Belief in some kind of "god" or "gods" goes back far beyond recorded history. It seems there is a need for an external influence inherent in mankind or at the very least a form of social control easily accepted by the "masses". However such beliefs have always been challenged by atheists though many seem to think such rejectionism is new in the modern world. It isn't, but the history of disbelief has long been ignored.
That has now been partially rectified by the publication of a new book, Battling The Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World by Tim Whitmarsh (Faber) which uses evidence from the Greeks and Romans to explore scepticism in earlier times.
The battle against superstition has been going on since, well forever it would seem.
Except these days the need to "believe" has taken a new direction and I'm not talking about the kind of fundamentalism usually referred to on this blog.
We're talking aliens!
Now before anyone thinks I've lost the plot I should make it clear that in my view the possibility of life elsewhere in the vast universe we live in is highly probable in both more primitive and advanced forms. There is (as yet) no evidence to verify this. It is a supposition. I actually could be wrong,. There may not be life elsewhere at all, I just find that unlikely.
However there is no actual evidence to support my "belief" or perhaps hope being a big science fiction fan. Yet there others who are not only certain of this, but actually believe in all sorts of theories from UFOs to alien interference in ancient civilisations. These actions being mistaken for that of gods. A theory I first came across when I was around 15 and read Eric Von Danekin's Chariot of the Gods.
Today such theories are propagated across the Internet with great abandon. Many mixing fact with "fiction" and simply extrapolating from their "beleif" that aliens must have helped early amn because so many ancient structures are impossible to build.
One such video is shown below. Chinese Pyramids, tombs of long dead Chinese Kings and Emperors. They exist but are a mystery. Just listen to how the narrator casually introduces the concept of aliens. No evidence, just his predisposed belief.
There are many mysteries in the world around us, some man-made others not. But just because we have no explanation does not denote the existence of either alien or god for that matter. It just "is" and we don't know the answer.
That there are technologies and knowledge lost to mankind probably goes without question but why aliens should be responsible is rather fanciful. Much is made of weird drawings and artifacts depicting what they assume are spaceships or advanced technology. Maybe the artists responsible simply had vivid imaginations.
Then there's all the other wacky theories. The Hollow Earth", Nazi flying saucers in the Antarctic. A lot of people make a living out of this stuff. It's all bunkum of course, but it does make for good movies. Here's the trailer to a great Finnish film, Iron Sky.
Nazi's invade earth from the moon.
Where are Mulder and Scully when you need them......