Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
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17-08-2014, 04:22 AM (This post was last modified: 17-08-2014 09:25 AM by dylan.)
Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
I was an atheist/agnostic for the last 8 years of my life (I'm 20 now), but at the same time I was extremely uninformed about the Bible.

I started reading the Bible and a lot of online debates and books from both sides (atheists and christians) and the one thing that really stands out and might prove that the Bible is of "supernatural origin" is the existence of the so-called "prophecies".

Please read this article: Do the Prophecies in the Bible Really Come True?

Some of the content in there is outstanding, especially pages 105-106.

Now, those prophecies are very specific and raised a lot of questions in my head.

The only explanation other than "it was God telling us the future" is that we are dealing with post-factum prophecies (prophecies that were written after the events that they predict).

Even so, of all the prophecies in the Bible (scholars say 37% of the Bible is of prophetic nature), none were proven to be false and those that didn't happen are expected to happen in our future.

It's hard to imagine that all of those were post-factum prophecies or that the people writing them were lying, since a lot of those are historical facts (like the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70, or the history of Israel's people).

At this time I am still an agnostic, but that article and numerous other books are making me doubt my choice of faith (or rather the absence of faith).

Having said all that, I'm really wondering what are your thoughts on the article and on the prophecies of the Bible in general. Feel free to share links to articles and books about the matter, I'm very interested in reading anything that might enlighten me.
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17-08-2014, 05:12 AM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
Welcome to the forum, Dylan.

There are quite a few biblical scholars scholars of the bible here who should be able to help you out.

Smile
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17-08-2014, 05:21 AM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
Oh and although I'm no scholar, just a sinful skeptic, I just picked one at random from your linked list:

Jesus' death (Dan 9:26)...
I don't recall Jesus dying after being cut off by a flood. I must have missed that in bible class. Anyway, there was more than one person who claimed Messiah-ship so perhaps it was someone else who died in a flood.

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17-08-2014, 05:26 AM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
Welcome Dylan.

Like your name.
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17-08-2014, 07:54 AM (This post was last modified: 17-08-2014 08:01 AM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
(17-08-2014 04:22 AM)dylan Wrote:  I was an atheist/agnostic for the last 8 years of my life (I'm 20 now), but at the same time I was extremely uninformed about the Bible.

I started reading the Bible and a lot of online debates and books from both sides (atheists and christians) and the one thing that really stands out and might prove that the Bible is of "supernatural origin" is the existence of the so-called "prophecies".

Please read this article: Do the Prophecies in the Bible Really Come True?

Some of the content in there is outstanding, especially pages 105-106.

Now, those prophecies are very specific and raised a lot of questions in my head.

The only explanation other than "it was God telling us the future" is that we are dealing with post-factum prophecies (prophecies that were written after the events that they predict).

Even so, of all the prophecies in the Bible (scholars say 37% of the Bible is of prophetic nature), none were proven to be false and those that didn't happen are expected to happen in our future.

It's hard to imagine that all of those were post-factum prophecies or that the people writing them were lying, since a lot of those are historical facts (like the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70, or the history of Israel's people).

At this time I am still an agnostic, but that article and numerous other books are making me doubt my choice of faith (or rather the absence of faith).

Having said all that, I'm really wondering what are your thoughts on the article and on the prophecies of the Bible in general. Fell free to share links to articles and books about the matter, I'm very interested in reading anything that might enlighten me.

Dylan,

Welcome.

One of things you need to remember to consider is the fact that the NT was written with the OT in mind. Thus you can creatively write in the NT how jesus is the foretold son of god in the OT, when in reality no where in the OT is jesus mentioned. You can write the fairy tale while looking at the OT to ensure it aligns with the trail of parables. Prophesies are a nasty business, it is all about spinning a story and matching it to an event later on. When Hitler was trying to take over the world they thought it was the end times and he was the anti christ...yeah, no, just a lunatic on a genocidal power trip. I would be happy to break down the bible for you, its authors and how the OT and NT was arranged, fabricated and assimilated to the masses (all thanks to emperor constantine, if it wasn't for him, most likely the largest world religion today would be mithraism as that was the prevalent religion at the time before he mandated christianity as the official religion). You can PM me, or start a thread if you like and list any questions you have and I would love to answer them to the best of my ability. A thread is advantageous as others who don't want to ask those questions can see and consider the information as well, and we can all learn together, or another valid point of view, perspective or more in-depth explanation can be entered by the people here that are much smarter and wiser than I.

