Category Archives: Hermeneutics

Is God an Alien Part 2: Cargo Cults

During World War II Japanese and American forces often staged in the Pacific Islands.  The native inhabitants of these islands, in particular the Melanesians, had little to no contact without outside cultures, especially cultures that were as technologically advanced as the United States or Japan.

U.S. and Japanese forces would often airdrop “cargo” on to these islands.  This cargo generally contained supplies of food and medicine and other goods to be used by the soldiers.  Often the soldiers would share these supplies with the native inhabitants of the islands.

You can imagine what it must have been like for members of a pre-industrial, pre-historical culture used to hunting, fishing, and foraging to suddenly encounter large amounts of prepared food dropped from the sky by strange mechanical birds.  What’s more, the advanced medicines must have seemed like something akin to magic.

Of course, World War II ended and the U.S. and Japanese forces left these islands and did not return for many years.  When the soldiers and their supplies of medicine and food disappeared “cargo cults” developed.

These cargo cults were basically religious groups whose main purpose was to offer prayers and supplications to “the gods” in order to get them to return.  The inhabitants of these islands even built life size monuments that looked like airplanes hoping to call back the visitors and their gifts.

In a nutshell you have an encounter between a highly advanced culture and a more primitive culture that led to the formation of a type of religion.

Is this what happened to human culture so many thousands of years ago?  Was human society originally visited by a highly advanced culture, i.e. alien visitors, at the dawn of history?  Was it through this interaction that various religions and spiritual practices were created and eventually sustained?

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: