It looks like Gary Bates’ Alien Delusion movie has some competition. Dr. Michael Heiser, a member of the “First Christian Symposium on Aliens” pantheon (and I do promise a post or two on that particular group in the very near future), is being featured in a new documentary on the UFO phenomenon.
A few months back, Dr. Heiser announced the documentary:
This has been quite a while in coming, and I had to keep it under wraps. My employer, Faithlife (makers of Logos Bible Software) has a relatively new streaming TV channel called Faithlife TV. They’re about to launch a documentary (74 minutes) featuring some of my thoughts on an immensely popular fringe topic of UFOs and alleged alien contact
According to the FaithLife website:
“Aliens & Demons: Evidence of an Unseen Realm is Faithlife Films’ third feature-length documentary. In it, Dr. Michael Heiser explores the unexpected intersection between UFOs, alien abductions, the world of angels and demons, and the ancient texts that speak of them. In a series of four provocative interviews Dr. Heiser draws together UFOs, Roswell, government conspiracies, alien abductions, ancient alien theories, and enigmatic biblical passages. The documented overlaps between alien abductions, occult rituals, and ancient texts will fascinate you and arrest your attention. You’ll look at the seen and the unseen world from a new perspective. Start a free 14-day trial of Faithlife TV to watch it now.”
You can understand how my red flags went up when he mentioned demons and the occult in the same breath as aliens and UFOs. I decided to watch the trailer to see if I could see where he was going with this documentary.
Here is a transcript (in bold) from the trailer. My commentary follows each section of dialogue.
Heiser: The last place you’d probably ever suspect to find a Biblical scholar is at a UFO conference.
Maybe it’s because I’m a Christian who has always been hardwired for wonder, or because I write science fiction as well as exotheology and Ufology, but this opening line simply doesn’t impress me. Especially since he’s known for speaking at UFO conferences at this point. Maybe that line worked once, but it seems contrived in this trailer.
[Caption: Internationally-Reknown Bible Scholar Dr. Michael S. Heiser]
To underscore my previous point, Dr. Heiser is internationally renown specifically for his criticism of the Ancient Alien Astronaut theories, especially Zechariah Sitchin. I’m not doubting his expertise in Hebrew and Semitic Languages; he us after all the Academic Editor for Logos Bible software. Nevertheless, he’s famous for what he has to say about Ufology, so (again) his opening remarks feel superfluous.
Of course, to be fair, these remarks are probably aimed at people who aren’t familiar with him and suppose that Ufology is filled with wild-eyed crackpots.
Heiser: Yes there are lots and lots of UFO sightings that are legitimate
Heiser really accents the beginning of this sentence. What does he consider a “legitimate” UFO sighting? Is it simply a flying object for which we lack sufficient evidence to identify? Or is he applying some significance to these unidentified aerial phenomena? Is he interpreting them as supernatural occurrences in the absence of sufficient evidence to identify them as more mundane phenomena? If so, on what basis does he attribute supernatural causation to unidentified aerial phenomena and to what extent? I do know that he’s on record stating that equating UFOs with demons is hopelessly simplistic; however, my fear is that he’s simply guilty of a ufological supernatural cause of the gaps, as it were, for those anomalous UFO reports. Given the principle of mediocrity, we should rationally expect that a minority of the UFO phenomenon should be supernatural. Does Dr. Heiser’s conclusions conform to this principle or is he advocating something more conspiratorial? I’m at least intrigued enough to find out, and my hope is that he comes out on the conservative side of things.
[Caption: Author of The Unseen Realm]
I confess I haven’t read this book yet so no comment. A friend of mine weighed in on the book favorably.
Heiser: This is a big deal. This takes us right into the unseen world, the realm of angels and demons, gods and God Himself…
Here Heiser (who is on record noting that biological extraterrestrial entities would not invalidate the Bible) alludes to the extradimensional or ultradimensional (John Keel’s nonsense word for extradimensional but maybe supernatural) theory: aliens as visitors from another plane of existence rather than outer space. The fact that this spooky theory has been gaining traction in ufological (crop) circles says much for the dearth of evidence for the extraterrestrial theory. Unfortunately some well-meaning Christians have interpreted this theory in terms of angels and demons.
