Encountering ETI: Aliens in Avatar and the Americas

By John Hart

An exploration of the spiritual dimensions of the possibilities of alien contact, and the implications for how we treat our own planet and each other.

ISBN: 9780718893972


Encountering ETI weaves together scientific knowledge and spiritual faith in a cosmic context. It explores consequences of Contact between terrestrial intelligent life (TI) and extraterrestrial intelligent life (ETI). Humans will face cosmic displacement if there are other complex, technologically advanced intelligent beings in the universe; our economic structures and religious beliefs might need substantial revision. On Earth or in space, humans could encounter benevolent ETI (solicitous of our striving for maturity as a species) or malevolent ETI (seeking our land and goods to benefit themselves, claiming that their “superior civilization” gives them the right) – or meet both types of species. Earth Encounters of the Third Kind described by credible witnesses (including American Indian elders) suggest that both have arrived already: some shut down U.S. and U.S.S.R. ICBM missiles to promote peace; others mutilated cattle or abducted people, perhaps to acquire physiological data on biota for scientific study or for other, unknown purposes. Sci-fi movies such as Avatar and novels like The Martian Chronicles describe humans as malevolent ETI aliens: we do to others what we fear others will do to us. A shared and evolving spiritual materiality could enable humanity to overcome cosmic displacement, and guide TI and ETI in a common quest for meaning and wellbeing on cosmic common ground.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 306

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

John Hart is Professor of Christian Ethics at Boston University, and often links the far out with the down to Earth when teaching and writing. He has travelled widely, speaking on issues of science, religion, ecology and social justice. His most recent book is Cosmic Commons: Spirit, Science, and Space (2013).



Introduction: The Aliens are Coming, the Aliens are Coming!

1. Aliens and Other Others
     Where Did They Come From?
2. Extraterrestrials: Theirs and Ours
     Are We the Others We Don’t Want Others to Be?
3. ETI: Roswell, Riverine, and Rendlesham Encounters
     We Are Not Alone … ?
4. Xenophilia and Xenophobia
     Good Alien or Evil Alien from Space?
5. ETI Encounters: State, Academia, Church, and Science
     Adversarial and Accommodating Attitudes toward UFO Reports
6. ETI in Avatar and District 9
     Aren’t We Always the “Good Guys”?
7. Spirit, Science, and Space
     Who Are the “True Believers”?

Conclusion: We Aliens Are Going! We Aliens Are Coming!

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Endorsements and Reviews

We do not yet have any scientific evidence for or against extraterrestrial life. The ‘not yet’ here is important since the scientific search is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and the anticipation more intense. Encountering ETI manages to raise the level of anticipation significantly while respecting the need for good science, a need not always respected in the public domain.
George V. Coyne, author of Wayfarers in the Cosmos (with Alessandro Omizzolo)

I have read hundreds of UFO books since reading my first in 1958. But this is the first one that not only reveals detailed knowledge of the UFO scene, but provides a great deal of food for thought concerning interactions between aliens and earthlings. Hart makes it clear that there are a number of different approaches taken by religious and other leaders. As a scientist, I greatly appreciate his reasoned approach to ETI-TI discussion. I wish more thinkers would get involved.
Stanton T. Friedman, author of Flying Saucers and Science

Encountering ETI, together with its predecessor, Cosmic Commons, will bring you right back to Earth and Homo sapiens. Sometimes it takes the exocentric perspective to clear the eyes, see our own habitat, and know ourselves for the first time. John
Hart is a good fellow traveler and guide.
Larry Rasmussen, author of Earth-Honoring Faith