8 Tests for Accurate Prophecy and Why Bible Prophecies Fail

8 Tests for Accurate Prophecy and Why Bible Prophecies Fail March 28, 2015

prophecyWhat makes a good prophecy?

Most of us are pretty skeptical of bad prophecies and can spot them easily—tabloid predictions by psychics such as Jeane Dixon or Sylvia Browne, for example. Not even many Christians are sucked into the end-of-the-world predictions by such “prophets” as Harold Camping.

There’s a great infographic of Christianity’s many end-of-the-world predictions here, and I write about Harold Camping’s ill-advised venture into prophecy in 2011 here and here. Ronald Weinland assured us that Jesus would return on May 19, 2013. John Hagee imagines that lunar eclipses predict something (not quite sure what), and Ray Comfort just imagines things.

A more interesting category are the claims of fulfilled biblical prophecies. (I’ve responded to some of those claims here, here, here, here, and elsewhere.) The claims are so weak that I wonder: don’t we have a common idea of what fulfilled prophecy actually looks like? Don’t we critique prophecy claims like those made by Sylvia Browne the same way? I propose we take a step back and agree on what makes a good prophecy.

1. The prophecy must be startling, not mundane. “The [fill in political party] will gain control of [fill in branch of government] in the next election” isn’t very startling. “There will be no legislature because of a coup” would be startling.

We regularly find big surprises in the news—earthquakes, wars, medical breakthroughs, and so on. These startling events are what make good prophecies.

2. The prophecy must be precise, not vague. “Expect exciting and surprising gold medals for the U.S. Olympic team!” is not precise. “A major earthquake will devastate Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010” is precise.

Nostradamus is another example of “prophecies” that were so vague that they can be imagined to mean lots of things. Similarly, the hundreds of supposed Bible prophecies are simply quote mining. You could also apply the identical process to War and Peace or The Collected Works of Shakespeare to find parallels to the gospel story, but so what?

3. The prophecy must be accurate. We should have high expectations for a divine divinator. Edgar Cayce could perhaps be excused if he was a little imperfect (in fact, he showed no particular gift at all), but prophecy from the omniscient Creator should be perfect.

4. The prophecy must predict, not retrodict. The writings of Nostradamus predict the London Great Fire of 1666 and the rise of Napoleon and Hitler … but of course these “predictions” were so unclear in his writings that the connection had to be inferred afterwards. This is also the failing of the Bible Code—the idea that the Hebrew Bible holds hidden acrostics of future events. And maybe it does—but the same logic could find these after-the-fact connections in any large book.

5. The prophecy can’t be self-fulfilling. The prediction that a bank will soon become insolvent may provoke its customers to remove all their money … and make the bank insolvent. The prediction that a store will soon go out of business may drive away customers. The prediction that Harry Potter would kill him drove Voldemort to try to kill the infant Harry first, but in so doing he inadvertently gave Harry some of the abilities that Harry used later to kill Voldemort.

6. The prophecy and the fulfillment must be verifiable. The prophecy and sometimes the fulfillment come from long ago, and we must be confident that they are accurate history. Just that they were written down means very little.

7. The fulfillment must come after the prophecy. Kind of obvious, right? But some Old Testament prophecies fail on this point.

Isaiah 45:1 names Cyrus the Great of Persia as the anointed one (Messiah) who will end the Babylonian exile (587–538BCE) of the Israelites. That would be pretty impressive if it predicted the events, but this part of Isaiah (Deutero-Isaiah) was probably written during the time of Cyrus.

Or take Daniel. Daniel the man might have been taken to Babylon during the exile, but Daniel the book was written centuries later in roughly 165 BCE. Its “prophecies” before that date are pretty good, but it fails afterwards. There’s even a term for this, vaticinia ex eventu—prophecy after the event.

8. The fulfillment must be honest. The author of the fulfillment can’t simply look in the back of the book, parrot the answers found there, and then declare victory. For example, that Mark records Jesus’s last words as exactly those words from Psalm 22 could be because it really happened that way, or that Jesus was deliberately quoting from the psalm as he died, or (my choice) Mark knew the psalm and put those words into his gospel.

I think that any of us would find this a fairly obvious list of the ways that predictions can fail. We’d spot these errors in a supermarket tabloid or in some other guy’s nutty religion.

