UFO Sightings – Real or Bogus?

UFO Sightings – Real or Bogus?

For over 50 years, we have reported explanations for bogus UFO claims. Unfortunately, when researchers have presented natural explanations for claimed UFO sightings, the media rarely reports them. Researchers have written books giving evidence to refute bogus claims of alien visitation to Earth, but they don’t get the attention of the sensational claims.

No thinking person would insist that planet Earth is the only place where life forms might exist. If God saw fit to create life elsewhere, it will be there. However, alien visitation to Earth is poorly supported by the evidence. The distance from Earth to where a life-bearing planet could exist is so great as to rule out any being traveling from another world. UFO advocates claim that aliens are so technologically advanced they can overcome the problem of traveling light-year distances. However, if they are that advanced, they could certainly prevent any detection by earthlings if they choose to do so.

The entertainment industry presents horror movies of aliens using earthlings for food or wars in space between competing alien societies. If you enjoy fantasy, these entertainment presentations may be worth your time. However, for serious students of science or the Bible, this is a useless diversion. We must not become worried or distracted by UFO sightings, thinking that extra-terrestrials are invading us.

Likewise, we need to solve our problems here on Earth and not expect some aliens to come in and do it for us. Besides, aliens could not improve on the message of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. Human greed, selfishness, and exploitation of others will continue as long as humans entertain the notion that God does not exist and that survival of the fittest is our only choice.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Here are some books giving credible explanations of many so-called UFO sightings or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).
UFOs Explained and UFOs: The Public Deceived by Philip J. Klass
UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth by Charles Ziegler and Charles Moore
The Space Gods Revealed by Ronald Story

I Need God to Live a Good Life

I Need God to Live a Good Life

“I Don’t need God to be good.” We get that message from people opposed to belief in God. They don’t think that believing in God really affects how people live. Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that people who claim to be Christians often don’t show it in how they live. At the same time, some atheists live very moral lives. However, I need God to live a good life.

My father was an atheist and a very moral man. To my knowledge, he was never unfaithful to my mother and he was honest in his financial dealings with others, including the government. He was a teacher all of his life and was respected by his students and colleagues at Indiana University. Most of us know someone who never goes to church and yet lives a good life. We have also seen reports in the media and have had personal experiences with religious leaders who exploited others in financial or moral ways. On a practical level, why should anyone be a Christian?

An old saying is that “sitting in a bank doesn’t make you rich.” When I called my child’s room a pigpen, she defended her messy room by saying, “Sitting in a pig pen doesn’t mean you are a pig.” The point of these examples is that a person who claims to be a Christian or even wears a religious title may not even believe in God or Christianity. For some, religion is a way to get rich or gain influence. The “Does God Exist?” ministry makes no attempt to claim perfection, nor do we attempt to defend organized religion. Instead, our effort is to show searching people that there is scientific support for God’s existence and the credibility of the Bible.

I need God to live a good life because God’s word gives us a set of standards of what is good and what is evil. In addition to moral standards, it tells us how to live productive lives at peace with others. You can’t read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 – 7 and not see that it shows the road to peace and goodness. Likewise, Matthew 25:31-46 lays out how we should act as Christians. No human philosophy comes close to the teachings of Christ in showing how to live a good and moral life.

In Acts 2:38, Peter talks about becoming a Christian, and he fills in the missing piece that no skeptic has or understands. Peter promises that those who become Christians will receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That means God is living in us to help us overcome our weaknesses. Whatever goodness I possess is not a product of my intellect or genetics. I am so far from “survival of the fittest” that I need God to live a good life. My life is different from what it would have been if I had followed my biology or human philosophy. I’m far from perfect, but I am complete as a Christian, which is what the biblical word “perfect” means (Matthew 5:48).

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Archaeology Supports the Biblical Record

Archaeology Supports the Biblical Record - Meshe Stele
Meshe Stele in the Louvre Museum

Skeptics maintain that biblical accounts of history are total fiction made up in recent times by promotors of the Judeo/Christian tradition. Recent research in the science of archaeology supports the biblical record regarding two of the examples some skeptics gave. 

One is the Judges 4 account of judge Deborah and a Kenite woman who killed the Canaanite general Sisera by driving a tent peg through his head. Skeptics have claimed that no woman could have been a judge or a heroic avenger because of the lowly state of women at that time. Archeologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill excavating at Huqoq in northern Israel have uncovered ancient mosaics depicting Deborah and the Kenite woman, Jael, verifying the biblical account. The dating of the mosaics is late fourth or early fifth century A.D., so the claim that the account is modern cannot be true. 

New studies of Mesha’s Stele have debunked skeptic claims that David is a fictitious character. The stele (an upright stone monument) was discovered in 1868 at a site east of the Dead Sea in modern Jordan. A research team from the West Semitic Research Project of the University of Southern California using a new research method called Reflective Transformation Imaging (RTI) has shown the reference in the Mesha Stele to the “House of David” is valid. 

