What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Roger G. on Feb 17, 15:31:

I'm also reminded of another religious science fiction short story that I read long ago, and still find particularly moving, though I am not myself a Christian. I don't recall the title or name of the author. The protagonist is captain of an enormous alien ship. His race learned of their world’s coming destruction in time to build the vessel, and escaped to search the galaxy for a new home. Initially they had seen the journey as a great adventure, but having long failed to find a suitable planet for thems ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Roger G. on Feb 17, 15:17:

William Tenn (the pseudonym of Philip Klass) is considered the father of science fiction satire. His short story "On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi!" is a sort of tribute to famed humorist Sholem Aleichem (Fiddler on the Roof). Below is a link to the story, followed by a selection of excerpts. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/202356/on-venus-have-we-got-a-rabbi "Almost all the Jews on Venus are Ashkenazim—people whose ancestors emigrated from Eastern Europe to America before the Holocaust an ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 17, 13:04:

No problem. I just repeated something really brief, and I'll leave the rest to be found on the webinar itself. I hope it'll be useful! ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 17, 01:07:

Roger, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/wxVRg7LLaQA First, I see no reason to interpret Romans 8:22 when it says "all/the whole creation groans" as "all/the whole terrestrial creation." I see no reason either - as long as we don't have encounters with unfallen races of rational physical beings. But if we either DO have such encounters, or hypothesize them for fiction, then we would want to re-consider how to take Romans 8:22. Second, we know created beings are 0 for 2 when it comes t ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Dennis Jensen on Feb 16, 19:41:

I’ll definitely look at your webinar. I should have done that before sending you comments since I suspect I’ve made you repeat a lot that you’ve already stated and argued. ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by MetaSkipper on Feb 16, 17:30:

Joe, I see no reason to rule out that some encounters with "alien" life might be demonic. If Satan can pretend to be an angel of light, surely the demons of Hell can do the less difficult disguise of pretending to be from outer space. ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by MetaSkipper on Feb 16, 17:20:

Tony, I have considerable reservations about the possibility of an unfallen intelligent race existing in our universe. One may raise an eyebrow at trying to be realistic in science fiction, but a significant personal motivation for the book is trying to see how God would create a universe with multiple intelligent species. A possibly blasphemous endeavor, given His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, but He has also revealed himself in measure, and I believe the endeavor is still wo ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Feb 16, 14:56:

What do people think about the possibility that some of these encounters are not purely physical encounters of two different species (man and the proverbial little green men) but are encounters of man with, say, the demonic? My own gut instinct is that it seems reasonably possible. I've read various Christian accounts of alien visitations, abductions, etc ending immediately when one calls upon the name of Jesus. This sort of thing gives me bad memories of the nutty charismatic stuff I saw in my Christian s ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Roger G. on Feb 16, 14:51:

Tony, sorry to be a pest, but if what you're referring to is Mr. Cella's video, please post the link itself here, so I can copy and paste it. Because of my old computer, I can't play the video as Mr. Cella provided it. By the way, what I posted was a quickly updated piece that I first wrote a few years ago, and have since occasionally revised. For instance, I originally had such exalted hopes for the Em and Cannae drives, but they seem to have turned out to be busts. I was salivating at the thought of m ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Feb 16, 14:50:

Meta, everything we can see about God's goodness tells us he would come up with a redemptive solution for a fallen race of rational animals. I think it is inconsistent with what we know of him through revelation (though that knowing is limited) to suggest he might let such a race perish completely without redemption. As you hint, even considering it at length might be disturbingly fraught with problems. I agree with this. It would really clash with the omnibenevolence of God. The idea of "all creation" h ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 16, 13:35:

So of course the U.S. government took this in house, and never has disclosed, and never will disclose, anything it has discovered - if indeed there is anything to be discovered, and if in fact they have discovered anything. Probably there is some U.S. governmental unit, of which the public and most or all of the rest of the government are ignorant, that deals with the subject. Roger, because of the national security issues you point out, I would have thought that these very things you said would imply that ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 16, 13:24:

Meta, everything we can see about God's goodness tells us he would come up with a redemptive solution for a fallen race of rational animals. I think it is inconsistent with what we know of him through revelation (though that knowing is limited) to suggest he might let such a race perish completely without redemption. As you hint, even considering it at length might be disturbingly fraught with problems. The idea of "all creation" having fallen because of Adam, in spite of there being another race not f ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by MetaSkipper on Feb 16, 03:29:

If I may interject a tangent to the current conversation: Do you believe it is consistent with God's nature that He should create intelligent life on some alien planet, allow an alien-specific Fall event or have that alien race be affected by Adam's fall (as all creation is fallen and awaiting redemption), but offer no plan or way of redemption for that alien race? I shall confess a somewhat selfish reason for the question. I am doing some preliminary planning for NaNoWriMo, and as it turns out, I intend t ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Roger G. on Feb 15, 23:15:

Never mind Roswell, abductions, and all the other popular culture fluff (and in this category I include the contributions of astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper, even though one would have thought they'd be reliable). Considering the mass of impeccable evidence, available from a multitude of mainstream and reliable sources, it's remarkable that anyone still questions either that we are being visited from outside our solar system, or that our government is well aware of the matter. DOUBT AS TO EITHE ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Feb 15, 15:09:

