Search Results for aliens
Aliens and Extraterrestrials (ETs)
The belief in aliens from other planets dates back for centuries, as does their alleged sightings.
47,000 year-old rock carvings in the Hunan province of China could be interpreted as evidence for UFOs.
Airborne “fire circles” were reported to the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III (1504-1450 BCE).
In the Middle Ages an English abbot and several monks were alarmed when they saw
‘…a flat, round, shining silver discus’ soar over their abbey. And in 1733 a certain ‘Mr. Cracker’ and ‘another gentleman…about 15 miles north of where I saw it’ spied a UFO with color like ‘burnished, or new washed silver.’ It sped ‘like a star falling…but it had a body much larger.’”
Source: Mysteries of the Unexplained (Readers Digest, 1992, p. 209).
Some speculate that the burning force emanating from the Hindu god Siva’s third eye could be an ancient depiction of an alien death-ray, not unlike the lightning bolts of Zeus and Jupiter.
Biblical accounts of the “pillar of light” in the sky that lead Moses out of Egypt are sometimes taken as evidence of alien visitation.
Others maintain that religious miracles stem from an entirely different source than our physical universe and are qualitatively different than ET phenomena.
Along these lines, Keith Thompson in Angels and Aliens (Fawcett: 1991) asks whether angels and aliens belong within the same ontological category.
Today, media coverage on aliens has reached a new level. New theories and claims are appearing on TV and the internet. And ETs are a significant part of pop culture.
ET theorists variously envision aliens as saviors or destroyers of humanity.
Omnec Onec says she is a 246 year-old extraterrestrial raised on Venus who in 1955 traveled to Earth to spread the message of brotherhood and love. Meanwhile some Biblical fundamentalists see all aliens in terms of demonic deception.
It’s been suggested that psi abilities† increase with exposure to aliens. If so, the question remains as to whether such abilities would be used for good or ill. » Alien, Angels, “ET’s, UFO’s and the Psychology of Belief,” Heaven, Possession
† Along with phenomena such as ‘missing time,’ the apparent forgetting of whole series’ of events and returning to lucidity as if no time had passed.
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Jean A Baudrillard (1929-2007) was a French postmodern theorist who has become popular within academia. Following thinkers like Marshal McLuhan and Roland Barthes, Baudrillard asks whether we can draw a precise line between media hype and reality.
In The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (French: 1991, English: 1995) he discusses the Gulf War as a “media event.” This was controversial at the time, mostly because it seemed to trivialize so many actual human deaths. But some argue that, despite the weird title, Baudrillard doesn’t mock the tragedy. His supporters say that he merely offers an opinion as to how the tragedy fits into the larger picture of global economics, media imagery and what Berger and Luckman called the social construction of reality.”
Over the years Baudrillard developed two central concepts to describe his views: the hyperreal and simulacra. The hyperreal comes from the presence of simulacra. Simulacra are linguistic signifiers totally divorced from their original meanings. Baudrillard argues that, over time, the original meanings of signs gets distorted, or in some cases submerged, only to visibly reemerge in different historical periods. With its reemergence a sign is transformed and takes on new meanings in its new cultural setting. So at some point, the process of signification loses its original meaning and we have simulacra of what were once signs.
Baudrillard sees this process as passing through three phases: First, signs correspond to reality. Sloppy clothing, for instance, once meant that someone was poor and of lower class. Second, signs become subject to industrial production. Photography, for instance, allows the same sign to be reproduced ad infinitum. Third, signs are cut off from the original context and meanings. Sloppy clothes worn by a wealthy rock star, for instance, take on a totally new cultural connotation. And the same “look” is quickly reproduced by industrialists hoping that impressionable teens will try to emulate a pop idol. Thus sloppy clothes are suddenly desirable within certain sectors of the population where previously they had been undesirable and avoided at all costs.
However, this example only goes so far because the wealthy have dressed sloppily on purpose for various effects in other historical periods. The difference for Baudrillard is the mass marketing aspect. And the hyperreal refers not just to a reversal of previous connotations but to an abolishment of a former reality. As such, the line between real and fantasy is blurred. Culture “implodes” because any thinking person fully realizes that what they see on the TV news, for instance, is similar to a carefully scripted movie, with a carefully coordinated set. And that which signs apparently represent is, by thinking people, taken with a grain of salt.
