Andrew Abeyta, assistant professor of psychology at North Dakota State University in the United States, studies the meaning of life. In 2017, he was co-author of a study called ‘We are not alone’, which found that people who believe in aliens are less likely to believe in religion.

“Religion is a really robust source of meaning in life. It gives us a sense of purpose. We feel important. It feels like our lives are planned, that they’re purposefully designed,” says Abeyta. “And when we reject religion, what we argue is that need to explain, that need to find purpose, that desire to feel important and meaningfulness doesn’t go away.

"People who tend to report a stronger belief in UFO conspiracies and little green men and things like that, tend to also report a higher sense of meaning in life. They want to go somewhere else to help restore that meaning. So it’s sort of like we’re trying to capture this compensatory process.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone who leaves the church will start believing in alien abduction. But it does demonstrate a common human desire for answers to an age-old question: “Why are we here?”

Research by the University of Fribourg found that those who believe in a higher purpose, the literal truth of the Bible and divine creation, were also more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.

“Belief in conspiracy theories does tend to correlate with religious belief,” says Karen Douglas, professor of social psychology at the University of Kent. “It also correlates negatively with education. For instance, people who are more educated are more likely to reject conspiracy theories. Some studies have also shown that disadvantaged groups are sometimes more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.”






「陰謀論信念は、宗教的信念と相関する傾向がある」とケント大学の社会心理学教授カレン・ダグラスは言う。 「それは教育とも負の相関関係にある。たとえば、より教育を受けた人々は陰謀論を否定する可能性が高くなる。いくつかの研究では、恵まれないグループは陰謀論を信じる可能性が高いことも示している。」

[ Sue Nelson: "Why we want to believe in aliens" (2022) on BBC ]

エイリアンアブダクティたちの心理研究と(それの一般向け解説書)で知られるDr. Susan A. Clancyは、その本の出版の際して、エイリアンアブダクションは宗教的体験と同様なものではないかとコメントしている。
Yet abduction narratives often have another, less explicit, dimension that Dr. Clancy suspects may be central to their power. Consider this comment, from a study participant whom Dr. Clancy calls Jan, a middle-age divorcée engaged in a quest for personal understanding: "You know, they do walk among us on earth. They have to transform first into a physical body, which is very painful for them. But they do it out of love. They are here to tell us that we're all interconnected in some way. Everything is."

At a basic level, Dr. Clancy concludes, alien abduction stories give people meaning, a way to comprehend the many odd and dispiriting things that buffet any life, as well as a deep sense that they are not alone in the universe. In this sense, abduction memories are like transcendent religious visions, scary and yet somehow comforting and, at some personal psychological level, true.

Dr. Clancy said she regretted not having asked the abductees she interviewed about religious beliefs, which were not a part of her original research. The reader may regret that, too. The warmth, awe and emotion of abduction stories and of those who tell them betray strong spiritual currents that will be familiar to millions of people whose internal lives are animated by religious imagery.

エイリアンアブダクション事件には、別の、あまり明白ではない面があり、Dr. Clancyはそれらの力のが中心となる可能性があると考えている。Dr. ClancyがJanと呼ぶ、個人的理解を求めている中年の離婚者である、研究の被験者の証言を考えてみよう。「知っての通り、彼らは地球上を我々とともに歩いている。そのために彼らはまず、物理的肉体に変容する必要があるが、それは彼らの取っては非常に苦痛である。しかし、彼らはそれを愛のために行っている。、何らかの形で我々はつながっていると、伝えるために、彼らはここにいる。」

Dr. Clancyは基本的なレベルで、「エイリアンアブダクション事件は人々に『人生を打ちのめす、多くの奇妙で忌まわしいものの意味、あるいはそれらを理解する方法』を与えるものであり、『彼らが宇宙で一人ではないという深い感覚』を与えるものである」と結論している。

Dr. Clancyは、もともとの研究には含まれていなかった、インタビューしたアブダクティたちに、宗教的信念についても質問しておくべきだったと考えている。本の読者たちもそうだろう。エイリアンアブダクション事件とそれを語った人々の、温かさや畏敬の念や感情は、強い霊的な流れを示すものである。そのような流れは、宗教的なイメージによって内面的生活を高めている何百万人もの人々によく知られているものである。

[ Benedict Carey: "Explaining Those Vivid Memories of Martian Kidnappers" (2005/08/09) on NY Times ]

心理学者Dr. Stephen A. Diamondは、人生に意味を与えるものとして、人々はUFOを必要とすると論じる。
Myth is how we attribute meaning to our existence and experience--no myth, no meaning. Myth is a way of looking at the world, the cosmos, ourselves and our place in and relationship to reality. UFO's, in this sense, are very much part of our collective mythology, both past and present. ... As with all natural or metaphysical phenomena, once science dissects, analyzes and mechanistically explains such mysteries, their numinous, spiritual, potentially healing power is deadened or lost. Like religion, faith in the reality of UFO's provides something to believe in for many in need of more meaningful lives. Today, in a time of cultural chaos and economic crisis, when many are prone to lose or question their faith, sense of purpose, and capacity to find life meaningful and worth living, we may need UFO's--whatever their origin, nature, enigmatic mission or psychological meaning may be--more than they need us.


[ Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D.: "UFO's, Close Encounters, and the Cry for Meaning" (2010/10/17) on PsychologyToday ]






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