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Featured Determining the Validity of a Prophecy

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Tiberius, May 5, 2021.

  1. Tiberius

    Tiberius Well-Known Member

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    Prophecies play a role in many major religions, and many faithful use them to prove that their faith is the "One True Faith"™. However, I've found that pretty much every prophecy fails at some point.

    If the prophecy is about something that is probably going to happen anyway, then it's useless. It's like me predicting that there will be seismic activity in California in the next twelve months. It's on a fault line, of course there will be seismic activity there. Or the psychics who predict each year that there will be conflict in the Middle East, or political trouble somewhere. These are going to happen anyway, anyone can predict them. It's just not worth bothering with these.

    And if the prophecy could have been written AFTER the event that fulfilled it and simply inserted into an earlier work, then it's not worth bothering with it because it means nothing, it was just some guy who wrote what happened and tried to make it look like a prophecy when it really wasn't.

    And if the prophecy was only fulfilled because someone embellished the event that allegedly fulfilled it to make it look like the prophecy was correct, but the actual event didn't happen as described and so didn't fulfill the prophecy, then again, it's not worth bothering with it because the claim it was fulfilled is wrong.

    And if the prophecy was only fulfilled because someone came along after the prophecy was written and then decided to perform the action that fulfilled it, then it's not worth bothering with the prophecy because the author didn't actually have any knowledge of the future, and thus it isn't a prophecy.

    And finally, if you have a prophecy that is vague and ambiguous, it's not worth bothering with it because you can never be sure if the interpretation you have is the one the author intended.

    So, I've used these to create five criteria that a prophecy needs to meet before I will consider it as valid, or as evidence that a particular faith is correct:

    1. The prophecy must not be about something that is likely to happen anyway.
    2. Where we have verified that the prophecy was written prior to the event that fulfilled it.
    3. Where we have verified that the event that fulfilled it really took place in a way that fulfilled the prophecy.
    4. The the fulfilling event was not done by someone simply to make the prophecy come true.
    5. The prophecy is specific and is not open to interpretation.

    What are your thoughts on these criteria? Do you disagree with them? If so, why?
     
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  2. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I basically agree but for #5, people will interpret everything and given half a chance will argue that something in plain English means the opposite of what it says. There are a couple of examples which underlines why I don't give credence to prophecy for the same basic reason you do.

    Part of the problem is time. Someone 2000 years ago seeing WWII might have written part of the book of Revelation but would have been unable to comprehend what he was seeing because of the era in which he grew up. So his language might be far from what he saw.

    We also have the prophecy of St. Malachai about the popes which does not seem accurate at all after a certain point per wikipedia. But if we ignore the name of the last pope from that prophecy, Petrus Romanus, and go to the basic prediction, Pope Francis should be the last pope given the counting scheme. So if Francis is the last pope and Rome is destroyed then I'll accept the prophecy as true even with the mistakes. Prophecy of the Popes - Wikipedia
     
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  3. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Why accept an alleged prophecy that contains mistakes, the mistakes are proof that it's author did not have foreknowledge.
    In my opinion.
     
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  4. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    Do we know the difference between a prophecy and a prediction?

    "I predict that Cheshire Cat will win the 2:30 race at Kempton" or should I say, " I phophesise that..." ?

    Somehow the word 'Prophecy' seems to have more gravitas
     
  5. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Many of the biblical prophecies are presented in the form of "If you do not change your ways, then X is going to happen."

    Every such failed prophecy is actually a success, because if the X did not occur, it means that people changed their ways. If by chance X did occur, it shows that people didn't change...
     
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  6. SeekingAllTruth

    SeekingAllTruth Well-Known Member

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    If even one prophecy in the Old Testament fails then all fail really, right? Because God is directing the prophecy and God is perfect therefore he cannot give a single wrong prophecy.

    Luke 24:46. Speaking to his disciples on the night of his alleged resurrection, he said, "Thus it is written and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day."

    Corinthians 15:3-4 ....He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.


    Not a single Old Testament passage makes this alleged third-day prediction. It simply doesn't exist.
     
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  7. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    People who do not believe prophecy have decided that much Biblical prophecy was written after the event and tried to show that is the case. Skeptics use this scholarship to say that the prophecies were written after the event and scrub those prophecies of the possible real ones.
    Another method is to say that the stories of the events were made up just so they could fulfil earlier prophecies. Skeptics love this idea also.
    Since all scripture is open to interpretation another thing sceptics like doing is to point out that others have interpreted the prophecy in a different way so therefore it cannot be considered as a valid prophecy.
    All these things are used against the Biblical prophecies. There are still prophecies that in there that would pass the tests imo,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but that opinion is subjective.
     
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  8. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I would say that a prophecy is a prediction made by a prophet...
    Anyone can make a prediction but that does not make them a prophet.
     
  9. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    How do you become a prophet?
     
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  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    That is because it is all bunk that men wrote. :rolleyes:

    Here are Christians grasping at straws again... Talk about wishful thinking.
    Does the Old Testament Predict Jesus' Resurrection?
     
    #10 Trailblazer, May 6, 2021
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
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  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    God assigns the status.
     
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  12. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    Ah!
     
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  13. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I think prophesies in the Bible are mainly warnings for disciples of Jesus so that they are prepared when certain things happen. I don’t think they are meant to be evidence, for I don’t think anything would be sufficient for a person who doesn’t want to be loyal to God. But, for me they are also evidence, they confirm the matter, when things go as told in the Bible.
     
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  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I appreciate your efforts to form a clear argument against prophecy. I'm not convinced it will have much effect, as people who believe in them seem rather hard-wired on the concept. For me, I simple don't believe in prophecy period. I think it's silly, some kind of wishful daydreaming, or in the case of people making them, wishful thinking. There is no prophecy that I've ever heard of that seems at all convincing to me. They're always really vague, based on silly numbers and dates, and lacking much logic. The modern ones seem just scare tactics.

    Best wishes on your endeavour though.
     
    #14 Vinayaka, May 6, 2021
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
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  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Is there anything besides an 'alleged' prophecy. I think all prophecies are alleged.
     
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  16. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    You tell everyone you're one?
     
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  17. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    They are all alleged until they are fulfilled.
     
  18. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Or the person has partial foreknowledge. Or had foreknowledge but did not have the intellectual/cultural background to understand the vision.
     
  19. Tiberius

    Tiberius Well-Known Member

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    Also seems to me that prophecies are a lot less clear about what they're saying. Makes it easy for people to interpret them in a way that supports whatever point they want to support.
     
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  20. Tiberius

    Tiberius Well-Known Member

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    I'm not trying to argue against prophecies, per se. I'm trying to form a set of criteria that help us determine which prophecies are valid.
     
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