious concepts of man's relative position in the universe" is a variant of Question 3 and 10 and is meant to clarify a persistent UFO Community belief which states that accounts of alien interest in humans is grounded in our genetic similarities. Is Man's place in God's universe unique or is God's image manifold throughout the universe? Would knowledge of other intelligent beings with similar genetic makeup confirm an evolutionary process rather than a divine one? The theologians surveyed responded with a total percentage of 77% for "Strongly Disagree or Disagree." Only 2% chose "Strongly Agree," while a relatively low 14% chose "Neither Agree Nor Disagree."

Question 6, "If an advanced extraterrestrial civilization had religious beliefs fundamentally different from ours, it would endanger organized religions in this country" is a variation of Question 4. Essentially, would people abandon their religion for another based on the source being (at least technologically) far more advanced? Also, this addresses the UFO Community's assumption that an extraterrestrial civilization would bring their religion here and there would be mass conversions, thereby destroying our own religious beliefs. Once again, the variation of the question did not elicit different conclusions: a total of 70% of the respondents chose "Strongly Disagree" or "Disagree," while again, 2% chose "Strongly Agree" and 11% chose "Agree." However, these responses disregard the proven anthropological thesis that the superior culture always subsumes the inferior culture.

Question 7, "Scientific confirmation of contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization is probable in our lifetime," received the total highest percentage of 39% for the response "Neither Agree Nor Disagree." While the total response for "Strongly Disagree" and "Disagree" was high at 47%, there has been a consistent trend in the survey responses which shows an interest in the theological challenges such contact would provide without fear their faith would be at risk. No doubt there is a uniform lack of importance of issue here and how low the priority is.

Question 8, "It is unlikely that direct contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization has occurred or is currently ongoing," was designed to elicit information about the respondents knowledge of reported contacts and abductions. The answers strongly reflects that, regardless of claims of widespread UFO sightings and an unrelenting onslaught of alien abductions of humans, theologians have not been exposed to this information in a manner that would indicate a responsiveness to even consider the proposal. 59% of the total respondents chose "Strongly Agree" or "Agree." In hope of better UFO Community relations with religious bodies, we note that a combined 12% of the respondents chose "Strongly Disagree" or "Disagree" and a total of 29% had no definitive opinion on this question, choosing "Neither Agree Nor Disagree."

Question 9, "My congregation would question their beliefs if an advanced extraterrestrial civilization had no system of religion," once again reaffirms the main theme of the survey. Is religion an antiquated concept, barely surviving in our scientifically-oriented, forward-thinking society? Would contact with an "advanced extraterrestrial civilization" without a religion be God's death knell? From the responses we can reasonably infer that it is assumed that faith in current beliefs would remain firmly established. No respondent chose "Strongly Agree" as an answer.

Question 10, "If an advanced extraterrestrial civilization proclaimed responsibility for producing human life, it would cause a religious crisis," addresses Ufology's centerpiece theory. That theory suggests that alien beings had something to do with our evolutionary process, or in its more developed form, actually came to Earth and seeded us. This theory postulates that aliens can manipulate life and in effect, design life for their own intentions and needs. Since the creation of life is considered by religion to be solely God's province, this question lies at the root of UFO abductee's experiences. With abductees and UFO researchers claiming "they made us" the link between God and Man has an interloper. (This question received two "Dumb Statement" remarks). Again, a significant agreement among the three religious groups emerged, with a 54% total choosing "Strongly Disagree" or "Disagree."

Question 11, "I believe my answers to the preceding questions represent the views of my congregation," was a question suggested by Mr. Bigelow. This summarizes the survey with regards to who's views are being represented. This answer garnered the second highest total percentage of 69% (highest total response was Question 4, at 70%). Several theologians gave two sets of answers noting which were personal views and which views they felt were those of the congregation. The total high percentages for the three questions specifying addressing congregational viewpoints (Questions 2, 3 and 9) attest that respondents' consider themselves arbitrators of their communities social perspective.

An additional point to be considered is that 15 respondents returned the survey without answering the questions, yet 14 chose to write comments about the subject. It is significant to note that 14 of the 15 were Catholic fathers, while the other was a Protestant pastor. Their input was incorporated in the Comments section of this Report.

COMMENTS

ROMAN CATHOLIC FATHERS

KS - 850 families:
"These are basic tenets of our faith that cannot be surrendered to any threat in our "intelligible knowledge" and our capacity to know, a Divine Creator personally involved in our existence. That is an act of faith."

MN - 1100 size of congregation:
"I think it would be absolutely exciting if we ever uncovered advanced extraterrestrial civilization. However, I don't think it's very likely—or why haven't "they" discovered us yet and told us?? It won't make any difference anyway because the same God is still in the "driver's seat." "

CT - 1100 families:
"Read "The Second Conquest" by Louis DeUnhl, Lippincott circa 1952. It is about extraterrestrial beings landing on Earth which is their temptation source as in Adam and Eve and the Apple."

IA - 200 size of congregation:
"None."

AL - 1000 families:
"Your survey was lots of fun and actually theologically challenging. If there were discovery or contact made with extraterrestrial intelligent life, it would require a re-articulation of church doctrine and thought—but I personally don't think, necessarily a re-invention of new doctrine or thought. In other words, I believe it (dogma) would continue to hold water. Perhaps a good analogy would be the acknowledgment that the earth wasn't the center of the universe. New knowledge of significance often threatens but is not necessary opposed to faith."

MI: "Try raising funds to feed hungry and clothe naked!"

PA - 200 households:
"I have not been here long enough to answer confidently for this congregation. I have difficulty responding in so limited a way to the statements as presented. The use of modifiers such as : probably, unlikely, severe, make responding even more difficult. If this is research done in pursuit of an academic degree, the tool should be modified. A person responding is entitled to know what purpose is being served."

IL:
The respondent answered only the first 5 questions; he wrote on the top of the survey: "This whole questionnaire is based on a hypothesis and therefore not of interest to me."

WY - 200 households:
"If an extraterrestrial could respond, I would like to know how God revealed Himself to them, and if they also had an original sin history."

FL:
"You did not ask if (I) (We) believe other life would ever be found. No. Your survey is a waste of money that could be given to the poor and homeless here on this planet. I hope it is not government money—(my) (our) taxes."

IL - 300 families:
"Perhaps there is a race of intelligent beings out there who have never fallen from grace and who have made very great technological progress over many thousands of years. God is infinite and the possibilities that He created could well be infinite also. We should not fear the possibilities there may be in the universe."

MI - 400 Winter, 800 Summer, size of congregation:
"There are many answers to these questions that cannot be given because we simply don't know."