But the Jesus prophecies are rejected by this skeptical net as well. Consider Matthew: this gospel says that Jesus was born of a virgin (1:18–25), was born in Bethlehem (2:1), and that he rode humbly on two donkeys (21:1–7). It says that Jesus predicted that he would rise, Jonah-like, after three days (12:40) and that the temple would fall (24:1–2). It says that he was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (26:15), that men gambling for his clothes (27:35), and it records his last words (27:46).

Are these the records of fulfilled prophecy? Maybe all these claims in Matthew actually did happen, but if so, we have no grounds for saying so. Because they fail these tests (primarily #8), we must reject these claims of fulfilled prophecy. The non-supernatural explanation is far more plausible.

In some circumstances, the refusal to be defeated 
is a refusal to be educated
— Margaret Halsey

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 9/3/12.)

Image credit: Russell Hayes, flickr, CC

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  • Greg G.

    These should also be used for Bible codes, too. Rabbis were amazed that they could pick random numbers to choose a starting point and then choose the letter at every multiple of a random number. A third random number places line breaks in the letter string to form a rectangle. Then they would find that words produced randomly would often be near a related word in a crossword arrangement that hinted at a prophecy. They believed that it could only work with the Hebrew Bible because even removing a single letter would destroy the discovered prophecy. They even convinced themselves more by testing it with “monkey text” – letters chosen at random. It never occurred to them that having as many seldom used characters as commonly used characters would result in fewer words. When X and J come up as often as E and T, it is harder to make a word. But using any written text full of real words will generate letters in proportion to their use in that language when chosen randomly.

    In #2, you mention War and Peace. It turns out that it and Moby Dick have been shown to work just as well as the Bible to generate similar predictions. That page even says that cereal boxes have been shown to work.

    • Kodie

      I once made up a number… I mean, the number exists, but used it to create patterns that were amazing! But to be fair, I used to be pretty good at math in school, and once took a bit of a tour through numerology. I’m a 2. Anyway, I did this experiment much later. It is a lot like how people believe their horoscopes sound just like them. I used to look at my horoscope too, this was before internet. At some point in college, I kind of remember telling people that I’d read all the horoscopes, not just mine, and then choose the one I liked best. Back around to the beginning of this circle, the number used to create patterns was a new birthdate I’d chosen. And to go on tangents, I’ve also imagined myself with a different name and a different nationality of heritage (because even though I have a handful, none were inherited culturally, so I picked one I liked to be, but only for a while). And to wrap up the theme, we are not determined by birth, birthdate, given name, the nationality of our ancestors, or a lot of other things. People tend to love the shit out of their future being determined by something fortunate, that it is the custom in many cultures to give names that are fortunate. Does the name determine the future or is the expectation something they’re obligated to live up to? Some people hate the trend of weird unusual names, but if you say Dave or Kathy, and nobody knows who you mean, what is a name but a label to call you that person you are and not someone else? Not Kathy in marketing, but Kathy who eats fish for lunch. I still don’t know. You know, Kathy who eats fish for lunch and wears that Hillary-in-the-day headband? OOOOH! Kaaaathy! I know who you mean, “headband Katie” I thought she went by “Katie”?

  • abusedbypenguins

    Prophecies, unicorns and flying cars have way too much in common.

  • Kodie

    I think along the lines of prophesy are people who believe that they can ask god for a sign and then they will see a sign. They will believe anything is a sign for whatever it is they actually want but for some reason don’t permit themselves to decide.

    • “Nope, that sign doesn’t say ‘Eat a cookie.’ … Nope, not that one either. … Oooh! A commercial about snacks! Sounds like God is giving me a sign! I think I’d better have a cookie.”

      • Ron
        • The calling card of the bastard that sent the tornado? I want to worship him.

        • katiehippie

          Silly, our ‘sin’ caused the evil tornado because apparently god is not the only one to have the power to create things. We have the power within us…… 😉

        • Greg G.

          We have the power within us

          I see. So when I wish to hit the lottery, I am causing tornadoes. I am going to start wishing for natural disasters so I can retire.

      • Max Doubt

        “A commercial about snacks! Sounds like God is giving me a sign!”

        We very rarely go out for pizza, mainly because I make a damned fine home made version. As often as a not when I’m making or eating the pizza at home, there’ll be commercials on TV for various take-out, delivery, and/or frozen pizzas. I can’t figure out if they show the commercials because they’re psychically receiving and know I’m having pizza, or if I’m psychically transmitting and causing them to show the commercials. Supernatural stuff is funny that way.

