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Alien demonology: the Christian roots of the malevolent extraterrestrial in UFO religions and abduction spiritualities

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2004
JournalReligion
Journal number3
Volume34
Number of pages26
Pages163-189
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Initially, the sacralisation of the extraterrestrial led to an understanding of the alien as a fundamentally benevolent, messianic figure—a ‘technological angel’. This was largely because of the Cold War environment in which much UFO religion arose. Those attracted to the myth looked beyond a politically and militarily unstable planet to extraterrestrial saviours. Furthermore, because UFO religions have their roots in the Theosophical tradition, the religious understanding of the extraterrestrial tended to be fundamentally indebted to the concept of the wise and benevolent ascended master. The aim of this article is to examine the technological angel's foil. The central thesis is that, in their construction of the malevolent alien, UFO religionists and abductees turn not to Theosophy and Eastern religious traditions but to the myths and symbols of Christian demonology. Moreover, in exploring the origins and nature of the demonologies of contemporary UFO religions and abduction spiritualities, the article also draws attention to the importance of popular culture in the West, which, itself influenced by the Christian tradition, contributes to the formation of both popular demonology and also UFO mythology, which are in turn synthesised in UFO demonologies.