This morning my computer failed. Windows attempted to install an updated, and it did not work. It froze the system, and it took down the operating system with it. It got worse when I tried to have Dell technical support help me fix the disaster Windows Update caused. All of the remedies they tried failed, and the last ditch effort of reverting to factory settings to reinstall the operating system became a non-starter because of the system failure from last month, which resulting in a rebuilding of the system. The new parts, motherboard, etc. are all optimized and specified for Windows 8 (my current operating system), but the factory settings were for Windows 7 (the original operating system), and something I don’t understand meant that the settings for the motherboard or something like that weren’t backward compatible with the original factory settings. The long and short of it was that it took six and half hours for the technicians to get the computer working again, and even now I’m not sure if it’s going to still be working if I try turning it off. It’s been one of those days.
So due to my computer crisis, I’m about seven hours behind on my work today and don’t have time to prepare a blog post. In lieu of that, I thought I’d point out that Presbyterian priest Barry Downing is still pushing his ancient astronaut theories!
Downing, born in 1938, has been a fixture of central New York ufology for decades. He was a pastor at a church in Endwell, a suburb of Binghamton, in the Southern Tier of New York State. He recently spoke at the Endwell Rotary Club, where he told members that ancient astronaut theorists have it right about aliens being the true creators of humanity.
“There are people who are private researchers who say that the, (sic) we have contacted the aliens and the aliens have said that they have developed many of the religions on earth,” Downing said.
He also demanded that the United State government release any and all information about their knowledge of ancient astronauts and extraterrestrials’ role in the creation of humanity.
“I think every religious leader has a right to know if the United States government has information about these issues,” he said.
I grew up in a town near Syracuse, where Downing was born, so it’s somewhat amusing that the one-time Ancient Aliens theologian is still promoting his alien-themed work in and around New York State almost half a century later.
Downing is most famous for his 1968 book The Bible and Flying Saucers, in which he postulated that Yahweh was a flying saucer piloted by aliens masquerading as angels, and Jesus was a space alien. He cited John 8:23 to prove that Jesus had come from outer space: “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” A confession if ever I’ve heard one!
In the 1973 edition of The Bible and Flying Saucers, Downing said that Erich von Däniken helped to prove his thesis with his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods and to help shape humanity to better understand the alien truth behind history: “I do not recommend von Däniken as a careful Biblical scholar, nor as a theologian, but I think he has helped us make some important psychological adjustments.”
In an article in the Binghamton Evening Press, included as an appendix to the 1973 volume, Downing went on to attack von Däniken for his shoddy understanding of the Bible, but it’s more interesting to see the way Downing’s quasi-spiritual view of biblical UFOs, expressed here, has overtaken the nuts-and-bolts ancient astronautics of Chariots of the Gods:
The space age is forcing us to ask the question: Is it possible the Old Testament and New Testament religions were DELIBERATELY brought about by beings from another world? This is a fearful question, but it is also a hopeful one. Von Däniken thinks the Biblical religion is an accidental byproduct of primitive contact with ancient astronauts. I think the Biblical religion is the deliberate work of ancient astronauts, or at least of Higher Beings.
Downing is perhaps one of the clearest exemplars of the way ancient astronautics exists to revitalize sclerotic old ideas in modern (or now postmodern or even post-postmodern) guise.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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