Archive for September 7, 2020

The ‘Ancient Astronaut Theory’ is Least Noxious Religion in Existence

September 7, 2020 6 comments

If you have read my blog for long enough, you might know that I have an interest in the ‘Ancient Astronaut Theory’ and UFOs- specifically, why they seem to be popular. To be very clear, I don’t subscribe to the overripe nonsense depicted on shows such as ‘Ancient Aliens’ or the writings of Erich von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos etc. Having said that, I don’t discount the possibility that intelligent species from other star systems have visited earth in the past and perhaps even interacted with human beings to a very limited extent. And yes.. I should have written more posts in that series. It is also my opinion that a small minority of UFO sightings are likely to be unmanned probes from other stellar systems.

But let us, now, focus on something else which I have also written about- namely, why TV shows such as ‘Ancient Aliens’ and books making equally bombastic claims about the ‘ancient astronaut theory’ are more popular than they were 3-4 decades ago. So how is this sort of belief different from, say, merely accepting that extraterrestrials and unmanned probes have occasionally visited earth in the past or present. Well.. for starters, accepting these possibilities doesn’t require us to reimagine our worldview. As I have said in past, there is no reason to believe that circumstances and processes which created life on earth and facilitated biological evolution are somehow unique to Earth. Indeed, given our understanding of physics, chemistry etc it would be truly bizarre if earth was only planet among trillions in our own galaxy (not to mention others) to harbor life.

And this brings me to what I consider as the real reasons behind continued popularity of ‘ancient astronaut theory’- at least as it is presented in popular TV shows and books. As I have hinted in a previous post, deep belief in that theory- specifically the stuff about “energy fields”, advanced lost civilizations, trying to integrate old-world gods with the idea of visiting aliens and how they are a benevolent guiding force for human beings sounds a lot like traditional religion. Every major religion and cult which has ever existed, at their ideological core, is about providing a simplistic but optimistic explanation for the surrounding world. This is, for example, why every religion and cult spend so much time bullshitting about ‘life after death’ or ‘reincarnation’. It is also why these ideologies have tons of often mutually contradictory rules and pedantic regulations about what people should eat, drink, wear, fuck etc.

These belief systems are about providing an illusion of control and hope for its followers. Oh ya.. and also let a priestly class swindle them out of some money and resources. But as many of you might know, technological and social changes in past century have made it increasingly hard for even moderately literate people to keep maintain their belief in such bullshit. This is why it is much easier to find devout Christians in Africa rather than Europe or devout Muslims in Pakistan than in affluent and educated Muslims in West. Belief in every single major religion requires a bronze or iron age mindset combined with high levels of poverty and illiteracy. There is however an interesting exception to that rule- Buddhism. You might have noticed that over-socialized Hollywood types or many educated affluent westerners end up with a spiritual belief system that is either Buddhism or heavily inspired by it. Here is why..

Unlike most major religion, certain interpretations of Buddhism don’t require belief in a god or only require an impersonal non-traditional god. To make a long story short, religions which don’t have a personal god deeply involved in day-to-day affairs of humans are far more plausible to believe in the 21st century than those with deities such as in old testament, new testament, Koran etc. It is also why non-traditional belief systems such as Wiccanism, nature worship and other ‘new age’ stuff are much more popular than, say, forty years ago. But what does any of this have to do with the ‘ancient astronaut theory’. Well.. a lot. For starters, popular interpretations of that theory allow many to reconcile their traditional belief systems with the age we live in. It is just easier, for many, to believe that all the ‘gods’ in traditional religion were visiting aliens.

Similarly it allows people to have personal gods who are not too involved in human lives. Even better, these ‘gods’ do not require sacrifices, temples, priests, food taboos and all that other bullshit found in traditional religions. The prophets of this religion aka people who appear on ‘Ancient Aliens’ or write those books do not lecture you on morality or demand money from you. At most they might request you to buy their books, watch the latest season of their TV show or pay ticket price for some lecture. Note that unlike their equivalents in every major religion, they do not influence the writing of laws, development of social custom etc. They are not going to excommunicate you or issue a fatwa on you for being an unbeliever. Most importantly, they still provide people with a plausible and hopeful explanation for the world around them.

In summary, the popular version of ‘ancient astronaut theory’ should be seen for what it really is- a new religion which, in many respects, is a substantial and humanistic improvement over older traditional religion and cults. It is my opinion that idiots who call themselves ‘skeptics’ and ‘atheists’ (when they are really credential-worshiping and over-socialized conformists) either don’t get this part or care. To each their own, I guess..

What do you think? Comments?