CT:
"There is considerable disparity between my opinions and those of my congregation who are largely very biased and generally uneducated."

FL:
"I do not understand why these questions are asked. Sorry."

VA - 2000 families:
"Please see attached."
"In answer to your survey, I am doubtful of any long range or short range value; however, it did cause me to stop for a moment and think so I think that in itself deserves a response.
"To wit, Jesus Christ entered into our existence and redeemed us. The us is very important. He did not redeem other intelligent life forms (assuming they exist) thus what is there relationship to the one true creator. Would Jesus in one form or another travel the universe being born or what ever and then die for their redemption? It these life forms to exist then He, who died for us, must die for them.
"The only other plausible explanation would be that other intelligent life forms do not stand in need of redemption; being not in conflict with God. If this be the case then any form of communication with, association with or even minimal contact with would be impossible in this material existence; they being so vastly different—their very life would be unintelligible to us and us to them.
"Does all this mean that I don't believe in intelligence life in the universe? The answer is I don't know. Contact, if existence is, would be highly unlikely. No doubt science fiction writers would have my had for this. It is true that I am a "Star Trek" fan. I have every issue of the old series on tape, my minted copy of the Enterprise, hundreds of hours logged at their conventions, etc. Why? It is simple. I like a good yarn and theirs is one of the best.
"Forgive the typos as I am sure there are many and this was written late at night. Contact is better at night with the others, more scary, you know."

OH - about 280:
"I am excited about this Good News. Unless we look at this a part of God's Divine Plan we miss the whole point of God's Message." Attached to survey: "Victoria Alexander: As regards your pilot survey, I cannot speak for this congregation, since I have been here for only 4 months. Through reading, research, reflection on the Divine Plan of God, I cannot see any harm that could come from extra-terrestrial civilization. To open up to the discovery of such civilization seems to me to only be a great thrust forward for we mere earthly creatures. Also I believe this has been the plan of God for our coming into contact with his other living creatures. The though of more than one civilization expands the greatness of the God I believe in. "We mortal creatures on this planet seems to always had a fear of the unknown. Once discovered who knows what the horizons can offer?"

PA - 950 families; 3600 souls:
"Why are we assuming extraterrestrial civilization is advanced? - Maybe only in technology, does that equate with morally - superior; culturally - superior; - and contact would be with individuals who would no more represent a species or race than one person does the human race."

MN:
Comment on Qs. 10: "Dumb statement!"

NY:
"If we believe that God created the universe, I personally believe that any life that exists outside this planet is somehow connected to Him!"

NY:
"Answers reflect basic commitment in faith to "after-life" in heaven!"

WI - 500 families:
Respondent wrote on the bottom of the survey: "Please do not pass my name or address to other surveys or any other mailings."

FL:
"I think the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous."

WA:
"Are you serious? If so, good luck, if not, it was fun answering your questions." [Respondent made comments next to several questions] Qs.1: "The impact would depend on whether you are conservative or liberal." Qs. 2: "Very conservative." Qs. 5: "We like to play MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE." Qs. 6: "We'd have a religious war and wipe the suckers out." Qs. 9: "We'd go preach to them."

WV - 350 families, 1200 persons:
"I believe that a distinction in the type of religious congregations should be made. Those Churches that have a solid, theological tradition would be challenged but not disturbed. Those without a solid theological tradition, namely more fundamentalists churches would definitely be disturbed."

GA:
Respondent did not answer any of the questions but commented: "Who is Victoria Alexander? Who does she represent? What does she plan to do with the outcome of this survey?"

NY - 400 families:
"If there are other civilizations out there, there could be millions of them, given the size of the universe, many far more advanced than ourselves. I think we would have had irrefutable proof of this long before now."

TX - 600 families:
"We do not know the "Mind" of God. He might have placed "Intelligent Beings" on other planets. We do not know. If He did, and the [status] of that category of ''intelligent life" remained obedient to whatever law or laws He gave them, then they would not have lost the "magnitude" of the intelligentsia with which He endowed them. Our Theology teaches us that as a consequent of original sin committed by our first parents, our intellects were "darkened," our minds "weakened" and there was left in us a strong "inclination to evil" (Understatement: if ever there were such). So if you placed "Intelligent life on other planets" and these beings "obeyed" Him then such beings would be inexplicably more intelligent than us and far more scientifically advanced. "I wish you luck with your project. I am very interested in the subject you have chosen. I would be delighted to receive a copy of your research paper. Thank you. " The Msgr. also commented of some questions: Qs. 6: "God cannot be in contraction to Himself. His teachings and truths cannot be "fundamentally" different, no matter what the circumstances. God is truth." Qs. 7: "I would prefer the word possible over probable." Qs. 10: "If such civilization were "advanced" it could not make such an absurdclaim." Qs. 11: "They would represent the views of some in my congregation, not all."

PA:
"With everything else that I have to do, did you expect me to do this?"

IA - 1000+ families:
"We sincerely doubt anyone is discussing this after talking to some people."

MO - 900 families:
"It seems probable we will eventually make contact with people elsewhere. I don't see any reason to expect they will likely be more advanced than us. It could well be the opposite."

OR:
"Do not wish to take part."

FL - 2,000 families:
"This is a Catholic congregation. We believe that God is the Creator and Ruler of the Cosmos of which Planet Earth is a part so, it does make sense, to believe that God rules over other civilizations. However, Jesus Christ, who is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is at the heart of our faith. At the end of time, every Knee shall bend in front of Our Beloved Lord, Jesus Christ. (All people and civilizations. Comment on Qs. 6: "We would need to know in what way they are fundamentally different from our beliefs." "Father asked me to work with the parishioners on this. Feel free to contact me if you need more information. 30 parishioners were selected, at random [and polled for the survey]." [Ed. Note: I called respondent who highly recommended a book by Leonardo Boff, "Jesus Christ, The Liberator" in which the author suggests Christ has redeemed E.T. races under another guise. They are very enthusiastic about the survey, feel it will be an important study and anxious to help further].

PA - 500 families:
"Were I taking the survey, I would have included, for Christians, anyway, a simple question along these lines...If there were beings on another planet, would they be in need of redemption? Or, would they have "original sin?" "P.S. I must tell you that the notion of original sin has undergone some evolution among progressive believers. For instance, I truck with those who believe that at birth all peoples are "children of God," of whatever religious system. Everybody has some kind of "Faith", value system). But everyone is born into a world of darkness (as well as light) and ar affected by the "world's sinfulness," or the human condition. [Ed. Note: Following letter was attached to survey.]

