I must admit, I was a fair bit convinced. The preacher had miracles and apostles. His miracles were not indisputable, but they were photographed: images of crop circles and weird-looking things in the sky, videos of flying lights and something invisible that flattened grass into geometric shapes, and testimonials from various walks of life, including most notably a former Canadian cabinet member. He had apostles, shadowy figures called “Masters,” who were in contact with our other-dimensional visitors. They deliver edicts and interpretations, which filter down the strata of the UFO community and have now gotten to McEwen and me. All in all, a pretty sturdy religion if I’ve ever seen one.
The first half of the night was the stronger. It was the evidence and the retorts to the skeptics. I entered The Grange expecting to scoff, but I found myself impressed by all the pictures and videos and seemingly average people who claimed alien experience. I clung to a Sagan quote, which the emcee himself referred to: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The evidence was powerful, but Hollywood’s made me an entrenched skeptic of all visual evidence. Still, I felt motivated to find some counter-information online after the show because my worldview was an eensy bit rattled.
The second half was a lot easier to dismiss. That half explicated the doctrine, which is a millenarian vision of the coming of the Savior, a thing whose name I’ve forgotten (Maitrea?). The source of all this doctrine was never really explained, and while I liked it fine — share, be kind, be open-minded, nice things of the hippie variety — I wasn’t really getting the same authoritative oomph I got from reading the Torah when I was a kid. Perhaps a savior will come and he’ll be an alien. Really, I see no objective reason to prefer the Christian prophesy to the alien one, other than perhaps social stigma. Until then, though, my secularism will remain, crop circles be damned.