Thanks for the Aquinas reference Tony. Theologically, I don't think that (in the case of another fallen species somewhere) God would be forced logically to redeem them in the same way the human race was redeemed, via Incarnation/Resurrection. It would have to be a serious affair, but it wouldn't (I think) have to have the same specifics as our case. I have never read a plausible fictional hypothesis of our interacting with an alien race that had fallen and either had the promise of redemption but not yet ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 15, 13:18:

Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas explicitly says that God's becoming incarnate by taking human nature does not (cannot) exhaust God's ability to take on a created nature. God could do it over and over. Could you kindly point me to that reference? Joe, he makes the point in Summa, Prima Pars, Q 3, A 7: I answer that, What has power for one thing, and no more, has a power limited to one. Now the power of a Divine Person is infinite, nor can it be limited by any created thing. Hence it may not be said t ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Paul J Cella on Feb 15, 04:47:

I can see why the release might be an argument against B, but how is it an argument against A? Pretty much what Tony said: the absence of any speculation along those lines accompanying the video releases, suggests to me the absence of any evidence along those lines. I grant that it has more than a whiff of argument-from-silence to it, so that's why I put it as merely a suggestion. Tony's other point seems pretty strong as well: according to the best public information we have, neither the Chinese nor the R ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 14, 19:13:

Assuming these little green men exist, wouldn't they be millions or billions of light years away? In that case, isn't it physically impossible for them to reach Earth? Assuming their existence, there is no reason to also assume that they are any farther away than the nearer stars to us. The nearest star is a little more than 4 light years. That distance could well be traversed by a ship that has just barely slower-than-light speed, in not much more than 4 years. There is no theoretical reason to assume ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Kurt on Feb 14, 18:20:

Assuming these little green men exist, wouldn't they be millions or billions of light years away? In that case, isn't it physically impossible for them to reach Earth? ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 14, 16:25:

I can see why the release might be an argument against B, but how is it an argument against A? Although it depends on an assumption, I think the point is that it's not just that the Pentagon (and, presumably, other agencies such as CIA have coordinated with them) cannot identify another foreign power which DOES have capabilities like the ones exhibited, it's that the information we have does not allow us to generate even a plausible hypothesis of some other nation having such capabilities. The Pentagon ma ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 14, 15:58:

Minimalists helps us to understand just how strong the various lines of evidence and argument actually are and how the different lines fit together. I'm afraid I can't agree there particularly as regards the appearance claims. I discuss this at length in the webinar linked above. When one makes the appearance claim such that it is widely agreed upon by scholars across the ideological spectrum, it actually weakens it greatly so that it does not contribute to a good inference to the best explanation for the ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 14, 15:54:

One other minor point, it seems to me to be more likely these were OT saints God had selected to be among the first fruits of the resurrection just as Jesus was the first of the first fruits. No, they weren’t recognized because they had something like "glowing bodies" but if their bodies were like Jesus’ they were physical and they had supernatural abilities, like being able to appear and disappear at will, walk through walls, or even expose gaping wounds for investigation. So there are ways they could have ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 14, 15:25:

There is an entire section of my talk on maximal data that addresses the claim that we have to use a minimalist form of the argument because we only have so much time. I give examples of at least equally short versions that point to the maximalist case and are not based upon trying to whittle down our premises to what is accepted by a majority of scholars. Here's the link to that webinar, and I've provided the link right where I talk about this issue. But I hope you'll watch a lot more of it. https://youtu ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 14, 12:58:

Given the unlikelihood of (A) and (B) ‒ and the release of these videos themselves is suggestive of that unlikelihood I can see why the release might be an argument against B, but how is it an argument against A? ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Dennis Jensen on Feb 14, 12:20:

Just a couple of other comments. One reason only Matthew mentions the RS could be that it was witnessed only by a few individuals and once the appearance stories got circulated they just sounded like ghost stories, which of course were not unknown at this time. Ghost stories, even with accompanying earthquakes, were not going to make the top news accounts of the day and they certainly were not going to be taken back to Rome or passed on to the historians of the time. Maybe the RS witnesses were for this rea ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Feb 14, 02:46:

(c) make stew with them It's a cookbook!!! Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas explicitly says that God's becoming incarnate by taking human nature does not (cannot) exhaust God's ability to take on a created nature. God could do it over and over. Could you kindly point me to that reference? Interestingly, many of the same issues arise if we play with the possibilities of discovering another intelligent race here on Earth already. Dolphins are extremely "intelligent", so much so that they do things tha ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 14, 01:52:

(2) that God the Son became incarnate had assumed human nature concurrent with divine nature doesn't seem to preclude God the Son adding a third nature to the mix. (The hard step is going from divine nature to divine plus something else, right? After that, additional natures are gravy.) Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas explicitly says that God's becoming incarnate by taking human nature does not (cannot) exhaust God's ability to take on a created nature. God could do it over and over. My overall sense ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Feb 13, 22:52:

Hypothetical: let's say that the videos count as proof conclusive of the proverbial little green men (who are actual physical beings, not demons, angels, or bodiless intelligences interacting with our spacetime). Furthermore, suppose these green men are rational, morally accountable creatures. If P(C) represents your subjective probability that historic orthodox Christianity is true, does P(C) increase or decrease in light of this information? Why or why not? I'm really curious. My own answer: P(C) remain ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Dennis Jensen on Feb 13, 22:35:

I do agree with you that we have no less reason to accept Matthew’s story of the resurrection of the saints at Jesus’ resurrection (call it the RS) than any other Gospel miracles. But I also like the minimalist approach to the resurrection evidence. I think we should use more evidence when the situation seems appropriate, e.g. a chance for a long conversation with a non-Christian friend, but sometimes again a minimalist approach is the best approach. Sometimes we only have time to say very little and we nee ... [More]

"Like nothing I've ever seen."

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 12, 22:24:

I have long kept a very open mind about UFOs. Basically all my life, I have been saying "unidentified" means "we don't know", and that can cover an awful lot of territory, from other nations to aliens to who knows what. Don't know is don't know. That said, I consider there to be very high implausibilities to the UFOs being aliens - on a similar order to the implausibilities Paul raises above. Just to pick a couple: the variety of different objects and seeming capabilities would seem to imply quite a ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 8, 20:22:

I find myself usually not impressed by what are called "protective anonymity" arguments. I've seen some really weak ones, even from otherwise sensible people. Here's one of the worst: Richard Bauckham's argument that Mark suppressed the name of the woman who anointed Jesus' feet because it would have been seen as a Messianic, hence political, claim that Jesus was the Messiah. The Christians were shouting from the rooftops that Jesus was the Messiah. Nobody was trying to suppress the possibly damning affirma ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Geoff on Feb 8, 14:02:

Another bit of conjecture: Matthew didn't want their names put out in the open for fear of reprisals. John's gospel, being later, is more likely to name names. Like the guard having his ear cut off by Peter. (if memory serves) The truth is we don't know. ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 8, 11:04:

There could indeed be a lot of reasons, Tony, and I don't want to be dogmatic about my guess that Matthew didn't know any more detail. It's often been conjectured that these people ascended at the time of Jesus' own ascension. I just throw that out there FWIW. I'm not sold on that at all, but if true, it would mean that they didn't continue to be known in the Christian community for a long time thereafter. I believe that conjecture is usually treated as "going together" with their possibly being raised in ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 8, 00:03:

The thing is that skeptics will sometimes say, "Why don't we have any other reports of this from secular sources?" This sort of argument from silence is just *so* poor, and that was what I was responding to in my ref. to "no Jerusalem Times." It's incredibly anachronistic to look at some event in the Bible and demand that it be duplicated in some (vague) other "secular source." It's like people are projecting the information age back onto the 1st century and assuming that if something was impressive or exci ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Marcia Montenegro on Feb 7, 23:06:

Great line, Lydia, and gave me a good chuckle. Thanks for the rest of the blog, too, which I finally got to finish reading today. Excellent points, and very thorough. ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 7, 18:14:

The criteriological approach was developed as part of the quest for an historical Jesus "behind" the Gospels. So in that sense it is unique to biblical studies. I've been both intrigued and saddened to see evangelical scholars explicitly aligning themselves with such an approach--e.g., speaking of "mining" facts "out of" the Gospels. Touting the lists made by a scholar like E. P. Sanders of such facts as, "Jesus had controversies with the religious leaders" and the like. Hey, look, we can find this list of ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Callum Savage on Feb 7, 17:55:

Much good work has been shown by Lydia on how 'unique' (and not in a good way) the NT guild can be, but from what I can gather this pericope by pericope approach is literally unheard of in most other areas of history. It almost certainly rests on assumptions like form criticism. ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 7, 14:53:

I see that as a spin-off of what I call a "pericope-by-pericope" approach. In this approach, we "test events," going through the documents event-by-event to decide which ones are well-supported and which ones we're going to doubt. I actually saw someone recently use the phrase "these events are reliable." What?? Events are not reliable. That's just a category error. Witnesses, sources, documents are (or aren't) reliable. Events are not reliable. What he meant was that he thinks certain events happened and ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Geoff on Feb 7, 14:37:

My guess is that some can get used to all the corroboration for the Resurrection and then don't know what to do with say the resurrections in Matthew. It's not so much-Resurrection only but, in this case at least, start to doubt things in Scripture because there isn't the same level of outside attestation. I, and I think you're on the same page, go with a route that supports the trustworthiness of the documents in general and the apostolic witness to those events. It's like they bought into "great claims r ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 7, 14:20:

Geoff, interesting thought. There is a sense in which "resurrection only" has come to be a kind of informal approach in certain evidentialist circles. Virgin birth? Well, maybe we could do without it and still be Christians, though we'd have to change our theology a bit. But we'd still have the resurrection. Gospel of John? Nah, you don't need it to establish the resurrection. Deity of Christ? Well, let's say "Danielic son of man" for right now and hope that people will be, shall we say, inspired to think o ... [More]