March 13, 1994
Dear Victoria,
Greetings from PA.
I was pleased to receive your pilot survey.
As I went through it, I was very conscious that my views do not represent our congregation; I have never been in any position as a priest of close to four decades, and as pastor of four different congregations since 1971, to speak for any congregation; let alone the catholic church.
My experience is that there is very little consensus in congregations. I belong to the Roman Catholic faith, and before Vatican II (1962-65) we prided ourselves in being "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic," but this was a myth. Since the days of the Early Church, we have never been united. St. Paul experienced this problem in his ministry to a number of Christian communities, and he came up with the axiom: "In essentials--unity; in doubtfuls--liberty; in all things--charity."
Your survey is found at the second level, namely, "doubtfuls."
Since 1965, the Catholic Church has been characterized with "Pluralism." Although some operate on the premise that we are a unified group, basically, we are not.
I have always been a radical skeptic when it comes to extraterrestrial life, UFO's, and the like. I have met a small group of folks who are "firm believers" in this sort of thing--none of whom were Catholics. I am very familiar with the writings of that chap who wrote several books on visits from outer space (if memory serves correctly, his last name is Strieber--I pitched his books long ago), a victim of an overactive imagination, as I find most "believers" in extraterrestrial life or civilization.
I know of no pastor who can answer your questions about the pulse of his/her congregation, unless he has taken a survey like yours.
Hence, I speak for myself.
I had one experience in the pulpit recently where I mentioned in passing a story I read while in Myrtle Beach, S.C., during January--a comet hurling through space no more than a mile in circumference which was "almost" heading our way, calculated to pass by in mid-July. Such a collision, I said, could destroy all life on our planet. Planetary or comet collisions is only one of eleven ways scientists tells our planet can end. There is no redemptive value in thinking about doomsday nor doomsday rhetoric. If believers trusted that the end (their personal life or the life on our planet) was "their beginning," they would welcome the alleged catastrophe joyfully, hopefully.
I cite this passing reference in my homily produced some minor feedback; a few parents told me that their teenagers became upset.
While studying theology in the 50s, one of my professors made slight mention about life on other planets. Would this, he asked rhetorically, make any difference to our religion or beliefs system. Absolutely not--he replied. If there were life on other planets, he went on, they would be under another dispensation than the one in which we find ourselves. If redemption was necessary for them, than Almighty God would make the arrangements; the one in which we find ourselves is sufficient. Naturally, such folks would not be "under Adam's fall."
I doubt that few, if any, catholic homilists bring up this point in the pulpit on Sunday mornings. The matter may come up in discussion groups or study groups, although it has never come up in my experience. If catholics, as a whole, were familiar with my professor's "opinion," I feel they would answer as I have done in your survey.
Thank you for counting me in on your survey. Naturally, I would be also pleased to receive a copy of your research paper. All my best. Sincerely,

KY:
"Strong faith in God will not be shaken by any discovery . Weak faith is upset by anything.

WI - 35 families:
"Its possible that life on another planet did not fall as on earth and had no need of redemption. If that were true I don't think that effects the situation on earth."

IA:
"I also represent an Hispanic Community. I could answer for them the same way as I did above for my Anglo congregation."

PA:
"I have no idea of the opinions of this congregation on the material of your survey. RE: Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life. Two things should be considered - 1) In the event they sinned, they would need redeeming (e.g. comparable to Jesus here). 20 If they did not sin, there would be no need for redemption and they would not suffer the effect of sin - death, a darkening of the intellect, pain, disease, etc."

NY:
"If we believe that God created the universe, I personally believe that any life that exists outside this planet is somehow connected to Him!"

WI:
"Its possible that life on another planet did not fall as on earth and had no need of redemption. If that were true I don't think that effects the situation on earth."

TX:
"We do not know the "Mind" of God. He might have placed "Intelligent Beings" on other planets. We do not know. If He did, and the [status] of that category of ''intelligent life" remained obedient to whatever law or laws He gave them, then they would not have lost the "magnitude" of the intelligentsia with which He endowed them. Our Theology teaches us that as a consequent of original sin committed by our first parents, our intellects were "darkened," our minds "weakened" and there was left in us a strong "inclination to evil."..So if you placed "Intelligent life on other planets" and these beings "obeyed" Him then such beings would be inexplicably more intelligent than us and far more scientifically advanced."

MO:
"It seems probable we will eventually make contact with people elsewhere. I don't see any reason to expect they will likely be more advanced than us. It could well be the opposite."

PA:
"Why are we assuming extraterrestrial civilization is advanced? - Maybe only in technology, does that equate with morally - superior; culturally - superior; - and contact would be with individuals who would no more represent a species or race than one person does the human race."

PA:
"...Two things should be considered - 1) In the event they sinned, they would need redeeming (e.g. comparable to Jesus here). 20 If they did not sin, there would be no need for redemption and they would not suffer the effect of sin - death, a darkening of the intellect, pain, disease, etc."

VA:
"In answer to your survey, I am doubtful of any long range or short range value; however, it did cause me to stop for a moment and think so I think that in itself deserves a response. To wit, Jesus Christ entered into our existence and redeemed us. The us is very important. He did not redeem other intelligent life forms (assuming they exist) thus what is their relationship to the one true creator? Would Jesus in one form or another travel the universe being born or whatever and then die for their redemption? If these life forms do exist then He, who died for us, must die for them. The only other plausible explanation would be that other intelligent life forms do not stand in need of redemption; being not in conflict with God. If this be the case then any form of communication with, association with, or even minimal contact with, would be impossible in this material existence; they being so vastly different - their very life would be unintelligible to us and us to them."

WY:
"If an extraterrestrial could respond, I would like to know how God revealed Himself to them, and if they also had an original sin history."

PASTORS

WY -150 size of congregation:
"I would have felt more confident with your survey had you used inclusive language (see question #5). I'm rather surprised you didn't! Also, this is so speculative I had real difficulty even guessing how my congregation/society would respond in terms of their religious identities to advanced exterrestrial civilization."

MN - 110 size of congregation:
"I do believe God made the heavens and Earth so therefore all is made by him. "Angels - etc. - could be considered extraterrestrial there has been contact on earth with them - that has not caused a religious crisis."

WI - 250 individuals:
"Interesting! We've discussed some of these possibilities. Most of my congregation believe there is the possibility of E.T.s, but maintain that they had to have been created by the One God who created the universe. The Bible neither included nor excludes this possibility."

TX:
"I am not sure what you are driving at. However, if there is something out there it will not be in a contradiction of the Gospel of Christ - because what is out there God created and it is a part of His Realm."