The science of archaeology supports the biblical record. We predict that as new tools become available, archaeologists will find more support for the credibility of the Bible.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Detailed discussions of these two new finds are reported in the Winter 2022 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (Volume 48 #4).

LGBTQ Hate Crimes Have No Place in Christianity

LGBTQ Hate Crimes Have No Place in Christianity

Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and those injured in recent shootings. In November 2022, there were six mass killing incidents in the United States. Violence seems to be increasing against people attending LGBTQ clubs, venues, and drag events. Some blame this violence on Christians, claiming that biblical teachings against homosexuality and alternative lifestyles cause senseless violence. The truth is that the teachings of Jesus Christ adamantly oppose violence against anyone. It is a biblical mandate that Christians oppose sin, but it is also Christ’s command that we love the sinner. LGBTQ hate crimes have no place in Christianity.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7), Jesus explained how Christians should deal with opposition.
In Matthew 5:38, Jesus reminds His listeners that people in the past had said, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” In the violent world of primitive people, that way of thinking was common. Unfortunately, that principle is followed by many people today. By contrast, Jesus said, “But I say to you, don’t resist the man who wants to hurt you…” (verse 39). In verses 43-44, He expands that command by saying, “It used to be said to be kind to your friend and hate your enemy. But what I tell you is love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”

Skeptics will respond to this by referring to Romans 1:18–2:16, which identifies those who reject God’s plan for human morality. Romans 1:24 tells us, “God abandoned them to impurity, letting them follow the cravings of their hearts, so they degrade their own bodies with one another.” Later verses describe all kinds of aberrant behavior by those who deliberately choose lifestyles of violence and opposition to God.

The first point we need to make about these verses is that they do not describe most LGBTQ practitioners in America today. The more important point is that if you keep reading further in Romans 2, you find it telling Christians to leave the situation to God. It is not the job of Christians to be the judge, jury, and executioner. Leave the judging to God. LGBTQ hate crimes have no place in Christianity

The reason God opposes LGBTQ behavior is that it is a destructive lifestyle. We don’t know all the causes of homosexual behavior, but they are clearly not the same for everyone. Statistics show that such behavior leads to negative numbers for stability, disease, and life expectancy. However, those affect the individual and are not a direct threat to others. I have gay friends who are the kindest and most creative people I know, and Jesus tells His followers to love all people.

Nevertheless, Jesus must weep with us at the horrible violence that has been part of American life in recent years. It makes no sense to direct violence toward people who have done nothing that would suggest they are a threat to anyone except possibly themselves. LGBTQ hate crimes have no place in Christianity.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: USA Today Network in South Bend Tribune for 11/22/22, pages 1A and 3A.

Difference Between Pain and Suffering

Difference Between Pain and Suffering

One of the attributes unique to humans is the ability to suffer. You may think the words “suffering” and “pain” are synonyms, but they describe different things. The difference between pain and suffering demonstrates the uniqueness of humans.

Pain is a physical characteristic of almost all living things. It is easy to show that when a nervous system experiences a violent stimulus, it produces an electric signal. For animals, the nervous system is connected to a muscular system that frees the organism from damaging stimuli. This design is present in all members of the animal kingdom to protect them from being wiped out by predators or destructive environmental agents.

The difference between pain and suffering shows us that suffering is a different response and serves a different purpose. Romans 8:16-18 tells us that Christians are joint heirs with Christ and that Christians will suffer with Christ. This means that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.” It is obvious that not all Christians have been physically crucified as Jesus was.

In 2 Corinthians 1:5-7, Paul writes, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so … we endure the same sufferings … for your salvation and our hope for you is knowing that you are partakers in the suffering.” In Philippians 3:8-10, Paul says that he has suffered the loss of all things and refers to the fellowship of His sufferings. In Colossians 1:24, Paul talks about his sufferings for the church in Colosse. Hebrews 2:10 refers to Christ enabling his followers to be made perfect in their salvation through sufferings. Christ himself, according to Hebrews 5:8, “earned obedience by the things he suffered.” This theme is repeated in 1 Peter 1:11, 4:13, and 5:10.

The context of all of these passages is clear. There is a difference between pain and suffering. We are not talking about physical things like being burned, scourged, tortured, or beaten. The early Christians did endure those things, but that is not what the passages above describe.

The simplest example of the sufferings described is what we endure when we have what we call a broken heart. Having heartbreak does not refer to something physical. Most of us who have had our hearts broken would be glad to take a beating instead. A physical beating does not last long. I have had physical pain from a beating, but that pain is a distant memory. The heartbreak of watching my wife die is still heavy upon me, even though it happened more than a decade ago.

