Blogger and researcher Jim Fletcher has worked in the book publishing industry for 15 years, and is now director of the apologetics group Prophecy Matters. His new book, "Truth Wins," provides important analysis of Rob Bell and his Emergent friends.More ↓Less ↑
Book reviewers know that King Solomon’s assertion that there’s “nothing new under the sun” is wildly true. Millions of writers and a finite number of original ideas often add up to … sameness.
Oh, occasionally someone comes up with an interesting new twist on some subject, but usually authors “borrow.” In some cases, such as our intrepid vice president, it can lead to plagiarism in speeches, thus sinking a presidential bid.
But I deliciously digress.
The lack of originality in publishing reminds me of the time a friend begged me to read his screenplay and give feedback. I read it. It was poignant, sometimes witty and a jolly good story. But something seemed familiar.
“It sounds just like ‘Midnight Cowboy,’” I said.
“The Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman movie?”
“Hmm. Yeah,” he admitted.
Honestly, he had knocked off the acclaimed film. He knew it and I knew it. His screenplay was never bought.
So it is that when I do see something fresh, I really take notice. It shows a certain boldness on the part of the author.
Gary Bates is such an author. The U.S. director of the apologetics group, Creation Ministries International, Bates had a burden several years ago to investigate the UFO phenomenon. We should be grateful.
When writing “Alien Intrusion,” Bates no doubt knew his view would be controversial: UFOs are not the classic extraterrestrial beings many think they are.
A tagline on the back of the book claims aliens are “one of the most haunting and persistent mysteries of our time,” and that is certainly true. UFO interest – no, obsession – has skyrocketed since the mysterious events at Roswell, N.M., in 1947.
Bates has produced one of the most exhaustively researched books on the subject I’ve ever seen (the book is also chock-full of photos and images and a helpful appendix addresses the question of whether UFOs are mentioned in the Bible; I wish I had a shekel for every time someone has asked me about Ezekiel’s visions in light of UFO sightings!).
Beginning with the preface on page 7, and continuing on through page 377, I could not put this book down. One of the striking things Bates brings out is the truth that UFO sightings – and especially the weird, creepy element of “abductions” – have mushroomed since the subject has been popularized by films and books! Think about that. Is it possible that we are encountering “UFOs” because our minds have been saturated by these kinds of films and popular culture references?
Did the colonists really have encounters with UFOs? What about the Mayans or Babylonians? People like Erik von Daniken think so, but are we seeing a proliferation of such encounters because the suggestion has been planted by cultural change agents like George Lucas?
When credible people like Jimmy Carter (did I just make a funny?) and astronaut Gordon Cooper claim to have seen UFOs, people tend to listen; but again, is the power of suggestion causing us to see strange craft and strange beings? This would also explain the rash of “abduction” stories. Do people recall being abducted because someone else first proposed it? The power of suggestion is indeed powerful.
Bates’ real contribution to the galaxy-sized body of UFO literature is in the area of human origins. With mainstream evolutionists virtually conceding that life originated on other planets, Bates takes that issue head-on. Bates is terrific when it comes to the creation vs. evolution debate. In his research, E.T.s factor in, in a big way.
Bates uncovers some fascinating data as he uncovers the roots of modern science fiction wedded to “real” science. In Chapter 2 (“The Science of Fiction”) he makes the legitimate claim that fiction writers’ biases affect the culture. For example, even 19th century writers like Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley weaved their personal beliefs into their stories. Shelley’s stretching of credulity, with regard to the efforts to give life to a dead creature in her book “Frankenstein,” somehow plants the seeds of legitimacy in readers’ minds.
It is then a short walk to modern writers, who invent fantastic worlds in which intelligent beings advance their agendas. In other words, the Frankenstein Monster is no more real than Martians, but the power of artistic license layered over popular culture brings us to a point where masses believe in creatures that in fact do not exist.
Bates further explores this idea when considering the views of famous scientists. Sir Francis Crick, co-finder of DNA, clearly saw that the complexity of life screams for a creator, but as an atheist, could not accept this. So he advanced the theory of “panspermia,” the idea that aliens “seeded” Earth in the long-distant past. This idea – completely lacking in any evidence – is so absurd, one wonders why creationists who insist that Adam and Eve were real people are somehow less credible than thinkers like Crick.
Yet men like Crick have been instrumental in various cultural change agents implementing absurd projects like SETI, a government-sanctioned (and funded) attempt to communicate with aliens.
In “Alien Intrusion,” Bates also tackles the difficult question of future events, and does so with great skill. He sees that the entire focus on E.T.s seeks to “re-draw” biblical history and that God’s planned conclusion for world history is completely at odds with the perceived conclusion seen by evolutionists – the latter conclusion completely dependent on speculation, by the way.
Bates here references Revelation 16:14-16, in proposing that demonic spirits seek to alter perceptions, thus destroying human discernment. Again, the reader can accuse Bates (and book reviewers!) of being nutty, but remember Crick’s view and consider that “Alien Intrusion” just might be one of the most important treatises you’ll read this year.