According to Baudrillard, the so-called “respectable” media does the same thing as the vulgar, in your face tabloids. But respectable media does it far more subtly, combining fact and fantasy so smoothly that it’s nearly impossible to differentiate between the two.
The main problem with Baurdrillard’s work lies is his assumption that, at one time in the distant past, signs connoted fixed, uniform meanings. Anyone who reads history will find that different groups have always been in conflict over the meaning of signs, the biblical Golden Calf being one classic example. Also, different individuals within a given group would most likely have variously interpreted the meaning of such a sign. Also,politicians, teachers, and public speakers like the Sophists have always been mixing fact with fiction in order to appear legitimate.
- Week 5; Postmodernism (fahmidachoudhury.wordpress.com)
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Cults and Religions – What’s the difference?
Many debate the differences between religion and cults. Some say there’s no difference. In other words, religions are cults and cults are religions. But this kind of thinking arguably doesn’t do justice to the complexities of faith and the supernatural.
One difference seems to be that, in a cult, a charismatic leader is undeservedly glorified. Some say that this would make Abraham, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha and Mahavira cult leaders. But cults also display a relatively short longevity (after the leader dies, the cult dwindles away). This didn’t happen in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Jainism. So they can’t be called cults by that standard.
Another difference is that cults typically isolate new members from their families and unbelievers. Religions tend to be less drastic, with most (not all, mind you) accepting interfaith relationships.
Steven Hassan, an expert on cults, says
Since all destructive cults believe that the ends justify the means, they believe themselves to be above the law. As long as they believe that what they are doing is “right” and “just,” many of them think nothing of lying, stealing, cheating, or unethically using mind control to accomplish their ends. They violate, in the most profound and fundamental way, the civil liberties of the people they recruit. They turn unsuspecting people into slaves. ¹
Others say the difference between religions and cults is a matter of degree, especially with those religions and cults that attract, institutionally legitimize and reproduce authoritarian personality types and the legalistic beliefs and structured practices that these individuals participate in.
In these instances, religious or cultic affiliation apparently provides a convenient means for the psychologically immature to overlook unresolved emotional issues. Accordingly, some critics of religion maintain that religious affiliation provides a safe but essentially cowardly means for unleashing centuries of culturally and perhaps genetically inherited anger onto those who don’t wish to sacrifice their free will to the dictates of an institution. These critics say that most religious institutions must incorporate (or reject) new developments within the context of their limiting teachings and traditions.
This too, seems somewhat simplistic. For religious believers will often say they are fully choosing to cooperate with God’s will as progressively revealed to them within their particular religious organization. Apparently there’s a richness in their spiritual life that the secular critics just don’t get. And individuals belonging to orgqanizations seen by outsiders as cults often say the same thing. “You don’t understand…”
This can make it difficult to tell the difference between a religion and a cult. Meanwhile, many new religions are cropping up. And some say they’re nothing more than cheap covers created by creepy masterminds aiming to get tax breaks on donations made by gullible believers.
When in doubt, draw a chart
One of the definitions for “cult” in Merriam-Websters dictionary is: “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents.”
The following chart compares some of the main beliefs and practices found within religions and cults. This is not the final word. The items in each column don’t universally apply and many of the distinctions made in this chart are debatable. In keeping with the classical sociologist Max Weber, however, this chart offers ideal types.
Ideal types are generalized constructs. They don’t provide precise definitions and they’re not comprehensive. But they are thought-provoking. And that’s their main purpose.
Above chart elaborates on many sources, including Gregg Stebben’s Everything You Need to Know About Religion (The Pocket Professor, Denis Boyles ed., New York: Pocket Books, 1999: 25-26).
¹ Steven Hassan, Combatting Cult Mind Control, Rochester: Park Street Press, 1988, p. 36.
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Most religious and mythological traditions attest to the reality of demons. For the most part, demons are regarded as dark, evil spiritual beings whose sole purpose is to wreak havoc on individuals and the world.
In Hinduism, demons appear in the Puranas as Rakshakas (evil beings capable of shape-shifting) and tramp souls. Also in Hinduism the, at one time, god-like asuras of the Vedas devolve into demonic spirit beings which, the mystic Sri Aurobindo says, try to place false and harmful ideas into the minds of impressionable, vulnerable human beings.
