Sunny Side of The Stream: Remembering Bold Christians Who Tackled UFOs and Chinese Foot Binding

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on June 10, 2023

The recent UFO news is concerning. What’s going on? My research into the topic this week led me to a documentary featuring a Bible scholar, Michael Heiser, who died this February of pancreatic cancer. Demons and Aliens is worth a watch. Heiser starts out talking about why he, a Bible scholar, likes to attend UFO conferences.

Heiser wasn’t convinced by any of the evidence that aliens have visited earth in UFOs, but he did enjoy the opportunities to have deep theological conversations with hungry souls at UFO conferences. When a popular writer in the UFO community made poor arguments from the Bible, he countered them. He offered a compelling explanation for Genesis 6:1-4 that doesn’t lend to a belief that Nephilim correlate to aliens. He told in the documentary of two friends who have documented over 100 cases of them helping people who were tormented by alien abduction experiences and then, through the name of Jesus, set free from having those abduction experiences any more. He delved into the history surrounding Area 51 and suggests convincingly that the government was using the idea of UFOs to cover up their dark experiments.

Heiser brought truth and light to this conversation. He saw the opportunity to share the gospel. He didn’t seem to mind the potential shame of interest in UFO topics. He wanted to find out the truth, and he was able to talk to people about God and the Bible through these topics.

A Carrier of the Gospel

As I thought about Heiser this morning, I realized he was somewhat of a missionary to the UFO community. His work still sheds light to those who are curious about the topic as it makes recent headlines. He was willing to go where other Bible scholars largely weren’t going and love the people there, bringing truth, research, sound reason and a readiness to preach the gospel. Those friends of his who lead “alien abductees” to freedom through Jesus have done beautiful work.

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I thought about other Christians who have gone to places that those in their circles wouldn’t normally go (in this case, other countries). They also served the people there, bringing truth and freedom from oppression to them in Jesus’ name. Amy Carmichael went to India and adopted little girls who were temple sex slaves. Missionaries to China led the charge to end the abusive, widespread practice of foot binding in China. Breakpoint has an article on the latter topic that says:

The successful campaign against foot binding was jointly led by Western missionaries and native Chinese Christians. John Macgowan, a Belfast-born missionary with the London Missionary Society was a key figure. In 1875, he called a meeting of Chinese Christian women to oppose foot binding. Nine of these women agreed not to bind their daughters’ feet, not to allow their sons to marry women with bound feet, and to undergo the painful process of unbinding their own. This was the beginning of the Quit-Foot-Binding Society, the first anti-foot binding society in China.

Macgowan also convinced Chinese intellectuals, including the Buddhist reformer Kang Youwei, to oppose foot binding. In 1885, Kang founded the Foot Emancipation Society. In 1898, he wrote a memorandum to the Emperor urging him to abolish foot binding, arguing that it made China an object of international ridicule.

Modern Foot Binding?

In Breakpoint’s piece, I saw multiple connections between this culture battle in China and our modern culture wars. The fight against foot binding was a social movement. It has political aspects. It was largely led by Christians but the movement included non-Christians who could see the common sense of the goal. Their goal was to end a practice that harms little girls and women. Their goal was to end a practice that tells people their bodies are not good in their natural form and need to be disfigured. In these ways, it’s like our fight against gender ideology.

American gender-rejecting treatments are the new Chinese foot binding. And Christians are leading the charge alongside others who reject the mutilation and/or sterilization of children. The success of our Christian brothers and sisters in China can encourage us to stay faithful:

The campaigns to end foot binding were remarkably successful. In 1902, the Empress Dowager Cixi banned foot binding, though her edict was rescinded. Then, in 1912, the newly founded Republic of China issued a ban. By 1949, the practice had stopped completely in all but a few rural areas.

These Christians remind us that the gospel is for everyone, in all corners of the world and suffering from all manners of abuses and deceptions. We have eternal truth, love and peace with God. We see the effects of human depravity around us. As children of God, what will we do? Love what He loves and hate what He hates. Care for the hurting and resist harmful ideologies.


Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow Aliya on Twitter @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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