The Meaning of the UFOs
What, then, is the meaning of the UFO phenomena of our time? Why have they appeared just at this time in history? What is their message? To what future do they point?
First, UFO phenomena are but one part of an astonishing outpouring of paranormal events – what just a few years ago most people would have considered as “miracles.” Dr. Vallee, in The Invisible College, expresses the secular appreciation of this fact: “Observations of unusual events suddenly loom into our environment by the thousands,” causing “a general shifting of man’s belief patterns, his entire relationship to the concept of the invisible.” “Something is happening to human consciousness”; the same “powerful force that has influenced the human race in the past is again influencing it now.” In Christian language this means: a new demonic outpouring is being loosed upon mankind. In the Christian apocalyptic view, we can see that the power which until now has restrained the final and most terrible manifestation of demonic activity on earth has been taken away (II Thess. 2:7), Orthodox Christian government and public order (whose chief representative on earth was the Orthodox emperor) and the Orthodox Christian world view no longer exist as a whole, and Satan has been “loosed out of his prison,” where he was kept by the grace of the Church of Christ, in order to “deceive the nations” (Apoc. 20:7-8) and prepare them to worship Antichrist at the end of the age. Perhaps never since the beginning of the Christian era have demons appeared so openly and extensively as today. The “visitors from outer space” theory is but one of the many pretexts they are using to gain acceptance for the idea that “higher beings” are now to take charge of the destiny of mankind. (Many of the reports of “Bigfoot” and other “monsters” show the same occult characteristics as UFO sightings, and often they occur in connection with such sightings.)
Second, UFOs are but the newest of the mediumistic techniques by which the devil gains initiates into his occult realm. They are a terrible sign that man has become susceptible to demonic influence as never before in the Christian era. In the 19th century it was usually necessary to seek out dark s?ance rooms in order to enter into contact with demons, but now one need only look into the sky (usually at night, it is true). Mankind has lost what remained of basic Christian understanding up to now, and now passively places itself at the disposal of whatever powers may descend from the sky. The new film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is a shocking revelation of how superstitious post-Christian man has become – ready in an instant and unquestioningly to believe and follow barely-disguised demons wherever they might lead.
Two other recently-discovered paranormal phenomena reveal how boldly the demons are now making use of physical means (in particular, modern technical devices) in order to enter into contact with men. One Latvian researcher (now followed by others) has discovered the phenomenon of mysterious voices which appear unexplainably on tape-recorders, even when the recording is done under clinical conditions in a totally soundless atmosphere, with results very similar to those of s?ances. The presence of a medium or psychic in the room seems to help the phenomenon. Metallic-voiced “space people” for some time have supposedly been using the telephone to communicate with both “contactees” and UFO researchers. The possibility of a hoax in such a phenomenon, of course, is high. But in recent years the voices of the dead, convincing to those who are contacted, have been heard in telephone conversations with their loved ones. It can hardly be denied, as the reporter of this phenomenon notes, that “the demons of old are marching among us again” – to a degree unheard of in the past.
Third, the message of the UFOs is: prepare for Antichrist; the “saviour” of the apostate world is coming to rule it. Perhaps he himself will come in the air, in order to complete his impersonation of Christ; perhaps only the “visitors from outer space” will land publicly in order to offer cosmic worship of their master; perhaps the “fire from heaven” (Apoc. 13:13) will be only a part of the great demonic spectacles of the last times. At any rate, the message for contemporary mankind is: expect deliverance, not from Christian revelation and faith in an unseen God, but from vehicles in the sky.
It is one of the signs of the last times that there shall be terrors and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11). Even a hundred years ago Bishop Ignatius Bryanchaninov, in his book On Miracles and Signs, remarked on “the striving to be encountered in contemporary Christian society to see miracles and even perform miracles… Such a striving reveals the self-deception, founded on self-esteem and vainglory, that dwells in the soul and possesses it.” True wonderworkers have decreased and grown extinct, but people “thirst for miracles more than ever before… We are gradually coming near to the time when a vast arena is to be opened up for numerous and striking false miracles, to draw to perdition those unfortunate offspring of fleshly wisdom who will be seduced and deceived by these miracles.”