IA - 700 size of congregation):
"You raise an interesting issue. For some people (Christians) the thought of ET's corrupts their faith system. They see humans whom God loves and redeems in Christ the height of creation. This belief, ironically, borders on the humanism they abhor."

OR - 400 size of congregation:
"I would have appreciated a cover letter explaining the purpose and context of your research project."

VA - 160 size of congregation:
"(Q1) Do you affirm/think/believe that there is a conflict between understanding scientific quests for knowledge and your religious interpretations? (Q2) The interpretations of scientific data are moderately uniform. (Q3) At least other intelligent forms of civilization may/might exist in the entire universe."

NY - 50 size of congregation:
"The Bible teaches that there is much more life in the universe than man (Revelation 4; Isaiah 6; Colossians 1:16; I Peter 3:22; Daniel 4:13,17,23)."

VA:
"This is a very unlikely thing to happen - God created Heaven and Earth and Man was created to replenish the earth - I do not believe in extraterrestrial civilization.

KS:
"I do not know the opinions of my congregation. I have no real opinions on the above. I suggest you buy a book by C.S. Lewis titled "The World's Last Night" and read essay "Religion and Rocketry." This book is available from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1250 Sixth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101. ISBN 0-15-698360-5 - This is the best Christian writing I know of about this exotic topic." Comment on Qs. 10: "Dumb question."

AZ - 225 size of congregation:
"I prefer not to participate since I have no idea what this is about or who you are."

OH:
"Since you talk of an "advanced" society, I assume that if it wasn't "advanced" no contact could be made since we haven't made the contact or "they" have been able to avoid what contact we have tried." [Ed. Note: The Pastor commented on most of the questions.] Qs.4: "Depends on how "they" view origin of life." Qs.6: "We might convert, they might convert, a synthesis or both sides might hold fast or our own religiously oriented wars would seem mild." Qs.7: "Some "witnesses" already say this has happened." Qs.10: " Again, at least not at the first. Like Thomas, they'd want visible proof." "Qs. 11: "I don't read minds and don't pretend to know, especially since this is an undiscussed subject for us."

PA - 310 size of congregation:
"Obviously, you are concerned with the impact on religious belief, however, question 2 asks about "threat" from extraterrestrials. Threat to belief systems would not be the only threat perceived by some from such contact. Your question should be phrased more precisely to indicate the inclusion of other perceived threats or to exclude them. Also, question 9 asks if my congregation would "question" their beliefs if extraterrestrial civilization had none. I have no doubt that any contact with extraterrestrial life would raise many questions. That kind of search is not, however, a threat, necessarily. It can be a source of growth. However, since the thrust of your questions dealt with perceived threat, I answered as if the question considered the search I mention threats."

AZ - 350 size of congregation:
"The secular press has followed the Church's lead in using word "Human" rather than man and "humankind" rather than mankind - Would encourage you to think about it. Do not believe that extraterrestrials would shake up the faith of my folks, any more than the discovery of people in the "New World" shook that of our ancestry in Europe."

OR:
"This is a very diverse congregation so unified congregation attitudes very tough to make. A lot would also depend upon the nature of that other life. I also assumed you were not speaking of the angelic (demonic) host."

TN - 100 size of congregation:
"The Lord is creator of all - seen and unseen. He is in control."

FL - 350 size of congregation:
Comment on Qs. 6: "Tribes in Africa, etc. do today."

MA:
"I have never really thought about this issue, but is quite interesting. The truths that Christianity holds have been around for 2000 years and have been under nearly constant assault - or ignored by many - and yet they still have great influence on many - extraterrestrial stuff would challenge, certainly, but not destroy."

MO:
"This situation at present is only hypothetical. If E.T. civilization is found I believe God still created them. They would be no threat to my faith. The Pastor wrote on top of the survey: "E.T. civilization at present is only hypothetical, so far." Comments to Qs.1: "Hypothetical question - God is still creator if they did find something." Qs. 2: I wouldn't, but they would. Again hypothetical situation." Qs. 3: God still created everything." Qs. 5: "Again, Hypothetical." Qs. 6: "Cannot answer."

WA - 200 size of congregation:
"*What about the positive potential of an encounter with extraterrestrials? "*Questioning ones beliefs is not equivalent to abandoning those beliefs. "*I personally would be thrilled by such an encounter, and I am not afraid of losing God in the encounter. If God is who I believe God to be, then God is God of the cosmos." [Ed. Note: In response to receiving a copy of my research paper, the pastor wrote: "Definitely!"]

WV - 75 to 95 size of congregation:
"If there were extraterrestrial civilization it would be the Deanan of the Abyess [sic] (Part of Hell) turned loose in the Tribulation Period that the Bible speaks about. "Therefore I am not answering any of the above questions that would add to the trick of Satan that I personally believe that he will unleash upon the world in a future date."

NJ - 300 communicant members:
"I kept wanting to change the questions but I realized that isn't allowed in such surveys! For example, #6 talked about beliefs different from those of us in the U.S. - but we already have such a variety here!"

NJ - 176 size of congregation:
"No one with a strongly Bible-based faith would not find such knowledge interesting, but would not be shaken."

MN:
Commented under Qs. 6: "But it would generate exciting conversation!"

LA - 200 size of congregation:
h, "Any contact (confirmed) would cause everyone to question a lot of things...the result of that questioning will only help elucidate the Truth. Psalm 135:5-6." [Ed. Note: Psalm 135:5-6: "Who has made the heavens with wisdom, for his mercy endures forever. Who stretched out the earth above the waters, for his mercy endures forever."]

AK - 80 size of congregation:
"1. Your questions assume past religion is entirely based on a system of belief without tangible evidence or experience. Believe more is debatable experience is unshakable. "2. I would investigate the realm of the supernatural and the visual images and historical references to such sightings. Most religious agree there is a world around us we do not see both here and in the heavens."

NY - 100 size of congregation:
"I believe this kind of survey is a hypothetical exercise in futility. You could well ask if religious beliefs would be affected if we found out people were being reincarnated into watermelons, or some other such nonsense. The whole survey assumes the possibility of "extraterrestrial civilizations" is a fanciful assumption in my view. I do believe in the supernatural by the way - as in spiritual beings - angels and demons - which may account for some of the mysterious sightings."

