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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Very Center of History

H.G. WellsH.G. Wells once said:

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

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God And Flying Saucers

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have long been a popular topic in books, movies, TV programs, and conversations. I have always enjoyed reading science fiction and watching SciFi movies. Many believe that UFOs are “flying saucers” whose occupants are from technologically advanced civilizations on other planets. The purpose of these extraterrestrial visitors is often considered benevolent as they continue to study our planet. Of course, there are also the fears so eloquently expressed in the story line of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and movies like “Independence Day” that the aliens’ intentions could be more sinister.

Christian theologians have had little to say on the subject. There is, for instance, no rigid Christian dogma on life beyond Earth even though a representative of the Pope asserted recently that God could have created life on other planets. There is also growing speculation among other Christians that these so-called “extraterrestrial beings” are demonic in origin – leading people to the false hope of achieving salvation from our world’s problems through beings from another planet. Some Christians see “ancient astronaut” theories and current speculations on alien visitors and flying saucers as Satanic deceptions. This has led many notable people, such as Lord Hill-Norton – a former British Chief of Defense Staff who died in 2003 – to write that UFOs are “essentially a religious matter” rather than a threat from outer space.

Interestingly enough, the history of many “alien visitor” enthusiasts indicates that they have also been involved in occult practices (particularly the “contactees”). This is not, however, an observation true of all. Journalist and author John Keel popularized the theory of supernatural entities which coexist with mankind in a parallel universe. These encounters led him to conclude that the intentions of the UFO occupants were sinister and the entities were lying to the contactees to cover their real origin, purpose and motivation.

One interesting story is that of Randall Jones Pugh – a retired veterinary surgeon – who had a Christian background and investigated the West Wales UFO flap of 1977. Initially, he believed in ET visitors but gradually his views changed. Pugh looked into a range of strange happenings: lights and objects hovering in the sky, mysterious silver-suited figures peering into farmhouse windows, cowering animals, and poltergeists plaguing a family of UFO witnesses. By 1980, he concluded that the UFO occupants were evil supernatural entities, and came to believe that UFO enthusiasts were placing themselves in both physical and spiritual danger. Pugh abandoned UFO research and burned his collection of books and slides following a series of personal experiences that, he claimed, “were too frightening to talk about”.

In 1859, Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species tossed aside the need for God to uphold the universe. Many attempted to live in a state of schizophrenia – believing in both Darwin and the Bible. Princeton Seminary professor Charles Hodge, however, pointed out in his publications that Darwinism is atheism.

G. K. Chesterton said that when people cease to believe in God they do not end up believing in nothing, they end up believing in anything, no matter how absurd. Even though the modern Christian West has experienced a crisis in faith, people are still looking to the heavens for answers to questions that science does not provide. Perhaps the obsession with identifying UFOs as flying saucers or space ships from other planets is an expression of man’s deep desire for faith in something. This is a faith, however, that is grounded in the religion of humanism: it is evolutional and self-salvational in its foundation. It is modern man’s attempt to fill his spiritual void on his own terms.

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