Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena AARO Report

Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena AARO Report - Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick
Sean Kirkpatrick speaking to Senate Armed Services Committee

One of the most repeated false media reports is the claim that aliens in spacecraft regularly visit Earth and want to affect human history. In our day of conspiracy theories, there are stories that the United States government has been hiding alien contact. Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick was the director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). Congress charged that agency in 2022 with bringing scientific evidence and clarity to the UFO and UAP (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) mystery.

Dr. Kirkpatrick explained what the AARO found in the April 2024 issue of Scientific American. Here is a brief summary of his report:

#1) There is no record of any president, Department of Defense official, intelligence community leader, or congressional committee knowing about any such conspiracy.
#2) The claims started when “UFOlogist” Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, persuaded some senators to call on the Department of Homeland Security to set up an agency to investigate claims.
#3) The people advancing the idea of a government coverup conspiracy are part of a small group, and many of them worked for Bigelow Aerospace.
#4) Dr. Kirkpatrick said of the claims, “Some are misrepresentations; some derive from pure, unsupported beliefs. In many ways, the narrative is a textbook example of circular reporting…”

You can read the report released by Kirkpatrick’s group of qualified scientists, “Report on the Historical Record of U.S. Government Involvement with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP),” online HERE.

All attempts to tie alien claims to the Bible or alien explanations of history are not supported by evidence or real scientific investigation. We see claims that biblical figures, including Jesus, were aliens and that miracles described in the Bible were the actions of aliens. There is no evidence to support those claims.

The evidence is massive that Jesus lived as the Bible says and that His spiritual promises are real. Our salvation comes from the work of Jesus, and we must study and apply His teachings to our lives. You can see some of that evidence in our videos, including the Beyond Reasonable Doubt series and our correspondence course by the same name. Send us your name and address for the correspondence course, and we will mail you lesson #1 at no cost. You can watch the video series for free on our website, doesgodexist.tv.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Observations from a Government UFO Hunter” in Scientific American magazine for April 2024 (pages 67-68)

Clayton Apologetics Reading Room

Clayton Apologetics Reading Room
John and Cynthia Clayton in the Clayton Apologetics Reading Room

A recent ceremony at York University in York, Nebraska, dedicated a new facility for students of Christan apologetics. John Clayton accumulated a library of books and materials published by Christians and skeptics over the past fifty years. He was concerned about what to do with his apologetics library and wanted the books, magazines, and pamphlets to be available for reference and study by future students. John donated his entire library to York College where it is now in the Clayton Apologetics Reading Room.

At the ceremony, York vice-president Jared Stark introduced John and revealed that he became a Christian due to one of John’s lectures. John Clayton has been speaking to people in public assemblies for over fifty years, showing evidence for God’s existence. During that time, many lives have been changed as a result of John’s message.

The new Clayton Apologetics Reading Room is adjacent to the Clayton Museum of Ancient History at York University. They are open to the public by appointment. You can watch a video of the dedication statements by Jared Stark and John Clayton on our website, DoesGodExist.tv. Click HERE and then scroll down to see that video and others featuring John Clayton and John Cooper.

— Roland Earnst © 2024

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

As Christians remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, how do we know the story is true? Some unbelievers argue that the resurrection is a myth that arose many years later. The evidence against that idea is numerous and strong. The apostles carried the message of Christ’s resurrection to the ends of the Roman Empire for the rest of their lives, even though they had nothing to gain except a life of persecution ending in execution. They would not have done that unless they had seen the resurrected Christ.

Skeptics have often argued that the gospels were written years later to “prove” the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a myth that developed during those years. However, before any of the four gospels were written, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in A.D. 57. he included an oral tradition that summarizes the gospel message.

In the first century, there were no computers, printed books, or pamphlets, and even simple writing materials were scarce and precious. People memorized important things by summarizing them efficiently and passing them on as oral traditions. The early Christians used that method. Here is the first part of an oral tradition that Paul wrote down in that first letter to the church in Corinth:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The oral tradition then goes on to list some resurrection appearances of Christ. Then Paul adds himself to the list of those who saw the resurrected Christ. (You can read it for yourself in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.) Of course, the “Scriptures” that Paul refers to are the Old Testament prophecies of Christ since the New Testament was not yet written.

When did Paul receive this tradition? He probably received it no later than A.D. 36 when he first visited Jerusalem. (See Galatians 1:15-18.) He possibly received it earlier than that in Damascus when, as Saul the persecutor, he encountered Ananias and received his sight. Ananias preached the gospel to him, and “Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.” Whether in Jerusalem or Damascus, Paul received the oral tradition of Christ’s resurrection no more than five years after the event. That tradition was not a myth that developed years after eyewitnesses died.