CA - 150 size of congregation:
"Please refer to the enclosed article from the Episcopal publication Forward Day by Day (Dr. Charles Crong, ed., Cincinnati, OH). The quatrain is from a longer poem by Alice Megnell, a late-Victorian or Edwardian English poetess (1850-1922). The "We" in the last line obviously refers to the Second Person of the Trinity. (If you are a scientist, you asked for it when you started polling Theologians!)" Comment on Qs. 5: "Similarities would tend to confirm statement in Genesis that God created humanity in "our own" [i.e. His] image." [Ed. Note: The enclosed paper] Wednesday, April 12
He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;...all things were created through him and for him (Colossians I:15-20).
We are pausing at what may be only the fringe of an age of cosmic discovery. IF we are permitted to penetrate space, no matter how far we go, there will be the mark of Christ on all, the cosmic redeemer. This is stressed in this Epistle and in Ephesians.
A great deal of science fiction has a way of becoming in some respects the fact of later decades. C.S. Lewis used this genre to stress that the work of redemption could not be limited to our planet. His space novels (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra) take seriously the fact of evil, the irreconcilable in the universe which, at great cost, is to be reconciled in Christ.
In fact, reconciliation, as a term we have naturalized, may no reveal its full importance, until we see it in terms of a comic enterprise. Alice Meynell puts it in poetry:
But, in the eternities,
Doubtless we shall compare together, hear
A million alien Gospels, in what guise,
He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.
(Poems, Burns and Oates, Ltd.)
O Lord, you have entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation.

NH:
Respondent wrote on the top of the survey (the only section he returned): "I have no clue who you are or why you're going this survey. Also, your questions could be answered from many different perspectives resulting in varied responses to each one. Therefore, rather than have my responses misunderstood, I decline to participate."

NJ:
Respondent commented on Qs. 7: "ANGELS They DINE WITH US every day."

CT - 1000 size of congregation:
"Why do you assume the civilization would be "advanced"? Why, or for whom, are you writing this research paper? Are you in grad school? More information would have been helpful."

MT:
"It is my opinion that the same God Who created our World and mankind also is the supreme being who is responsible for any other civilization."

IA - 60 size of congregation:
[Ed. Note: In response to receiving a copy of my research paper, the pastor wrote: ("If not too expensive")]

NJ - 100 size of congregation:
"We believe that God is The God of the universe. The Bible which we believe is The Word of God declares that, "The heavens declare the glory of God." Psalms 19:1a. There is and only be one God and He is The God for all who will come to Him by Jesus Christ."

ID - 125 size of congregation:
"Thanks for the chance to give my opinion . I'm an old "Trekkie," and would be thrilled to meet an alien. The Bible suggests the possibility of life in other places several times - the most intriguing being John 10:16. C. S. Lewis's "Space Trilogy" may also be helpful to you. Good luck with your project." [Ed. Note: "And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." John 10:16.]

IL:
"Dear Victoria - I am pleased to have spent the time to answer your survey. Please do something for me. Read the Gospel of John in a King James Version of the Bible and ask God to guide you. Also read this little tract. The knowledge of God will give you true wisdom!" [Ed. Note: Respondent sent along two little pamphlets "God's Simple Plan of Salvation" and "The New Birth." In response to receiving a copy of my research paper, respondent wrote: "Please - I'd love to hear from you again! Enclosed is a couple dollars for postage."]

VA - 210 size of congregation:
"Re: Qs. #3: No one who reads and believes Genesis 1 and 2 could question the original life regardless of where else it may be found - God is God of the entire universe. Re Q#5: There are genetic similarities between man and animals and I do not doubt the veracity of God's creation of man. Re Q#6: Why should it? God has dealt with man on earth in the way he has seen fit - why should one be concerned if he sees fit to deal with another species on another planet in another way? Re Q#9: According to Romans 1 and 2 Mankind sinfully suppresses their knowledge of God. It would shake no one's faith if E.T.'s did the same thing. Re Q#10: Anyone may proclaim anything - it is the truth of what is proclaimed that is important."

NY - 300 size of congregation:
"The Bible does not comment on extraterrestrial life apart from the dwelling place of God and the place of eternal judgment. No comment on other "worlds" that have life does not indicate it doesn't exist only that God has not chosen to reveal it to us as He has other information."

AL - 900 size of congregation:
"Discovery of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization is not precluded by anything in the Bible. The Bible appears to man to describe an anthropocentric universe because the Bible deals with God's relationship with His human creation on this planet. No Scripture, however, rules out God having other relationships with other creatures in His universe - if such creatures exist."

130 size of congregation:
"Your questions presume that religion is based on some cosmological explanation. If that explanation were proven to be incorrect the religion would be wrong. However, we trust in God made known to us in Jesus Christ and not in any given cosmological reality."

Membership of 150 - attendance 70:
"It is my belief that UFO sightings are spiritual apparitions emanating from demonic activity in these last days before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Any "Advanced extraterrestrial civilization" would be therefore angelic in nature. These angels represent both the good and the bad. Read Rev. 12:7-9." [Ed. Note: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels cast out with him." Rev. 12: 7-9]

PA - 135 members:
"11: They are at least my views. The certainty of my faith rests on the revelation of Jesus Christ, in any life form in God's created universe."

IN - 70 size of congregation:
"See attached."
"I have spoken with some of the members of my congregation. None of the people I spoke to took the idea of this survey very seriously. Most did voice the belief that there could be life on other planets. "One reason I seriously doubt that we will have proof of alien life any time soon is that there is very little that is proof of anything. People interpret the same evidence in different ways. Some people still don't believe humans have walked on the moon. No matter what evidence is presented it is not likely to be widely accepted as absolute proof."

820 members:
"The foundation of faith is the Word of God. Nothing changes that. Faith has nothing to do with reason. Should there be extraterrestrial life, then it would have also to have been created by God."

TX:
"Whether E.T.'s exist or not, I believe the question to be considered overall is the origin of life. For most Christians the answer is the special creation of an Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Creator unlimited in the capacity of creation and who could therefore create life wherever desired."

CA - 300 size of congregation:
"Any answer to #6 would be misleading. Every "organized religion" on our planet would treat any of this information differently. Some would crumble, others would flourish. My congregation would not be endangered one bit. "I believe that the Bible teaches about intelligent, extraterrestrial life existing somewhere else in the universe, and that human contact with this lifeform has been going on since time began. If you would like more information about what I believe concerning this issue, I would be happy to respond."

IA - 450 size of congregation:
"This survey appears to me to be rather silly."

MO - 3 small churches, 18,28, 40 size of congregation:
"From the question and statements presented I am supposing there is some purpose of man's reactions to such a possibility. HOWEVER, it is my belief that the Universe is well inhabited with obedient and holy intelligent people. This one world according to the Bible is the only one in the problem of sin and rebellion. Through the merits of Jesus Christ men can be changed in heart and prepared to join the BIG FAMILY of the Universe at the 2nd Coming of Jesus."