Watch some podcasts on the main page, read some books, heck take a few theology classes. It amazes me that in every christian theology class I take the religious scholars who wrote the texts we study freely admit it is largely a parable, and that the authors of the gospels were not actually the people we think, but communities of priests and clerics who wrote the books under the more recognizable authors name to give it credibility...this is called pseudepigrapha and the NT is full of it.

In regards to prophesies, it is not how many seem to have come true, but how many didn't that you should ask. This is also how I answer the "power of prayer" BS theory. It isn't that the handful of prayers that seem to be answered that indicates the existence of god, but the billions of daily unanswered prayers which indicates the non existence of a caring god. Contrary to what the fictional book states:

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7)

"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)

------------------------------------------
Here is a great book, and a good link for that: Take some time, read each one, ponder the scripture, look at the evidence...the sheer number of "never happened prophesies" to me discredits that tidbit of pleading by the believers.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/proph/long.html

Here are just a couple:

Genesis: God promises to make Isaac's descendents as numerous as "the stars of heaven", which, of course, never happened. The Jews have always been, and will always be, a small minority. 22:17-18, 26:4 - There are billions of stars, literally (300 billion in our galaxy alone), and no there are not billions of jews. You can't say it was a play on words, if you wish to point to the bible as factual. it either is true, or not, in this case it is a solid fictional document.

"Our own Milky Way is home to around 300 billion stars"
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy...are-there/

Isaiah: "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold." Well, this is one prophecy that will never come true. Since the moon has no light of its own, but only reflects that of the sun, it could never shine like the sun. And the sun will not, at least not while there are humans to see it, shine 7 times as bright as it does now. 30:26

Anyway, let me know if I can help you through anything. I am fluent in science, christianity, biblical history, abrahamic myths, scientology and mormonism. I don't know everything by a long shot, but I know enough to be dangerous. Yes

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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17-08-2014, 08:05 AM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
There are plenty of others on here that are more knowledgeable than I, but it after doing some reading about it, it was easy to see that many of these prophecies are back-fitted to a future character. The Gospels were notorious for this, here's a great rundown of the kind of mythology creation they were involved with:

Failed biblical prophecies

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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17-08-2014, 08:06 AM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
I looked over the pages you referred to, Daniel is...an interesting read isn't it?

Terms you need to become familiar with;

Faith - the belief in something without evidence.

Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder. A belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

Religion - The embracement of delusion.

Pseudepigrapha (also Anglicized as "pseudepigraph" or "pseudepigraphs") are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is represented by a separate author, or a work "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past."

Traditionally ascribed to Daniel himself, modern scholarly consensus considers the book pseudonymous, the stories of the first half legendary in origin, and the visions of the second the product of anonymous authors in the Maccabean period (2nd century BCE). Its exclusion from the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve) was probably because it appeared after the canon for those books had closed, and the dominant view among scholars is that Daniel is not in any case a prophetic book but an apocalypse.

Daniel is one of a large number of Jewish apocalypses, all of them pseudonymous. Although the entire book is traditionally ascribed to Daniel the seer, chapters 1–6 are in the voice of an anonymous narrator, except for chapter 4 which is in the form of a letter from king Nebuchadnezzar; only the second half (chapters 7–12) is presented by Daniel himself, introduced by the anonymous narrator in chapters 7 and 10. The real author/editor of Daniel was probably an educated Jew, knowledgeable in Greek learning, and of high standing in his own community. It is possible that the name of Daniel was chosen for the hero of the book because of his reputation as a wise seer in Hebrew tradition.

Daniel's exclusion from the Hebrew bible's canon of the prophets, which was closed around 200 BCE, suggests it was not known at that time, and the Wisdom of Sirach, from around 180 BCE, draws on almost every book of the Old Testament except Daniel, leading scholars to suppose that its author was unaware of it. Daniel is, however, quoted by the author of a section of the Sibylline Oracles commonly dated to the middle of the 2nd century BCE, and was popular at Qumran beginning at much the same time, suggesting that it was known and revered from the middle of that century.

