When Paul, the man responsible for most of the New Testament, as well as for modern Christianity, had a vision of the dead Jesus on the road to Damascus, in which Jesus castigated Paul for bad-mouthing him, this started him on his entire ministry. We may think that the type of apocalyptic events that create great saints and missionaries are all in the past, but that's not true--only the names have changed: Today's great seers are UFO witnesses. In Acts 9: 3-4, we read that, "As he (Paul--then called Saul) neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him." (Note that many UFO witnesses not only see a bright light, but see dead people as well). "He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'"
Our religious leaders seem totally unaware of the dramatic experiences that are happening to ordinary people all around us, and prefer to stick to debating the old Medieval, angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin type dogma. This is the case despite the fact that the story of Ezekiel seeing the "wheel within a wheel" in the sky in Ezekiel 1:15-21 is clearly a description of a UFO sighting. No wonder our churches are so empty! Today's theologians, for the most part, are only willing to consider something inexplicable to be a miracle if it fits into a familiar narrative. Jeff Kripal, a scholar of comparative religion whom we met at the Esalen Institute, agrees with me about this. In a recent New York Times article, he is quoted as saying, "The easiest way to deal with (these events and the people who experience them) is to dismiss them, or humiliate them, or claim they are fraudulent, or mistaken. That allows us to preserve our forms of knowledge. For not only do they violate the sciences and humanities, they also violate orthodox forms of religion, which often want to read these things"--like speaking with the dead or reading minds-- "as demonic."
We ate dinner recently with a friend who has had many "Visitor" experiences and seen many odd things in the sky. His face undergoes what might be called a "religious glow" when he talks about these things (although he's not conventionally religious in any way). While we were chatting, I brought up the information that when I almost died, I was given a choice about whether or not to return (and my neurologist concurred with this when I told him about it) and he said, "We're given a choice about whether to come here in the first place." I don't necessarily agree with this idea, but he's not a hard-liner about it--it's just something he's intuited from his contactee experiences. I talk to these people all the time and have learned that this is truly the transformational experience of our time.