Another UFO religious cult? – – the background of Marshall Vian Summers

The New Message from God, a new religious movement from the United States, originates from the teachings and pronouncements of Marshall Vian Summers, who is called “The Messenger.”

Summers and his adherents represent that he is a prophet on the order of the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, in receipt of a revelation over a period of 30 years which he has recorded on tape and which, transcribed, approaches ten thousand pages.

Key components of this ‘revelation’, attributed to ‘divine sources’, include warnings of an incursion upon Earth called the Intervention, and pronouncements about the future involving global upheaval and interaction between the human race and extraterrestrials which, Summers claims, are from “The Greater Community.”

To promote these ‘revelations’, in 1992 Summers founded The Society for the Greater Community Way of Knowledge, trading as The Society for the New Message from God, a 501(c) religious non-profit organization which is both publisher of Summers’ books and recordings and a religious order.

The New Message Sanctuary in Boulder, Colorado, USA, a gathering place for The Society, broadcasts services via the Internet and since 2012 has presented its materials on line as part of a free school claiming 2,352 participants from 104 nations.



by Robert Todd Carroll, THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY:


Marshall Vian Summers has been claiming to be a prophet of some god who sends him messages via what he calls “the Angelic Presence.”

He says he’s been a prophet since 1982 and has written down more than 9,000 pages of the usual spiritual pabulum, updated to fit the times with messages about saving the planet from ecological disaster and invasions of evil aliens in UFOs.

In typical vague prophetese, Summers says:

“A Greater Darkness is in the world.  It is unlike anything that humanity has ever faced before. Contact has begun, but it is Contact with a dark purpose.  In addition, we are facing converging waves of great change – –  climate change, environmental deterioration, diminishing food and energy resources and the growing threat of conflict and war.

My message has come from the Angels of the Creator who are urgently attempting to enable humanity to recognize this and to prepare for encountering these new realities with wisdom and sobriety.  These are the greatest events in human history, but humanity is unprepared.”

It seems humanity is always unprepared for what lies ahead, yet it also seems that a good portion of humanity is always prepared to open their hearts and pocketbooks to prophets of doom who claim a connection with something “great and mysterious.”

Such messages seem to resonate with people who aren’t comfortable in this world, which they find overrun with evil and lacking in compassion.  We better change our ways or we’re doomed.  If we change our ways, though, we will be part of great New Age:

“The New Message from God is a genuine communication from the Creator that has come at a time of great change, conflict and upheaval.  Received over a 30-year period by the Messenger Marshall Vian Summers, this revelation is not based upon any existing religious tradition or spiritual teaching.  The New Message honors the enduring truth in all the great Messages that the Creator has ever given to the world yet it is unlike anything that has been revealed to humanity before.  It is a new revelation about the real nature of human spirituality, the great change that is coming to the world and humanity’s future and destiny within a Greater Community of intelligent life in the universe.”

Wouldn’t you like to be part of this Greater Community?  Remember, this is a “genuine” revelation.

How do we know that it’s genuine?

Summers says he knows it because he has no doubts.

That might be good enough for him, but shouldn’t the rest of us be given some sort of sign that he’s not just making up this stuff?

Others, he says, will know it’s genuine if they just read the messages; they will recognize “the Knowledge” and “know that I am being genuine with you.”

What if we won’t bother to read the messages because we’re pretty confident that Summers is either an outright spiritual fraud or another in a long line of deluded people claiming to get messages from beyond?

What if we do read the 9,000 pages and come away convinced that Summers is deranged and just passing on his fantasies mixed in with messages religious people like to hear, especially religious people with deep concerns about UFOs and government conspiracies to keep us in the dark?

I guess those of us who are skeptical of Summers’s claim that he is a messenger from some god are doomed.

Maybe the evil aliens will take us up in some sort of negative rapture or whirlwind.

Who knows?  But we can be sure we will not be invited to be part of the Greater Community and its bounty of intelligence, wisdom, joy, and all things great and good.

