This is a great topic!
Since joining this site and hearing some of the alternate views on religion/spirituality/occult etc. I personally have abandoned ALL religious beliefs, however, I still believe in God and in eternity (as in, this brief life is not there is). Religious beliefs are so confining. Looking back I feel more and more that the Bible was written by men, for men, to control men. It's just so contradictory and depressing, even about the diety himself. As far as aliens/alien influence & civilizations I don't know, haven't a clue really, but still, I suspect there have been civilizations in the past far more advanced than we've been taught to believe. And there is a real possibility that there is 'intelligent' life on other planets, if not, then why do they exist? To believe that this is the only inhabited planet in the universe is the epitomy of arrogance. Yet people in this 21st Century actually feel that we are enlightened ... we are so in the dark as evidenced by the constant conflict on our planet. Just can't seem to get it together.
I think it's tragic that our world is so small in our own minds. That people would put faith in one book to answer all of life's questions and instruct them in life's purpose. The universe is quite ancient and extremely immense. It should be our teacher. We should spend more time asking questions in stillness while listening for the answer. We need to spend more time asking questions in the presence of others to get them to think too - we just don't appreciate how powerful our minds are - we're limited by our own perception.
Thanks for the links Skyman - interesting stuff. And I didn't have to believe it to enjoy reading about it . It's just information ... very interesting information I might add, it may be true, it may not (I don't always listen to the experts (in any field), you never know what motivates or influences people to say the things they do).
PS - We've been so programmed to believe this is the only inhabited planet - could it be that there's a government conspiracy to hide the fact that other humans have been here? Would it send the world into a panic knowing the truth?