The most celebrated holiday is, of course, New Year's which is followed by Christmas. New Year's is a secular holiday which is observed by nearly every person on Earth, regardless of religion. Christmas is the most observed religious holiday and is even celebrated by many people who are not Christian. Even aliens celebrate Christmas.
But from a purely religious perspective, Easter is a much more important holiday than Christmas, to many Christians. While there would be no Jesus without Christmas, there would be no Christianity without Easter. It is a celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to Heaven to take his place as the Christian God.
The other big holiday this weekend is Passover. Pesach, as it is called in Hebrew, is huge. Even Jesus celebrated Passover. Do aliens celebrate Passover? You will have to wait a year for that article to be written.
Passover is an observation of the Exodus of the Israelites, or Jewish people, from Egypt. Instead of one day of Easter, Jews have eight crazy nights. The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt for 400 years and then they managed to free themselves. The leader of Egypt, or the Pharoah, kept toying with the Jews. He was like, "You can go! Ha ha, just kidding. OK, now you can go. NOT! OK now. Psych! You guys are such suckers! Y'all fall for it every time. You're worse than my black lab, with the tennis ball." These quotes are well-documented in my mind.
|Pharoah of Egypt|
Dough needs to rise before you can bake it into bread. But the Israelites decided, "Ain't nobody got time for that." They had to get out of there before the Pharoah changed his mind again. So they quickly made their dough and laid it out on their wagons to bake in the hot desert sun.
Later, everyone complained, "Oy, the bread is not so good." But they ate it anyway. It would have been a shame to waste it.
Today, thousands of years later, Jews around the world remind themselves that once they were slaves and now they are free, by eating this flat bread called Matzah.
My wife's and my families are all mixed, half Catholic and half Jewish. Some of us practice one religion, some practice the other, some do nothing. One guy is a Rastafarian. One thing we can all agree on is food. Somewhat. Everyone loves a Passover Seder. There is roast brisket, chicken, matzah ball soup. It is a feast. Mrs. M. has been running around all week, cooking like one of those people in a competition on the Food Network. But today is also a Friday - the best Friday, as it were. Some guests cannot eat meat on Fridays. This self-imposed deprivation is intended to remind Catholics of Christ's death. That eliminates most of the delicacies Mrs. M. has been slaving over, so to speak. The no-meat guy asked if he could bring a pizza to the Seder.
Heads spun, a needle was ripped off a record, silence ensued, a lone cricket chirped.
It was a reasonable question, but pizza has yeast. Yeast rises. Rising bread is antithetical to Passover. So no, you cannot bring a pizza to a Passover Seder. But I am an amateur pizza chef. People love my pizza. Whenever my kids have friends over they compliment the pizza. One kid said it was better than Village Pizza. One said it was better than Planet Pizza. One said it was almost as good as school pizza. True story, bro.
I decided to make a pizza without yeast. I did a dry run yesterday and it turned out great. But I have made much better pizza. So I consulted a rabbi. I asked if I could use yeast on Passover but then just make the pizza right away, like the fleeing Israelites would have done, instead of letting my dough rise. It makes a lot of sense to me but apparently, to truly observe Pesach you need to nix the yeast all together. So we will make yeastless pizza to satisfy the observant Catholics and observant Jews. We will make vegan options for the vegans. We will serve brisket and chicken for all who want, including any strangers who show up. It is a little crazy. And this got me thinking...
What do Aliens think of Religion?
The quick and dirty answer which will be lobbed up by all sorts of religious people is, of course they do. A priest or minister might say that everyone in the Universe knows of Jesus and he is God everywhere. No doubt, devout Muslims would say the same about Allah. Jews would say there is one God who is the Ruler of the Universe and God's name is Adonai.
Christianity and Islam are both evangelical religions. Followers are instructed to try to convert non-believers. Judaism is not. Still, all three religions teach that their God is the one true god. Would aliens agree?
Primitive peoples around the world have developed stories of many gods, throughout history. As time went on, most of these societies eventually adopted some form of monotheism, the belief in one all-mighty God. Is this a natural part of the growth of society? It would seem so. Therefore, it would stand to reason that a society which can get from there to here, which is likely millions of years older than ours, would have eventually figured out that there is one true God. Maybe they call him Jesus. Maybe they call him Allah or Adonai or Buddah. Maybe they call her Sheila or Debbie. Whatever name God goes by, if aliens believe in gods they probably believe in one god.
If aliens believe in God, they would no doubt, have cobbled together all sorts of rituals which may appear bizarre to us. Likewise, tonight's Passover Seder with all the mishagos would all seem a little crazy to aliens. It is a little crazy to Earthans. But I think they would get it because they would have their own crazy rituals and practices, if they were religious. But wait...
Do Aliens Practice Religion?
Ah... the $50,000 question. If monotheism is a natural course of societal evolution then what about atheism? Atheists believe there is no God whatsoever. Similarly, Agnostics may be unsure if there is a God, or not. That is to say, they may not follow any particular God but they will not go so far as to say there is none.
Both belief systems seem to be gaining traction. A Scientific American article from about a year ago cites a Pew Poll which observed that more and more people are disaffiliating from what some people derisively and offensively refer to as "Organized Religion." Yet, the same article notes that these people are not necessarily Atheists. They simply do not identify with one of the major religions. Many refer to themselves as, "spiritual but not religious."