I have been unable to find out anything of interest about Summers’s life before he started claiming he was a prophet.

One source, Bret Lueder, has posted an undated interview he did with Summers.

The only bit of personal biography revealed, though, is that Summers was born on January 28th, 1949; was raised as an Episcopalian in Berkeley, California; and later moved to Colorado.

He says he was just living his life as a spiritual teacher in California as a pioneer of Inner Guidance Training, making music recordings and being a loving husband and father when he was contacted by what he calls the Angelic Presence.

He says that he has since moved to Colorado and has written 20 books from this presence with his first book, Steps to Knowledge, being given to him for transcription over a 12-day period in December of ’89.

The Inner Guidance Training referred to was trademarked by Summers in 1990 and described as some sort of educational service that provides “spiritual instruction and text and manuals used therewith.”

The rest of the interview is about The Way of Knowledge (“ancient spiritual teaching that focuses on the greater intelligence that we all possess that resides beneath our analytical and thinking minds”) and his book about UFOs and aliens, good and bad.

I couldn’t think of a better description for this “greater intelligence” than that it lurks beneath our thinking minds.  The good aliens are described in the title of his book:  Allies of Humanity.  The bottom line?

There is an unquestioned belief that the aliens are enlightened beings; that they are here to help us, enhance our genetic makeup, to uplift us, to somehow shepherd us to some kind of higher state.  But the Allies say very clearly that this is the deception.

Is Summers a fraud or deluded?

Personally, I lean toward the latter, given the years that he has zealously devoted to writing these messages and spreading his words.

What about the possibility that he is genuinely getting messages from some god via some sort of angelic presence?

Well, the likelihood that there are any gods or angels is negligible, despite the almost universal superstition regarding spirits and invisible beings, both good and evil.

So, the likelihood that the messages Summers gets are from a spirit is on par with the likelihood that James Van Praagh, John Edward, or the thousands of other “spiritual mediums” are getting genuine messages from dead people’s spirits.

Will some people find comfort and solace in the messages of Summers?

Of course.  Some may even find them to be inspiring.

Does that mean they were genuine?  No. Is the Society for the New Message from God, founded by Summers in 1992, a cult?

I don’t know, but one sure sign those considering joining Summers should look for is this:  are you being encouraged to separate yourself from your family and friends who don’t accept the authenticity of the prophet?

If you are, run for the exit.

Whatever comfort you are given by the charisma, joy, love, caring, and seeming wisdom of Summers or others trying to recruit you, it will not last, it is not genuine, and you will eventually regret the day you gave your mind over to a charlatan.

In any case, I’d be wary of someone who says that everything happens according to some god’s will, but many people aren’t living according to the plan; so, the god chose me to reveal to the people how to get back on track.Frankly, the revelation shouldn’t be necessary if everything happens according to the god’s will.

I’d also wonder why any god would pick an Episcopalian from Berkeley to be the New Messenger.

Did the god pick him at random?  Was the choice meant to reveal the god’s sense of humor?  Do we have to read his messages in reverse to get the real “truth”?  Is there a hidden code in the messages that only special people can figure out?  In the end, I’m left bewildered and somewhat saddened by contemplating what kind of void Mr. Summers must fill to have followers around the globe.

For your viewing edification:

Patricia Summers on Walking With the Messenger (She tells us her husband is “stable” and “sane.” I’m not so sure about her, though) :

On July 28, 2017, a former “rational” Ufologist who goes by the name of Trevor Wozny (the Angry Ufologist “cutting through frauds, fraudsters and all bullshit in Ufology”) joined Summers’ “The Allies of Humanity” Group Forum.

However, Trevor Wozny has not totally endorsed Summers’ teachings, as you can see in his greetings upon joining the group:





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MUFON is no longer a science-based UFO research group

by UFOWATCHDOG  (Royce J. Meyers III)  – – July 24, 2017:


Veteran UFO researcher, investigator and author James E. Clarkson has published a lengthy and well worth reading article on why he has completely withdrawn from MUFON.

