Don’t Make the Aztec Mistake With Aliens

By Timothy Furnish Published on February 16, 2023

Early March, 1519 AD; Tenochtitlán, Valley of Mexico — Aztec emperor Montezuma meets with his advisors. CARAD (Central America Regional Area Defense) reports hairy, pale-faced beings arriving. They ride large deer. They also carry iron weapons and boom sticks. The military recommends immediate attack. The religious caste disagrees. Priests insist they represent the god Quetzalcoatl returned. And should be received as such. The emperor accepts this argument.

August 13, 1521 — Hernán Cortés completes his conquest of the Aztecs.

Look, I’m not saying any of the last three objects shot down by our Air Force in the last few weeks were aliens. But the commanding general of NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) said he couldn’t rule it out. (Here’s the actual interview.) Yes, White House spokespeople were quick to quash that. But not everyone is buying their denials. Why would we? This administration has precious little credibility, for one thing. For another, the facts as we know them just don’t add up.

2022 U.S. Government Report: There’s a Lot We Don’t Know

Then there’s this small matter. Our own government has come very close to admitting the existence of extraterrestrials. Where and when? In the ODNI’s (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) 2022 Annual Report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Therein we learn that in the past 17 years, there have been 510 reports of UAPs by the Defense Department and other branches of the U.S. government. Many (163) were balloons; 26 “unmanned aircraft” (drones); and 6 “attributed to clutter.” But that left 171 “uncharacterized or unattributed.”

If Not Aliens … What?

I wrote on this topic at The Stream back in 2021. Here’s a list of what UAPs/UFOs might possibly be:

  • Hoaxes
  • Super-secret, advanced American craft or devices
  • Russian or Chinese craft or devices
  • Interdimensional craft or devices
  • Time-travelling craft or devices
  • Demons
  • Aliens

Hoaxes don’t really fly — and don’t normally require air-to-air missiles to be exposed. The U.S. government allowing DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to probe continental air defenses and risk nuclear war with other powers is a conspiracy bridge too far. If the Russians and/or Chinese are that far ahead of us, time to pony up for Rosetta Stone Russian and Mandarin lessons. Interdimensional or time travelers not only blunt Occam’s Razor — they require you to toss it in the garbage. Yes, there is an entire theological construct built around UFOs-as-demons. And no, it’s not Evangelical Protestant. It’s in fact Eastern Orthodox. But although I belong to the latter church, I’m not buying it. Perhaps I have read too much science fiction, but a good case can certainly be made that some UAPs/UFOs are, indeed, from outside our solar system.

Where’s Your Tin Foil Hat Now?

The mainstream media has been throwing the “tin foil hat” slur at anyone who dares to mention this possibility. Time led with the phrase in their article on topic. I heard Neil Cavuto use it on his Fox News Channel show yesterday. MSN rolled it out earlier today. I’ve also seen that shot of Mel Gibson’s character’s family wearing them, in the movie Signs, more than once in recent weeks. But keep in mind that they turned out to be correct. Aliens DID invade Earth in that film.

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A variation of the tin foil hat mockery is this: “how could aliens come all those light-years and get taken down by our primitive weapons?” Well, a star-faring civilization is not necessarily all that more advanced than us. They don’t need warp drive. In fact, 70 years ago American scientists came up with a crude nuclear-powered interstellar craft called Orion. The British proposed a similar one, Daedalus. Either could reach Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighboring star, in a matter of decades. So extraterrestrials need not be centuries or millennia ahead of us. As such, their probes might just be vulnerable to missiles.

Run the Numbers!

Our Milky Way galaxy is home to at least 200 billion stars. (And the entire universe may consist of a trillion such galaxies.) Astronomers estimate that 90% of those have planets. We have confirmed, via telescopes, the existence of at least 5,000 planets in other star systems. Star systems seem to have, on average, three planets. That’s at least 540 billion planets in the Milky Way. Even if only a tiny fraction of those are in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone” (neither too hot nor too cold, thus allowing for liquid water), there should be millions of such planets.

Then the questions narrow. On how many did God allow life to exist? How many of those develop or are granted intelligence? Then what percentage of those manage not just space travel, but interstellar capability — without destroying themselves (via AI, nuclear war, etc.)? Even at a very conservative estimate, the number of galactic civilizations able to travel between star systems is likely in the hundreds of thousands. It seems to me laughing at that possibility is more likely to go with aluminum headgear than being open to it.

As a brief theological aside: why would God create such an enormous universe and only put beings capable of worshiping him on one small speck of rock? And remember: He allowed His people, Jewish and Christian, to suffer from invaders. Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, Muslims, Mongols, Marxists. The same could happen on an interstellar, not just intercontinental, scale.

Better to Be Cortés Than Montezuma

Odds are the UAPs our fighter-jets have taken down are just Chinese spy balloons. But what if they’re not? We don’t want to repeat the Aztecs’ lethal mistake. They chose — poorly. And it cost them their entire civilization. We need to at least consider the possibility that the “objects with no visible means of propulsion” are not of this world. And prepare accordingly. For at some point they almost certainly will be. By then, it might be too late.


Timothy Furnish holds a Ph.D. in Islamic, World and African history from Ohio State University and a M.A. in Theology from Concordia Seminary. He is a former U.S. Army Arabic linguist and, later, civilian consultant to U.S. Special Operations Command. He’s the author of books on the Middle East and Middle-earth, a history professor and sometime media opiner (as, for example, on Fox News Channel’s War Stories: Fighting ISIS). He currently writes for and consults The Stream on International Security matters.

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