1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Prophecy? Really?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by blü 2, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    1,501
    Ratings:
    +938
    Religion:
    Skeptical
    Some Christians, especially those of the right, like to cite biblical prophecy as a demonstration of Yahweh's power and as confirmation of [his] existence.

    This is thus a claim that the demonstrations of prophecy in the bible are so astonishing that they demand consideration of a supernatural explanation.

    (ID runs a rather similar argument, but unfortunately all the examples of 'irreducible complexity' ─ the only real purported evidence for ID ─ were explained in evolutionary terms at the Dover trial, so that cupboard is bare.)

    If something demands that we consider explanations of a supernatural nature, it must be a very very powerful argument indeed.

    In the case of biblical prophecy, the onus of demonstrating the correctness of the claim would be on the one who claims it's so, and that claimant would have to show ─

    1. That the prophecy was unarguably made at a particular time and place, and that its exact original terms are known.

    2. That it's not possible the terms were varied afterwards, nor that the prophecy was invented wholesale afterwards.

    3. That the subject matter of the prophecy is so complex, remote and unforeseeable that it couldn't happen by chance.

    4. That the subject matter isn't of a kind that will incite others to bring about its fulfillment.

    5. That no person contrived its happening, and

    6. That the happening of the prophesied events is so well and exactly attested that it's not possible that reports are false in any way.

    I can't think of any biblical prophecy that comes within a day's drive of satisfying those terms.

    Can you? Do you know a biblical prophecy that ticks all those boxes to the satisfaction of any impartial onlooker?

    Because without at least one irrefutable example, prophecy demonstrates nothing. Or rather, it demonstrates how in the politics of biblical times, prophecy was a tool for one-upping your opponent, or driving your followers in particular directions, not for being tipped off about the future.
    .
     
    • Winner Winner x 4
  2. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    3,402
    Ratings:
    +2,933
    Religion:
    None
    Biblical prophecy cannot meet the standards of scientific prophecy, which does meet all of your requirements. That is what is meant by low quality and high quality prophecy. Biblical prophecy is never useful. We never are told anything we can use in advance. And it is vague, nonspecific, often unfulfilled, and at times self-fulfilling.

    Predicting the bending of light grazing past the sun, the cosmic microwave background, the ratio of elements in pristine nebula, and the Higgs boson at the energy level specified with the mass, charge, spin and parity that would be found are the kinds of prophecy that demonstrate real knowledge.
    • "Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science?" - Carl Sagan
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    63,577
    Ratings:
    +18,718
    Religion:
    Erotic Dancing Girls
    Little known fact: Even a highly accurate, detailed, and true prophecy would not logically entail the existence of deity. Such a prophecy, if it ever happened, could conceivably be the product of natural causes that are currently beyond our ken. There would always be an element of uncertainty.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. james dixon

    james dixon Active Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Messages:
    484
    Ratings:
    +93
  5. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    1,501
    Ratings:
    +938
    Religion:
    Skeptical
    The test I suggested is that the coincidence between prophecy and performance must be so astonishingly huge as to force consideration of the supernatural as an explanation.

    I suspect, as you do, that even that goal is unattainable. In any list of possible explanations, could anything be more improbable than the supernatural? I can't think of one.

    But that may be due to the lack of an example. Perhaps we'll know it when we see it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    1,501
    Ratings:
    +938
    Religion:
    Skeptical
    This is proving notably uncontroversial.

    Does prophecy have no defenders any more?
     
Loading...