In Tibetan Buddhism, immediately after a person dies a priest reads the Tibetan Book of the Dead aloud over the dead body, instructing the departed soul how to avoid different spiritual lights and deceptions that demonic beings use to try to trick the deceased into falling into another earthly incarnation. And Mahayana Buddhism portrays many hells, each presided over by horrific entities
In China demons are thought to be able to inhabit dead bodies and haunt various places, both inside and out.
Demons in China… are capable of animating dead bodies, haunting cemeteries, cross roads, and the homes of relatives. Some live in Hades…others inhabit the air. Many are hungry ghosts, the spirits of those who have had no proper burial or who have no decendants to feed them sacrifices.¹
Traditional Roman Catholicism doesn’t envision the demon in terms of a psychoanalytic, physiological id or Jungian shadow archetype, as is fashionable in some circles today. Instead, traditional Catholicism makes no bones about the belief in demons. The Prayer Against Satan and The Rebellious Angels, published in 1961 by order of H. H. Pope Leo XIII refers to various “spirits of wickedness,” “diabolical legions” and “infernal invaders” that are to be driven away with the help of this solemn prayer.
Contemporary Catholicism, however, is incorporating secular and psychiatric perspectives on demons, but arguably in a clunky manner that seems to conform to ancient and medieval styles of analyzing issues. This shouldn’t be surprising as certain aspects of Catholic theological discourse borrow from Aristotelian and Thomist analytical categories and modes of analysis. And as history suggests, deeply entrenched patterns of thought and practice usually take time to be positively redirected.
In secular society alleged demons are often described as nothing more than a product of the imagination, hallucinations, an arrested or disturbed personality, mutated chromosomes, or the much debated idea of chemical imbalances. Along these lines the Catholic Catechism makes a sharp distinction between “the presence of the Evil One,” on the one hand, and current understandings of mental illness on the other:
The solemn exorcism, called “a major exorcism,” can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.²
In contrast to the arguably underdeveloped either/or perspective outlined above, a more productive and responsible approach would intelligently consider different perspectives — physiological, psychological, cultural, transpersonal and spiritual — using as many of the analytical tools that are available to us in the 21st century.
Having said that, we should also keep in mind the very real possibility that God could permit a fundamentally good and ‘well adjusted’ person to be afflicted by evil, as we find, for instance, in the Old Testament Book of Job.
Related Posts » Aliens, Alien Possession Theory, Anathema, Angels, Avesta, Bodhi Tree, Bosch (Hieronymus), Christianity, Discernment, Fallen Angels, Hero, Jinn, Lilith, Madness, Mandala, Michael (St.), Miracles, Occam’s razor, Possession, Psychosis, Rakshakas, Shaman, Spiritual Attack, UFO, Underworld
¹ S. G. F. Brandon, A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1971, p. 230.
² Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1673.
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Elohim is a modern and ancient Hebrew word that denotes god or gods, making it grammatically singular or plural.
According to Catholic teaching, the fact that Elohim has a plural form doesn’t mean that it points to polytheistic understanding of God. It occurs over 2,500 times in the Old Testament.
The term Elohim is also used by Raelians to depict apparently all-wise, loving aliens whom adherents believe created mankind.
- אלוהים (Elohim) (eliezer40.com)
- He Says Concerning Himself “I am the Son of Elohim” (guapotg.wordpress.com)
- God, Elohim (hoagiestyle.wordpress.com)
In the popular sense of the term, the idea of the fallen angel denotes something gone wrong with a person or with a purely spiritual being who freely chooses to reject and, therefore, oppose God’s will.
Myths, stories and artistic representations about fallen angels abound. John Milton (1608 – 1674) in Paradise Lost imagines legions of Satanic angels who rebel against God. Massive wars break out, and St. Michael leads the Lord’s Angels, who must overcome ingenious contraptions built by Satan and his fallen army. While St. Michael is prominent in the battle, the final victory is reserved for Christ. So St. Michael stands aside as Jesus defeats the evil army.
Traditionally, we find the notion of the fallen angel in Jewish and Christian lore, and some argue that a very similar idea is found in Hinduism. For in Hinduism the asuras are described as benevolent spiritual beings in the Vedas that devolve in subsequent Hindu scripture to become demons.
In Islam the personification of evil is Shaytan. In the Koran God commands Iblis to bow down before Adam and serve mankind but through his pride Iblis refuses. God allows Iblis to tempt mankind until Judgement Day, at which time he will be cast into hell. In Islamic thought Iblis is often seen as the master jinn, the head of demons allowed to torment humanity. But there is no concept of the “fallen angel” in the Islamic tradition.