We can trust the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Although we have that oral tradition written down, we would do well to memorize it, as the early Christians did.

— Roland Earnst © 2024

Accusing God of Murder

Accusing God of Murder

Skeptics in the media constantly attack the Bible and the biblical concept of God. Writers in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The Atlantic write as if they were authorities on the Bible while accusing God of murder and condemning Him as being immoral. Taking a Bible passage out of context, they fail to examine who wrote it, why it was written, and how the people to whom it was written would have understood it.

Skeptics make statements like “God murders indiscriminately” when referring to Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. They overlook the fact that Noah preached to and taught the people of his age, warning them to avoid the coming disaster. The skeptics also ignore the fact that God agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten people in those cities were not involved in the wicked violence and immorality. The people had rejected God, choosing actions that led to death and disease. (See Genesis 18:20-33). The statement by the media accusing God of murder shows a lack of biblical knowledge.

The fact is that God was incredibly patient with the violence and immorality of the nations that rejected Him, not only in ancient times but also today. The people suffered the consequences of their own actions. We see that in 1 Samuel 15:3, where God commands Saul to destroy the Amalekites and “slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Skeptics have called God’s actions a senseless act of genocide that was barbaric and immoral. They say that God murders indiscriminately, but a closer study shows a different picture.

God gave the hygienic laws of Leviticus 11-18 for a reason. The cultures surrounding ancient Israel engaged in disastrous practices involving drinking raw blood, eating poorly prepared meat, sexual practices with animals and each other that spread STDs, and many infections that shortened life expectancies at a time when there was no medical treatment. Archaeological evidence and genome studies have left no doubt about the conditions of these ancient people.

Following God’s strict hygienic laws, given through Moses, allowed Israel to avoid those problems. How was God to treat the situation when Israel moved into an area where these hygienic problems were running rampant? Even the animals and babies carried the viruses and bacteria that saturated the people of those cultures.

Accusing God of murder shows a lack of understanding the Bible. From the New Testament, we know how much human sin grieved God and left Him with no alternative. The big question is whether we are creating similar problems for ourselves while possibly destroying the planet God created for us.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Earthquake Catastrophe Risk

Earthquake Catastrophe Risk Map
U.S. FEMA Map

The United States Geological Survey published a map showing the earthquake catastrophe risk in different parts of the country. This data comes from seismic records of 130,000 earthquakes of a magnitude on the Modified Mercalli intensity scale of six or higher, which is severe enough to frighten people, move furniture, and cause other damage, like falling plaster. Most of us know about some geologically unstable regions of the country, but other areas may be surprising.

The highest earthquake catastrophe risk within the next 100 years is essentially the whole western edge of California, the southern part of Alaska from Juneau through the Aleutians, and the eastern islands of Hawaii. Those areas with a 75 to 95% chance of a damaging earthquake include virtually all of California, the Yellowstone National Park area, and the intersection of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The study says that 230 million people live in areas with a 95% chance of a damaging earthquake.

The point of this data is that there will be a massive earthquake sometime in the next 100 years, causing death and structural damage. Many people will blame this coming catastrophe on God. The fact is that earthquakes are a natural product of the uplift of the land. Without those forces, erosion would have brought all land masses to sea level. Despite the data, humans continue to build huge structures in areas where earthquake catastrophe risk is high. This can be added to a long list of situations where humans set themselves up for a catastrophe.

My wife and I were on Hawaii’s “Big Island” when Kilauea erupted in May 2018. In one of the places we visited, lava flow had destroyed many homes. We happened across a man who was working on a new house. I asked him if he was not concerned that another lava flow might destroy this house. He laughed and said, “God wouldn’t do that to me twice.”

We need to understand that God does not cause bad things to happen to us. If you eliminate what humans do to each other and the foolish acts humans engage in (like building a house in the path of a lava flow or on an earthquake faultline), much human pain and suffering would stop. Read James 1:13-17.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: U.S. Geological Survey HERE and HERE

A Conflict that Should Not Exist

A Conflict that Should Not Exist
Dr. John C. Lennox

We have said many times that science and the Bible are friends. We need both for an enjoyable life. Unfortunately, many believers reject science because they think it conflicts with faith, and many scientists reject faith because they believe it is contrary to science. Both of those are false ideas of a conflict that should not exist. The truth is that both science and the Bible testify to God’s existence.