Of special interest to UFO investigators, “the miracles of Antichrist will be chiefly manifested in the aerial realm, where Satan chiefly has his dominion. The signs will act most of all on the sense of sight, charming and deceiving it. St. John the Theologian, beholding in revelation the events that are to precede the end of the world, says that Antichrist will perform great signs, and will even make fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth in the sight of men (Apoc. 13:13). This is the sign indicated by Scripture as the highest of the signs of Antichrist, and the place of this sign is the air: it will be a splendid and terrible spectacle.” St. Simeon the New Theologian for this reason remarks that “the struggler of prayer should quite rarely look into the sky out of fear of the evil spirits in the air who cause many and various deceptions in the air.” “Men will not understand that the miracles of Antichrist have no good, rational purpose, no definite meaning, that they are foreign to truth, filled with lies, that they are a monstrous, malicious, meaningless playacting, which increases in order to astonish, to reduce to perplexity and oblivion, to deceive, to seduce, to attract by the fascination of a pompous, empty, stupid effect.” “All demonic manifestations have the characteristic that even the slightest heed paid to them is dangerous; from such heedfulness alone, allowed even without any sympathy for the manifestation, one may be sealed with a most harmful impression and subjected to a serious temptation.” Thousands of UFO “contactees” and even simple witnesses have experienced the dreadful truth of these words; few have escaped once they became deeply involved.
Even the secular investigators of UFO phenomena have seen fit to warn people against their dangers. John Keel, for example, writes: “Dabbling with UFOs can be as dangerous as dabbling with black magic. The phenomenon preys upon the neurotic, the gullible, and the immature. Paranoid-schizophrenia, demonomania, and even suicide can result – and has resulted in a number of cases. A mild curiosity about the UFOs can turn into a destructive obsession. For this reason I strongly recommend that parents forbid their children from becoming involved. Schoolteachers and other adults should not encourage teenagers to take an interest in this subject.”
In a different place Bishop Ignatius Bryanchaninov recorded with awe and foreboding the vision of a simple Russian blacksmith in a village near Petersburg at the dawn of our present age of unbelief and revolution (1917). In the midst of the day he suddenly saw a multitude of demons in human form, sitting in the branches of the forest trees, in strange garments and pointed caps, and singing, to the accompaniment of unbelievably weird musical instruments, an eerie and frightful song: “Our years have come, our will be done!”
We live near the end of this fearful age of demonic triumph and rejoicing, when the eerie “humanoids” (another of the masks of the demons) have become visible to thousands of people and by their absurd encounters take possession of the souls of those men from whom God’s grace has departed. The UFO phenomenon is a sign to Orthodox Christians to walk all the more cautiously and soberly on the path to salvation, knowing that we can be tempted and seduced not merely by false religions, but even by seemingly physical objects which just catch the eye. In earlier centuries Christians were very cautious about strange and new phenomena, knowing of the devil’s wiles; but after the modern age of “enlightenment” most people have become merely curious about such things and even pursue them, relegating the devil to a half-imaginary realm. Awareness of the nature of UFOs, then, can be a help in awakening Orthodox Christians to a conscious spiritual life and a conscious Orthodox world-view that does not easily follow after the fashionable ideas of the times.
The conscious Orthodox Christian lives in a world that is clearly fallen, both the earth below and the stars above, all being equally far from the lost paradise for which he is striving. He is part of a suffering mankind all descended from one Adam, the first man, and all alike in need of the redemption offered freely by the Son of God by His saving sacrifice on the Cross. He knows that man is not to “evolve” into something higher, nor has he any reason to believe that there are “highly evolved” beings on other planets; but he knows well that there are indeed “advanced intelligences” in the universe besides himself: these are of two kinds, and he strives to live so as to dwell with those who serve God (the angels) and avoid contact with the others who have rejected God and strive in their envy and malice to draw man into their misfortune (the demons). He knows that man, out of self-love and weakness, is easily inclined to follow error and believe in “fairy tales” that promise contact with a “higher state” or “higher beings” without the struggle of Christian life – in fact, precisely as an escape from the struggle of Christian life. He distrusts his own ability to see through the deceptions of the demons, and therefore clings all the more firmly to the Scriptural and Patristic guidelines which the Church of Christ provides for his life.
Such a one has the possibility to resist the religion of the future, the religion of Antichrist, in whatever form it may present itself; the rest of mankind, save by a miracle of God, is lost.