The Role of Christian Theology and Ritual in UFO Religions
This project examines the importance of Christian theology and ritual in UFO religions, specifically in the Raëlians and Heaven's Gate. The Raëlians are an active UFO group who believe human life was artificially created by extraterrestrials. Heaven's Gate was a group that died by suicide in 1997 to gain access to a space craft that would take them to the afterlife. Areas of investigation covered in this study include analyzing the use of biblical narratives in these groups, the incorporation of Jesus, and ascetic practices among others. The blending of ideas from an established religion with ideas relating to extraterrestrials and UFOs increases the legitimacy of their claims. Research on social identity theory and the importance of ritual is applied to explain how the Christian tradition may help members embrace their new faith in a UFO religion.
Faculty Mentor: Susan Raine