by Bob Kuhn

{First published on the Religious Humor & Satire site of SUITE101.COM}

For those of you who do not believe in extraterrestrial beings, this story may be hard to swallow. Until a few months ago, I would have had trouble accepting it myself. However, my opinions on such matters have dramatically changed forever. You see, I now realize that I was abducted by aliens from another planet.

At first I thought the vague and clouded images were portions of some bad dream. After weeks of having my mind tormented by hideous thoughts, I sought hypnotherapy for answers. It was during a hypnotic trance that my suppressed memories became clear. Now that I know the truth of my experience, I feel compelled to share it with the world. This is my story.

It began one hot and muggy winter afternoon in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. While waiting for a bus, my mind began to wander as usual. Startled by the sound of an engine, I looked up and saw an open door and three steps. Thinking that it was my bus, I jumped up and hurried through the ascending pathway finding myself in a rather noisy vehicle. There was a strange and offensive odor around, and everyone on board was peculiar looking and bizarrely dressed. In other words, there was nothing that led me to believe this would be anything but a typical bus ride. It was when I noticed we were flying that I first suspected something was wrong.

Approaching the driver, I was taken back by his appearance. He looked like a cross between an orangutan and Osama bin Laden (both of which make me very uneasy). Looking around, I became aware that everyone looked like a cross between an orangutan and Osama bin Laden. I felt dizzy and then blacked out.

The next thing I knew, I was in a large white room strapped to some type of chair positioned at the end of a rectangular table. Across from me sat an extra hairy, brightly dressed creature. On either side of me were two others, not so brightly dressed and not quite as hairy. The hairy one opened a large book and the questioning began. To my surprise, he spoke English.

Hairy Creature: We are from another galaxy; a galaxy you do not know exists. We have abducted you for questioning. My name is Al.

Me: Is that short for Alien?

Al: No. It is short for Alzzeinmellebxxwassiteriazeboterainterafolburgeon.

Me: I’ll call you Al.

Al: As I said, we have brought you here for questioning. We have been studying your planet for many years and have been able to understand almost every aspect of your social interactions except one. This thing you Western Hemisphere people call CHURCH is a very confusing part of your culture. We are particularly confused by the Christian religions. That is why we brought you here.

Me: Why me? There must be more qualified experts on the subject than I.

Al: You were raised Roman Catholic, became an atheist, had a born-again experience and you were baptized in a Baptist church. You later became a minister in a non-denominational church, then became a minister of a Pentecostal denomination, then an elder in the Presbyterian Church. You went to a Catholic high school, spent two years at a Southern Baptist seminary and have a degree from a Lutheran college. Do you know what that makes you?

Me: An expert of religions?

Al: No. That makes you the most confused person we know. Confused people ask a lot of questions, and often have answers that stable people do not have. That is why you are here.

Me: Before you begin, may I ask a question? How long have you been visiting and studying Earth?

Al: About one hundred years. We usually only come on October 31st or to the Mardi Gras celebration in your hometown of New Orleans. On October 31st, most people who saw us just thought we were in costume dressed as orangutans. During your Mardi Gras, most people thought the same. However, in recent years, many thought we were “Osama-bin-Laden” maskers. There was one drunken woman who thought I was Willie Nelson, but that is another story. Now that I answered your question, are you prepared to answer our questions?

Me: Sure. I will do my best.

Al: First, a question about Catholics. What do you call the meeting they have every week where multitudes of people show up looking very excited in order to recite some strange chants?

Me: That is a religious ritual called the Mass. The chants are probably prayers of some sort. What do they sound like?

Al: They sound like this: B-3, I-12, O-24, G-18…

Me: Oh, I misunderstood. That’s another religious ritual called Bingo. Some consider it more sacred than the Mass. 

Al: I see. That was the only query we had about Catholics. Now for questions regarding you Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals; we have been reading the book you call The Bible for a while, and we are confused.

As he spoke, I noticed a Gideon Bible at the edge of the table. It was opened to Exodus 23 with verse 9 underlined. I felt compelled to ask.

Me: May I ask one more question? Where did you get that Bible?

Al: It was already here when we got here.

It was just as I thought. Those Gideons do get around. The questioning resumed.

Al: As I said, we are confused about a few things. You all claim to follow the same book, yet there are so many divisions. Why?

Me: We interpret it differently.

Al: But it is so direct and specific; love God, love your neighbor, help the poor, believe in Jesus, be humble and kind….

Me: Oh my, those are not the passages of our focus. We prefer those scriptures that are vague and less important. We like to argue. We search the Bible for passages that make us feel superior to others. Subjects like “when Jesus will return” and “why you’re a sinner and I’m not” are the things of our focus. We like to use the Bible to support our positions on those subjects.

Al: So you use the Bible? You don’t obey it?

Me: We obey the parts we want to obey.

Al: I see. Regarding sin, there seems to be two main extremes in all denominations. There are the extreme fundamentalists and the extreme liberals. It is clear that the Bible is very strong against sins of social injustice as well as sexual sins and perversions. Why then are the extreme fundamentalists overly concerned with sexual sins?

Me: I was speaking about this with a graduate of a fundamentalist college. He believes that extreme fundamentalists are against sexual sins because they are afraid those sins may lead to dancing.

Al: Ah yes. That makes sense. But why then are extreme liberals so concerned with social issues, yet don’t seem to care about sexual sins or perversions?

Me: Because so many extreme liberals are sexually perverted that most extreme liberals do not think sexual perversion is perverted.

Al: Wow. You are able to clear up so many issues. One more question. Why do so many of you Christians act so differently at church than you do at home or at work?

Me: That is because it is much more important for us to look holy than to be holy. It’s all about appearances.

Al: I think I have this church thing figured out. It is very similar to the Mardi Gras celebration we visit every year.

Me: How so?

Al: At Mardi Gras, people wear masks. They pretend they are something they are not. They have a person they call a king, parade him around on a throne, lift their hands and say praises to him, ask him for gifts (like beads and trinkets), and even tell him he is sovereign for the day. Yet, if he were to give a command that no one liked, no one would obey, because no one ever intended for him to BE the king. They just want to call him the king. That is like you Christians. You act differently at church, lift your hands in praise, ask for gifts, and call Jesus king, but have no intention of actually doing everything he commands.

Me: I suppose that is a pretty accurate description.

Al: Great. I now understand. This time is over. If you share any information of this abduction with anyone, we will come back to destroy the earth. You may leave now.

I then fell asleep only to awake at my bus stop. Looking at my watch I saw that only a few seconds of time had passed. It seemed like a dream at first, but now I know it was real.

Well, that is my story. I am sorry for sharing it if it means the earth will be destroyed. I hope Al was just kidding.