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Record Type: Review   ID: 126

The Gods Have Landed: New Religious From Other Worlds

Lewis, James R. (Ed.).

 This is an anthology of previously published (updated) scholarly articles on aspects of new religions based on contacts with other worlds. It begins with J. Gordon Melton’s survey of UFO contactees as reflected in the literature. Melton concludes that the contactee movement is a new form of occult religion. John A. Saliba, in "Religious Dimensions of UFO Phenomena," surveys the types of people interested in UFOs and their organizations and associations, categories of UFO groups/movements, various Christian interpretations of UFOs, the major religious themes, and an assessment of "the importance and significance of UFO religions" (p. 16). John Whitmore concentrates on the "religious dimensions of the UFO abductee experience." He reviews the characteristics and themes of abductees’ accounts and compares them with shamanistic initiations. At base, they all represent "encounters with the Other" (p. 79), and as such he thinks they "are essentially religious" (p. 80). He also discusses the themes in induction narratives, which are also religious. A chapter each is devoted to three UFO organizations/cults: Unarius, the Raelian Movements, and Bo and Peep’s UFO occult. Robert S. Ellwood contributes "Spiritualism and UFO Religion in New Zealand," pointing out that the transmission of UFOism to New Zealand is remarkably like the transmission of spiritualism to New Zealand 100 years earlier. Ted Peters’s article shows how speculations on extraterrestrial life have been incorporated into Christian and Jewish theology, or "exo-theology." John Saliba presents an interesting socio/psychological review of UFO contactees phenomena," which have altered the discussion from one of evidence to one of the "belief in flying saucers and alleged encounters" and the possibility that this "might reveal something important about human nature" (p. 241). The book ends with a bibliography: "The Flying Saucer Contactee Movement, 1950-1994," by J.G. Melton and G.M. Eberhart. A total of 619 items are listed, arranged chronologically and by the major contactees, contact groups, and contactee personalities.
Publisher Information:Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995. 343p. Chap. bibl; Ind: 333-343
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