BBC's "Big Questions" Holds Debate Over Whether Jesus and the Buddha Were Space Aliens
On Sunday the BBC hosted a debate on the ancient astronaut theory in which a panel questioned whether Jesus, Krishna, and the Buddha were space aliens. The Big Questions delivered 23 minutes of ancient astronaut speculation in the guise of probing the mysteries of religion. The Big Questions is a debate program that typically covers more serious subjects of moral, ethical, and religious concern. The preceding segments on the show were about counter-terrorism efforts in schools and how to improve democracy.
Host Nicky Campbell predicated the discussion on the NASA’s discovery of earthlike planets that might support life.
“It will be no surprise to the followers of those religions who’ve long believed that life—possibly not as we know it—exists elsewhere in the galaxy,” he said. “Life which has possibly exerted its influence here on planet Earth. Have beings from other planets guided our religions?”
Campbell’s panel of experts included the head of the Aetherius Society, a spiritualist, a scientist who is also a committed Christian, and a Christian bishop. There were no panelists who represented secular or skeptical viewpoints, nor were any mainstream historians interviewed. In fact, no Hindus or Buddhists were on hand to discuss their faiths either, according to published accounts. (I am not able to view the show from America due to geo-blocking by the BBC.)
The scientist, Liz Weston, defended traditional Christianity using C. S. Lewis’s tilemma—that Jesus must be lunatic, liar, or Lord. (Lewis did not invent the argument, but he is closely associated with it after using it on the BBC.) Weston said that the trilemma left no room for Jesus to come from another planet, though logically speaking, that would probably fall under the category of liar. She demanded to know where the evidence is for space alien religious figures, while declining to offer evidence for the historicity of the Biblical narrative of Jesus.
Mark Bennett of the Aetherius Society told Campbell that religious figures are from Venus, and that Venusian civilization cannot be detected from the earth because it vibrates at a different wavelength from civilization on earth.
“We believe that various religious leaders from history have an inter-planetary origin. We believe that Jesus and Buddha came from Venus, that Sri Krishna came from Saturn, that Saint Peter came from Mars, and so on,” Bennett said.
The Aetherius Society is a Theosophy-influenced UFO cult founded by George King in the 1950s. Like Theosophists, they believe in spiritual masters who come to earth from other planets in their flying ships, which they identify with the flying saucers of UFO mythology.
The Aetherius Society has been in decline for decades and is believed to have only a few thousand members around the world.
Bishop Jonathan Frost echoed Weston’s views and added that Christianity is superior to the Aetherius Society because it is “down to earth” and makes “a real difference in people’s lives.” I believe that Scientology makes similar claims for their e-meter. The practical ends of a belief system imply nothing about the truth value of its claims.
Bennett countered by suggesting that the ancient astronaut theory is more logical and scientific than traditional religion, a claim that ancient astronaut theorists have been making since the first UFO Christian preachers started using it in the 1950s.
“I would say that it makes much more sense to say that Jesus was an interplanetary being who came to earth to help mankind, than to say that God created a one and only son, who was also himself at a random point in history, who came to come to earth and forgive people their sins for some reason we don’t really know.”
Viewers of the BBC program took to Twitter to express their shock and outrage that the taxpayer-funded service was giving air time to insane theories, with some viewers wondering whether Ancient Aliens had influenced the selection of topic. The story was picked up by the UK edition of the Huffington Post, which collected some of the Twitter responses.
2/11/2015 03:38:35 am
Twitter knows what's up: It is ridiculous for mainstream Christians to suggest that their belief system is any less ridiculous on paper than UFO religions.
2/11/2015 04:45:29 am
You can watch at least some of the discussion on this YouTube upload, though I'm sure the added soundtrack wasn't put there by the BBC.
2/11/2015 05:28:10 am
I think at this point it is probably not likely anyone came from Saturn or Mars, despite references in Buck Rogers an Flash Gordon serials.
