Religion and UFOs would seem to be topics that don’t mix, but investigative journalist George Knapp found that’s not necessarily the case. Some descriptions in religious writings could even be interpreted as UFO encounters. “UFOs: The Best Evidence” continues in Part 7, originally aired on Nov. 14, 1989, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.

Tongues were certainly flapping when strange Christmas lights first appeared as decorations at a Las Vegas home. The odd combination of a star and swastika raised the specter of Christmas Nazis or Noel skinheads. Paulette and George Ficout laugh at such interpretations. The symbol in the Christmas lights is the same one they wear around their necks, they say it’s an interplanetary symbol of goodwill, a beacon to our space brethren to come on down.

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“The message is we were created in a laboratory by the extraterrestrial,” said Paulette Ficout.

The Ficouts belong to what’s called the Raelian movement, named for its prophet, Rael, a former French journalist who says he was told by ETs to spread the gospel.  The Raelians believe that space beings created humans through genetic experimentation. They firmly believe that Jesus, Moses and Buddha were, like Rael, ET emissaries. But they don’t think their faith must necessarily clash with mainstream religions.

Paulette continued, “If you are really good Catholic, good people, you believe in God and Jesus, but the way you are, and you feel good in your body. That’s the most important. And that’s it, don’t change.”

Raelians aren’t the first to see the parallels between religion and the UFO experience. The Bible is filled with events that, if taken literally, can just as easily be interpreted as encounters with aliens as with angels:

  • The prophet Ezekiel reported seeing a bright fiery cloud in the sky from which four creatures emerged and wheels the color of burnished brass.
  • Zacharias, as he lifted his eyes and saw a flying roll, 10 by 20 cubits.
  • A pillar of fire led the Jews out of Egypt and hovered over the Red Sea when it parted.
  • A bright star followed Mary and Joseph.Jesus was lifted into a cloud and carried away, according to His disciples.
  • The original Hebrew word for God, Elohim, can be literally translated as, “those who came from the sky.”
  • In the book of Genesis, God is quoted as saying, let us make man in our image.
  • Similar writings from other religions are also subject to interpretation. Hindu scriptures referred to a self-propelled celestial car with many windows and a melodious sound, a blazing missile of smokeless fire.
  • Brigham Young of the Mormon faith wrote that mankind is the offspring of parents brought here from another planet.

Theologists, and even anthropologists say they found considerable evidence in ancient writings supporting the idea that ET and God are one and the same.

Neal Freer says humans were genetically engineered. (KLAS-TV)

Archeological writer Neal Freer explained it this way, “What we’re really dealing with is the fact that we were genetically engineered 300,000 years ago as a species. All the archaeological data that we have at this point points to it.”

Writer John Lear concurs, “Between 4000 and 8000 BC, we had just been going along and for hundreds of thousands of years not doing anything. All of a sudden, bang, we started making pottery. invented the wheel, invented fire, and everything took off. What was the key that did that? I don’t know, but it causes one to think.”

This concept that humans might have been created by aliens won’t be warmly embraced by the major religions. It’s about as welcome as Christianity must have been to the Roman clergy. However, religious beliefs may be at the very center of the UFO experience.

Some critics have suggested that UFO sightings are made for the same reasons that people believe in God. They want to believe in a higher power that can solve their problems, or because they’re searching for something in their lives. The critics think that’s why people call in to the UFO talk shows, or take trips into the desert in hopes of seeing a UFO.

This may explain part of it, but so many of the sightings are made by well adjusted people, people of all different religious persuasions, that it can’t be the complete explanation.

Major religions aren’t necessarily opposed to the belief that there’s life elsewhere in the universe. One Catholic leader told us that a confirmation of alien life wouldn’t change much at all in the Catholic faith. Others concur. According to author Whitley Strieber, “One of the most beautiful things that was ever said about this, to me, was said by a priest, a very old friend, and I think a wonderful priest who said that nothing like this can do anything except increase the glory of God, and I think he’s quite right.”

