On May 16, CBS News on “60 Minutes” did a story about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. These UAP’s are what a lot of us call UFO’s – Unidentified Flying Objects.
In the story, Bill Whitaker reports on the regular sightings of these UAP’s that have spurred a report due to Congress next month. He interviewed US military pilots who say they regularly see incredibly fast- moving objects, which they cannot identify as either our aircraft or enemy aircraft. They say these objects seem to be observing us, too! The pilots and their superiors at the Pentagon agree they are a real security risk.
Skepticism is Good
As the pilots don’t particularly believe in UFO’s, they are a lot like many of us. They need to be convinced through observation and facts. It’s fitting that Congress is investigating to be able to judge whether these objects are real or not, and whether they are evidence of visits by beings from beyond this earth. For Congress or us to not do this is to live in unreality and to reject logic and reason, simply because we are uncomfortable with and don’t want to be guided by the conclusions our research may come up with.
Are there any credible candidates among those seeming to come from outer space?
It’s the same process we consider with any people or so-called alien beings who seem to come from another world or even claim to be God. A lot of them can be easily judged to be deluded people or outright frauds — from obvious inconsistencies or flaws in their characters or stories.
One person, however, stands out as different — a man named Jesus of Nazareth who lived in Palestine about 2000 years ago. His life and words were attested to by over 5800 Greek manuscripts and another 19,000 manuscripts in Latin or other languages. For ancient history, we often have to rely on the only-existing three to twenty manuscripts, to verify that an important literary work we have today is unchanged from what was originally written. This is the case with “Plato’s Republic”. Seven manuscripts exist – yet no scholars in universities worldwide doubt that what we have in those manuscripts is what Plato wrote, and that what those manuscripts say is what actually happened 2400 years ago.
So, the substantial manuscript evidence we have, written by eyewitnesses to what this man Jesus said and did, seem to be consistent with what was originally written, and undoubtedly present facts of things he said and did. If the manuscripts didn’t tell what was true, there should be a number of other manuscripts saying things contrary to what our existing manuscripts say. This large number of “contrary” manuscripts simply does not exist.
It seems clear from the manuscripts we have and from other corroborating documents written by people who weren’t Jesus’ followers, that he had a more balanced character than any other man who has ever lived, that he had power over sickness and nature, and that he was put to death by his enemies. It’s also clear he was put to death because he claimed to come to earth from being with his father outside this world, and to be the son of the Creator of this world.
Jesus said repeatedly during his life that he would be killed, would rise up after being dead, then leave this world. Why did he come? He said it was of the greatest importance to us that we believe who he said he was, and that we change the way we live and get right again with his father.
What does the evidence say?
After he was executed, his dead body was never found. On the contrary, he was seen on many occasions fully alive, at locations many miles apart from each other, sometimes by more than 500 people. Eyewitnesses tell of his rising up and leaving the earth and not coming back.
What did the supreme rulers of that day, the Roman Emperor and Senate, say about this man? After sending to Palestine and collecting and studying the facts, they agreed on this conclusion — that he was the promised son of God (the Messiah) as he claimed to be– and therefore was God himself.
Was this man a lunatic like those we alluded to earlier? Or was he just an ordinary human being like you or me? We emphasized the importance of assembling the facts and then coming to the conclusion they lead us to – no matter whether we want it to be true or not. In the same way that we scrutinize the facts about UFO’s – supposed visitors from another world — we each need also to utilize that same thoughtfulness, impartiality, and integrity as we gather the facts and come to our own conclusion — about where this man Jesus came from.