Being a Christian in today’s world shares some of the sufferings that first-century Christians endured. Some of us have suffered being rejected and disowned by family. Others have lost good jobs because of their faith. Speaking out in favor of Christ and Christianity, in general, can result in verbal abuse, ridicule, ostracism, exclusion, and rejection. This suffering is real and scars you emotionally and sometimes spiritually.

Animals do not show any evidence of the kind of suffering we have described. Animal behavior is based on food and instinctive drives to reproduce. Guilt, empathy, and sympathy are not part of animal behavior. Claims of grief in animals such as elephants may or may not be real. If it is real, it is based on the social structure of the pack or group and not because the animal is suffering from the memory of a loss that will extend for the rest of the animal’s life.

We can see the difference between pain and suffering in humans because we have a unique spiritual makeup that allows suffering and enables us to relate to the suffering of others. Because we are created in the image of God, we can understand how an agape type of love is possible. That is why Christianity is the one hope the world has for the peace of all people. Your soul suffers, and this suffering can last a lifetime. We need to help animals avoid pain, but human empathy is what may someday foster world peace. That hope is always before us and is unique to humans.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

How Can You Believe in Angels?

How Can You Believe in Angels?

“How can you believe in angels when so many horrible things are happening in the world today?” That is a typical comment we receive from skeptics. Islam emphasizes the angel Gabriel, and Mormons credit the angel Moroni for their scriptures. A Catholic website claims that all people have guardian angels “to rule and guide.” Around the Christmas season, we are exposed to many stories, movies, and songs based on angel involvement in human affairs. So what is the truth about angels?

The Bible does not suggest that angels are good people who have left this life or that they are robotic agents of God. Angels are beings created by God and not limited to our dimensions of time and space. Being outside of time gives them both abilities and limitations. In Matthew 22:30, Jesus did not say that we will become angels when we die, but we will become like angels with respect to marriage. The Bible tells us that angels can sin and rebel against God. (See 2 Peter 2:4, Galatians 1:8, John 8:44, and Jude 6.) However, angels cannot repent of sin because repentance requires time. If an angel chooses to reject God, there is no turning back – it is a one-way street. Once we leave this physical existence, we will be out of time, and the same will be true of us. We will have no time to change your eternal destiny.

How can you believe in angels? The bottom line is that a war between good and evil is going on that involves both spiritual and physical dimensions. The purpose for our existence is to achieve victory in that war. The book of Job clearly shows that our physical struggle involves spiritual forces. The only recourse for skeptics and atheists is to deny that evil exists, but doing that eliminates the purpose for human existence.

Angels can choose to sin, and the Bible makes it clear that this has happened. (See Revelation 12:9 and 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.) While angels can do what God commands, they cannot remove a human’s ability to choose between good and evil. They also cannot prevent the consequences of bad human choices. (See Galatians 6:7). However, the Bible promises us a way to overcome temptation if we choose to use it. (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.)

Angels are real and have served God’s purpose in the war between good and evil throughout history. (See Genesis 18-19 and Judges 6:11-27.) So how can you believe in angels? They have done things we see as miracles as they serve a purpose in God’s plan. Skeptics can deny the reality of God and angels because they have freedom of choice, as all humans do. But wrong choices carry eternal consequences and remove any real purpose for human existence.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Thanksgiving Encourages Us to Count Our Blessings

Thanksgiving Encourages Us to Count Our Blessings

Of all the secular holidays that Americans celebrate, Thanksgiving is the one that has the greatest Christian syzygy. Syzygy is an astronomical term referring to an alignment of astronomical bodies, and Thanksgiving aligns uniquely with the teachings of Christ. Thanksgiving has no mysticism as Halloween does and does not involve special objects like Easter bunnies or eggs. It does not have the commercialism of Christmas. Instead, the family time of Thanksgiving encourages us to count our blessings.

In my 41 years of public school teaching, I saw kids whose parents did not appreciate them. Those kids were a problem for the school and society in general. In addition, I have observed marriages ending in divorce. In most cases, the collapse of the marriage was rooted in the partners not telling each other they were appreciated.

In the Old Testament, God commanded the nation of Israel to observe feasts and festivals of Thanksgiving. In the New Testament, communion is a time for Christians to pause every Sunday and be thankful for Christ’s sacrifice and the forgiveness it offers. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that Christians should “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” Romans 1:21 identifies those alienated from God as people who “knew about God but neither glorified Him nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

We give thanks not because God has an ego problem that He needs us to fill. We thank God because humans need to be thankful for the blessings we have. Focusing on what we don’t have or comparing ourselves to others is a short road to depression and unfortunate behavior.