To this coolguymuslim adds:
There is no such thing as a fallen angel in Islam. No doubt, in Islam, Iblis a.k.a. Satan is a jinn and he is most evil. However at the same time, he never is nor was an angel. Angels in Islam do not have free will and they cannot disobey God. In terms of Iblis, he used to be a rightous slave of God so much so that he was elevated to the level of angels before he refused to bow down, however, he was never an angel. Jinn, on the other hand, do possess free will and there are good and evil jinn just as there are good and evil humans.¹
Some believe that the powerful “Sons of Man” mentioned in the Old Testament are Fallen Angels. And some contemporary writers believe that aliens are really fallen angels (while others say they are not).
In the fictional Star Wars films, fallen Jedi - like Darth Vader – could be taken as a rough parallel to the idea of fallen angels, mostly because both good and “dark side” Jedi possess paranormal powers and psychic abilities.
Related Posts » Aurobindo (Sri)
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Heaven is a place where nothing… nothing ever happens.
If taken literally, this song lyric from the mid-1970s to early 90s pop group Talking Heads represents a view of heaven that was probably influenced by a particular New York City intellectual/arts scene.
Apart from that kind of Zen outlook, we find as many different ideas about the nature of heaven as there are people who’ve speculated on it.
Heaven is difficult to know about, because it seems that, if it truly does exist, one must pass on to experience its fullness.
The Hebrew Old Testament (OT) emphasizes a select few outstanding individuals who will see God “face to face.” And some passages indicate that God resides in a “high” place (Psalm 19:2-5). But the OT also says that the dead seem to, somewhat like the ancient Greek and Mesopotamian departed, meet their ancestors in an underworld (sheol).
The “heavens” (plural) in the OT is an inverted dome above the disc of the earth, separating the waters above and below (Genesis 1:6-9).
In the Christian New Testament the aim of Jesus’ ministry is to invite all of God’s chosen to join him “at the right hand of the Father” to enjoy a new vision of heaven, a heaven where anyone is welcome.
Several NT passages speak directly to “losing one’s life” in this transient world to gain a lasting, true and happy existence in heaven.
As for the constitution of heaven, Christ speaks in parables and metaphors because it’s too glorious to be described literally. Throughout history orthodox and unorthodox Christians have depicted countless types of heaven, some on the basis of mystical vision, others on the basis of speculation and others, perhaps, on the basis of some combination of mystical experience and cultural filters.
Pseudo-Dionysus, or Dionysus the Areopagite, spoke of three levels of heaven, each inhabited by different kinds of spiritual beings. St. Thomas Aquinas notes that Dionysus’ view of heaven is supported by scripture. And the general Christian understanding is also scriptural. The NT says there are “many mansions” in God’s house (John 14:2).
For some saints and (often) ascetic mystics, heaven may be partially experienced as a blessed union with God, united as ‘husband and wife.’ This may involve beholding the “face” and being “illumined” by the glory of God to become like an angel (Matthew 22:30, Mark: 12:25), “neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28).
For many good and honorable worldly persons, heaven is usually seen as a blissful, carefree environment where one reunites with deceased friends and loved ones.
The Islamic Koran speaks of a land of “flowing, crystal streams” that awaits God’s elect. Some criticize Islam for having a simplistic view of heaven, while others say that the Koranic view is allegorical.
Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism all affirm heavens, although not as permanent abodes. By and large, the heavens of Asian religion are taken as stepping stones for the reincarnating soul whose ultimate aim is to achieve the unity of atman-brahman (Hinduism), nirvana (Buddhism) and jin (liberation in Jainism).
Many schools of Buddhism don’t posit any soul whatsoever, only the illusion of a soul.This matters if one it to see heaven as a union of the personal, created self, with the creator. In Buddhism the self just disappears once one realizes it never was. What happens after – experientially speaking – depends on which Buddhist school one believes in.
Contemporary reports about the existence and character of heaven come from those who’ve undergone Near Death Experiences (NDE).
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung had a NDE but he didn’t experience heaven in the traditional Christian sense (Jung’s father was a Lutheran pastor). In his Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963), Jung describes dying as something like “stepping out of a tight-fitting shoe.” He says that after seeing the Earth from space and feeling a deep serenity, Jung was resuscitated and unhappily returned to his body.
