As a UFO religion or UFO Religion is called the new religious views of varying degrees organized groups and their prophets , which, in its understanding in contact with aliens are. The UFO phenomenon did not attract more attention until 1947 (UFO sighting by Kenneth Arnold ). In the period that followed, various religious groups emerged that integrated extraterrestrial beings into their beliefs. The contents of the religious ideas of these groups can in part be traced back to the occult , theosophical and esoteric traditions of the 19th century. Elements of the Christian religion such as the figure of Jesus Christ are often integrated into one's own view of the world.
The extraterrestrial beings are mostly seen as spiritually and morally far superior. Ernst Benz has shown that this is a typical feature of the examination of the possibility of extraterrestrial worlds in the previous centuries (since the turn of Copernicus ). Promises of salvation are also widespread, which include the rescue of believers on Judgment Day through UFOs.
While there is a strong millenarian streak in some belief systems (e.g. Ashtar Command), other groups (e.g. Scientology ) are not apocalyptic. A clear reference to technology is typical, with both technology-critical voices (the technical progress of mankind is a threat to the earth) and enthusiastic voices (technical progress serves the blessing of mankind). Some movements show similarities to Melanesian cargo cults . Most of the time, the central point is the attempt to reconcile technology and spirituality or science and religion. Similar ideas are represented in pre-astronautics (non-religious, para-scientific) .
Samael Aun Weor 's Cosmic Ships from 1955 is one of the first books of UFO belief . The world's largest UFO religion is Raelism . Aetherius Society , Ashtar Command, Unarius, Chen Tao , Eduard Albert Meier's group FIGU , in which anti-Semitic teachings are disseminated, or Uriella's order Fiat Lux are less widespread . With Xenu, even Scientologists have elements of UFO belief in their teaching. Heaven's Gate hit the headlines in 1997 through a collective suicide and in 1998 the training center for the release of Atma energy through a possibly prevented collective suicide.
- Ernst Benz: Cosmic Brotherhood. The plurality of worlds. On the history of ideas of the UFO belief. Freiburg i. Br. 1978.
- Lars A. Fischinger: UFO sects. Rastatt, 1999.
- Andreas Grünschloß: When we enter into my Father's spacecraft. Cargoistic hopes and millenarian cosmologies in new religious UFO movements, in: James R. Lewis (ed.): Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions, 2003, pp. 17–42. ( online )
- Gernot Meier: "And the gods keep landing". Future prognosis in new religious UFO movements in the Internet medium. Inaugural dissertation to obtain a doctorate from the Philosophy Faculty of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , 2003 ( PDF; 4 MB )
- Eduard Gugenberger: Esoteric Ufology . In: Helmut Reinalter (Hrsg.): Handbook of the conspiracy theories. Salier Verlag, Leipzig 2018, p. 103 f.
- Eduard Gugenberger: Esoteric Ufology . In: Helmut Reinalter (Hrsg.): Handbook of the conspiracy theories. Salier Verlag, Leipzig 2018, p. 104 f.