        • That they can psychically tell that you’re making pizza isn’t surprising. My question is why they’d broadcast a pizza commercial when they know that you’re not a potential customer.

        • Greg G.

          I have read that there is technology that can listen to what is going on and target advertizing in response. If it sounds like an argument, they can broadcast a commercial for family counseling. If there is moaning, they might advertize a morning after pill when it stops.

          Maybe it has already been implemented.

          Let me know when you are making pizza. I’ll be right over.

  • bblais

    Interesting, but let’s play the devil’s advocate here for a second. How do we determine that, say, this “part of Isaiah was probably written during the time of Cyrus”? Typically, if a text mentions the event it is assumed that it comes after the event! Much of historical inference is based on the assumption of no-prophecy-possible. I don’t personally believe in prophecy, but it does become harder to date these books if the possibility exists for real prophecy to happen. How does this not become circular? How do we know that Mark was written after the temple? Because Jesus “prophesied” the temple destruction, and because prophecy doesn’t exist, Mark must have been written afterward. But what if prophecy does exist? How then is Mark dated?

    • Yes, you can imagine historians reading in their own presuppositions.

      I don’t know about the dating of Isaiah, but I have researched Daniel–supposedly from the 500s BCE, it was actually written in about 171 BCE. (Look up Daniel on this blog to find several post that go into more detail.)

      There are a series of “prophecies” that make total sense if you imagine it being written in 171. The ones in the 6th c. BCE are so-so, then they get quite accurate, then they’re quite detailed and accurate around 171, then they go off the rails. It’s pretty easy to accept this analysis.

      • Without Malice

        Good ol’ Daniel; we’re still waiting for the Meads to get to Babylon.

        • Greg G.

          We can’t expect the Rapture until that one is fulfilled.

        • Pofarmer

          Hey Greg. Off topic, but, I wanted to run this by you. Don’t know where I read it now, but someone mentioned on a post about Luke/Acts the other day that the ony “Theophilus” known in the Early Church is “Theophilus, Bishop of Ceasarea” in around 190 A.D. If Luke and Acts are addressed to him, this puts them very Late. Ine of your contentions, and I think it’s a good one, is that portions of the Canonical Gospels are based on the Gospel of Thomas. What if the Gospel of Thomas isn’t that early, but the Canonical Gospels are all that late? I mean, first attribution puts Mark and Matthew after the turn of the second century, correct? So you have stories being written not “within the lifetimes of the disciples” but 100 years after events, as some others have suggested. I’m not sure that this strengthens the mythicist position that much, bit it certainly doesn’t make it less likely.

        • Greg G.

          Here is a disambiguation of the name “Theophilus”. There is a Theophilus who was the Patriarch of Antioch from about 163AD. Luke may have been an uncle/aunt/parent to him and wrote Luke/Acts to him when he was a child without changing any other ideas. But it shows that Theophilus was not a rare name and Luke may have simply been calling any reader “lover of God”.

          I would put Mark well ahead of the other gospels just because Mark has Jesus adopted while the others use Mark but they have the idea that Jesus was divine before he was conceived. It seems like it would take a while for that idea to develop and spread. I don’t see much influence of the non-canonical gospels in the canonical gospels (except for Thomas) so I would expect the canonicals to precede them.

          Irenaeus knew about the four gospels in the second century, probably around 180AD. I did a little research on Marcion and concluded that his gospel was probably a redaction of Luke and not a precursor. That would put Luke before 140AD.

          I also suspect that Luke used Mark, Matthew and John. So I think they were all written before 140 AD. Acts may have been a little later. Matthew appears to have used Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews which puts it no earlier than the mid-90’s. Luke appears to use Josephus’ autobiography, which is dated at the very end of the first century.

          The allusions to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple make me suspect it was written while the destruction was fresh in the minds of his audience when they could be made tacitly.

          But the idea that Jesus was divine from the beginning seems to be shared by the other three so I would give the idea some time to develop, then split off into the different views of the other gospels.

          If I were to choose dates, those would be my parameters.

        • Pofarmer

          Doesn’t Robert M. Price say he thinks that Mark and the other Gospels were likely written after the second Jewish uprising about 125 A.D.? Ah, Bar Kohkba’s revolt.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt

        • Greg G.

          That was around 135 AD. I don’t think we can go from Mark to Matthew and John to Luke to Marcion in less than 5 years.

