How to deal with experiencers
After reading Gary Bates’s Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection, Don S. emailed CMI as follows:
Hi, Alien Intrusion (6th printing 2011) is one of the best books I have read. Yes, churches should be abductees’ best sanctuary. But you give no techniques on how to counsel abductees! (Emphasis his).
Thanks for the inquiry as it provides an opportunity to give more detail in this area. It was not deeply covered in Alien Intrusion because the book provided mainly background information and an interpretation of the UFO phenomenon from a biblical perspective. While it strongly points to the spiritual deception that is occurring when people believe they are having contact with real extraterrestrials, and it shows how the Bible can be used to explain the experiences, it is not a ‘Christian counseling book’. This was deliberate. The book does not shy away from the Gospel, but we clearly wanted Christians (who have told us they have benefitted greatly from reading and understanding the phenomenon), to be able to give the book to non-Christians, and in particular, those who may have seen things in the sky or may be experiencers at a deeper level.
Some background on Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection for those who have not read it (yet). With what follows, I need to caution and urge readers not to use my ‘spiritual’ conclusions as a broad brush to define every sighting or experience. Not all sightings are of a spiritual nature. The simple fact is that most UFO sightings can be explained as either natural or man-made phenomena (c.90%). We should only draw spiritual conclusions when all the evidence demands it. In the same way that people wear a certain set of glasses to interpret facts into their evolutionary or creationary framework, people do the same thing with the strange objects and experiences they have with UFO related experiences. I have categorized these in the following way.
- There are the ‘UFO skeptics’. Usually evolutionary and atheistic in their worldview. They might believe that life evolved on other planets, but they clearly understand that the sightings and experiences could not be visitations by extraterrestrials from other planets because of the violation of the laws of physics to do so. See More space travel problems: g-forces. So, their worldview constrains them to interpret every event as naturalistic (e.g. ball lightning) or manmade (satellites, government aircraft). People who claim abductions must be suffering psychological or hallucinatory episodes.
- Then there are the ‘UFO true believers’ as I like to call them. This group avidly believes in the reality of extraterrestrials visiting the earth. So, they generally interpret (and sometimes twist) every sighting or experience into evidence of visitations. Some of them may have had experiences that have shaped or created this belief.
- Then there are Christians who, in my experience, tend to over spiritualize the events. I.e. they automatically categorize any sighting or experience as demonic. This is not sound because, as said, most have normal explanations. Taking this approach with either of the persons in group 1 or 2 above will just cause those groups to ‘shut’ down and not listen.
- There is a fourth approach that I advocate. I think we should actually start by taking the approach of group 1. That is, use our best efforts to see if there is a normal explanation, and only resort to spiritual explanations when the evidence fits. For example, if alleged craft are seen to fly at speeds of over 1,000 mph (1,600kph) and merge into one another while doing these incredible speeds, or when they simply disappear into thin air or drop off radar screens etc. This is not possible for physical craft. Another example might be where alleged aliens have supposedly walked through the walls or ceilings during supposed abductions experiences.
The above deals with UFO sightings (remember that ‘UFO’ simply means ‘unidentified flying object’). But when someone has claimed to have a first-hand encounter with an entity that claimed to be an extraterrestrial then the circumstantial evidence is much harder to explain away. The writer of the email (above) was mainly referring to this section at the end of my book where I wrote:
But unless the church accepts, embraces and learns to deal with this modern cultural phenomenon that is a subset of the issue of origins (where these beings come from, and determining our own place in the universe), then even I (with great sadness) could not confidently recommend to experiencers that the church could help them with this issue. Because of this non-acceptance of the phenomenon occurring around them, the church does not know how to reach potentially millions of people (yes, that many) who are looking for answers. Unfortunately, most experiencers that I have met have felt angry because they felt shunned by the church who would not take their experiences seriously, or simply suggested that these people were demonically possessed. So this forces them to seek the assistance of those in the UFO community, who, sadly, will only reinforce the lie that they are being visited by highly evolved benevolent beings from another planet. A loving church that could embrace and explain this phenomenon will have people turning up at its door for answers.
In the online article countering ‘close encounters’, I wrote:
I’ve found that there are generally two types of persons that comment or inquire about the UFO phenomenon. There are those genuine seekers who are looking for explanations or closure about what they’ve seen or what has happened to them, and then those who have simply made their mind up about the phenomenon—a kind of ‘case closed’ belief.
This second group, who are given over deeply to it, often write in a hostile manner, probably because they’ve had some experience that isolates them somewhat, to the extent that they believe that we cannot know what we are talking about, and are somehow ignorant about the ‘truth’, because we’ve not had the experience. Said experience often becomes a defining life-changing experience for most that now shapes their whole worldview. 2 Thessalonians 2:9–11, reminds us that “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
Regardless of which ‘camp’ the experience falls in there are 3 important things the Christian needs to do, and they are to listen, listen and listen (does this make the point?). As Christians who believe we have the truth we are very good at ‘telling’ people what they need to hear. But if we do not listen and try to empathise with the experiencer, and worse still, interject, then it comes across as if we haven’t heard the person and that we are denying their experience. I am not going to give the impression that counselling experiencers is easy. In all my years of ministry they are the most difficult group I’ve ever tried to reason with. The experience is real to them. Thus, I have never had a single occasion where I have been able to convince someone that they are being deceived at the first attempt at speaking to them. However, if I can just get the door ajar a little bit by creating some doubts then I have had some success and getting them to read extra information (like my book) in their own often quiet time. None of us like to ‘be told’ anything, so just imagine what it would be like if someone told you “You are being demonically oppressed!” or “You are being deceived!”