Some believe that aliens (ETs) are indistinguishable from angels. But most religious and spiritually-minded people do not uncritically believe that ET’s derive from heaven. The cosmic heavens of astronomical observations, they say, are of a far lower order than the heaven experienced by bona fide saints. Likewise, angels are often said to reside in an entirely different order of reality than the observable universe.
Heaven is also said to lie beyond and above the so-called ‘astral’ realms where New Age enthusiasts tell us that energy beings apparently exist. Some pro-ET figures like Rael believe that angels and aliens are highly similar, if not identical.
The celebrated mythographer, Joseph Campbell, argues in The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1968) that “heaven doesn’t exist” because it would take too long for the Virgin Mary, travelling at the speed of light, to get there. Here Campbell, despite his impressive erudition, entirely misses the point that heaven is a different reality, beyond and above the observable universe and its apparent laws of time and motion.
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Han Solo is a character in George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, played by actor Harrison Ford.
Han Solo represents the ‘ordinary guy’ who through meritorious ethical choices and outstanding deeds becomes a nobleman. In the so-called Star Wars ‘expanded universe‘ (which includes comics and games), Han Solo is understood to have probably married Princess Leia (played by actress Carrie Fisher).
Solo and Leia’s union could be seen in terms of what mythologers and depth psychologists call a ‘sacred marriage.’ The Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung says that a symbolic union of opposites is fundamental to most mythic cycles. And psychologically speaking a union of opposites apparently takes place after many astounding and abhorrent adventures in the psychological underworld–at least, it takes place if a person is successful in overcoming the negative powers of the destructive archetypes.
However, there is really no universal agreement about the difference between myth and symbol. So some scholars of mythology advocate differentiating a myth, itself, from subsequent attempts to symbolically interpret it. This distinction between a myth and its interpretation is, nevertheless, questionable because many believe that human beings always interpret.
In this vein, postmodern thinkers would say that an academic treatment of myth creates a new kind of ‘myth’ about myths. While some academics tend to use authoritative words like “methodology” and “analysis,” a postmodern thinker – or any sociologists worth his or her salt – would argue that these words are really a smokescreen. They try to legitimize a discipline by making it sound important and scientific.
Some scholars welcome this critique and embrace it in their work. But some second rate thinkers get defensive when their apparently rock solid “methodology” is proved to be a pile of sand.
As for those who think I’m taking the Star Wars saga too far into depth psychology, they’d do well to remember that George Lucas says his work owes much to the celebrated (and Jungian influenced) scholar of mythology Joseph Campbell.
Lucas had the keen insight to realize that his sci-fi story would work better if it had a genuine mythic ring to it. By adapting Campbell’s ideas, Lucas hoped that the Star Wars epic would resonate with the masses. And that it did.
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The fact that their physical appearance changed over time was explained in 2005 with the literary device of ‘retroactive continuity.’¹
A member of a fictional humanoid alien race featuring in the U.S. television series Star Trek and in subsequent associated series, films, publications, etc.
Although not in common use, the Klingon language is learned and spoken by die hard Star Trek fans, known as Trekkies. Learning is facilitated via instructional audio tapes such as “Conversational Klingon.”
¹ “A canonical explanation for the change was given in a two-part storyline on Star Trek: Enterprise. The two episodes, “Affliction” and “Divergence“, aired in February 2005.” (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon#Explanation_and_theories).
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Mythic Inflation is a term introduced by Joseph Campbell.
Campbell says Egyptian cultural beliefs about a ruler’s relation to God or gods progresses through several historical stages, each taking its own form.
In the second stage of mythic inflation, the ruler’s aggrandized ego believes and acts as if it were a deity. Mythically inflated rulers exhibit haughty arrogance and are obsessed with gaining material wealth and power over others. They ruthlessly lie, trick, exploit and murder to achieve earthly desires and prestige.
In contrast to mythic identification, the mythically inflated king would never consider sacrificing himself for the good of the community.
In ancient Egypt the often brutal, power-hungry kings envisioned themselves as “God on earth,” as did Julius Caesar in Rome.
Whether or not the examples Campbell provides to (apparently) support these stages reflect actual social-historical conditions remains open to debate.
- Mythic Subordination (earthpages.wordpress.com)
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- Myth (earthpages.wordpress.com)