        • Pofarmer

          Creative writing competition?

        • Greg G.

          The Winners! (based on impact on future generations)
          1. New Testament Authors
          2. Mohammed (ihae)
          3. Vedas Authors
          4. Old Testament Authors
          5. Tipitaka Authors

      • traxxion

        “it was actually written in about 171 BCE.”

        Oh, that explains why Daniel is included in the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls and why he writes of things as only an eye witness of the time would. I’ll look up your blog posts of course, but those 2 strands by themselves are enough really to debunk this idea

        • Greg G.

          The original Septuagint was just the Torah. Other books were translated to Greek and added over the years. Parts of the Book of Daniel are considered apocryphal by some Christian denominations while others accept them.

          The Dead Sea Scrolls come from several caves and they are not all the same age. There is evidence that the caves were used as late as when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

          The idea is still undebunked.

        • I’m missing your point. You’re saying that if it’s in the Bible it’s got to be authentic or accurate?

          Look up the issue of pseudepigraphy in 2 Peter to see that the Bible contains some suspect books. Or consider why historians only accept half of the “Pauline” corpus as written by, y’know, Paul.

          Let me help you with that post. Here it is.

        • Greg G.

          I think he thinks the entire Septuagint was translated before 171 BC and everything in the Dead Sea Scrolls is older than that. Since Daniel is in the Septuagint and in the DSS, it would have been written before 170 BC.

          Since both of his premises are wrong, his debunking goes back to square one.

        • traxxion

          Whoa there – give me a chance!
          First, the Qumran issue where you mentioned some being dated to the late Temple period. You know very well that the Daniel fragments do not date so late and at least some have been assign to late 2nd century. That’s what – 50 years from your claimed 171BCE. You could not possibly believe these are the originals and if merely fan fiction as you suppose, there could hardly be a rationale to store them alongside the scrolls of other prophets such as Isaiah, let alone chucking coins of the era in there alongside them.

          The Septuagint was likely completed by 132BCE, which means the same thing – books of tradition – copies of copies which were being translated into Greek by royal decree. So that brings us to within 40 years of 171BCE. There may have been some debate over which books to translate, but they were not set the task of translating ancient copies of the Beano that’s for sure.

          It’s faulty assertion, built on a faulty assumption.

        • Greg G.

          I used 171 BC because it was in your post. The prophecies in Daniel are accurate to 167 BC but fail after that. Of course, 167 BC was the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt so Daniel may have been useful as propaganda in the early stages of the revolt and revered during the Hasmonean era.

        • traxxion

          So are you proposing that a Maccabean wrote the whole book in 167, or that they tacked a couple of chapters on later? and how do you propose these ended up in the Septuagint? There is as far as I know very little evidence of textual difference between documents even hundreds of years apart such as the Septuagint and the Masoretic, so inserting chapters should be pretty noticeable I would think?

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know who wrote Daniel but the internal evidence says it was written during the Maccabean Revolt. I have seen it claimed that some of it may have been based on folk tales.

          Chapters were rejected by Protestants as being apocryphal – “Bel and the Dragon” and two others. IIRC, the Septuagint version is longer than the Hebrew version but that may be those three stories.

        • traxxion

          My point is that you cannot substantiate the claim “it was actually written in 171BCE” because there is only one thing that would support such a claim and it is not evidence, but merely skepticism – and for that I submit some evidence.

          Here is an example of this type of dishonesty, which I picked up on here: https://ntwrong.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/scholarly-dating-of-daniel-to-after-the-prophecies-were-fulfilled/

          Where we see the following quote:
          “The practice of late-dating the books of the Bible can
          be seen as a position of faith on the part of those scholars who do so, though they will never admit it. – Bob Burns”

          Followed by:

          “Not surprisingly, Bob Burns fails to actually cite any scholars who he thinks carry out such an approach. So it seems that Bob’s accusation of bias is nothing more than.. his own bias.”

          So what do you think we should do about that. I know – let’s “cite” a “scholar” who actually substantiates the accusation of bias and claim that this puts the matter to rest. Here we go:

          ““The issue is not whether a divinely inspired prophet could have foretold the events which took place under Antiochus Epiphanes 400 years before. The question is whether this possibility carries any probability: is it the most satisfactory way to explain what we find in Daniel? Modern critical scholarship has held that it is not. – John J. Collins”

          This is in fact a scholars forthright admission, that he see’s the possibility of prophecy as improbable and therefore assigning a late date is all about probability – which by definition means “likelihood” – i.e. what are the chances – which is pretty much exactly what Mr. Bob Burns said.

