Saturday, August 16, 2014

New book alert - Peters

Hi all,

My local library continues to surprise me by coming up with new books on UAP. The latest find was Ted Peters' "UFOs:God's Chariots? Spirituality, Ancient Aliens and Religious Yearnings in the Age of Extraterrestrials," published this year, by New Page Books, Pompton Plains, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-318-7.

New version:

This book is a second version of the original 1977 work of the same title. The book aims to "...fill out our understanding of at least one important dimension of the UFO phenomenon. This is the religious dimension, the spiritual dimension." (p.12.) "Overall, this book is an attempt to understand how we understand Unidentified Flying Objects." (p.13.)

Models:

The main thrust of the book is to explore four models. "We understand new and unusual phenomenon in terms of prior systems of belief. The close encounter, abduction and contactee cases examined in this book seem to fall loosely into four basic belief subsystems...Interstellar Diplomat (a political model); the Research Scientist (a scientific model); the Celestial Savior ( a religious model); and the Hybridizer ( a model that combines the scientific and the religious.)" (p.37.)

Interstellar diplomat:

Encounters with aliens is viewed "...with centuries of political wars and international diplomacy contributing to our experience." (p.38.)

Research Scientist:

When mankind went to the Moon we collected rocks to analyse. We view UFO visitations as explorers.

Celestial Savior:

"...the ufonauts teach us to save ourselves rather than we do it for us." (p.38.)

Hybridizer:

Reflecting on abduction accounts which "...resemble reports from earlier in that decade of childhood sexual abuse and satanic ritual abuse." (p.38.)

Peters explores each model by presenting individual cases; and a review of relevant cultural events, such as films.

Interspersed in the models, among other things,  are looks at Roswell; MJ-12; Philip Corso; Disclosure; the Condon Committee; Erich von Daniken, and ancient astronauts.

ETH:

Peters explores the ETH as a proposed hypothesis for UFOs. He points out that although there are three sides involved (civilian UFO groups; the scientific community, and scientists such as Hynek and Vallee)  "...as most people see it, the controversy has only two sides. The argument is between the first two positions mentioned above: either pro UFO-ETH or con UFO-ETH." (p.105.)

Peters observes "What is interesting to note is that each position in the debate accuses the other of being unscientific." (p.106.)

Theology:

Peters is currently Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. In chapter ten he examines his central hypothesis . "In this book I am testing the hypothesis that even though we in our modern era have been enlightened by the discoveries of science, to the extent that we feel we have outgrown the mythological world view of the ancient religions, the same spiritual needs that found expression in those ancient religions are still with us." (p.202.)

In the book he is also exploring a second hypothesis "...which I will call the global anxiety hypothesis." (p.207.) This hypothesis suggests that the growth of interest in UFOs, reflects the correlation between flaps and international tensions. "I think that, to some extent, belief in UFOs is an expression of insecurity or anxiety and the need for salvation." (p.230.)

Astrotheology:

Peters defines a new term "astrotheology," which he states is "...that branch of theology which provides a critical analysis of the contemporary space sciences combined with an explication of classic doctrines such as creation and christology for the purposes of constructing a comprehensive and meaningful understanding of our human situation within an astonishingly immense cosmos." (p.260.)

The ETI religious crisis survey:

Peter proposed and tested the hypothesis, "Confirmed contact with extraterrestrial intelligent beings would precipitate such a crisis among traditional religions that these religions would collapse." (p.265.)

With 1300 respondents to the survey, "It became clear that the vast majority of religious believers, regardless of religion see no threat to their personal beliefs caused by potential contact..." (p.265.)

Comment:

I found this a deeply thoughful work. It was hard going reading at times, however, it was always worth the effort.

1 comment:

  1. I should note I haven't read the book, and should also note that theology tends to do unfortunate things to my blood pressure, but as a counterfacfual it may be worth mentioning the interesting report published recently by the Canadian UFO Report team reviewing 25 years of Canadian data.
    There is a very striking trend in total report numbers, with a twenty year rising trend to a peak in 2012. The 2013 figures were substantially down on 2012 but still relatively high compared to previous periods.
    Now I'm not sure what existential crisis was gripping Canada in 2012, compared to (for example) 2001. I'd be more inclined to look at this world and factors such as tectonic strain, media coverage, public awareness of the particular group as somewhere to report to etc etc.
    You can also pull out some interesting underlying pattern from the Canadian data, but that's another story.
    What might also think of the Belgium flap of 1989-91 or, much earlier the 1957 wave in the US as peaks that don't immediately line up with crisis points ( quite the reverse in 1989 with the end of the Cold War for example).
    Hope I haven't misunderstood the main argument....

    ReplyDelete

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