Gary Bates receives honorary doctorate
Published: 15 October 2019 (GMT+10)
Seminaries and universities will often award “honorary” doctorates to people they feel deserve credit for significantly advancing a field of study. The honoree may not have any qualifications or coursework in this field, but that does not matter. The granting of such an award is considered a great honor, especially when it comes from a prestigious institution.
Recently, Gary Bates, the CEO of our US office, was awarded an honorary doctorate for his research in the area of extraterrestrial phenomena. He has studied this subject for close to 20 years, and his book, Alien Intrusion, was listed as an Amazon Top 50 bestseller (the only creation book to have done so). From the feedback we have received, Alien Intrusion has been read by many, many non-Christians. We have received salvation testimonies from former non-Christians and many comments from believers about how encouraged they were to have read the book. Apparently, Christians have been influenced by the UFO phenomenon and belief in life on other planets almost as much as non-Christians.
Several years ago, due to the outstanding success of our first documentary Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (which I cowrote and produced with Gary), the board of directors of CMI’s US office asked him to produce a movie on the topic of aliens. This was a big risk for a faith funded ministry like ours. Movies are expensive to make, to say the least. FYI, I was also part of the production team for Alien Intrusion: unmasking a deception. It was actually a very small team, yet it still cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to film, produce, market, and distribute to nearly 1,000 theaters around the world. I’ve now been at the center of two movies that Gary has produced, and it still amazes me how we are able to produce such high-quality and impactful documentaries with comparatively little resources and only a handful of people.
For example, Brenda wrote:
“I just saw the movie in [a theater in] Scottsdale AZ. Fantastic! Five stars for sure! THANK YOU for your passion to answer this question that divides families, churches, and educational organizations.”
Likewise, Dan M. emailed and said:
“I believe CMI presented in the documentary Alien Intrusion, a rational case from science and history for why aliens are not visiting our planet. CMI instead explained effectively why some UFO’s and alien abduction is a sinister and covert spiritual event, meant to deceive and harm.”
We wanted this to be on a platform that, like the book, would reach new people with the Gospel message the movie contained. This is at the heart of CMI’s mandate. The decision was made to air it in theaters worldwide, which was a huge financial risk as donations did not cover it all. It was indeed a leap of faith.
The Award for ‘cutting edge research’
Gary’s award was presented to him by Whitefield Theological Seminary in Florida. This is a respected academic establishment where notable apologists such as the late RC Sproul and New Testament expert Kenneth Gentry earned their Ph.D.s. In presenting him the award, Dr Kenneth Talbot, President of the college, noted that Gary’s research was cutting edge, credible and most of all, biblical. He said that it was important for pastors and Christians to be aware and equipped in an area that is an incredibly popular cultural phenomenon. He also said that Gary’s book and movie were simply ‘the best available’ today.
One of the reasons Gary decided to accept the award is that he hoped it would give the subject matter more credibility. Some Christians think that people who see things in the sky or, even worse, have alleged ‘alien abduction’ experiences, are ‘stupid’.
I was just the second employee in our US office, and the first scientist, when I started 13 years ago. When I heard that some creationist had written a book about aliens, I rolled my eyes. Then I learned that he worked for CMI in our Australian office. Then I learned that he was moving to America to become my boss! But then I read Gary’s book. Like countless others, I had no idea how serious this issue is until I finally looked into it. My eyes were opened—and very widely too! As Gary explains, one of the problems many ‘experiencers’ have is that when they go to a church for help, they are often shunned or sidelined. That’s how I would have treated them. But if people are being spiritually afflicted, the church is the place they should go for help, yet few Christians, including many Christian leaders, are equipped to deal with the issues. And it is no small issue. Even the secular UFOlogists acknowledge that possibly millions of people are being affected. Many of them never even tell anyone else because they are worried about what others will think. It often helps to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and it would be pretty awful to be an experiencer. But there is good news for those being afflicted by these entities: Jesus has power over all spiritual forces.
Erick M. said:
“Very eye-opening. Many of our church leaders run from the topic or turn their heads and look the other way. They're not prepared and will not be able to support the communities, towns, and neighborhoods when the time comes. This is the deception within a deception.”
Similarly, Marcus B. shared:
“I was a UFO skeptic until I read ‘Alien Intrusion’. This book revealed my ignorance of the motivations and scope of the whole alien/UFO manifestation. I am thankful that Mr. Bates wrote this book and I see it filling an important need in the church.”
One of the most common comments we have received after people read the book or watched the movie deals with the empathy that is being displayed. Gary understands what is happening to them and so they often reach out to him to try and get closure on their experiences. And for others, it has simply helped them understand what is behind the phenomenon. Either way, a balanced, rational but biblical approach to this subject has helped a lot of people. This was also mentioned by Dr Talbot. It was good to see that Elaine M.’s church understood this. She emailed to say:
“We are excited as a church to use Alien Intrusion to strengthen our folks in the faith, give answers and reveal truth. We are planning on inviting the public to see this movie at [our] Community Church … Just wanted to let you know [that] … we will be supporting this ministry financially as well. God Bless and be encouraged that the work in not in vain.”
Pat F. wrote:
“Many thanks to Gary Bates for his remarkable book, ‘Alien Intrusion’. My husband Alan always said that investigating UFOs and aliens was like trying to nail jelly [to a wall]. Now Gary Bates has nailed the jelly! We thoroughly recommend his book to anyone who wants to know the truth about this mysterious subject.”
These are just a handful of testimonies we’ve received. We can now take a modern pop culture icon like science fiction, with its suggestion that advanced life evolved on other planets and is now visiting the earth, and show its relevance to Christianity and the Bible. Thus, the Ph.D. scientists in CMI believe that Gary’s award is well deserved—it is genuine first-hand research and is yet another weapon in our already formidable creationist arsenal. Let’s pray for increased awareness of this subject in the church so we can fulfill our own biblical mandate of sharing the Gospel with those who need it the most—the lost! And thanks to Whitefield Theological College for their boldness and vote of confidence in the ministry of CMI.
And if you are still wondering if this is a relevant subject for the church today, I’ll leave you with this testimony from Tracey H.
“Although my Dad grew up in a Bible-believing family, he had allowed evolutionary thinking and specifically, a belief in extraterrestrial life, to diminish the ‘God’ that he believed in. If the Bible said nothing about evolution or the possibility of alien life, then Dad saw God as less than all-knowing and all-powerful. Sadly, Dad began to pick which books of the Bible he would believe and which books he would reject. One night, Dad came to a talk by Gary Bates on ‘Aliens, UFOs and the Bible’ and he really connected with Gary’s insight into the alien phenomenon. When Gary started relating Scripture to the concept of alien life-forms, Dad was challenged to examine his beliefs. The church had never challenged him on this before. At first Dad was angry that God was no longer ‘just for Sunday morning’. … Four months later Dad repented, proclaimed his faith in the God who is all-knowing and all-powerful, and was baptized.”
UFO research aside, Gary has advanced the US office, and under his strong leadership we are reaching more and more people every year. We feel this award is most deserving. But don’t go calling him “Doctor Gary”. This is an honorary award only, and he will tell you himself that he is not a real doctor.
One of the best things about CMI is that you can have speakers like Gary give a creation presentation in your church. And this is true for all our offices around the world. Talk to your church leaders. Tell them how much you like the subject and how the people you know are asking the very questions CMI is answering. Contact us via this form. Remember that we are faith-funded. We do not even charge a set speaking fee to come. But we’ll come. All you have to do is ask.