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Featured How To Make a Believable Prophecy

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Left Coast, May 8, 2020.

  1. TrueBeliever37

    TrueBeliever37 Well-Known Member

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    Even science can't live up to your standards. You can always question if the data was tampered with, or the witnesses had reason to deceive, or there were typos in the report, or they had an intentional political agenda, or blah blah blah, etc.
     
  2. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    You're misunderstanding the problem.

    Nowhere in science, the examination of reality, is there a single authenticated instance of anything supernatural.

    That's to say, no impartial onlooker will prefer a supernatural explanation to a natural one, even an extremely unlikely natural one.

    Put another way, evidence of the purported supernatural is overwhelming evidence of error or fraud. The original words and timing of the prophecy must be unarguable, the coming true of the prophecy in exactly the terms described must be unarguable, the thing prophesied must be unarguably unforeseeable, complex, unlikely and free from being staged, before any explanation beyond coincidence can be considered.

    And the degree of coincidence involved must be so large as to amount to impossible before any trained mind would entertain thoughts of explanations previously unknown in reality.
     
  3. TrueBeliever37

    TrueBeliever37 Well-Known Member

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    Can you please show me some kind of picture, or anything proving anyone lives in what was the ancient city of Babylon?

    Satyrs wasn't a good translation. What I saw was that what was translated satyrs was Hebrew - shaggy beasts or wild goats.

    Isaiah 39:5-8 foretold to Hezekiah that there would be a Babylonian Captivity. That in and of itself was a true prophecy. And it was written early enough per the dates given by the wikipedia link someone gave above.

    Isaiah 13:16-22 Prophecy that Babylon would be overthrown by the Medes was fulfilled per history. (I know you can try to argue about other parts of what was written.) But be honest - was that part of the prophecy true or not true?

    Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 26:10
    - Jeremiah prophesied the nations would serve the king of Babylon 70 years. And when the 70 years were accomplished he would punish the king of Babylon. And that his people would return to the land they were taken from. Did this happen in history or not? You know it did.
     
  4. TrueBeliever37

    TrueBeliever37 Well-Known Member

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    My point is you can argue against anything - even science. We are examining reality when we look at fulfilled prophecy. Some hate the Bible so much they have to attack what it says. They can't stand that it could be true, and the prophecies are so accurate they have to try to discredit it. So their best defense is to claim the prophecy had to have been written afterwards.

    So you don't think it is supernatural to claim that a photon experiences no time or distance when it travels? Yet claim that light travels at a constant of C.
     
    #44 TrueBeliever37, May 10, 2020
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  5. TrueBeliever37

    TrueBeliever37 Well-Known Member

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    What you are saying isn't true. Pull up google maps and type in "the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq". Look at the location of the palace you are talking about versus the location of the walls of the ancient city of Babylon. It is well outside the walls of what WAS the ancient city of Babylon.
     
    #45 TrueBeliever37, May 10, 2020
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  6. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps I misread what the article said about the Palace of Saddam, but read this portion of it;
    'Exploiting existing fortifications and landing pads, U.S. and Polish troops established a helicopter base dubbed Camp Alpha on the ruins of ancient Babylon.

    "It was horrifying that the military would be encamped on such an important archaeological site," Lisa Ackerman, executive vice president of the World Monument Fund said.'
    In other words Isaiah was wrong, the ruins themselves have been inhabited in generations since it's takeover.

    Taken from the NIV (since I don't know if you are a Jehovah's Witness I won't quote the NWT to you).

    "Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
    the pride and glory of the Babylonians,
    will be overthrown by God
    like Sodom and Gomorrah.
    20 She will never be inhabited
    or lived in through all generations
    "

    Notice it says the "Kingdom" of Babylon will be overthrown and never inhabited, not just the "walled city", you appear to be imagining that the prophecy is more specific than it actually is.
     
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  7. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Name your best example of a "fulfilled prophecy", one you say can only be explained by supernatural foreknowledge.
     
  8. PearlSeeker

    PearlSeeker Well-Known Member

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    Not all faith is blind faith.
     
  9. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Assuming you mean that the deity doesn't want mankind to have a convincing reason to believe in it, then it has been successful in my case at least. Does that make sense to you that a deity is sending prophecies to mankind through prophets because it DOESN'T want to convince?

    But let's take a giant step back here. What are we discussing when we discuss biblical prophecy? These prophecies are offered as evidence of divine prescience. They are efforts to convince readers that a god authored them. That's the opposite of believing by faith. That's the kind of thinking that people who reject faith-based thought engage in. They believe to the degree that the evidence supports.

    Are you suggesting that if you believe something based on supporting evidence that your free will has been taken from you?

    Faith and free will are two topics that come up repeatedly in religious discussions. They are both offered as virtues, as long as the free will choice is to believe by faith. If your free will choice is to not believe by faith, then you are considered rebellious.