The actual historical setting of the book is clear from chapter 11, where the prophecy is accurate down to the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and oppressor of the Jews, but not in its prediction of his death: the author knows about Antiochus' two campaigns in Egypt (169 and 167 BCE), the desecration of the Temple (the "abomination of desolation"), and the fortification of the Akra (a fortress built inside Jerusalem), but he knows nothing about the reconstruction of the Temple or the actual circumstances of the death of Antiochus in late 164. Chapters 10–12 must therefore have been written between 167 and 164 BCE. There is no evidence of a significant time lapse between those chapters and chapters 8 and 9, and chapter 7 may have been written just a few months earlier again.

Now the good stuff:

Today the consensus of scholars understands the whole book of Daniel to be put together by an author editor who first collected traditional stories in chapters 1-6 about the boy hero Daniel showing his courage during the persecutions of exile, and added to them the visions of chapters 7 – 12 that predicted the coming end of Antiochus Epiphanes and his persecution. This kind of writing is called a Vaticinium ex eventu, a “prediction after the fact,” in which an author creates a character of long ago and puts into his mouth as predictions all the important events that have already happened right to the author’s own time and place. The language is often coded with symbolic animals and colors and dates to protect its message from the persecuting authorities. Its focus is not on predicting the future, but getting some meaning to present happenings by explaining the past events that led up to this terrible situation (Boadt 1984, p509).

To achieve such an important purpose, the authors mixed historical facts with older religious traditions and even pagan myths (Boadt 1984, p509).

It is important to note that the entire book claims to take place in the sixth century BC and to report a series of visions that come to the boy Daniel, who is remarkable for his great wisdom and his ability to receive divine revelation about the future. Very few scholars today, however, believe that this book originated in any way during the days of the Babylonian exile. And the ones who do usually have a very difficult time explaining the references to historical people and places which seem to be grossly wrong.

Darius the Mede is called the son of Xerxes in 5:31 and 9:11, both are wrong:

Darius was not a Mede but a Persian and the father of Xerxes. Belshazzar is called the king of Babylon in chapter 7 and the son of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 5. He was neither: he was only crown prince under his father Nabonidus.

In chapter 6 Cyrus succeeds Darius as King of the Persians. This too has history backward, since Cyrus was the founder of the Persian dynasty. The author seems to be quite confused about his facts and either lived long afterward or else intended the giant bloopers to warn the audience that what follows is not intended as history but a story of faith; similar to the approach of the book of Judith (Boadt 1984, p508).

Although the book of Daniel was supposed to have been written during the Babylonian exile by an official of King Nebuchadnezzar, modern scholars date its writings to the second century BCE. The reasons for this include:

• It is listed in the writings of the Jewish canon, rather than the Prophets. This indicates that Daniel was written after the collection of prophetic books had been closed (sometime after 300 B.C.E.)
• Parts of the book (2.4 – 7.28) were written in Aramaic, which suggest a later date when Aramaic had become the common language.
• The author of Daniel used Persian and Greek words that would not have been known to residents Babylon in the sixth century BCE.
• The book contains numerous historical inaccuracies when dealing with sixth century B.C.E. Babylonian history. Such mistakes would not have been made by an important official of King Nebuchadnezzar.
• Daniel is the only book in the Old Testament in which angels are given names (such as Gabriel in 8.16 and 9.21 and Michael and 10.13, 10.21, and 12.1). Elsewhere in the Bible, names for angels only appear in the Apocrypha and the New Testament.
• The absence of Daniel’s name in the list of Israel’s great men in Ecclesiasticus.
• Nebuchadrezzar is spelled Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, which is the way the king’s name was spelled, under Greek influence, at a later time.
• In 2.2 the Kings wise men are called “Chaldeans.” But at the time of Nebuchadrezzar, “Chaldean” would have referred to the nationality. It was only centuries later that this word came to mean sorcerer or astrologer. (Wells 2013, p 1109)

Now do you see how these magical books were put together not by whom you think, not when you think and how they are allegorical writings based on parables, meant to drive a message and purposely designed in a hubris attempt to give them credibility.

Resources:

Boadt, L. (1984) Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. New York. Paulist Press.