2/11/2015 05:52:41 am
Please change the title to reflect the fact that the wise in English call him the Buddha, rather than simply Buddha. Buddha may be used without a definite article only when part of a longer title: Buddha Shakyamuni, Amitabha Buddha, Vairocana Budda, etc. (all of whom are separate beings and my personal lords and saviours).
2/11/2015 06:07:22 am
I changed it.
2/11/2015 06:40:56 am
Anyone who takes Lewis's trilemma seriously as an argument, let alone relies on it to demonstrate anything further, is pretty much automotically not worth taking seriously.
2/11/2015 06:44:51 am
Without the Richard Strauss Soundtrack:
2/11/2015 10:24:25 am
It makes more sense without the soundtrack; they didn't even *mention* Zarathustra! =P
2/11/2015 07:00:40 am
I watched this episode and the woman who was a scientist and a Christian fundamentalist stated "No historian worth his salt would deny the historical evidence of Jesus".
2/11/2015 07:08:27 am
It's really hard to believe (because you're 666), but this is actually a good and important point.
2/12/2015 04:26:47 am
The Gnostics (and other monophysites) did not believe Jesus was incorporeal, they thought he was of a completely divine essence (hypostasis). In other words that he lacked anything of a mortal nature. That doesn't mean that he didn't have a body or a physical presence, or that he wasn't an historical being. Although I suspect you are trolling anyway, so it's not like correcting you matters.
2/12/2015 05:03:35 am
*in my best David Childress voice* You have to wonder if the lack of historians was an intentional omission on the part of the BBC..."
2/12/2015 05:10:11 am
Mandalore, you are of course correct that denial of the humanity of Jesus is compatible with belief that he had some form of historical presence. However, it is important to keep in mind that the historicity of Jesus was far from obvious (or obviously unproblematic) to all Christians even in the first centuries CE.
2/12/2015 05:30:40 am
EP, I see what you are saying, but I think it is important to distinguish modern and ancient concepts of historicity. There is no ancient indication that anyone doubted Jesus' existence. (And the strength of oral transmission traditions of the day would strengthen that he did in spite of the time between his life and writing of the Gospels.) Of course, most ancient peoples also believed that Achilles was a real person. It is only with modern historical analysis in the 18-19th centuries that people began to question historicity of ancient figures. Ancient peoples had a much more dynamic relationship that went far beyond the 'objectivity' that modern historians value.
2/12/2015 10:06:33 am
While I believe (along with the majority of scholars) that Jesus is indeed a historical figure, I think that any given hypothesis about the details of his life and teachings is bound to be conjectural.
2/13/2015 02:23:25 am
Sorry for the brevity, I was trying to avoid overloading.
2/13/2015 03:45:04 am
What you are describing doesn't sound any different from most modern historiography, tbh.
2/14/2015 03:39:48 pm
Would love to hear your thoughts on this:
2/11/2015 08:46:36 am
In other words, this "debate" was pointless for a multitude of reasons.
2/11/2015 08:56:51 am
Shocking, I know. I mean, just consider the participants! ;)
2/11/2015 10:29:42 am
"Weston said that the trilemma left no room for Jesus to come from another planet, though logically speaking, that would probably fall under the category of liar."
2/11/2015 01:00:24 pm
It's....kind of a long jump from "Earth-sized planet the right distance away from a star" to "Thriving, technologically advanced exoplanetary civilization." No astronomical organization in the world has even managed to find evidence that any of the "earth-like" worlds has an ATMOSPHERE, much less liquid water, life, or technology. Our scientific "eyes" for this job are still far too crude to get that much detail. So why are we having discussions about whether or not the life from these worlds--that we don't know for sure exists, much less how technologically advanced it is--came HERE or not, on the basis of "we found this planet?" It's ridiculous, and it's making TOTALLY unwarranted assumptions. I mean, first you're assuming there's life on these worlds, but technically Mars and Venus are both "earth-like worlds," so AT BEST you have 1 in 3 odds that life exists on these worlds. There is no way at all of predicting the odds of technologically-inclined life existing on a given world, much less what level of technology. And more importantly, anyone who has ever even skimmed through the fossils on display at a natural history museum knows that there are soooo many more ways for life to evolve than "looks like humans." I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm pretty sure even Biblical-era Jews would have noticed that some purported Messiah was a tentacle creature or a giant insect, for example. (Note: be careful not to slip in the sarcasm and irony dripping onto the floor under your computer.)