Among the reasons cited, Clarkson in particular mentions that known cult leader and channeler J.Z. Knight is a member of MUFON’s inner circle.   Yes, you read correctly, channeler.

For those unaware of J.Z. Knight, she’s a cult leader living in Washington State who claims to channel an entity she calls Ramtha.   Problem is with a lot of Knight’s claims is she can’t prove any of them and the claims she claim are made by Ramtha have been scientifically shown to be completely inaccurate.   At one of Knight’s school, Ramtha’s School of Enlightment, two staff members were charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a 15 year student.

MUFON has been falling apart and losing credible members for years now and many will recall the most recent upheaval with John Ventre’s racist antics.  Recently, MUFON had its symposium in Las Vegas on the subject of the alleged secret space program and featured the likes of nut job Corey Goode.  Of course, Richard Dolan appeared and talked about the implications of a secret space program.  I don’t think it any secret that Dolan was paid to appear.  Perhaps Dolan could take a lesson from Clarkson and grow a spine along with some integrity.

For those unfamiliar with the latest craze being sold by the usual UFO morons, there are those who claim the United States government has a fleet of spaceships and is cruising around the galaxy in them.  Then there are the likes of Corey Goode who outlandishly claims he’s been to Mars as part of this secret program  –  of course, he has absolutely zero proof to back anything he says, but he’ll gladly sell you a ticket at the door to tell you all about it.  This is the same Corey Goode who is part of which is fast becoming the leader in Internet sensationalist bullshit.

Anyhow, please take the time to read this illuminating piece on the state of MUFON by a long time member…



Please also read:

MUFON – – A LOOK AT THE ORGANIZATION   (from yolasite)


In 2008, Las Vegas’ eccentric billionaire Robert Bigelow  (Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies)  “contributed” $242,667.00 to MUFON. (page 2 of form)

In 2009, Bigelow/BAASS “contributed” $102,000.00 to MUFON totaling $344,667.00 for a two year period.  (page 8 of form)

In 2009 MUFON shows total revenues of $1,547,122.00 over a five year period, 2005 through 2009.  (page 12, Schedule A, Section B; Total Support, Line 13.)

Where has all that money gone?

MUFON will say it went to “expenses” but when one looks at their expenses, one sees quite a few “misc,” deductions, some in the thousands of dollars.  All this while Clifford Clift was setting up a plan to access State Directors fees based on how many members they had.

I think the 990’s speak for themselves.

MUFON has a history of “looking the other way” when it comes to their “special” members.  I have added pages concerning John Carpenter and the abductee files he sold to Bigelow:




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Storm clouds over the Pentagon – – by John B. Alexander, Ph.D.

by John B. Alexander, Ph.D., retired senior military officer, and Los Alamos National Laboratory retired:

July 30, 2017:


The tweet announcing the expulsion of all transgender personnel from the Department of Defense (DOD) should set off alarm bells and raise warning flags throughout the military and all of Capitol Hill.

The concern transcends LGBT issues and strikes at the very heart of our nation’s defense.  The same POTUS who lied to the public about the rationale for that decision, also holds access to the nuclear codes, and a range of other use of force options that could bring America into armed conflict with other nations.

In addition, POTUS has dominion over a wide variety of administrative procedures, such as budget and personnel actions, that could have profound impact on service-members and national security.

In reality, even minor changes in policy can reverberate and create unintended consequences that could be catastrophic.

That is why the normal procedures for any policy changes include careful study before implementation.

While civilians know the Defense budget is huge, unless they have served in a position involved in constructing the multi-year plan, they cannot imagine just how complex and internally competitive the process is.

Whether one agrees with the expenditures or not, there is no denying that considerable thought has gone into the submission.

And, the complex negotiations do not end in the Pentagon as the legislation moves forward.  However, we now see that a simple tweet can upset years, if not decades, of thoughtful efforts.