SC:
"Question #1 too broad - unanswerable in present form."

OR:
"Spiritually evil beings are in existence and are known as "Powers of the Air" and Satan is their leader. Whatever form they take or appear, their intention is a ---- ---- power and that not under the dominion of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior."

SC - 250 size of congregation:
"In reference to those who have returned your survey, I think you should send them the results."

PA - 200 size of congregation:
"Recommended reading in addition to scriptures notice. Books by David Hunt (available in most Christian bookstores)." [Ed. Note: The pastor sent Fellowship newsletter and a pamphlet, This Was Your Life!] The Pastor commented on several questions: Qs. 2: "Threat to what? I take this to mean a threat to our spiritual and physical welfare." Qs. 4: "Satan's Kingdom is religious. He is the Prince of the power of the air. He is very intelligent." Qs. 5: "This is civilization is spiritual and appears as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 10, 11." Qs. 6: "No - Some organized religions would join in freely."
"Note: The only extraterrestrial civilization that you are going to find is the very real one described in Ephesians 6:10-18, Revelation (Satan's Anti-Christ Kingdom), Daniel 10." Qs. 10: "It would be no surprise. Satan has always claimed things for himself that belong to God and God alone."

PA - 500 size of congregation:
[Ed. Note: Respondent sent Christian Sentinel-Winter 1992-93, the pamphlet, "What's Life All About?" and a letter, which follows.]
March 11, 1994
Dear Victoria,
I am busy, but I feel that answering your survey made a few extra comments necessary. I am a Biblicist, which means I believe that the Bible is inherently true in its original documents. Therefore, I believe that all of life was created by God. If there is life any other place in all of the universes, God is responsible for its creation. That life is not an accident of nature. I believe the Bible supports the fact that God has especially blessed this earth, in that He created man in His own image, and put him here on this planet. Psalm 8, verses 1 through 9, seems to express the idea that the heavens are so vast, and yet God has chosen this little speck, earth and man, as His seemingly, primary focus. I am not saying there is not life out there. I am saying, that if there is life out there, God created it, and then there would have to be a purpose for that life. When you know the story of God's redemptive plan, which is spelled out for us in Holy Scripture, man made in God's image fell into sin in the garden of Eden, and that God sent His Son, in the form of human flesh, to take the representative place of man in judgment because of his sin, so that God could justly, righteously, forgive all those who would believe upon His Son, and what His Son did. Romans 3:24-26. I am enclosing a copy of a few pages in a Christian periodical that I received some time back. I have read the book "UFO's in the New Age," by William Alnor. I would recommend your buying a copy and reading it. My only purpose for saying this is that you should investigate an orthodox, conservative, evangelical point of view on this matter of life outside of this planet. I am also enclosing a little booklet that I have found extremely helpful. I wish you well in your enterprise. Sincerely yours,

NY - 250 size of congregation:
"What does Scripture reveal concerning these issues?"

OH:
"I note that, somehow, an underlying assumption in your questions is that "advanced technology = morally/philosophically superior." Look around you, Ms. Alexander. Would you say our technology has made us better, or simply more likely to abuse ourselves, others and our environment with what we have discovered. No, an "advanced" society does not threaten me as a religious person."


"While it is highly improbable that there are other intelligent life forms other than the spirit world it alters nothing as far as God and man's relationship. Man remains the creation of God which fell from a positive relationship to God because he wanted to be his own boss or authority. Man has sinned against God and so is alienated from God. But by the sacrificial death of Christ Man can be reconciled if by faith he receives Jesus Christ as his Savior." Respondent's comments on Qs. : "What makes you think it would be different? There is only one God, one creator." Qs. 10: "The Fool has always said there is no God."

MT. - 200 size of congregation:
"I suspect contact has been made with extraterrestrials advanced life. I suspect that they are (would be) committed to non-interference and would have the technological means to acquire all information desired by them."

from OR., attached a note to the unanswered survey:
"The Church in which I am privileged to preach the Word of God is for the purpose that men might believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. "For God so lived the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." We need not to pry in things beyond this day. Only God knows and if these things be so He will provide wisdom and power to contend with. Our prophesying is of Christ and to make preparations for His second coming. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. A servant of the Lord."

TX - 100 size of congregation:
"God has to be preceived as infinitely beyond our ability to explain or understand. We can not limit God's activity to our known world or perception of it. Belief in God is ultimately a matter of faith and not speculation."

PA - 250 active members:
"In question #11: There is no such thing as "views of my congregation." Their views are all across the spectrum. The majority may hold views similar to mine and the active core would have a faith strong enough to cope with any of the possibilities you outline above."

NC - comments on a returned, unanswered survey:
"This survey competes with a similar one I am working on: "If donkeys could fly, how this would effect religious attitudes." But since donkeys don't fly, nobody has answered my survey with any seriousness."

WA - 100 size of congregation:
"I am answering only for myself. I can't really know my congregations response because we have not had discussions on these topics. At root, since these are mainly older folks, I believe they are strong in their basic faith experience and would not be "threatened" by these announcements (I could be wrong!). What are you writing and for what purpose? Curious abut your choice of topic. What's your "bias?"

MA:
"I have never really thought about this issue, but is quite interesting. The truths that Christianity holds have been around for 2000 years and have been under nearly constant assault - or ignored by many - and yet they still have great influence on many - extraterrestrial stuff would challenge, certainly, but not destroy."

LA:
"Any contact (confirmed) would cause everyone to question a lot of things...the result of that questioning will only help elucidate the Truth. Psalm 135:5-6." [Ed. Note: Psalm 135:5-6: "Who has made the heavens with wisdom, for his mercy endures forever. Who stretched out the earth above the waters, for his mercy endures forever."]

AK:
Your questions assume past religion is entirely based on a system of belief without tangible evidence or experience.... I would investigate the realm of the supernatural and the visual images and historical references to such sightings. Most religious agree there is a world around us we do not see both here and in the heavens."

AL:
"Discovery of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization is not precluded by anything in the Bible. The Bible appears to man to describe an anthropocentric universe because the Bible deals with God's relationship with His human creation on this planet. No Scripture, however, rules out God having other relationships with other creatures in His universe - if such creatures exist."

MO:
"From the question and statements presented I am supposing there is some purpose to man's reactions to such a possibility. HOWEVER, it is my belief that the Universe is well inhabited with obedient and holy intelligent people. This one world, according to the Bible, is the only one with the problem of sin and rebellion. Through the merits of Jesus Christ men can be changed in heart and prepared to join the BIG FAMILY of the Universe at the 2nd Coming of Jesus."