How to create doubts
We’ve written at length on this site how people generally have a worldview or belief system with which they interpret facts, and in this case, their experiences. I.e. we attempt to undermine someone’s evolutionary worldview (that’s what evolutionists also seek to do to Christians). The problem for UFO experiencers though is that the actual experience can now become the worldview filter through which they now interpret their world. The experience might be real, but of course is not truthful in the sense that it is extraterrestrials from another planet. Most of these people who have alleged abduction experiences claim that they have been given messages or information and even tasks to perform. Because of this ‘life-changing’ experience many often find it difficult to function in the normal world. How do they go about their 9–5 existence after having an experience that you or I cannot understand? Unfortunately the isolation of the experience and often the lack of empathy shown by others only drives them deeper into the experience. And if it reoccurs it can almost become like a welcome friend and they start to trust the entities, their alleged mission or purpose and the stories they are told by fallen angels that are masquerading as highly evolved, benevolent aliens.
How to undo it
I believe that with most forms of evangelism we set unrealistic expectations as if we expect everybody to respond positively and immediately. For instance, to the Christians reading this article I could ask “How many of you became Christians the very first time someone spoke to you about the Lord?” I’ve actually done this in many meetings to possibly thousands of people and in all those years probably no more than a handful have indicated “Yes.” This is an average response but one can imagine how much more difficult this becomes when we add ‘the life changing experience of meeting a real alien’ into the mix. The Bible actually gives us a heads up that this phenomenon will occur:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).
So, what is the best method of deconstructing the false worldview that their new found belief is based upon? We do this by following the Scriptural admonition that:
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
As an analogy, we know that much of our Christian doctrine is built upon the book of Genesis. The events of Creation, the Fall in the Garden of Eden are the very reason we need a Saviour. Every New Testament author refers to the book of Genesis and Jesus referenced it on 16 occasions. They believed it recorded real history. This is also one of the reason the origins debate is such a hotly contested issue. The attacks on the Christian faith come from no greater area than the area of secular science (evolution). And that secular view is trying to destroy the first book upon which our Christian faith and subsequent worldview is based upon. In short, demolish the foundation upon which something is built and the structure will not stand. In same way, we not only provide information to support what we believe about Creation, but it has the dual purpose of deconstructing the atheistic worldview which is built upon evolution. Our beliefs about origins ultimately provide the foundation for our raison d’être.
In the same way, UFO experiencers often feel that they have finally understood their place in the universe and many people who’ve had visitations have been told things and have even been given missions as part of this new found purpose. For example, one experiencer I met told me that his sperm is being used to repopulate a distant planet where the males of their species are dying off due to a disease. This will seem bizarre to some readers who are not familiar with the finer details of what is actually happening (I therefore recommend Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection). The experience is mainly happening in the spiritual realm and is highly illusional, and via the implantation of suggestions it creates something known as False Memory Syndrome. This is a well known medical phenomenon that occurs when experiencers cannot distinguish the difference between false or even imaginary events and reality.
But in the finer details of what the experiencers are being told by the deceptive entities I have found there are always lies. In other words they always tell people things that can demonstrably be shown to be not true. They often make predictions about the future that don’t come to pass (false prophets); they claim to be our creators they emanate form distant planets, where we cannot test their claims. There are so many little things—even mundane stories about the individual or our world that can be shown to be false. These are often not noticed (sometimes willingly ignored) by the experiencer because they don’t want anything to get in the way or contradict the seemingly marvellous event that is happening to them. This is a bit similar to the way people deny the obvious flaws in evolution, because to think otherwise might mean that Creation is true! Leading secular abduction researcher Donna Higbee summarizes nicely what I just explained. She wrote:
“I noticed a drastic change … in the attitudes of several of the abductees from one meeting to the next. People who had been traumatized all their lives by ongoing abductions and had only anger and mistrust for their non-human abductors suddenly started saying they had been told/shown that everything that has happened to them was for their own good, that the abductors are highly spiritual beings and are helping them (the abductee) to evolve spiritually. By accepting this information, the abductees stopped fighting abduction and instead became passive and controlled. When I checked with other researchers, I found that this was a pattern that was repeating itself over and over again around the country. I became concerned that abductees were accepting these explanations from entities that we know can be deceitful.”1
This is a dichotomy that has faced the UFO believing community for a long time. Why would highly evolved benevolent alien beings, stealthily abduct humans in the middle of the night, subject them to grotesque medical experiments and tell blatant lies? Why be so secretive if their stated mission is to benefit mankind and usher us into some ‘new age of enlightenment’? It seems strange that fallen angels cannot get their stories right, but it lines up with Scripture pretty easily. I believe the words of Scripture accurately describe what to expect when one hears something from an occultic source. Jesus said about the devil in John 8:44:
“ … there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Listen and craft objections carefully
In short, listen and pick up on the stories that people are told by deceptive entities and find holes in them that you can demonstrate are false. Of course, make it plain that if someone lies to them ‘they are liars’. So, if they lie about things we know are true, then why should we trust the things we cannot test? Why would these alleged benevolent beings fly millions of light years to tell us stupid lies? Once the experiencer starts to doubt the experience, instead of being given over to it, I believe it can be the beginning of the end. It is not benevolent, it is malevolent, and once they realize this they might not welcome it any more.
Also, I showed in Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection that experiences can be halted in the name of Christ, by singing hymns, saying prayers etc. And often once they become Christians it stops altogether. This, of course, is strong evidence as to the spiritual nature of these alleged ‘close encounters’.
I have only scratched the surface which is why I continually recommend the book as good resource. Also, my new DVD Close Encounters of the ‘Fourth Kind’ deals with the false memory syndrome issue I mentioned earlier.
References and notes
- New Abductee Trend, posted in the Flying Saucer Review, fsr.org.uk/fsrart14.htm, January 29, 2010 Return to text.