A week or so before Roswell, a private pilot by the name Ken Arnold, made the first “official” UFO sighting when he claimed to have seen a group of winged-shaped objects flying around Mt. Rainier in Washington. His report sparked a series of UFO eye-witness accounts. But, on July 8th, 1947, The Roswell Daily Record ran a sensational headline claiming the Air Force had captured a flying saucer on a ranch. Unusual debris had been found by a rancher, William Brazel, and hearing about other “flying saucer” stories, he thought it could be a crashed saucer.
The next day the paper retracted the headline and story, and carried a more accurate report of a downed weather balloon. The Air Force showed the debris to the media, some photos of it were taken, and the events were forgotten until…
Thirty years later, in the late 70s, a UFO researcher interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris. He claimed there was much more to the Roswell crash than a “downed” weather balloon, and that the Air Force and the U.S. government were covering up the truth about what was found. In addition to the mysterious debris, a crashed spaceship was recovered, along with the 3 bodies of its alien pilots. Apparently, advanced races of extraterrestrials can master the physics necessary to traverse great distances of space so as to travel from world to world, but lack the technological know-how and basic navigational ability to keep from crashing in the New Mexico desert.
Anyways, from 1978 onwards, Roswell has become the “Mecca” of sorts for UFO proponents who believe firmly the government is hiding the truth about UFOs and extraterrestrial visitations. Each year there is a festival drawing crowds of thousands of UFO enthusiasts many of who believe a real spaceship from another planet, or dimension depending upon your understanding of where these aliens are coming from, crashed near Roswell. They would also claim American scientists have performed experiments on the wreckage and many of our best technological wonders of the 20th century like microchips, stealth fighters, velcro, and Tang, were “reversed engineered” from that crashed ship.
The question I have in light of the 60th anniversary is, “How should the Church respond?” Its easy for Christians to wave a dismissive hand and declare all UFO believers as kooks. Christians, I believe, should be prepared with something of an apologetic response.
The X-filing of America does have an obvious foundation in science fiction literature, but more so than that, there is a deep connection to naturalism and evolution. The reasoning plays out like this: If life evolved here on earth over millions of years, and we know there are millions of galaxies with millions of stars similar to our own, then the chance of life evolving elsewhere in the same way it evolved here is a real possibility. If this evolution is a million years a head of us here on earth, well then an advance race of intelligent beings could easily visit us in a craft. Thus, the idea of biological evolution is a key factor in UFO mythology.
One resource that may help Christians with a sound apologetic response to UFO beliefs is Gary Bate’s Alien Intrusions: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. Gary has done extensive research as a Christian into the UFO phenomenon. His book is the detailed product of what he uncovered and found. He covers the historical development of UFO lore and goes into an examination of alien abductions, showing how the good portion of individuals reporting to have been abducted were involved with new age mysticism and other occultic activity. Gary was recently interviewed by Gary DeMar and though you have to suffer through nearly 25 minutes worth of commercial interruptions every 6 minutes shilling DeMar’s products (thankfully, I could fast forward) in order to hear him, the program is worth the listen.