When I arrived at Caltech for postdoctoral research, I was tagged for an “extra” assignment. Someone found out about my years of sky-watching as an amateur astronomer—a level of practical experience unusual among professional astronomers—and appointed me to handle UFO reports. Through stargazing I learned that the vast majority of the objects people report as UFOs are actually IFOs, “Identifiable Flying Objects,” natural or manmade.
As a Christian, I learned something else in the course of fulfilling this assignment, something that became important to me in my efforts to help people move toward faith in Jesus Christ. I came to see that even supposed UFO sightings can become serious spiritual stumbling blocks. They lodge in people’s minds and nag at them, often stirring fears and wild imaginings about “what’s really out there.”
People who’ve seen UFOs tend to become more susceptible to bizarre fantasies about alien life or to so-called New Age religions and philosophies. They develop serious doubts about whether or not the Bible tells the whole story—if they ever gave it any credence in the first place. Some even come to doubt their own sanity and withdraw from relationships in which their “secret” strange observation may leak out.