UFOs, aliens, shock jock theologians, and the end times: let's all calm down
“‘The struggler of prayer should quite rarely look into the sky out of fear of the evil spirits, who cause many and various deceptions in the air’”
St. Simeon the New Theologian
I'll admit, this is a subject I can say with certainty that I never thought I would address. Never the less, with the headlines about multiple unidentified flying objects being shot down over the skies of North America comes widespread speculation about extraterrestrials.
Don't get caught up in it.
Most Orthodox saints agree that aliens (assuming such things actually exist) are not from God.
St. Gabriel Urgebadze tells us, "During the Antichrist times, the strongest temptation will be anticipation of salvation from the cosmos, from humanoids, extraterrestrials that are actually the demons. One should rarely look up at the sky, as the signs might be deceptive and thus one may be ruined."
In fact, we've lived in the "end times" since roughly 33AD. The parable of the Bridegroom reminds us that as Christians we should always be ready for the return of Our Savior. Be ready and pray, it's really that simple.
In his book, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, the Righteous Seraphim Rose reminds us:
The conscious Orthodox Christian lives in a world that is clearly fallen, both the earth and the stars above, all being equally far from the lost paradise for which he is striving. He is part of a suffering mankind all descended fro the one Adam, the first man, and all alike in need of the redemption offered freely by the Son of God by His saving Sacrifice on the Cross. He knows that man is not to “evolve” into something “higher”, nor has he any reason to believe that there are “highly evolved” beings on other planets; but he knows well that there are indeed “advanced intelligences” in the universe besides himself; these are of two kinds, and he strives to live as to dwell with those who serve God (the angels) and avoid contact with the others who have rejected God and strive in their envy and malice to draw man into their misfortune (the demons). He knows that man, out of self-love and weakness, is clearly inclined to follow error and believe in “fairy tales” that promise contact with a “higher state” or “higher beings” without the struggle of Christian life – in fact, precisely as an escape from the struggle of Christian life. He distrusts his own ability to see through the deceptions of the demons, and therefore clings all the more firmly to the Scriptural and Patristic guidelines which the Church of Christ provides for his life.
Such a one has the possibility to resist the religion of the future, the religion of antichrist, in whatever form it may present itself; the rest of mankind, save by a miracle of God, is lost.
Steer clear of hype, hoopla, and conspiracy. Rather, simply pray, hope, and don't worry. As news about unidentified flying objects arises, you can be certain that the shock jock theologians (particularly those associated with Western Christendom) will cunningly use the fear of the unknown as a means to stir up worry in your spirit. Keep in mind, however, that as usual they will offer no solutions, only fear. Like the rest of us, they don't have the answers. Which begs the question: Why bother stirring up fear? The answer is simple: Fear sells. Don't buy it.
Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica tells us, "We think we know a lot, but what we know is very little. Even all those who have striven all their life to bring progress to mankind — learned scientists and highly educated people — all realize in the end that all their knowledge is but a grain of sand on the seashore."
Like I always say, calm minds and sound doctrine will always prevail.
Besides, if aliens are coming to our planet in search of intelligent life forms they could save a lot of wasted time and effort by simply scrolling through social media comment threads.
In peace and simplicity.
J. Basil Dannebohm
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