The word 'UFO' stands for 'Unidentified Flying Object', but has come in general usage to mean a spaceship from outer space, piloted by aliens, or non-human extraterrestrials. UFOs are often believed to be in the shape of flying saucers, but many other shapes have been reported, such as cigar shapes and triangles. The first modern sighting was made in 1947 by US pilot Kevin Arnold. Arnold's description of "flying saucers" entered the public imagination. That summer a flying saucer was alleged to have crashed at a town called Roswell, complete with miniature humanoid occupants. “Lights in the sky” however have been observed for centuries.
Many alleged sightings have been made, with about 150 sightings reported every day. 90 to 95 percent of these can be explained as natural or man-made phenomena. The remaining 5 to 10 percent (8 to 15 reported sightings every day) cannot. Many people report abduction experiences as well. However, these individuals are often influenced by the media's portrayal of aliens in such shows as Star Trek, and may base their reconstructed memories on these mental images.
Many alternative explanations for the abduction phenomena have been put forward by a number of people. Among the most prominent of these is "sleep paralysis," a sleep-related disorder which can induce sensations very similar to those reported in abductions, posited by Carl Sagan, well-known for his thoughts on extraterrestrial life. Many conservative Christians believe that UFOs can be explained by 'false messiahs and false prophecies' as predicted to come by Christ.
Explanations given for UFO sightings and belief
The two major hypotheses attempting to explain UFOs are the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) which posits that UFOs contain beings from elsewhere in space, and the Inter-Dimensional Hypothesis (IDH) which posits that the “visitors” are not part of our physical universe but are from another dimension.
Lynn Cato, senior bibliographer for the library of Congress, created a 1600 entry on UFO bibliography for the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research. After a two year investigation, in which she reviewed thousands of documents, Catoe stated:
|“||A large part of the available UFO literature...deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing and invisible entities...poltergeist manifestations and 'possession'....Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demonic possession and psychic phenomenon which have long been known to theologians and parapsychologists.||”|
|“||The manifestations and occurrences described in this imposing literature are similar if not entirely identical to the UFO phenomenon itself.||”|
Gary Bates of Creation Ministries International also makes the case that UFO’s and alien visitors are in fact demonic visitations. He states that ETH is invalidated due to our knowledge of our own solar system and the physical diffulties of interstellar travel. He applies the IDH to include the supernatural, and thus says that the IDH fits the position that "visitors" are demonic. He shows from abduction and encounter reports that the "visitors" are known to lie. They have claimed to be from various planets in our own solar system; only abandoning such claims as scientific research and observation show the claims to be deceitful. He has also drawn parallels with the "visitors" activities and the activities of demons known from scripture and history. This activity includes regularly attacking scripture. Bates relates some of the names given by "visitors" and shows the similarity to names of false gods in the Old Testament and fallen angels in the aprochyphal book of Enoch. Bates also reports that Christians do not experience "alien abductions".
Astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross states that ninety-nine percent of what people have told him were UFOs, experienced astronomers can identify as a star, cluster, or other object in the night sky. The 1 percent of sightings, which he calls residual UFOs, have attracted his attention.  According to Dr. Ross very few astronomers have seen residual UFOs.
The following newspaper excerpt summarizes Dr. Ross's findings:
|“|| In 1969, however, Dr. Ross met two astronomers who were having regular UFO encounters. Both also happened to be involved in occult activity.
Upon investigation, Dr. Ross consistently found a connection between occult involvement and residual UFO encounters. For example, he said, countries with a high degree of occult activity such as Russia during the Soviet era, France, and certain parts of Brazil also had high percentages of UFO encounters. During Russia?s Soviet period when every expression of religion except occult activity had been outlawed, he said, “Russians were seeing UFOs at five to eight times the rate Americans were.
Christian apologists who reject naturalistic explanations of life such as the theory of evolution argue that difficult to explain UFOs are spiritual in nature and not amenable to naturalistic explanation. Gary Bates of Creation Ministries International wrote a book entitled Alien Intrusion which gives a biblical Christian perspective on the unscientific notions of extraterrestial life and UFUlogy.
Public speculation on ET's and UFO's
Public discussion of the subject is mostly confined to the margins, but several scientists and celebrities have expressed opinions, as have a few politicians. Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter has openly speculated on the existence of extraterrestrial nation-states. More recently, US Representative and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich D-OH) was asked in a primary debate whether he had, as earlier alleged, seen a UFO--and answered in the affirmative. Even more recently, Project Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who flew as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 14, declared that NASA has known for sixty years (as of July 24, 2008) that extraterrestrial scouts have contacted various governments of Earth, yet no government has ever dared admit this. NASA does not stand by Astronaut Mitchell's statements.
Discussion of the religious implications of extraterrestrial life has been intermittent. The subject is sometimes are referred to as Exotheology.
UFO sightings in the Bible
- Authors unknown. "A UFO 2nd Coming." Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007.
- Gleghorn, Michael. "UFO's and Alien Beings." Probe Ministries. Retrieved November 3, 2007.
- Alien Intrusion
- Tarjanyi, Judy. "Astronomer links UFOs to Occultism." The Toledo Blade, January 4, 2003. Retrieved November 3, 2007.
- Carter claims to have witnessed an unidentified flying object in 1969; he remains the only U.S. President to have formally reported a UFO. He filed a report with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City after a request from that organization. See Jimmy Carter.
- User "nikbaron". Representative Dennis Kucinich UFO." <http://youtube.com>, posted October 31, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2007.
- Feagler, Dick. "So Dennis Kucinich saw a UFO; what's the big deal?" The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), October 28, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2007.
- Authors unknown. "Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens HAVE made contact - but it has been covered up for 60 years." The Daily Mail (London, England, UK), July 24, 2008. Accessed July 24, 2008.
- Solving the Riddle of Ezekiel's Wheels: The Chariots from the Cherubim/The Chariots of God; Carlisle, Frank E. UFO Research Centre
- Ezekiel 1:5-9