          I just find this type of counter reasoning absurd and it would be better left unsaid really.

          Of course I already do look into as much as I can (or else I would not be here) I will try to learn more about the views on authorship of 2 Peter as you suggest. Having looked at a brief overview on wikipedia, you will probably not be surprised that I found most of the arguments fairly weak, but there is always more to learn.

          Thank you for the link on Daniel – I have read it. Obviously there is too much there to go into with this comment.

        • You reject the dating of Daniel to around 171 BCE, but I have no idea why. If it’s just a faith position on your part, let me know. If it’s evidence based, I’m wondering why the screamingly obvious natural explanation (the fact that the prophecies fail at about that time is because that’s when it was written) doesn’t work but the supernatural explanation does.

        • traxxion

          I understand the “natural” position completely. It’s just that it’s really quite impossible to rationalise based on the evidence.

          The other line of evidence I mentioned is that the book of Daniel takes on details of an eye witness account. For example, your peers of the 19th century held that Belshazzar was fictional, until they found hard evidence of his existence. It’s not very likely that someone in 171BCE would have any such knowledge of the last few years of twice removed empire Babylon from 400 years earlier.

        • it’s really quite impossible to rationalise based on the evidence.

          Why?

          It’s not very likely that someone in 171BCE would have any such knowledge of the last few years of twice removed empire Babylon from 400 years earlier.

          What’s the puzzle? You do.

          And his knowledge obviously wasn’t that accurate since he wrote of Darius the Mede.

        • traxxion

          I have knowledge of Belshazzar because 1) someone found the Nabonidus Steele, 2) I have the internet and benefit of other peoples research

          Without those 2 things I would just have to cope with the shocking idea that the bible is just as valid as any other historical source

          The claim you make about Darius the Mede was also made about Belshazzar. The absense of evidence so far does not equal false. There will no doubt be an explanation – there always is

        • So you know about stuff 2500 years ago, but it’s incredible that the author of Daniel would know of the history of his own people just 400 years earlier?

          You’re avoiding the issue. The “prophecy” fails after about 167BCE. And not just a little bit–spectacularly. That it was divinely inspired isn’t even an option in the running.

        • traxxion

          You claimed that Daniel is historically inaccurate because it refers to Darius the Mede. Now you claim that because this is preceded by a completely accurate depiction of how Babylon falls, to whom and under whom – namely a co-regent king called Belshazzar, that the writer in 171BCE had pretty good knowledge of the previous 400 years?

          I’m not avoiding the “issue” at all, but we are commenting on a broad and difficult topic and it is important to try and show that the foundation is not as weak as you claim and that all of these late dates are based not on anything at all actually. Unless someone is at least willing to entertain the notion that it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to date Daniel as late as 171BCE, is there any point in trying to tackle prophecies? What I am trying to say, is that where you would claim they failed, I believe they simply do not meet your expectations.

          That said, even if your 171BCE date were correct, you would still be admitting to an accurate prophecy, since Antiochus Epiphanes DID desecrate the temple sanctuary in 167BCE and he did also station forces there while he attended to other campaigns. He was dead set on holding Judea.

          I believe that v35 marks a transition with the phrase “time of the end”. Here is something to think about perhaps along those lines –

          in verse 38 we read “He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know”. Now Antiochus IV honoured Zeus didn’t he? I’m pretty sure that Zeus goes way way way way back. It doesn’t seem to make any sense to drop that in there if the context is Antiochus IV. That is especially the case, if the writer has written down detailed knowledge of events 400 years ago.

        • Greg G.

          His article that he linked to has the 167 BC date as the last accurate prediction. Bob was apparently mistaken when he said “171 BC”.

        • traxxion

          Thanks. That’s fair enough. Just trying to present what I believe is fair evidence that a late date for this book is not very realistic and that if one accepts that, it means another explanation, or at least a parallel explanation should also be found

        • Cognissive Disco Dance

          Just trying to present what I believe is fair evidence that a late date for this book is not very realistic and that if one accepts that, it means another explanation, or at least a parallel explanation should also be found

          Coincidentally your religion is the bestest explanation of all. Lucky you.