Science helps us understand the physical world. Physics and chemistry give us new and better ways to do things. Medical science helps us live healthier and longer lives. We need science because it benefits us. Likewise, the Bible benefits us in many ways. It tells us how to live fulfilled lives in peace and harmony with each other and with the natural world. Most importantly, the Bible also tells us about Jesus Christ and how we can live beyond this physical existence.

Dr. John C. Lennox is emeritus fellow of mathematics and philosophy of science at Oxford University. In a debate with leading atheist scientist Richard Dawkins, Lennox illustrated the difference between science and biblical faith very simply. He said, “Science can tell you what will happen when you put arsenic in your Aunt Tilley’s tea, but it cannot tell whether or not you should.” That simple statement suggests why this is a conflict that should not exist.

Atheists insist that a person does not have to believe to live a moral life. It is true that sometimes atheists live lives that appear to be more morally upright than some who claim to be believers. However, without faith in God and His Word, what is the objective basis for deciding what is right or wrong? We can’t make valid moral choices without a moral compass to tell us which direction to go.

Science gives us many things that make our lives in this world better. The Bible and faith also improve our lives and the lives of those around us. But faith also gives us some things that science cannot. Our faith in God and the Bible gives us a purpose and reason to live and enjoy this life. Beyond that, it gives us hope for a better existence without the pain and suffering we face now. In science, we find solutions to make life more enjoyable. In the Bible, we discover a reason for our existence and hope for a better future. The animosity between science and faith is a conflict that should not exist.

— Roland Earnst © 2024

The Effects of Plasmas

The Effects of Plasmas in a Plasma Ball
Plasma Ball

Most people are familiar with the three states of matter—solid, liquid, and gas. However, they may not know there is a fourth state of matter—plasma. You may be surprised to learn that plasmas are the most abundant form of matter in the cosmos. The effects of plasmas can help us understand many UFO sightings and may be the method God used to accomplish some of His work on Earth.

When matter becomes hot enough or is altered by strong magnetic fields, the electrons may split away from their parent atoms. When that happens, the electrons and the ionized nucleus give off light. Stars are made of plasma produced by the intense heat of their nuclear fires. We see examples of plasmas in our daily lives in fluorescent and neon lights and lightning.

Plasma can move in various ways and become attracted to solid matter. People have observed plasmas following aircraft and around nuclear power plants. NASA astronauts have seen large plasmas moving through space. When they descend into Earth’s atmosphere, they become attracted to almost anything, especially things with great heat or a strong magnetic field. Plasmas can have many shapes, including balls, cigar shapes, and disks. Many UFO sightings are almost sure to be the effects of plasmas.

Could God have used plasmas to produce some of the visual effects the Bible describes? The star of Bethlehem, the bush Moses saw that was not consumed, and the pillar of fire that led ancient Israel are all possible plasmas. How about the extended sunshine in Joshua 10? God can use natural methods for many of the things the Bible describes. Relegating them to superstition or myth is ignoring the reasonable causes we know exist. In the Bible or UFO sightings, observers may see the effects of plasmas and not understand what they are.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Wikipedia

Blaming God For Human Mismanagement

Blaming God For Human Mismanagement
Smoke from record-setting fire currently burning in Texas

Our hearts go out to those who have lost property and maybe even loved ones to the so-called natural disasters that have increased in frequency and size. Few of these disasters are the typical product of nature. What God created has always been in balance and functioned without the massive changes we are seeing in today’s world, but skeptics are blaming God for human mismanagement.

Among the disasters that have increased in number and ferocity are wildfires. They destroyed massive numbers of trees, causing a shortage of wood and wood products, destroying homes and businesses, and even entire towns. The Nature Conservancy reported that the average wildfire size today is 23,000 acres. In the 1980’s, the average wildfire size was 7,000 acres. A currently burning wildfire in Texas has destroyed more than one million acres.

Those of us with some training in environmental management know that the “Smokey the Bear” idea of preventing any kind of fire was an ignorant practice. In the natural world, lightning and spontaneous combustion produce small fires. When you allow leaves and dead wood to accumulate for decades, a lightning strike can cause a massive fire with lots of fuel for combustion. Even the amount of smoke these huge fires generate threatens people living thousands of miles away.

God has used fires in surprising ways. There are some trees whose seeds do not germinate unless they have been exposed to fire. Some animals depend on naturally burned-over areas to produce food such as berries and nuts. Still, we have been in some areas where the fire’s massive heat sterilized the area, preventing anything from growing.

