Myths of dragons are based on ancient discoveries of dinosaur fossils. It makes sense that sightings of strange objects in the skies would have led to beliefs in angels and gods in more religious times whereas in our more scientific times our thoughts go to aliens.
The U.S. government has finally admitted that UFOs are real..sort of.
This past week, the U.S. Navy confirmed that several videos—two of which were first released by The New York Times in 2017 depicting so-called “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” (UAP)—are authentic. The three videos, (another was later published by The Washington Post), each depicting quick-moving oblong-shaped objects, were shot by Navy pilots during training exercises in 2004 and 2015. The Navy has yet to identify the objects in the video, and along with the Department of Defense, said the videos should have never been made public.
While a “UAP” may be an unfamiliar term, that’s sort of the point. UAPs are essentially the new UFO—but with a lot less historical baggage. A Navy spokesman told The Washington Post that the acronym “UFO” carries so much stigma that it discourages someone from reporting a sighting.
“That term is so loaded at this point, that you are never going to change people’s understanding of what it means,” journalist Leslie Kean, who co-wrote the 2017 New York Times investigation into the Pentagon’s UFO (or UAP) program, tells Popular Mechanics. “All you can do is adopt a new one.”
But humans didn’t just start seeing UFOs darting around above our heads in just the past few weeks…or in 2015, 2004, 1947, or even 1639. Humans have seen and encountered unidentified flying objects for millennia.
Unidentified flying objects have been recorded throughout human history. The only thing that’s changed is how people—stretched across thousands of years—have interpreted these unexplainable events.
“Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the major religions actually have pictures and anecdotes of ariel phenomenon,” Diana Walsh Pasulka, author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology and a professor of philosophy and religion at UNC Wilmington tells Popular Mechanics.
Some of them were comets, asteroids, meteors, and other atmospheric optical phenomena that were scientifically unknown to our ancient ancestors, but others still defy modern explanations.
Pasulka explains in nearly every religion, there are “contact events” where an important figure makes contact with a heavenly figure. Moses and the burning bush, Mohammad and the angel Gabriel, and the Virgin Mary’s own angelic visitation.
“These are human’s first contact with something they interpret to not be human or of this planet. And, if they are [not of this planet], they are de facto extraterrestrial.”