The concept of civilian leadership of the American military has been sacrosanct since it was specifically included in the U.S. Constitution.

That document intentionally also split the powers between the Commander-in-Chief and the Congress.

It was Congress that was given the power to declare war.

The concept was based on the notion that these civilians would constrain military leaders who might be too anxious to employ force and divided so that no individual could unilaterally initiate conflict.

There was, however, an implied assumption, that a commander in chief would act responsibly.

Never was the current situation envisioned – – one in which an incompetent and reckless person was in charge.

Americans knew that Trump had little foreign policy, let alone any military experience when they voted for him.

Many observers were somewhat convinced that experienced adults would be brought in to head and supervise the agencies involved in such matters.

Many people felt reassured when General Mattis was appointed as the Secretary of Defense, and more controversially, Rex Tillerson selected as Secretary of State.

Both had extensive experience in their respective fields.  Unfortunately, actions, such as those announced this past Wednesday (26 July 2017),  undercut their effectiveness and raise serious doubts about how policies are derived.

Clearly, neither SECDEF Mattis, nor any of the service chiefs, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were consulted about the policy change.

The issue was not unknown to them, and extensive studies conducted that tended to conclude that inclusion of transgender service members was not a significant negative factor as Trump indicated.

The studies also disproved a key complaint he raised concerning the “burden of tremendous medical cost” incurred by them.

The issues of concern here include that his information was counterfactual, he failed to ask for advice from the key leaders who were knowledgeable about the topic, and yet impetuously made the decision.

As with his infamous immigration order in January, he blindsided those who must implement the transgender policy.

Included in the President’s tweets was the phrase “my generals.”

That too should be alarming and demonstrates just how far out of touch Trump is regarding the U.S. Government in general, and Department of Defense in particular.

Even though he has the title of Commander-in-Chief, flag officers are not his generals (or admirals) but rather they swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

For the record, senior flag officers do serve at the pleasure of the president, and there have been others fired when operating at cross purposes.

Those old enough may remember when President Harry Truman publicly fired General Douglas MacArthur.

More recently President Obama accepted the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal following the publication of a derogatory story in Rolling Stone magazine in which he and his staff had disparaged the President.

Trump’s personnel activities are more reminiscent of his experience running a family business than dealing with complex federal bureaucracies.

His lack of understanding of separation of powers could not be clearer than his inept handling of the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Not an isolated case, Trump constantly conflates institutional responsibilities with his expectancy of unfettered loyalty to him as a person.

It must be acknowledged that other U.S. presidents legally have abused the use of military force.

Notably, many military members believe that President Clinton’s employment of Tomahawk missiles against Afghanistan was merely a distraction maneuver predicated on domestic issues.

Known as Wag the Dog, former CIA expert familiar with the terrain, Milt Bearden, concluded that all those strikes did “was rearrange the rubble.” They did replace Lewinsky headlines, albeit briefly.

The ill-advised invasion of Iraq was authorized in the emotional fervor of post-9/11, but at least Congress was consulted.

Even that strategic blunder offers guidance on use of caution as the basis for the vote was later learned to be based on counterfactual information and orchestrated for nefarious purposes.

That tragic decision was, at least in part, predicated on the emotional state of the country following the terrorist’s attacks and a perceived need to retaliate against someone.

That may actually have commonality with Trump’s most publicized use of force, the missile strike against Shayrat, a Syrian air base from which it was believed a chemical attack had been launched.

The public was led to believe that missile attack was initiated based on the emotional pictures of children dying from poison gas.

As both incidents portray, emotion is a terrible substitute for strategy; something still lacking in our Middle East policies.

While America’s standing in the world has taken a beating under Trump, there is still no denying that our military is by far the best and strongest.

Spending more on defense than the next seven (7) countries combined, in any direct armed confrontation the U.S. military can vanquish anyone.

However, the nature of war has changed, and troops and hardware only part of the solution to any future conflict.