2/11/2015 11:20:26 pm
Excellent points! I would add that, given that, despite the large number of animals to whom we are related and with whom we evolved on the same planet, only one small branch evolved humanoid features, the chances of extraterrestrial aliens evolving into humanoids is likely to be extremely small.
2/13/2015 01:50:56 pm
Not to mention that we, as human, beings, notice even tiny differences as major ones--to the point where being of a different race of humans (very superficial and honestly TINY differences) is something almost impossible for us to ignore, so even if they were humanoid, we'd probably notice ANYTHING that wasn't "human." Eyes the wrong color. Hair with the wrong kind of highlights. Walking a little funny. A body odor that's not quite right. I mean, we're talking before the age of modern costume makeup; today we'd probably just think it was a rubber suit.
2/11/2015 07:05:34 pm
Nicky Campbell is the worst sort of "say anything for a dollar" hack. He used to host a Sunday morning radio show which was devoted to relaxing music for clubbers coming down off ecstasy (obviously, it wasn't billed quite as directly as that); then, a couple of hours later, he hosted a debate program on TV which had him screaming abuse at people who said ecstasy was actually okay.
2/12/2015 02:35:40 am
"a Sunday morning radio show which was devoted to relaxing music for clubbers coming down off ecstasy"
2/12/2015 07:41:19 pm
Called "The Chillout Session", I believe.
2/15/2015 03:04:16 am
Jesus Christ! i would think you'd all realize that ANYONE having bearing the initials JC would be worth following. thank you, Jason C!
2/15/2015 05:33:37 am
JC is a Myth!
2/15/2015 05:48:19 am
666, is that you?
2/15/2015 10:30:29 am
Nah...there wasn't any copying and pasting, bragging about knowing more than everyone else or demands for respect for bitter old farts. :)
2/15/2015 10:43:51 am
I WILL NOT HAVE ANY MORE OF YOUR POMPOUS BILLSHIT ONLY ME!!! :P
2/15/2015 05:46:06 am
write on, bro.
2/15/2015 10:03:45 pm
Sorry, EP, Only Me and Gary Brown if I offended believing Christians. I did not realize there were people on this forum who believe the Christians Myths are actual history. My sincere apology. Continue to believe your Myths.
2/15/2015 10:35:30 pm
2/16/2015 04:56:43 am
JC (666?), you're an idiot.
2/16/2015 11:22:51 am
Why thank you, JC. Please, feel free to continue believing *your* myth that you are so much more educated than the masses.
2/16/2015 11:33:24 am
I'm a life long Christian for over 50 years. Could JC be really right that what I have believed all this time is a Myth? Tell me this is not true. Will other Christians on this site show JC he is wrong in everything he has said. Should we bring back the Inquisition and brand people like JC as a heretic and burn the heretics at the stake? Maybe JC is a Witch?
2/16/2015 12:15:35 pm
JC isn't cool enough to be a witch
2/16/2015 12:48:25 pm
EP, Thank goodness you are another Christian like me. Could you take each thing JC said and show it is a lie and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I'm praying for you Brother. Praise the Lord! Frank
2/16/2015 01:40:54 pm
Say, are you the same troll who was accusing everyone of anti-Catholicism recently?
2/16/2015 09:48:00 pm
No. Certainly not. I'm not a Catholic. But someone needs to debunk all of JC's lies about Jesus not being a real historic figure. You seem smart enough to do that, so please debunk JC's idiot comments that Jesus was not a real person. All of us Christians know Jesus was a real person, born of a virgin, performed miracles, rose from the dead and all who do not believe in him will burn in hell for all eternity.
2/17/2015 03:35:08 am
2/10, weak troll.
2/17/2015 03:19:38 am
do i get a choice of color for my asbestos suit?
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