There are two parts to a prophecy that need to be fulfilled in order to be considered successful: the prediction and the outcome. The prediction needs to be clear and unambiguous, while the outcome needs to be independently verifiable. By a remarkable coincidence, there are two things lacking in Jesus’s supposed fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies. I wonder if you can guess what they are?
The first problem isn’t difficult to identify – the “prophecies” invariably come in the middle of a passage which appears to be talking about something entirely different, and are unfortunately rather short on useful details. Apologists tend to focus on the age of these passages (which is entirely irrelevant), or their number, but not their specificity. Here are a couple of oft-quoted examples, annotated with my comments: Read More…
One of the strangest things about looking back at the past is noticing how certain I was about everything. It’s hard to explain, and people often have a hard time understanding it, but during the period when I really, truly believed, I was absolutely certain that I was never going to change my mind. I felt that I’d finally found the truth, and that could never be undone.
It wasn’t as if I was moving in line with a different worldview, more as if I’d discovered a new fact. People can change their opinions, but why would I ever think that France wasn’t a country, now that I knew it was? I didn’t usually talk of knowing, but that’s what it comes down to – I had special knowledge, and I couldn’t imagine that ever changing. Read More…
So Pat Robertson’s at it again – this time, apparently he asked God to show him some cool tricks and was given a secret revelation of the future:
The televangelist revealed on Tuesday that he had spent the nearly a week in prayer, asking God to “show me something.”
“I think He showed me the next president, but I’m not supposed to talk about that,” Robertson explained. “So I’ll leave you in the dark — probably just as well — I think I’ll know who it will be.”
That’s great, Pat. Too bad you’re not meant to tell us who the next president will be – we’ll never know how right you were. Just like I’ve been sworn to silence by the pink unicorn who lives under my stairs and has predicted the results of the next lottery draw – I’m not allowed to tell you until it’s happened.
It occurs to me that if the Bible was really dictated by an angry, dictatorial God as fundies believe (or appear to believe, or claim to believe), we’d expect to see a lot of things that don’t seem to appear in the text. A truly infallible, comprehensive manifesto for human living, direct from God’s own mouth would surely reflect God’s priorities, but there are some pretty big discrepancies between the contents of this manifesto and what fundies take from it, which they have to fill in with a substantial amount of interpretation, even while denying that they’re doing it. At the very least, you’d think He’d have made sure to be absolutely explicit about what He wanted you to do. Read More…
Okay, I’m basically not a very nice person in many ways, and I’m all too aware of my many faults, but this year, my conscience has been pricked after being pointed towards the words of Jeremiah:
This is what the LORD says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
That seems like a pretty clear denunciation of Christmas trees to me, and prophetic as well, seeing that it was written about 600 years before Jesus was even born. The question is, how much wiggle room is there? Read More…