Here we continue examining some Biblical prophecies (Index) – Another one.
The author continues,
(2) In approximately 700 BC, the prophet Micah named the tiny village of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah (Micah 5:2). The fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Christ is one of the most widely known and widely celebrated facts in history.
(Probability of chance fulfillment = 1 in 10^5.)
As should be recognizable by now, this is again, fan fiction. I’m not sure how they get 1:100000 out of that. Maybe there were 100000 cities and what’s the chance Jesus happened to be born there? They don’t elaborate.
Looking at Micah 5:1-5, I’m satisfied that the idea of “the messiah” being born there, could be reasonably derived (We’ll ignore that the Jews don’t think Jesus was the messiah). On the other hand, if we do our little exercise of examining the surrounding text, there’s some issues.
For instance, Micah 5:2 says (ESV),
[c] But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Was that not part of the prophecy, or are prophecies being divided by commas now? The New Testament doesn’t even say that happened. The 5-second story of Jesus’s life is that he was born, did a lot of preaching and food production, was executed, turned into a ghost and flew away (I’m paraphrasing). At what point did he become the ruler… or even “a” ruler?
You may assert that Jesus has claimed ownership from heavenspace, however, that escapes what it means to be a “ruler”… as in, administrative work. Are you really a CEO, if you don’t show up or do anything, ever? Christians aren’t in control of Jerusalem.
Maybe the claim is that the “ruler” bit will come true? Then, can we say that the prophecy came true only partially? Is this some kind of quantum prophecy, where the scope changes based on whether the apologist observes that it’s convenient?
Again, how can we say that these prophecies have come true to the letter, then blatantly leave something out like that?
I wasn’t even the one requiring that level of absolutism. That was the author’s insistence. In many cases, I’m fine with a prediction being in the ballpark.
I was thinking about this… instead of a prophecy, suppose we’re talking about weather forecasts. Setting aside how meteorologists predict weather patterns (they are wizards), many of us rely on those predictions even if they aren’t perfectly accurate.
Looking at my local forecast, they’re saying Sunday will be in the low 70s. That may shift in the new few days… but for the most part, I can plan around that, and have a high probability it’ll turn out true. The weatherperson’s precognition is consistently in the ballpark enough, that it’s reasonable for me to rely upon it, without employing any faith.
On the other hand, it is possible to listen to a meteorologist, who makes predictions that are so vague, that he/she says, “Maine will experience snowfall in the [unspecified] winter.” Sure, this is a prediction, and sure it can come true… but if you insist that this person’s prediction was due to God sending him/her a memo, and is therefore evidence God exists – I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me. A simple examination of patterns in reality is all that’s needed to come to this conclusion. It’s so vague, it practically auto-fulfills on vagueness alone.
It’s a spectrum from ultra-vague to ultra-specific, and at some point, we come to realize that the person just doesn’t need to engage any special mechanism, let alone one that is completely unprecedented (God), let alone mechanisms that are precedented (such as computer simulations). There’s a range where, thanks to psychological factors like Confirmation Bias, it’s not clear whether the person actually has any kind of educated knowledge about what’s going to happen in the future… or whether it’s just an optical illusion. That’s where they feel the need for prophecy probabilities, but they’re all bullshit.
… and that’s not even including the fact that this meteorologist is asserted to have existed thousands of years ago, and predicted all weather, and the reason you think this is because you have a book that said so.
“How do you explain THAT?”