    To me, this smacks of an effort to get others to believe that for which they cannot offer sufficient evidence, and to whom they cannot control their choices.

    All of these mental gymnastics trying to show that these prophecies have been fulfilled, and maybe the deity isn't trying to convince because it wants your faith in it - all of these laborious machinations can be dispensed with simply by rejecting the idea that there is a deity trying to be known, and recognizing that these prophecies, like all scripture, are the words of ordinary, fallible men. Problem solved.

    "When the philosopher's argument becomes tedious, complicated, and opaque, it is usually a sign that he is attempting to prove as true to the intellect what is plainly false to common sense" - Edward Abbey

    There already is no basis for believing by faith. It's nothing more than the will to believe a guess.

    How about if I have faith that there is no god? If you permit belief without sufficient supporting evidence, then any belief is as valid (or invalid) as any other. How about if I just guess that there is no god because of a will to believe that. Forget that I lack supporting evidence to justify that belief - I just guess and leave it at that.

    If cryptic, they lose persuasive power. Biblical prophecies such as the one in Daniel 2:31-48, where, Daniel interprets the prophetic meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, are an example of something too vague to be considered any kind of prophecy. It is about a huge, horrific-looking, immense, man-like figure made of clay, iron, brass, silver, and gold, which was pulverized to dust by a stone that became a huge mountain, and was then carried away by the wind.

    According to Daniel, this allegedly foretold of a series of lesser kingdoms to come in the future. If one wants to do that convincingly, he needs to use specific language, not poetry.

    You (I believe it was you) say that that permits corruption of the prophecy. OK, then if the choice is between vague, unconvincing prophecy and specific prophecy that is also not useful, then prophecy is not a good method for revealing the existence of a supernatural deity - another reason to believe that prophecies are human creations, as a deity would understand that and not offer them.

    The proof is in the pudding. NASA built the New Horizons probe and launched it to Pluto. They correctly predicted (prophesied?) the path of the probe and the path of Pluto's orbit during the journey out, such that they would meet at a specified time and place, and lo and behold, as it was written, so it was done.

    Science doesn't use prophecy to convince us of anything. Scientists convince themselves that a theory is accurate when it can predict such unlikely things as the cosmic microwave background, an excellent example of high quality prophecy - specific (frequency, temperature, distribution), not something that could have been guessed, etc., and yet, this is not offered as evidence of supernatural prescience.

    Why would that be considered supernatural? All pronouncements of science are about nature and its properties, that is, about natural law.

    I consider the idea of the supernatural to be incoherent, and invented to explain how something could exist yet not be detectable even in principle. Whatever exists is part of nature. If you want to posit the existence of substances and forces not seen within our universe, then you have merely expanded the realm of the natural to beyond our universe.

    And if we wish to consider realms causally disconnected from our universe and therefore undetectable even in principle, then we can dismiss the idea as irrelevant, since it would have the same qualities as the nonexistent - none.

    So to claim that there are realms that can affect us, that we can travel to after death, but that they are not natural and undetectable even in principle is incoherent.

    To the extent that one's belief is justified by evidence, it is not faith in the religious sense*. It is justified belief, justified by evidence, and therefore not blind (evidence is evident).

    To the extent that an idea is believed more or less than the evidence supports, that belief is religious-type faith, which is blind. Blind is a reference to lack of discernible evidence, like crossing the street without looking in the belief that that will be safe.

    *[The word faith is also used in an empirical, non-religious sense, as in faith that the car will start the next time it is tested as it has the last several hundred or thousand times the key was turned in the ignition - an evidence-based belief that is justified and not blind.]​

    Believing by faith is not a virtue. It is not a path to truth given that any idea or its polar opposite can be believed by faith, and at least one of these ideas is wrong. Faith is what is asked of you by others who want you to believe what they cannot demonstrate, and the supernatural is given as the reason something can exist and affect you, but cannot be found. Then you are forced to deal with all of the problems that come from believing a wrong idea, like trying to explain why biblical prophecies are of divine origin when they are flawed and unconvincing.

    It is possible to believe without evidence (guessing) and guess right. The theory of evolution has the evidence needed to justify belief, but suppose you had never seen that evidence, and were told about the theory and biblical creationism, and you guessed and picked one to believe without evidence. If you guess correctly, reality will conform to your beliefs. If you guess wrong, you have go into that mental gymnastics mode to defend yourself from the onslaught of contradictory evidence.

    This is the position I see religious apologists in, and why their answers are so contorted and tortured.
     
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  10. Left Coast

    Left Coast Circular File Complaint Analyst
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    That is a fascinating point re: #1! Quite a few works of fiction explore that idea. In some of them, characters can change or avert a predicted future; in others, try as they may to change a certain outcome, it still happens, ie it is destiny. I have no clue which type of storyline we're living in. But it's intriguing to think about!

