»When we enter into my Father's spacecraft«. Cargoistic hopes and millenarian cosmologies in new religious UFO movements


  • Andreas Grünschloß University of Göttingen




Millenarian movements await an imminent, collective and ultimate liberation, usually (but not exclusively)within this world. This liberation implies the founding of a perfect age or pure country or kingdom, and the construction of a Homo Novus. In a similar way, the so-called "Cargo-Cults" of Melanesia or New Guinea relate to a dawning state of material, organisational and spiritual well-being, and the expected abundance of supernaturally acquired supplies can be turned into the central characteristic of the "manifestation of the Millennium" (Trompf). In many contemporary New Religious Movements, apocalyptic interventions by "space aliens" and UFOs form a central belief. Amidst hopes for a restitution of the lost paradise, one can also find expectations of the cargoist type: alien "supplies" and supernatural "technologies", together with paranormal spiritual faculties like telepathy and bilocation, can exercise a strong exotic charm. The different expressions of such cargoistic hopes shed light on the underlying cosmological framework, which often incorporates basic patterns of the apocalyptic (pre-millennial or post-millennial) traditions of Christianity. On the one hand, there are UFO believers who expect an imminentsalvation within this world by means of an extraterrestrial transfer of technology and spirituality: millions of space ships "will descend", and "Earth is to be transformed, quickly, into a paradise beyond compare ... Heaven on Earth" (The Ground Crew Project; cf. Ashtar Command, etc.). Only a short rapture or Big Beam into the flying saucers will be necessary to secure the earthly humans during the metamorphosis of "Mother Earth". But finally, there will be an overwhelming physical and spiritual abundance on this precious intergalactic "showcase".




How to Cite

Grünschloß, A. (2015). »When we enter into my Father’s spacecraft«. Cargoistic hopes and millenarian cosmologies in new religious UFO movements. Marburg Journal of Religion, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.17192/mjr.1998.3.3771