Members in the Media
From: The Boston Globe

A new religion has Americans looking to the stars

Belief in aliens is no longer fringe. Fifty-one percent of Americans think that unidentified flying objects are likely controlled by extraterrestrials — an increase of more than 20 percentage points since 1996. And one in three believe we’re likely to make formal contact with aliens in the next 50 years.

But as someone who studies the psychology of religion, what’s most striking to me isn’t the widespread belief that aliens are out there — in the vastness of the universe, it’s unlikely that we’re alone — but rather the growing popularity of blending this belief with spirituality. From group sky-watching sessions in the desert Southwest to backyard meetups in suburbia, people are using practices like meditations, mantras, and offerings to try to commune with god-like entities they believe possess vast knowledge and technological power. And since UFOs are the supposed vehicles that aliens use to visit earth, looking for them, or sometimes even trying to entice them to appear, is a primary focus.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): The Boston Globe

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