Christians should be thankful 24/7/365, and Thanksgiving encourages us to count our blessings. For our own mental and spiritual health, we need to be grateful. Be thankful for the creation, family, friends, life and health, freedom, food and water, the Church, and salvation. May this Thanksgiving Day remind us of all our blessings. Focusing on what we don’t have and anguishing over our losses will not bring the joy and security God intends for us to have.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Living in Fear in Today’s World

Living in Fear in Today’s World

According to the Boston Globe, 80% of college students are living in fear. The article says that activists and administrators have created an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This applies to race, pronoun usage, and political views creating “intense, persistent and excessive worry and fear about everyday situations.” For example, the article says that even “picnic” is now deemed racist and can get a student branded a bigot or transphobe.

In the history of America, one of the rights we all have is the right to express an opinion. An adage says, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.” But, unfortunately, that is no longer applicable to life in America.

People could say that in the past because most Americans believed in the Christian concept of God and that all people are created in God’s image. The biblical concept of love was “agapao,” which governed how people thought of even those with whom they disagreed. That word means “to consider of great value,” and Christ introduced the concept in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7). Christ and the apostles taught that every human is infinitely and equally valuable (Galatians 3:28).

People today are living in fear because they have adopted “survival of the fittest” as their guide for dealing with one another. That means I can denigrate those I deem less fit and treat them as less valuable. All abuse of others is rooted in this belief system. Carried to extremes, it even applies to political differences. Recently a female member of congress suggested killing a political opponent to advance her concept of democracy. No wonder people are living in fear.

The Christian belief system eliminates living in fear. John writing his excellent dissertation on love in 1 John 4:7-21 says it beautifully: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If a man says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen can not love God whom he has not seen” (verses 18-20).

Living in an atheistic world is challenging, and fear reflects that. Therefore, Christian faith and morality are more important than ever, not just on an eternal level but even in our day-to-day lives.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Article in the Boston Globe newspaper and repeated in The Week (10/7/22 page 12)

Excuses for Not Eating

Excuses for Not Eating

If applied to other areas of life, the excuses we hear for people rejecting Christianity would not make sense to any thinking person. However, someone recently sent us an example of applying those excuses to food. Like faith in God, there is evidence that food is a significant source of success in life. So why not take the excuses people use for rejecting God and Christianity and apply them as excuses for not eating:

“I don’t eat anymore because …
I was forced to eat as a child.
I used to eat, but I got bored.
None of my friends will eat with me.
I’ll start eating when I get older.
I’m too busy working to eat.
I really don’t have time to eat.
Eating is just a crutch that I don’t need.
There are hypocrites who eat.
There are too many different kinds of food. I can’t decide what to eat.
Restaurants and grocery stores are only after your money. “


If you say that eating is different because we must eat to survive, I would suggest that having a relationship with God is also necessary to survive. Food provides physical survival, but being a Christian brings spiritual, mental, moral, and emotional survival. Therefore, excuses for rejecting God’s gifts make as much sense as excuses for not eating.

Look at the evidence and react to it in an open-minded way. We are not asking you to embrace human-created religions but biblical Christianity that allows us to live successfully through all of life’s trials and beyond. See 1 Peter 2:1-5.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Unconditional Love – Agapao

Unconditional Love – Agapao

Biblical Greek had five different words for love, each of which refers to something God created. For example, God wants us to have friends, and the Greek word for friendship is phileo. Peter’s exchange with Jesus in John 21:15-17 does not indicate that phileo was wrong, but Jesus was calling Peter to a different kind of love, agapao (unconditional love). Philadelphia (brotherly love) in Greek calls us to care about others as in Hebrews 13:1. The Greek word thelo (to want something physical) is not negative, but the condemnation in Mark 12:38 was about priorities. Finally, Eros (sexual love) is not used in the New Testament but refers to a beautiful creation of God, used to cement marriage.

What Jesus wants from Peter and us in John 21 and throughout the New Testament is agapao. The Greek dictionary defines it as “seeing something infinitely precious in its object.” People quote John 3:16 carelessly without understanding the depth of the kind of love that God has for us. Read 1 John 2 – 4, especially chapter 4:7-11. The word used throughout 1 John is agapao.

We need to be reminded that God doesn’t create any junk. Every human has a spiritual makeup that makes them “infinitely precious.” When you reject that concept, human life becomes cheap–worth no more than a cockroach.

Where would we be today if all world leaders saw human life as “infinitely precious?” Without that concept, you can’t make sense of the Sermon on The Mount and the admonitions of Jesus to love your enemy and do good even to those who abuse you. Racism and sexism exist because we refuse to have unconditional love for those who are different from us.

Peter learned to have agapao. It was a rough journey for Peter, and it isn’t always easy for us, but we need to preach it and do our best to live it. We can grow in unconditional love (agapao) with the help of God’s Spirit.

— John N. Clayton © 2022