Sounds like two sides of a coin to me. I do not belong to a political party but I still participate in Representative Democracy by voting. Spiritual-but-not-Religious is still religious, it is just not following a tried and true doctrine. People have spent thousands of years trying to figure things out and have written their ideas down for others to learn from so we do not have to try to figure things out on a daily basis. That works, for a lot of people.
One practice works for some, the other works for others. Either way, people are practicing Religion. We cannot give it up. Religion provides people with comfort. Whether it is from sitting in a pew, singing a hymn, praying, or in some other way trying to connect with a Higher Power, we are comforted by religion and religious practices. Regardless of a person's belief in a god, they seem drawn to religion. It is our identity. It is our culture. It is our comforter.
It stands to reason then that yes indeed, aliens practice religion of some type. Their religions may look similar to our own, which when you boil them all down, are pretty much all based on the same principal, The Golden Rule - be nice to me and I will be nice to you, or do not hurt me and I will not hurt you, or if you would not want someone to do something to you then do not do that same thing to someone else. Aliens probably feel the same way. At least, so far they have not attacked us, as far as we know.
What Religious Practices do Aliens Observe?
I get a kick out of going to Catholic Mass and watching the Communion. And then there's the whole kneeling thing with the little kneely bench that folds out. Jews are no better, with all the rising and the bowing and you have to wear a yarmulke, and you cannot turn your back to the Ark which holds the Torahs. All other religions have practices and rituals which may seem silly or even scary to non-believers but which are normal and comforting to the faithful.
Some people in India practice baby tossing. Watch the video.
Over 100,000 people worldwide believe that former soccer star Diego Maradona is a god. It is common for them to change their middle names to Diego and to name their children Diego. I kind of like that one. It reminds me of the wedding scene in Goodfellas where Karen says, "There must have been two dozen Peters and Pauls at the wedding. Plus, they were all married to girls named Marie. And they named all their daughters Marie."
Some people will flog themselves. This is called self-flagellation, not to be confused with self-flatulation which is the act of giving yourself a Dutch Oven. In high school I played the role of Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd. For some reason I was always cast as the lead bad guy in every play. Weird. Anyway, I had to flagellate myself with a riding crop. That is me, on the right, as the Judge, getting killed by Sweeney Todd, played by Joseph Coulombe. Good times.
I am not judging but... self-flagellation is a strange religious practice dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It really hit its heyday with Catholics in Medieval Europe. I suppose I was judging. I played the Judge.
Some people hide plastic rabbit eggs filled with jelly beans all over the place and make kids run around and find them. This barbaric ritual is actually quite popular with children of all religions despite its connection with Easter. Who does not love free candy?
Would aliens participate in any of this nonsense? Perhaps. Earthans are civilized people. We participate in strange religious rituals. Aliens who can get from there to here would be even more civilized, whatever that means. Surely, they would have some strange practices which tied them to their religions.
I doubt aliens would participate in baby throwing. If ever something like that did exist somewhere else in the Universe, it would have been discontinued long ago due to its danger to the baby. Same thing with snake handling. People die from snake handling. Nobody dies from jelly beans - unless they are allergic to FD&C Red #40. How is that stuff still on the market? Myself, I prefer the black ones - jelly beans, that is. You either love them or hate them.
You would think that alien religions would use some of the same rituals which are common amongst the major Earthan religions. Most religions will:
- Venerate their founders and tell stories about them
- Revere the dead and mourn their loss
- Drink wine or use mild drugs to enhance the experience
- Require a rite of passage, such as a Confirmation or Bar Mitzvah
- Designate sacred places, buildings like churches or mosques and cities like Jerusalem and Mecca
- Celebrate holidays commemorating an important person or historical event
- Use a period of fasting or denial of certain foods or luxuries, as a reminder of something important
Some people will embark on a pilgrimage to places like Bethlehem, to experience what their ancestors saw and felt.
Given the commonality of these practices across most religions, it stands to reason that religious aliens would also practice these acts. But what would they do that we would find, well, alien?
Throughout history there are many examples of offering a sacrifice to the gods. Often times it would be prized cattle or other farm animals. The slaughter of an animal is part of a ritual which may include the flow of the animal's blood, followed by the possible burning of the animal which may or may not then be eaten. Some cultures did the same with human sacrifice.
In modern days, most of these practices have been discarded or even outlawed, though animal sacrifice is still practiced in parts of Africa, the Caribbean, and elsewhere throughout the world. Would aliens do this?
It is said that aliens will abduct humans. We know this because people tell stories about it, as in the video above. Are the stories true? There are remarkable similarities in the stories, which make them hard to deny.
Sometimes people disappear and never return. Anyone who has watched Dateline or Investigation Discovery knows these disappearances are often due to someone covering up a murder. There are also many cases of children being taken by adults for unimaginable purposes. But does that explain every disappearance?
It is possible that some people vanish to be used in some type of alien religious ritual.
That would be one worst case scenario. Better options for strange alien religious rituals may include some type of self-mutilation, compulsive habits like standing on their toes or turning in circles, over-indulging in foods. These are habits practiced by humans. If aliens had capabilities we do not have, perhaps they could levitate people or objects. I might want to be a part of that experience. I wonder what I would have to do as a rite of passage.
If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page or call me at 401-315-9102 between 6:00am and 7:00am Eastern USA (New York) time, any weekday.
You may remain anonymous if you want. I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong. I get it, I saw one too.
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Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.