    Since a more vague prophecy becomes less believable and more prone to confirmation bias and post hoc rationalization, the specific event would have to be something we have no ability to avert, even if we know about it ahead of time.
     
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  11. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    No, that's not what I said. I will elaborate with this example:
    Suppose a prophet says, precisely in the year 2029, angels come down from sky, there will be many earth quakes in USA and 100 millions will die from earth quakes, and the sun does not give light on the first day of 2029, and the rocks will fall on earth from sky, and then the dead people will be resurrected.
    Then when the day comes in 2029, all of it happens, and you will see with your own eyes, your grand parents who had died some years ago, came back to life.. Do you still have a choice to disbelieve?
     
  12. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    There are YEC and flat earthers in this world.
     
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  13. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    I would say that is a different thing. Seeing is believing.
     
  14. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    No. For people so far away, believing is seeing. They will force their mental image on the backside of their retina and prevent any light from entering their eye (poetically spoken, not that they are physically able to do that).
     
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  15. Left Coast

    Left Coast Circular File Complaint Analyst
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    @danieldemol seems to be doing a fine job replying to you on this point, so I'll leave it to him.

    Translators seem split here, but even most of them that opt for "wild goats" have a footnote that indicates that "demon" or "goat demon" are viable alternate translations. It appears to refer to some sort of demonic creature that takes the form of a goat.

    Strong's Hebrew: 8163. שָׂעִיר (sa'iyr) -- devil

    But it's not a hill I need to die on, either way.

    I would reread the entire article, as more recent scholarship divides the sections of the book differently. As I noted to Deeje earlier, our earliest manuscript of Isaiah dates from the 2nd century BCE - 300 years after the events they purport to predict.

    The thing is, let's say the author accurately predicted that the Medes overthrew the Babylonians. First, that prophecy does not contain some key details: when will this happen? How will it happen? Again, the less specific a prophecy, the less likely it is to be from a supernatural source. Secondly, if the prophet only gets some of their prophecies correct, that should really give you pause. How could someone getting messages from God get any of the details wrong? That suggests that, even if they do occasionally predict something accurately, they're not divining such things supernaturally.

    Like Isaiah, Jeremiah is a book that, while its original version probably predated these events, it's been edited and added to substantially over the centuries. Our earliest manuscripts date from long after the Babylonian captivity.
     
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  16. allright

    allright Active Member

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    The Coming Prince Author Robert Anderson published 1894

    Jesus must return as King of Isreal Therefore Israel must become a nation again

    Fulfilled 1948
     
  17. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the image, I would say that the language must be specific regarding symbology rather than being too vague or too literal. A good example is the ending prophecy in the fiction book The Electric Church by Jeff Somers, which uses symbols in a similar style to the book of Revelation, and the reader can actually understand what it means because of the symbols. Another example would be Freemasonry which at even its basic level uses symbols such as the rough ashlar and the perfect ashlar to get certain points across.

    If used correctly then the symbology wouldn't be too vague and unconvincing, plus it would only be understood by those who study the religion in depth. Symbology is simply another language, much like the abstract shapes we call letters and the meanings that we give to certain combinations of those abstract shapes. It is similar to the sounds that we make that have no meaning in themselves but only the meaning we place on them. Imagery, as used in poetry, would have a meaning in its own, much like phrases we use on occasion in real life have different meanings to their literal word for word meaning, such as the phrase "kick the bucket" which means death.

    As I stated before, the Bible does well in certain cases using imagery, such as lamb which means Jesus Christ.

    Another thing is that prophecy doesn't prove the the existence of a supernatural deity at all, as it wouldn't prove that a god wrote it. In fact, I am not aware of a solid theory as to how to determine whether a God exists or not.
     
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  18. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    I am watching The Flash series now and it exploring that exact idea. The Flash literally saw the future and is now trying to change it.

    I agree that vague prophecy is prone to confirmation bias and post hoc rationalisation, which is what we see in religions today. I think that a prophecy would have to be specific, not in names which can be manipulated, but in descriptions such as "a giant meteor will hit earth in the year 2020". A prophecy would be useful when referring to natural events, or events out of our control, which we know cannot be manipulated in that time period, such as a giant meteor crashing to earth.
     
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  19. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I think that Jews were scattered and now later gathered back is such prophesy.

    I will scatter you among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you: and your land will be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.
    Leviticus 26:33

    It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you, and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you. If any of your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
    Deuteronomy 30:1-4

    If that is not accepted, I don’t think anything would be.
     
  20. TrueBeliever37

    TrueBeliever37 Well-Known Member

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    Yep that's your best defense. Just claim that even if it's accurate it had to have been tampered with. No need to discuss any further, as there is nothing that would convince you.

    So I will look at it as the scripture says. "Let God be true and every man a liar."
     
    #60 TrueBeliever37, May 10, 2020
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
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