In 2017, the NY Times published a story detailing a U.S. Department of Defense program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which secretly funded research to study UFOs. The article introduced new terminology, referring to such objects as UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena). This facilitated massive intellectual engagement with UFOs in the public spotlight. In 2022, congressional hearings were held to analyze UAP reports, and the National Defense Authorization Act established a permanent office for reporting on UAPs.
Then on July 26, 2023, retired Air Force Intelligence officer David Grusch testified during a congressional UFO hearing that the US military held nonhuman technical crafts, reverse-engineered by private entities, and had found nonhuman "biologics" – all concealed from the public.
Such otherworldly revelations prompt us to consider how it has come about that the UFO phenomenon – a secular-scientific imaginary – has intertwined with new expressions of religiosity? As the stigma associated with UFOs appears to be fading, what does this mean for religion and religious studies scholars and the relationship between religion and technology? This talk will introduce some of the recent scholarship that is exploring the intersection of religion, technology, space, and the UFO phenomenon.