Don Christensen, a Mormon stake leader in Las Vegas. (KLAS-TV)

Dr. Don Christensen, a Mormon Stake President says Mormons are confident there is life elsewhere. “Well, basically we believe that God, through the Savior Jesus Christ created this Earth, and peopled it … that we’re sons and daughters of God. And that other similar earths have, and maybe will be created.”

Christensen said actual contact with alien life wouldn’t change Mormon beliefs at all, but he doesn’t buy the concept that UFOs and angels are the same.

 “I think the only thing I would point out is I think what people refer to as UFOs and what we talk about as angels, or heavenly visitations, are two separate things,” he said.

The Jewish faith also seems to have a little trouble accepting the concept of life elsewhere.

However, UFO true believers think despite this liberal view, religions will have to make adjustments because aliens aren’t just out there.

Ufologist Stan Friedman. (KLAS-TV)

Nuclear physicist Stan Friedman, who has investigated the UFO phenomenon closely, said, “Religion is going to have to deal with the fact that it’s not just here.

“The Earth isn’t the center of the universe, now man isn’t the center, and some people have trouble with that. The radio astronomers think they’re going to discover aliens and they’re going to act as the middleman to society giving them all the secrets of the universe. That has nothing to do with dealing today, with aliens being here now.”

One of the few religious doctrines that has difficulty with the alien concept is the fundamentalist Christian view. Many fundamentalists say UFOs are definitely real, but are satanic in origin.

Author Whitley Strieber presents what could be an even greater challenge to contemporary religious thought. Strieber is one of thousands of people who claims to have been abducted by aliens. The alleged encounters follow the same scenario over and over again. Small gray beings with big heads and dark oval eyes, pick up a subject, take them off on board a craft, perform medical exams and then drop them off. Strieber has written two best-selling books about his experiences at his cabin in New York.

Whitley Strieber. (KLAS-TV)

“This experience, because it happens at the edge between dream and reality and seems so caught up in mythological symbolism and things like that, it seems to me has got something to do with the soul and that it may be that that is the primary issue here. I don’t know, we don’t know much about the soul in our life, in our world, but maybe the visitors are not so blind to the soul as we are, maybe they do understand it more,” continued Strieber.  

Housewife Elke Emmons is one of those who has experienced so-called “missing time.” She says a UFO followed her car for miles and landed in her backyard. “At that point, I panicked, and I shut off all the lights and I went upstairs and I hid in the corner of the bedroom. As I told you, I sat there for what seemed to be no more than a minute or two. And then I woke up (in bed) in the morning,” she said.

Elke Emmons of Henderson talks about her “missing time” experience. (KLAS-TV)

Emmons fears undergoing hypnotic regression as a means of remembering what happened that night, but many other people have tried it. Their stories are remarkably similar. Psychologists say that’s because the human mind will make things up to fill in the gaps. They also say UFOs are so common in the media that the alien hypothesis has been drilled into everyone’s subconscious.

Others, like author John Lear, think the abductions are really happening, and for disturbing reasons.

John Lear, aviation pioneer and UFO researcher. (KLAS-TV)

“We made a deal with them, and their ultimate … what they want to do … is regenerate their own race. Now, apparently, they’ve either had some kind of nuclear accident or they’re on the backside of an evolutionary genetic curve, and they’re going downhill instead of uphill.”

Lear thinks the aliens have been implanting abductees with strange little devices. As proof, he points to this odd item found by British doctors in the placental fluid of a pregnant woman. It looks to them like a microscopic computer chip. They wrote to an international science magazine, asking if anyone could tell them what it was. Three years later, they still have no explanation.

This dark side of the UFO phenomenon has given rise to all sorts of conspiracy theories about why they’re here and why they remain hidden.

NEXT STORY: Conclusions hard to draw on UFO questions cloaked in secrecy — Part 8