Skeptics are blaming God for human mismanagement that has caused the devastating fires we are seeing today. A major cause of today’s catastrophic fires is human prevention of naturally occurring small fires. We need to recognize that the intelligence of design has kept woodlands healthy and stable in the past. We must work with that design intelligently to avoid the tragic pictures we see on the news.

We also need to understand that there are some places where humans should not build buildings. We all know that Los Angeles and San Francisco straddle the San Andreas fault, which has produced severe earthquakes in the past and will do it again. When that happens, skeptics will be blaming God for human mismanagement, even though the warnings were there. We know what we must do, but greed and selfishness seem to rule the day instead of intelligent management of what God has given us.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

References: The Nature Conservancy newsletter first issue for 2024 (page 13) and NBC News

Going to Church as a Depressing Burden

Going to Church as a Depressing Burden or a Blessing

I recently received a comment from a woman saying, “I don’t need another burden in my life, and going to church is just another depressing burden.” How sad it is that Christians sometimes view going to church as a depressing burden. It should be a blessing.

Part of this problem may be that many preachers burden their listeners with guilt and unfulfilled expectations. Gathering with fellow believers should give us support and encouragement. A church service should, first of all, be a time of praising God and expressing gratitude for what He has done for us as individuals and as a group. It should then be a time to share what God has done in our lives and to encourage one another.

One of the most essential parts of “going to Church” is to experience love. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “Now I am giving you a new commandment that you are to love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples by your love for one another.” Having kind words to say to each other, asking questions, expressing concerns when there is a crisis in someone’s life, and giving a hug are all part of loving one another.

Isn’t it interesting that the difference between the English words “live” and “love” is the single letter “I.” The more we take “I” out of the way, the more we can give and experience love. The Greek word translated as “love” here is “agape,” indicating caring about the worth of every person. There is joy in doing what God calls us to do, but obsessing about “I” and losing love can make us think of going to church as a depressing burden.

If you don’t understand this, I suggest you look more carefully at why you “go to church” or what you are missing if you don’t go. If your religious experience is reading an essay or watching a service on TV, you are missing the essential personal contact. If you think of going to church as a depressing burden, there is something wrong.

An atheist whose life is guided by “survival of the fittest” cannot comprehend the kind of love that Jesus taught. By my count, Jesus used the word “agapao” 108 times in the gospels. The next most common word He used for “love” was “phileo,” meaning “friendship,” which He used 18 times. Church involvement gives us a chance to consider the worth of all humans, eliminating racism, sexism, envy, jealousy, and all phobias that afflict humans.

Going to church should be a blessing. If the Church is functioning as God intended, we will leave every visit to our local congregation encouraged, uplifted, and ready to face the world and spread God’s love.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Why Do People Choose Atheism?

Why Do People Choose Atheism?

For the past few days, we have looked at facts about atheists compiled by the Pew Research Center. We saw that people who identify as atheists in the United States are primarily male and younger than the general population. We also saw that they scored higher than the general population in a religious knowledge survey that included Christianity-related questions. We also pointed out that they often grew up in a church but left their faith in college. Why do people choose atheism over faith in God?

I think it is safe to say that some choose atheism because they don’t want to follow the moral standards of Christianity. By rejecting God, they can reject His moral standards without pangs of conscience. Living immorally becomes easier when we can pretend that there is no higher authority who sets standards of moral conduct. According to Pew Research, less than half (42%) of Americans believe that it is necessary to believe in God to have good moral values. But that is much higher than in France, where only 15% think that belief in God is essential for good morals. Interestingly, in some Muslim-dominated countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia, 98% to 99% say that a person must believe in God to be moral.

Atheists not only refuse to believe in God, but they also think that faith is a negative factor in society. In the U.S., 71% of atheists say that the decline in religious influence in public life is a good thing. About the same amount (70%) say that churches and other religious institutions do more harm than good. They overlook how many hospitals, orphanages, and charitable organizations have been founded and are supported by Christians. Many Western European countries, such as Belgium, France, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands, have high rates of atheism (14-16%). That contrasts with the percentage of atheists in many Eastern European countries, including Romania, Ukraine, Bosnia, Poland, and Lithuania (1-2%). Even in Russia, only 4% of the population claims atheism. Could that be because the people of those countries lived for years under atheism, and they understand its consequences?

Reading the atheism data on the Pew Research Center website brings many questions to my mind. Why do people choose atheism over faith in God? The answer is as complex and diverse as human beings. At Does God Exist? our mission is to share evidence for God’s existence, the truth of the Bible, and Jesus Christ as the one who can restore us to a relationship with our Creator.

— Roland Earnst © 2024

Reference: Pew Research Center