Will this be the year we finally get to see the aliens? Are we living in an alien invasion movie? According to headlines, it depends on whether a supposed Galactic Federation decides we are worthy. These ideas and questions are coming at us at light speed, and they often bring along competing mythologies. So as Christians, we should think through how to respond. More importantly, we should dwell on why these questions come up at all. Why do alien stories fascinate us? We’ll explore that, today.
Zackary Russell’s introduction
Since Election Day, our country has debated what we think Trump should or should not do. Meanwhile, I’m hoping that before he leaves office, he will release the Roswell files!
You might be wondering: why are we talking about this topic? Surely we should talk about something more important. Well, yes, we sometimes discuss the big headlines as they relate to our main topics of books, pop culture, and Christian imagination. But we figure if you want your political news, you’ve got places you can find that.
There’s another reason, too, that we talk about things like pop culture and sci-fi books: culture outlasts politics. The headlines of today / this week / this year will quickly replaced. But the culture we create will last for generations. So, while it would be easy for us to turn on the news and give our opinions, we want to invest our time in something else.
The secret of imaginative fiction is vital to our souls. If we do not dream, if we do not imagine, we begin to die.
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A smart, concise, thoughtful look at how imaginative fiction impacts readers on three levels:
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- The wide world of ideas
- And the sphere we breathe in
But the secret lies farther within. Meaning is the soul of every adventure, its central reality. The reality of every book impacts us on every level.
There is deep spiritual meaning in fiction.
If a book’s dark soul is a false gem brought up from the sea of fantasy we see shades of human evil and shudder, tossing that book back into the waves it came from. If our jewel of fiction glitters unrealistically bright—without a care—we shrug and say, “meh,” and the fate of that soul, pages fluttering in the wind, is to lie forgotten.
But if that story draws light to battle darkness, if its soul mirrors our lives and calls us to the adventure of truth, the joys of mystery, and the beauties of brave action—then we have won a precious jewel drawn from the sea.
The ocean of fantasy is not without its dangers. Wherever there is wealth, there is risk.
We must choose.
- How do you tell if a book of speculative fiction is dark glass cunningly cut to resemble a jewel?
- How do you choose gems of fantasy and not counterfeit riches?
- Where can you discover the best imaginative fiction for yourself, your children and your friends, teens to adults?
Discover the elusive secret of imaginative fiction in Fantastic Journey: The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure.
(Artist’s recreation of a UFO encountered by the US Navy; image by Dave Beaty of The Nimitz Encounters.)
- We’ll cover some revelations of a supposed Galactic Federation.
- The stories that shape our analysis and response of alien headlines.
- Why this topic is so compelling and immediately grabs headlines.
For background, listen to our episode 22: How do Christians Discern UFO Accounts in Light of Scripture?
You may also appreciate this episode about UFOs, featuring Colin Samul on The Pop Culture Coram Deo podcast.
1. Traces of the galactic community
Many UFO headlines have been published since we last explored this topic.
- The Galactic Federation revealed (or not)
- Trump was going to reveal it all.
- But also, Trump’s tweet from 2014: “I hope we never find life on another planet because if we do there’s no doubt that the United States will start sending them money!”
- Obama knows something
- The triangle UAP – The Debrief
- Unidentified Submersible Phenomena (USOs) captured by the Navy
- The UAPTF 180-day report
- Proxima Centauri signal
- Jacques Vallee and James Fox on Joe Rogan
- Tom Delonge & The UFO Phenomena | Cultish
2. How alien stories shape us
The way we respond to these stories is heavily influenced by the stories we consume and the stories we tell ourselves.
- Pop culture: breakdown into three categories. Friendly, Hostile, Ambivalent.
- History: explorers and invaders
- Cynicism: “Of course they’re lying to us. Therefore aliens.”
- Insignificance: “Of course there’s aliens because we’re nothing special.”
- Specialness: Sekret Machines books.
Of course, the Bible itself is a story that informs our views. But, reading the same Bible, Stephen and I come to different conclusions about what UFOs could be (or couldn’t be).
3. Why many people can’t look away from alien accounts
When the galactic federation article dropped, it took over the top two spots in Trending on Twitter. I saw people responding to that article that never comment on this subject. It gets people talking. But why? It goes beyond the topic becoming more “mainstream.”
- Deep longing in us for “a better country” (Hebrews 11).
- Maybe there’s somewhere better to live. True: New Heavens and New Earth.
- Someone will save us, give us all the answers, solve all our problems. Or try to kill us (which makes us pay close attention). Frankly, a lot of conspiracy theories boil down to one or both of these. Echoes of Revelation.
- “Humans are the worst.” Half right. Sin is a humanly unsolvable problem.
Next on Fantastical Truth
Now that we’ve entered Fantastical Truth’s 2021 season, we’ll look back at the top 2020 articles and issues of interest to Christian fans.
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