Our brightest military leaders understand the complexities of the next engagements and are diligently preparing to design a force that can continue supremacy.

Concurrently, we have a commander-in-chief whose modus operandi, both in business and in politics, has been that of a street bully.

Remember that during the campaign his approach to ISIS was just to “bomb the shit out of them.”

Unfortunately, those remain his instincts whenever challenged.

Such does not bode well for coming confrontations that require extreme delicacy in order to prevent minor situations from become catastrophic.

Repeatedly, psychiatric experts have warned the public about Trump’s narcissistic, paranoid, and delusional personality traits.

So flagrant are the warning signs of “dangerous mental illness,” that the American Psychoanalytic Association, officially removed the Goldwater-rule, a prohibition adopted by mental health experts to admonish publishing their opinions of public figures.

A conundrum looms large.

How can senior leadership of the Pentagon deal with POTUS policies announced by tweet? What do they do if they hear of orders to initiate actions that they know will have long-term devastating consequences?

Department of Defense personnel have more experience in contingency planning than any other organization in the world.

It is rare when they are really caught totally off guard.  The reason is they have thought through the myriad of complex issues that often emerge.  Trump says he wants to be unpredictable.  Unpredictable translates to unreliable for both allies and adversaries. Being unpredictable to our own organizations is unconscionable and can have catastrophic results.

The announcement of the transgender policy via a tweet on Twitter was just a shot across the bow.  What may come next should scare everyone.  While pundits hail the incoming White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, as a force for composure and sanity, recent history does not support such euphoria.  As a nation, we are sailing in uncharted waters, and yes, there may be dragons lurking.




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Michael Riconosciuto back in prison, this time in SEATAC FDC – – August 16, 2017

Michael Riconosciuto  (whistleblower on Iran-Contra/Inslaw Scandal/October Surprise/The Octopus) was released on June 27, 2017 from Lompoc’s Federal Prison.

His name was taken off the prisoners’ list on June 27, 2017.

But now he is back in prison, this time at SEATAC FDC   (Seattle-Tacoma Federal Detention Center), as of August 16, 2017:


Was he being railroaded again?

Click the following links concerning Michael Riconosciuto:


MICHAEL RICONOSCIUTO’S LETTER, THE SMOKING  ‘HOWITZER’  OF 9-11? – – his February 5, 2001 letter warning of the planned hijack plane attacks in the U.S. by Al Qaeda terrorists



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Why haven’t we been visited by aliens? – – thoughts by Stephen Hawking

(CLICK AND ENLARGE ABOVE:  a great quote by Arthur C. Clarke – – “Two possibilities exist; either we are alone in the universe or we are not – – both are equally terrifying”)

by Stephen Hawking, LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE Lecture:


What is the explanation of why we have not been visited?

One possibility is that the argument, about the appearance of life on Earth, is wrong.

Maybe the probability of life spontaneously appearing is so low, that Earth is the only planet in the galaxy, or in the observable universe, in which it happened.

Another possibility is that there was a reasonable probability of forming self-reproducing systems, like cells, but that most of these forms of life did not evolve intelligence.

We are used to thinking of intelligent life, as an inevitable consequence of evolution.

But the Anthropic Principle should warn us to be wary of such arguments.

It is more likely that evolution is a random process, with intelligence as only one of a large number of possible outcomes.

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.

Bacteria, and other single cell organisms, will live on, if all other life on Earth is wiped out by our actions.

There is support for the view that intelligence, was an unlikely development for life on Earth, from the chronology of evolution.

It took a very long time, two and a half billion years, to go from single cells to multi-cell beings, which are a necessary precursor to intelligence.

This is a good fraction of the total time available, before the Sun blows up.

So it would be consistent with the hypothesis, that the probability for life to develop intelligence, is low.

In this case, we might expect to find many other life forms in the galaxy, but we are unlikely to find intelligent life.

Another way, in which life could fail to develop to an intelligent stage, would be if an asteroid or comet were to collide with the planet.