"While it is highly improbable that there are other intelligent life forms other than the spirit world, it alters nothing as far as God and man's relationship. Man remains the creation of God which fell from a positive relationship to God because he wanted to be his own boss or authority. Man has sinned against God and so is alienated from God...".

RABBIS

FL - 225 families:
"I cannot assume that my congregation are as open-minded as I am. Contact with alien life would be very threatening to humankind. If we believe that God is a "force for Good in the universe," than there is room for many diverse religious systems both on earth and beyond. 2000/2010/2069 by Arthur Clarke proposed one possible form of contact, Clarke's Roma series provides another. I believe that we have been observed and at times contacted for a very long time and that the intent can only be non-threatening to us. P.S. The novel Contact by Carl Sagan is also fascinating. This is a very interesting subject. Good luck."

VA - 100 families:
"As you should be able to see (my perception of) this congregation's view is very liberal and non-judgmental."

A Rabbi wrote at the top of the unanswered survey:
"You Must Be Joking"

OH - 70 size of congregation:
"Any findings one way or another will not affect Judaism in any way. Who cares if the government knows if there is any other civilizations. Haven't we enough problems to deal with here?

A Rabbi (FL):
"I cannot assume that my congregation are as open-minded as I am. Contact with alien life would be very threatening to humankind. If we believe that God is a "force for Good in the universe," than there is room for many diverse religious systems both on earth and beyond... I believe that we have been observed and at times contacted for a very long time and that the intent can only be non-threatening to us."

THE UFO COMMUNITY'S STANCE

The cognoscenti of UFO research attribute the United States government's current position on UFOs to the "Report of Meetings of Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects Convened By Scientific Intelligence, CIA, January 14 - 18, 1953," popularly known as The Robertson Panel, named after its Chairman, Dr. H. P. Robertson. It has been widely believed that the aforementioned report indicated that knowledge of the existence of UFOs would cause mass public hysteria and threaten religious beliefs. Building on this, UFO fringe groups claim that alien beings have informed our government that "they made us" and its this information, if revealed to the public, that would bring about the collapse of religion as we know it. Unfortunately this religious quandary myth has no basis in fact since the undercirculated "Robertson Panel Report" never addresses the religious implications of UFO sightings.

Tab A of the Report summarizes the Panel's findings. "2. As a result of its considerations, the Panel concludes: a. That the evidence presented on Unidentified Flying Objects shows no indication that these phenomena constitute a direct physical threat to national security. We firmly believe that there is no residuum of cases which indicates phenomena which are attributable to foreign artifacts capable of hostile acts, and that there is no evidence that the phenomena indicate a need for the revision of current scientific concepts. 3. The Panel further concludes: a. That the continued emphasis on the reporting of these phenomena does, in these parlous (perilous) [sic] times, result in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic."

Our sharply defined separation of church and state would lead very few to interpret "the body politic" as including religious dogma. Yet many have made this intellectual leap and this fallacy continues to haunt the UFO Community. The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis survey should point the right way and clear the path of one of many obstacles.

However, it might be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than an UFO advocate to change stated opinions.

"The UFO abduction phenomenon presents a particular problem for some organized religions. From the beginnings of history groups of human beings, recognizing the power and potential perils of spirit forces "out there," have taken upon themselves the task of guiding us through the "ultimate matters" (Zock 1990) of life. Religious leaders instruct us in the nature of God, and determine for us what spirit beings or other entities may exist in the cosmos. The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, for example, in its zeal to impose a particular sort of monotheism based on the Trinity, quite ruthlessly suppressed the nature-worshipping polytheism of much of Europe.

There can be little place, especially within the Judeo-Christian tradition, for a variety of small but powerful homely beings who administer an odd mixture of trauma and transcendence without apparent regard for any established religious hierarchy or doctrine. It is one thing to acknowledge that "spirit" resides in the universe and "we are not alone." It is quite another for "spirit" to show up in such odd and threatening form, created partially in our own image. At best, this would seem puzzling and difficult to integrate. At worst, to the polarizing perception of Christian dualism these dark-eyed beings must seem to be the playmates of the Devil (Downing 1990). Eastern religious traditions, such as Tibetan Buddhism, which have always recognized a vast range of spirit entities in the cosmos, seem to have less difficult accepting the actuality of the UFO abduction phenomenon than do the more dualistic monotheisms, which offer powerful resistance to acceptance."

John E. Mack, M.D. "Abduction" 1994. Charles Scribner's Son, New York.

"It is not unusual for a person to seek answers to the disturbing qualities of their lives through organized religion - usually evangelical Christian groups. When the abductee tells the minister that strange things have been happening to him, the minister frequently invokes "demons" or demonic possession. It is the devil's work. Prayer and faith will vanquish the demons and allow the victim to lead a life free from harassment."

David M. Jacobs, Ph.D. "Secret Life" 1992. Simon and Schuster, New York.

Remarkably, many abductees liken their abductions to religious experiences. The religious imagery is best exemplified by Betty Andreasson Luca, the UFO Community's most respected and admired abductee.

"Are you my Lord Jesus? I would recognize my Lord Jesus." Oh, it says -"I love you. God is love, and I love you," they said or whatever it was. I say they, but it seemed like one. [Sigh]" "Why was I brought here?" Betty asked again. "Because I have chosen you." "Why won't you tell me why and what for?" "The time is not yet. It shall come. That which you have faith in, that which you trust."

Betty defensively proclaimed her Christian faith: "It is true. I have faith in God, and I have faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God, praise God, praise God. There is nothing that can harm me. There is nothing that can make me fear. I have faith in Jesus Christ!"

"We know, child," the voice answered. "We know child, that you do. That is why you have been chosen. I am sending you back now. Fear not...Be of faith. Your own fear makes you feel these things. I would never harm you. It is your fear that you draw to your body, that causes you to feel these things. I can release you, but you must release yourself of that fear through my son."

Betty Andreasson. "The Andreasson Affair," by Raymond E. Fowler, 1979. Prentice-Hall, New York

CONCLUSIONS

The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey addresses the question of what effects the news of the confirmed reality of an advanced, extraterrestrial civilization would have on religion. The results conclusively demonstrate that the religious leaders surveyed believe that the faith of their parishioners is both sufficiently strong and flexible to accommodate this information. Contrary to the belief widely held in the UFO Community, it is highly unlikely that such news would yield a religious crisis.