Wells, S. (2013) The skeptics annotated Bible. New York. SAB Books, LLC

Bible, King James Version

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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17-08-2014, 02:05 PM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
I always laugh at prophecies. They tend to be vague and can fit easily into many scenarios. If the prophets could provide the name Josiah in their prophecies why would it be any more difficult to mention Martin Luther King Jr. or Napoleon or better still, Adolf Hitler who tried to exterminate the Jewish population. You'd think the prophets could easily name Hitler. But no. They don't do that. Most of it is this arbitrary, mystical warning of "things to come" which anyone can do.

So here's my prophecy. (Cue dramatic music.)

There will be turmoil and upheaval and great nations will rise and fall. The powerful will be weak and much sadness will overshadow the land. The weak will be strong and sing great songs and celebrate great victories etc....

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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17-08-2014, 02:32 PM
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
There is not now, nor ever has been, nor ever will be "proof" that "god exists" (in the Judeo-Christian system). It's self-refuting. If there is proof of something, faith is no longer necessary.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid257278

The entire enterprise is based on a fallacy. Fortune-telling, divination, and omen reading, (yes this IS "omen reading") were forbidden in Hebrew culture. The role of a prophet was never to predict the future. In some ways, it's come to mean that in some circles which are ignorant of that culture.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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17-08-2014, 02:49 PM (This post was last modified: 17-08-2014 02:54 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Biblical prophecies: proof for the existence of a God?
(17-08-2014 04:22 AM)dylan Wrote:  I was an atheist/agnostic for the last 8 years of my life (I'm 20 now), but at the same time I was extremely uninformed about the Bible.

I started reading the Bible and a lot of online debates and books from both sides (atheists and christians) and the one thing that really stands out and might prove that the Bible is of "supernatural origin" is the existence of the so-called "prophecies".

Please read this article: Do the Prophecies in the Bible Really Come True?

Some of the content in there is outstanding, especially pages 105-106.

Now, those prophecies are very specific and raised a lot of questions in my head.

The only explanation other than "it was God telling us the future" is that we are dealing with post-factum prophecies (prophecies that were written after the events that they predict).

Even so, of all the prophecies in the Bible (scholars say 37% of the Bible is of prophetic nature), none were proven to be false and those that didn't happen are expected to happen in our future.

It's hard to imagine that all of those were post-factum prophecies or that the people writing them were lying, since a lot of those are historical facts (like the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70, or the history of Israel's people).

At this time I am still an agnostic, but that article and numerous other books are making me doubt my choice of faith (or rather the absence of faith).

Having said all that, I'm really wondering what are your thoughts on the article and on the prophecies of the Bible in general. Feel free to share links to articles and books about the matter, I'm very interested in reading anything that might enlighten me.

There's (EDIT: at least) four possibilities.

First, that the prophesies in question are easy marks to hit. It's pretty easy to see in the world around us that prophesies can be misinterpreted to apply to states of the world that they don't actually refer to. Just look at the centuries after centuries of Christians who take the signs of the End-Times, and believe that they apply to their own moment. Some of those end-time signs are so vague or so universal that they can apply to ANY time in human history: Earthquakes and war, for example, have always been with us, and a if I were to claim that 30 years from now someone, somewhere will be at war with someone else (even if it's just a civil war), then that's not the power of prophecy at work. That's just the predictive equivalent of hitting the broad side of a barn from 5 feet away.

Second, that the prophesies in question don't actually refer to the events that supposedly fulfill them. One example is the prophesy of the virgin birth, made by.... dammit, I think it's Ezekiel, maybe it's Elijah. Christian apologists would have us believe that this is referring to the coming of Jesus. But read on in the Old Testament, and within a page the prophesy comes true THERE. Another example is the suffering servant, which is put forward as referring to Jesus, when in fact it is a metaphor for the nation of Israel and is explicitly identified as such almost immediately afterwards.

Third, we can assume that Jesus... if he ever existed, even as a mundane rabbi... would be aware of such prophesies, and carried some of them out deliberately simply for symbolic effect. In other words, they would be self-fulfilling prophesies, and hardly proof of anything divine.

And fourth, that the events of the New Testament were fictional, or at least embellished, and the fiction or embellishment was crafted to "fulfill" preexisting prophesy.

Thomas Paine, in "The Age of Reason", does a marvelous critique and refutation of the "prophesies prove it true" argument using ONLY THE BIBLE as evidence against it. I highly recommend you read his work.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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