We have just observed the collision of a comet, Schumacher-Levi, with Jupiter.

It produced a series of enormous fireballs.

It is thought the collision of a rather smaller body with the Earth, about 70 million years ago, was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

A few small early mammals survived, but anything as large as a human, would have almost certainly been wiped out.

It is difficult to say how often such collisions occur, but a reasonable guess might be every twenty million years, on average.

If this figure is correct, it would mean that intelligent life on Earth has developed only because of the lucky chance that there have been no major collisions in the last 70 million years.

Other planets in the galaxy, on which life has developed, may not have had a long enough collision free period to evolve intelligent beings.

A third possibility is that there is a reasonable probability for life to form, and to evolve to intelligent beings, in the external transmission phase.

But at that point, the system becomes unstable, and the intelligent life destroys itself.

This would be a very pessimistic conclusion.

I very much hope it isn’t true.

I prefer a fourth possibility:  there are other forms of intelligent life out there, but that we have been overlooked.

There used to be a project called SETI, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

It involved scanning the radio frequencies, to see if we could pick up signals from alien civilizations.

I thought this project was worth supporting, though it was cancelled due to a lack of funds.

But we should have been wary of answering back, until we have developed a bit further.

Meeting a more advanced civilization, at our present stage, might be a bit like the original inhabitants of America meeting Columbus.

I don’t think they were better off for it.




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Are “aliens” visitors from outer space? – – or, are they extradimensional tricksters of old?


It is a well-known fact that John A. Keel and Jacques Vallee were two of the first big name researchers who had departed from the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) of the origins of UFOs and the UFO phenomenon.

Although it is still considered to be a minority view in the field of Ufology, quite a number of researchers followed suit, including J. Allen Hynek, Arthur C. Clarke, Whitley Strieber, John Mack, Karla Turner, Guy Malone, Joseph G. Jordan, L.A. Marzulli and Nick Redfern.

Many of them seem to have gone from ETH to the “Fallen” and “Malevolent”.

They seem to have concluded that UFOs are inter-dimensional and not from outer space.

I totally agree with them.

Since the late 1970s, I, too, have maintained  (and will continue to maintain)  my opinion that we have never been visited by physical ETs in their physical spacecraft.

In fact, science has yet to prove that UFOs represent any conclusive evidence whatsoever of physical ET visitations.

The reality, in my opinion, is that “they” are deceptive, manipulative and malevolent entities from another dimension, deceiving us by paraphysically materializing and “posing” as “ETs” from highly advanced civilizations from outer space.

This does not mean that “benevolent” ones do not exist.

In fact, it is my belief that the “benevolent” ones not only exist but they are in the majority, i.e., with the ratio of 2 to 1 against the “malevolent” ones.   (i.e., for every “malevolent” one, there are two “benevolent” ones).

(Eons ago, one third of all cosmic, sentient, paraphysical angelic entities were thrown out of their special domain by the Creator for participating in a cosmic-shaking revolt led by Lucifer who became Satan, and his followers “fallen angels”  – – as suggested in Rev. 12:4…..most biblical scholars seem to support this interpretation)

Perhaps the “benevolent” ones are doing good works without being seen by most of us.   But the ones that are “making noise”, deceiving people and causing “confusion” are certainly not the “benevolent” ones.

Tom Farmer, a researcher, stated:

“John A. Keel pointed out 50+ years ago that UFOs come in too many form factors, “crash” too often and spout too much nonsense to contactees to be nuts-and-bolts spacecraft crewed by explorers from afar.

They are a current-frame-of-reference manifestations of a trickster intelligence that has always been with us.”


The UFO phenomenon appears to be able to paraphysically materialize and de-materialize at will, at least to the perception of the observer.

But more significant is its apparent inability to stay in our dimensional realm except for a few moments at a time, or only for a short period of time.

As Dr. Jacques Vallee suggested quite often, “UFOs” may not necessarily be objects nor are they “flying” as we understand “flying” by the use of any propulsion system.