While the media does not pay much attention to the importance of religion in American life, figures released by The American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel found that money contributed to religion totaled $56.7 billion in 1992. Sociologist Jeffrey Hadden of the University of Virginia has said, "Religion is one of the most interesting subjects in life. It is still shaping history as much in the late 20th century as it did in previous centuries." Given the considerable influence of religion on American life, the views of organized religions are important when predicting how our society might respond to very unusual circumstances. The acknowledgment of the existence of advanced extraterrestrial life would clearly fit the profile of such an extreme circumstance.

The opinions of religious congregations in this country have not been accurately assessed by the UFO Community. As The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey illustrates, religion should not be summarily categorized as unresponsive or inflexible to challenging matters. They do not appear to be in danger of disintegration over news the UFO Community believes would overwhelm them.

The perceived inflexibility of organized religions is a misconception. While the Roman Catholic Church's policies may be defined by the Pope and the Vatican Council, a recent survey by the Los Angeles Times found that a significant number of priests and nuns in the United States are questioning many of the church's edits. The poll also found that one out of five priests (21 percent) say they frequently counsel Catholics to follow a course of action that contradicts official church teaching on morals. This clearly shows that priests, made aware of the needs and feelings of their parishioners, will align themselves closely with members of the laity. Priest's attitudes and advice to their congregation are not automatically dictated from Rome and as a whole they are open to concerns and changing opinions of their congregation. This is of special importance to the UFO Community, as it attempts to bring the subject matter of UFOs into mainstream understanding and acceptance.

There is a wealth of additional information contained in this pilot survey. The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey was initially intended as a gauge to evaluate theologians interest in the question of UFOs impact on religion. The 23% return rate is very high for a mailed survey and indicates that there is an interest which needs to be seriously addressed.

The significant conclusion to be drawn from this pilot survey is that religious leaders did not believe that their faith and the faith of their congregation would be challenged by contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization - one with or without a religion. According to many of the respondents, it would confirm God's glory as creator of the universe.

There are similarities between religion and the UFO Community which should not be ignored. While there are people who deny the existence of God, angels, demons and miracles, most people have strong beliefs and faith in these matters. Generally this faith is generated without having direct contact with any of these entities or events. Similarly, there are many people who believe UFOs exist. Of these, there is a substantial number who think aliens interact with humans, sometimes on a recurring basis. Again, not all the people who hold these views claim to have actually experienced them.

It is evident from a lack of mention in the comments, that UFO abductees have not sought the counsel, guidance and support in the churches or synagogues responding to The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey. Yet, by responding to my request to participate in the survey, all the participants showed a willingness to assist, even though some considered the topic of minor importance or a fanciful hypothesis. None of the respondents claimed knowledge of the UFO phenomenon or abduction experience from a congregation member. From The Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey comments, the conclusion can be made that abductees are, as a group, not reaching out to the available spiritual and emotional counseling offered by established religious groups. An oft-repeated reason ¾ fear of ridicule¾would appear to lack substance. The purpose of religious bodies within a community is surely to counsel the spiritually and emotionally afflicted, whatever the cause. None of the comments from respondents countered this. Perhaps the respondents who had negative opinions (and those who did not respond at all) would have reacted differently had they been exposed directly to the subject matter from a member of their congregation.

It would be of significant value to the UFO Community to reassess its long-held position on the impact confirmation of UFO's would have on religion. We should respond to the openness and interest of organized religion in this country, as this small representative sampling of theologians indicates. In conclusion, based upon this pilot survey, religion is not threatened by challenges. The UFO Community should seriously review it's statements regarding religion and solicit the participation of American religious bodies in addressing the mystery of UFOs.

The UFO Community would do well to seek the guidance and interest of religious groups. Religions have faced many adversities in their long struggle for acceptance and the UFO Community should find a kindred spirit here.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I'd like to thank all the participants for generously giving their time to answer a survey from an unknown, unaffiliated source. I regret that many of the respondents chose anonymity, especially those with negative comments, since I would have liked to send every participant a copy of the "UFO Religious Crisis survey Report." I did not take offense by any of the comments but was pleased they responded to the subject matter. All the comments are highly valued and of much interest.

My grateful thanks to Robert Bigelow for sponsoring the survey, his encouragement and enthusiasm, prescience and trust in the project, faith in me and strong, positive vision.

My special thanks to my fabulous husband, John B. Alexander, for his blessed patience with me and demand for philosophical purity and excellence. John selflessly worked on the construction of the questions, stuffed and sealed envelopes and generously handled all the statistical work for the survey.

Victoria Alexander
E-mail: MASAUU@AOL.COM

COMMENTARY

The results of this survey are very important. The numbers are not just statistically significant, they demonstrate unmistakable trends. Even though this was a pilot study, for the first time there are data concerning the perceived relationship between religion and the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. The data are counter to the widely held belief frequently posited by many in the UFO Community predicting doom and destruction in the wake of verifiable contact. While the numbers of respondents are relatively small (n=230), they are not insignificant. The strength of the responses strongly suggest the UFO pundits are generally wrong on this issue. Of course a larger study should be conducted to confirm or deny these intriguing results. However, it is unlikely that expansion of the study will alter the results.

One question that may be asked as a result of this survey is, "If the experts are so wrong about this issue, what else is wrong?" The concept that religion would falter or collapse if confronted by the reality of advanced extraterrestrial life, has been unchallenged. Maybe we need to challenge some of the other fundamental belief constructs of the UFO Community.

There are some caveats that should be addressed concerning this study. First, the respondents are clergy with a vested interest in the continued support of religious faith. Second, it is anticipated that the clergy have an accurate understanding of the solidity of the belief structures of their parishioners. Coupled with the first caveat, we must be cautious in drawing ultimate conclusions. Third, while an unusually large number of respondents returned the survey, approximately 77% did not. Therefore, it must be assumed that those responding represent a selected part of that population. There is a need to accurately assess the views of a representative sample of all clergy.

Another issue is whether or not surveying religious leaders is indicative of the U.S. population at large. While religion is an important factor in American life, there is a large segment of the population that either have no religious affiliation, or do not practise their faith. To assess the impact of encounters with advanced extraterrestrial life on the total citizenry, a broader study should be done. There is, I believe, an important message in some of the comments. A small group sent a clear indication that life on Earth is important and they are embroiled in fixing real problems. These issues are of very little concern to them. The question becomes, "has the UFO Community vastly overestimated the relative importance given this topic by others."

Despite the caveats, this is a sound pilot survey. The results should be taken seriously by the leaders in the UFO field. They need to reassess the cavalier comments about the impact that advanced extraterrestrial life might have on the social and political structures of the U.S. and the rest of the world.

by John B. Alexander

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