Chapter

Narcissistic Millennialism

Richard Landes

in Heaven on Earth

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753598
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897445 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753598.003.0013
Narcissistic Millennialism

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This chapter looks at the postmodern version of tribal cargo cults, namely various contemporary UFO beliefs covering a range of millennial variants from transformative (aliens will descend with salvific cargo) to paranoid cataclysmic (they will either destroy or enslave us). The chapter looks at some UFO movies (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Close Encounters of the Third Kind). It then considers three real-life cases of UFO beliefs: the apocalyptic incident provoked by Orson Welles radio production of The War of the Worlds, the mass suicide of Heaven's Gate; and a long study of the Raelians, an ongoing UFO cult in Montreal. It concludes with a discussion of the inherent paranoia involved in believing that, unbeknownst to us, aliens have already landed

Keywords: UFOs; Raelians; Stephen Spielberg; Orson Welles; Heaven's Gate; conspiracy theory; scientism; cloning

Chapter.  15593 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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