Yet they are even said to be able to affect our physical parameters (such as radar, etc.)

It seems to me that in many cases a “UFO”, after making an initial appearance to what I call a “pre-selected” observer (or observers), simply appears to take off at a tremendous speed and disappear into the distance as if utilizing some form of advanced propulsion system.

But could this be a deception?

In other cases, “UFOs” seem to simply hover or “float” (again, as if they’re utilizing some form of a propulsion system capable of “floating”) before taking off or even de-materializing.

But again, could this be a deception?

I believe it is.


ALIEN INTRUSION, unmasking the deception  –  a profound new documentary film to be released in U.S. theaters on January 11, 2018


The strange reality of the UFO phenomenon – – and what may be lurking behind its high strangeness:



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Don’t believe in God? – – but you believe in UFOs as physical alien spacecraft

Before you read the following article, please bear in mind that the belief in UFOs as physical alien spacecraft (piloted or maneuvered by physical extraterrestrial aliens) is just as religious a belief as belief in God.  Science has yet to prove that UFOs represent any conclusive evidence whatsoever of physical ET visitations to our Earth.

by Clay Routledge, NEW YORK TIMES Sunday Review – Gray Matter – – July 21, 2017


Evidence suggests that the religious mind persists even when we lose faith in traditional religious beliefs and institutions.

Consider that roughly 30 percent of Americans report they have felt in contact with someone who has died.

Nearly 20 percent believe they have been in the presence of a ghost.

About one-third of Americans believe that ghosts exist and can interact with and harm humans; around two-thirds hold supernatural or paranormal beliefs of some kind, including beliefs in reincarnation, spiritual energy and psychic powers.

These numbers are much higher than they were in previous decades, when more people reported being highly religious.

People who do not frequently attend church are twice as likely to believe in ghosts as those who are regular churchgoers.

The less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse empirically unsupported ideas about UFOs (as physical alien spacecraft), intelligent aliens monitoring the lives of humans and related conspiracies about a government cover-up of these phenomena.

An emerging body of research supports the thesis that these interests in nontraditional supernatural and paranormal phenomena are driven by the same cognitive processes and motives that inspire religion.

For instance, my colleagues and I recently published a series of studies in the journal Motivation and Emotion demonstrating that the link between low religiosity and belief in advanced alien visitors is at least partly explained by the pursuit of meaning.

The less religious participants were, we found, the less they perceived their lives as meaningful.

This lack of meaning was associated with a desire to find meaning, which in turn was associated with belief in UFOs (as physical alien spacecraft) and alien visitors.

When people are searching for meaning, their minds seem to gravitate toward thoughts of things like aliens that do not fall within our current scientific inventory of the world.


I suspect part of the answer is that such ideas imply that humans are not alone in the universe, that we might be part of a larger cosmic drama.

As with traditional religious beliefs, many of these paranormal beliefs involve powerful beings watching over humans and the hope that they will rescue us from death and extinction.

A great many atheists and agnostics, of course, do not think UFOs (as physical alien spacraft) exist.

I’m not suggesting that if you reject traditional religious belief, you will necessarily find yourself believing in alien visitors.

But because beliefs about UFOs (as physical alien spacecraft) and aliens do not explicitly invoke the supernatural and are couched in scientific and technological jargon, they may be more palatable to those who reject the metaphysics of more traditional religious systems.

It is important to note that thus far, research indicates only that the need for meaning inspires these types of paranormal beliefs, not that such beliefs actually do a good job of providing meaning.

There are reasons to suspect they are poor substitutes for religion: They are not part of a well-established social and institutional support system and they lack a deeper and historically rich philosophy of meaning.

Seeking meaning does not always equal finding meaning.

The Western world is, in theory, becoming increasingly secular – – but the religious mind remains active.

The question now is, how can society satisfactorily meet people’s religious and spiritual needs?


(Clay Routledge is a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University.)



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