One must also point out here that John Keel considered the ultraterrestrial and the Men in Black, properly speaking, to be folklore. As a result, some Ufologists put John Keel’s views as mythic, meaning that his views line up more with the Psychosocial Hypothesis rather than the Extradimensional Hypothesis.
[Caption: A leading voice in Ufology. Fate magazine (2005)]
It is true that Heiser was included in the 2005 Special UFO issue of Fate magazine as one of “The 100 Most Infuential People in Ufology Today.”
The 100 were listed alphabetically rather than numerically, but it was a pretty good listing, and to be included on the list at all is quite an honor:
Michael Heiser , a Ph.D. scholar in the field of the Hebrew Bible and ancient Semitic languages, has done translation work in over a dozen ancient languages and dialects, including biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Akkadian, Egyptian, and Syriac. Since publishing The Facade, a work of UFO fiction, Heiser has spoken at the Bay Area UFO Conference, the Ancient of Days Conference, and the X-Conference. Heiser is a frequent guest on Coast to Coast AM and other radio programs. His website is http://www.michaelsheiser.com
It does underscore how weird this trailers opening line is in light of his established connection to Ufology.
Heiser: In the early 40s leading into 1947 you had reports of flying saucers
[Caption: UFOs and Abductions]
I’m guessing the documentary will head into the subject of abductions. The most vocal Christian Ufologists have went into the aliens as demons theory here. In print, Heiser hasn’t quite committed to it as THE answer; rather he’s been skeptically eclectic. I’m interested to see where the documentary takes this subject.
Heiser: There was process being worked on in Nazi Germany to produce some experimental thing that was using nuclear power. Now I look at that and say, That’s not a coincidence.
I confess that the Nazi connection has me intrigued. There are several different directions he could go from this statement including Nazi saucers, Die Glocke and Hans Kammler’s “wonder weapons” program. The implication here is that we will see him discuss man-made flying saucers and conspiracies as well as the demonic angle.
People want to know what the truth is.
The data that was given at the MIT conference about the similarity of alleged alien abductions and Satanic Ritual Abuse stories wasn’t contrived. That tells me that there’s a pretty clear demonic element to what’s going on.
This part bothers me a bit. I mean, Satanic Ritual Abuse? For those of you who aren’t familiar with SRA, it was a phenomenon that was part of the now-discredited 1980s Satanic Panic. Is Heiser really going to base ANY of his conclusions on an element of the Satanic Panic? Inquiring minds want to know!
[Caption: Ancient Aliens. The Nephilim. The Unseen Realm.]
Heiser is well-known for debunking the Ancient Aliens mythos. He successfully dismantled Zechariah Sitchen’s startling nonsense. In fact, he has an entire website dedicated to it. Michael Heiser believes that the Nephilim are angel-human hybrids but he does not believe that the Nephilim will return and pose as aliens. I dearly hope his position hasn’t changed (and I doubt it has); the idea that since the Last Days will be “as the days of Noah” and the Nephilim existed before the Flood therefore the Nephilim will return… well, it’s not just a logical leap. It’s also poor Bible interpretation.
If we’re really honest, the world is a lot stranger than what we think it is.
As someone with a supernatural worldview, I would agree with that statement. (Hmmm, the second trailer for The Alien Intrusion Movie has Gary Bates uttering this same basic line.)
[End title: Aliens and Demons: Evidence of an Unseen Realm]
The very fact that Heiser links aliens and demons in the title, along with that bit about Satanic Ritual Abuse, makes me wonder whether he’s leaning more towards the demonic theory as a pat answer where experiencers are concerned. I hope not. Too many people succumb to the allure of a Flip Wilson view of false UFO teaching; that is, they suppose all false teaching from UFO culture is the product of demonic forces rather than rebelliously fallen human minds.
In any case, Aliens and Demons looks like it’s worth viewing. I probably won’t agree with everything Dr. Heiser has to say, but he’s never failed to give me food for thought.