Stephen Finley – The Nation Of Islam as a UFO Religion

Religious studies scholar Dr. Stephen Finley (Louisiana State University) is almost singular in his academic study of the UFO origins of the belief system of the Nation of Islam (NOI.) In the late 1980s, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the most popular offshoot of the group, announced that he had an encounter with space people on a mountaintop in Mexico, and was taken aboard what he referred to as the ”Mother Wheel,” where he claimed to have met with the deceased leaders of the religion and given the blessing and authority to lead the group into the future.

Dr. Finley joined me to discuss this episode and the tributaries of personalities and events that led to it, and how it has affected the history of the Nation of Islam ever since. We traced the origins of the African American experience that led to this belief system, and his claim that “you cannot make sense of the NOI without looking at it as a UFO religion.” Finley believes that his study “says something about who we are as a people” and that the very act of marginalizing the subject (especially among his fellow academicians) was what drew him to it in the first place.

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2 Responses to Stephen Finley – The Nation Of Islam as a UFO Religion

  1. Robert Brandstetter says:

    Really enjoyed this episode a lot for its paradigm shifting look at ufology. After reading American Cosmic this discussion provided a deeper lens beyond white ufology and opens up ways of understanding how the Alien becomes a religion. His analysis made great sense for me. This long standing development of our social belief systems to create mythologies are what we use as tools to understand ourselves in the social and spiritual spaces we occupy.. Seeing these parallels and differences in a cross cultural landscape opens up the idea of the paranormal as us just working on setting up systems of belief to understand objective reality. It is comforting when others share a worldview no matter how far afield it may stray from what science tells us is objective reality, hence the incredibly fractured landscape, that is not only ufology or Bigfoot researchers, but all of the paranormal communities.

    This was a great robust dialogue between the two of you, and as I think back on the recent collection of episodes you seem to be mapping out the general shape of how the paranormal intersects at both the personal and collective levels. I hope you continue to expand this cut-up library of discourse.

    An interesting episode would be you looking back at the history of some of the dialogues you have had and sew together some of the threads for the audience so we can see it better.

  2. Very intriguing discussion! I look forward to hearing the next one at the end of the year, when Dr Finely’s books are available. I want to take his class too!

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