        • Heck, everyone’s religion is the best! Praise the Lord!

        • It’s all there in the post on Daniel. It’s not very long. Go read it and respond.

          The knowledge of events goes from so-so, then to excellent, and then to terrible. Historians wonder: maybe that excellent/terrible transition is when the book was written. Kinda makes sense, no?

          As Greg noted, 171 was a guess.

          If your goal here is to make the best possible case for the prophecy argument, that’s not of particular interest to me. My interest is in finding the best explanation for why Daniel says what it says. And the supernatural explanation is laughably inadequate.

        • traxxion

          If the natural explanation satisfies when it is so clearly untenable, then so be it. The time window you are looking for is very narrow, yet this is a very complex book. Its setting is historical and it describes things in such a way that you would think only an eye witness might know. If someone wrote this between 174BCE and 167BCE (when the temple was actually desecrated), then then you are basically looking at a miracle anyway. It is more than remarkable a document with no antiquity was so convincing it ended up in the Qumran caves AND the Septuagint within 40 years of your date of authorship alongside revered books such as Isaiah. Every year that you push the authorship back it becomes less and less likely.

          So the historians can wonder if they like, it doesn’t change anything.

        • Greg G.

          Its setting is historical and it describes things in such a way that you would think only an eye witness might know.

          From Good History in the Book of Daniel by Farrell Till:

          In addition to the mistakes that Rowley noted about Darius the Mede and the Median empire, I discussed in my earlier responses “Daniel’s” mistakes in saying that Jewish captives and temple vessels were taken to Babylon during the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign (1:1) and that Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar were father and son (chapter 5). None of these claims conform to Babylonian and other biblical records from this period. The writer of Daniel didn’t know the correct 6th-century B. C. history in basic matters like these, but his prophetic statements showed an accurate knowledge of events that happened centuries later. Biblicists, of course, will argue that Daniel’s knowledge of events after the 6th century B. C. was the result of divine inspiration, but it’s hard to believe, as Rowley noted above, that Daniel’s God guided him into accurately reporting events that would happen in the distant future but apparently had no interest in guiding him to report accurately the history of his own era. That pill is a bit too large to swallow.

          and

          If Hatcher rejects this critical opinion, he must give a reasonable explanation not just for the 6th-century B. C. historical errors in the book but also for the abrupt end to Daniel’s remarkable prophetic accuracies in chapter 11.

          Then there is Daniel 1:2 talks about the land of Shinar which is what it was called over a thousand years earlier, instead of Chaldea as it was known when Daniel purports itself to be written. Daniel would have been a near contemporary of Jeremiah but Daniel 9:2 considers Jeremiah to be a sacred book already.

        • You’ll have to share with us the part about it being untenable. The natural explanation seems perfect to me. Show me how it fails.

          A sacred document winds up in Qumran, and that’s miraculous?

          Tell me: what do you propose instead? That there is a supernatural realm with a god who created our world, and he gave some dude false prophecy of events in the future? Yeah, that sounds likely–we have so many other examples of that.

    • Pofarmer

      As Bob already mentioned, they can sometimes tell by when the prophecies stop being a hit. Often there are other cultural or textual clues, use of words, etc.

  • RichardSRussell

    One additional criteria is that the “prophecy” shouldn’t have laid out a road map for its own “fulfillment”. For example, if some “guru” had written down “The next great American leader must have been born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, shown early promise in the sciences, been derailed in college by various diversions and wastelry, but have hit his stride once he ran for student-government president and discovered he was good at politics”, I’ve pretty well specified to the political equivalent of Richard Williams (father of Venus and Serena) what path he needs to follow to make sure his kid ends up running the country.

    Or, to put it more poetically, “every cake is the miraculous fulfillment of a prophecy called a recipe.”

  • Greg G.

    For those who appreciate science, John Loftus posted this link at Debunking Christianity:

    Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum

  • Dys

    Just found this, since I know the Tyre prophecy is a particular favourite of Christians. It’s one of the better takedowns of it that I’ve seen.

    https://500questions.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/43-did-the-bible-accurately-predict-the-future-of-tyre-ezekiel-26/

  • Greg G.

    My new favorite response to the Ontological Argument comes from today’s http://xkcd.com/1505/

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/ontological_argument.png

    • Dys

      Damn youse Greg!…just saw this myself. Now I can’t post it here because you beat me to it.

      • Greg G.

        You snooze, you lose!