How do Atheists explain the Biblical prophecies that have come true?

24 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Atheists can explain every biblical "prophecy", it's just that believers don't want to hear it.

  • 3 years ago


    Source(s): Is the end Near?
  • Lawrie
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Maybe I'm confused... but these are all 'prophecies?' Making a prediction about the natural paradigm of the world suggest supernatural and holy knowledge? 1. Predicting man will get smarter... yeah, that's what we do... we think, reason, and discover. This is largely why we don't put stock in prophecies anymore because we now understand things like meteorology, plate tectonics, the greed and fickleness of mankind, astronomy, and train schedules. Things happening after we predict them doesn't phase us anymore... if my plane gets to atlanta by the time written on the ticket, I don't worship the airline that printed the ticket. 2. If israel falls and is reborn a third time, will the prophecy toggle back to unfulfilled? This is kind of a political prophecy, right? Let me make one... I predict that the constitution of the us will one day have 28 amendments. As God is my witness!!! 3. Here we go... predicting that natural disasters will contue to occur seems more like a reasonable assumption rather than a prophecy... I predict that earthquakes will continue to occur anywhere there are active faults, hawaii's volcanoes will erupt some more, and people will tend to suffer the flu around about the time flu vaccination shots get posted at the rite aid... am I a prophet? 4. I observed the leonid meteor showers this year, and I observed ot in 2001... I haven't gotten out to view them every year, but I know that I'll get another chance to do it next year and every year we pass through the leonid cloud. I'd say this 'prophecy' was a pretty good guess for people with a very limited understanding of astronomy... but not really a prophecy. Meteors are going to occasionally hit the earht... there's nothing supernatural about it. If one manages to 'smite' a city... that's just bum luck. I saw the peaskill meteorite zip through the sky the night it pulverized the trunk of a car in baltimore I think it was... was that car a sinner? Was it smited by god? Or was it just a remarkable event of chance... do cars have original sin? Prophecies that were fulfilled in the span of history the bible depicts don't really count since the author can just (brace yourself) retroactively make it up. All the rpophecies that you point out as being fulfilled in contemporary or modern history... all sound like patterned assumptions. The sun rose everyday for as long as I remember... I assume it will rise again tomorrow. Prophecy!!!!

  • Jess H
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The "prophesies" that would impress me would be:

    Verified, specific prophecies that couldn't have been contrived.

    If the Bible, for example, said, "On the first day of the first month in the year two thousand and ten, the pillars of the earth will shake and a great part of the New World will be lost to the sea," and then January 1, 2010 comes and a tremendous earthquake sends California to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, I would become a believer. No points are awarded under any of the following conditions:

    If the prophecy is vague, unclear or garbled (like Nostradamus' ramblings, for example). It must be detailed, specific and unambiguous in its prediction and wording.

    If the prophecy is trivial. Anyone could predict that it will be cold next winter, or that this drought/plague/flood will eventually subside. The prophecy must predict something surprising, unlikely or unique.

    If the prophecy is obviously contrived for other reasons. No official seer or court astrologer ever predicted that the king he worked for would be a brutal, evil tyrant who would ruin the country.

    If the prophecy is self-fulfilling; i.e., if the mere fact of the prophecy's existence could cause people to make it come true. The Jewish people returned to their homeland in Israel just as the Bible said they would, but this isn't a genuine prediction - they did it because the Bible said they would. The predicted event can't be one that people could stage.

    If the prophecy predicts an event that already happened and the writing of the prophecy itself can't be shown to have preceded the event.

    If the prophecy predicts an event that already happened and the happening of that event can't be verified by independent evidence. For example, Christian apologists claim that Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, but the authors of the New Testament obviously had access to those prophecies also; what would have prevented them from writing their story to conform to them? The extra-biblical evidence for the existence of Jesus is so scanty that it is impossible to disprove such a proposal.

    And finally, if the prophecy is the lone success among a thousand failures. Anyone can throw prophecies against the wall until one sticks. The book or other source from which it comes must have at least a decently good record on other predictions.

    Now, NONE of the "prophesies" on your list met the conditions required for the average atheist to be impressed by them. The majority of them fail outright simply because (1) the writing of the "prophesy" occurred AFTER the event occurred. (2) The texts talking about the prophesy being met can easily have been written *based* on the texts telling of the prophesy in the first place. None of them have ANY corborating evidence to suggest such an event actually occurred.

    (So yes, I can. Can you show me a SINGLE prophesy that meets all of the above conditions? You can't, can you?)

    Source(s): Ebon musings
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  • 1 decade ago

    1. There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:

    1. Retrodiction. The "prophecy" can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.

    2. Vagueness. The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradomus's prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.

    3. Inevitability. The prophecy can predict something that is almost sure to happen, such as the collapse of a city. Since nothing lasts forever, the city is sure to fall someday. If it has not, it can be said that according to prophecy, it will.

    4. Denial. One can claim that the fulfilling events occurred even if they have not. Or, more commonly, one can forget that the prophecy was ever made.

    5. Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.

    There are no prophecies in the Bible that cannot easily fit into one or more of those categories.

    2. In biblical times, prophecies were not simply predictions. They were warnings of what could or would happen if things did not change. They were meant to influence people's behavior. If the people heeded the prophecy, the events would not come to pass; Jonah 3 gives an example. A fulfilled prophecy was a failed prophecy, because it meant people did not heed the warning.

    3. The Bible also contains failed prophecies, in the sense that things God said would happen did not (Skeptic's Annotated Bible n.d.). For example:

    * Joshua said that God would, without fail, drive out the Jebusites and Canaanites, among others (Josh. 3:9-10). But those tribes were not driven out (Josh. 15:63, 17:12-13).

    * Ezekiel said Egypt would be made an uninhabited wasteland for forty years (29:10-14), and Nebuchadrezzar would plunder it (29:19-20). Neither happened.

    4. Other religions claim many fulfilled prophecies, too (Prophecy Fulfilled n.d.).

    Source(s): References: 1. Skeptic's Annotated Bible. n.d. False prophecies, broken promises, and misquotes in the Bible. 2. Prophecy Fulfilled. n.d. Further Reading: Festinger, L., H. W. Riecken and S. Schachter. 1956. When Prophecy Fails. New York: Harper & Row.
  • neil s
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Several "explanations", depending on the "prophecy". Several were written down after the event they "foretell". Others are so vague they can be applied to many different events, and thus are not clear predictions at all. The last group are "prophecies" that happen throughout history and thus are no great feet of prognostication for anyone with even a little historical knowledge.

    The Bible is not unique in it's ability to produce such predictions, and all they indicate is how intelligent people can manufacture pretend evidence for their pet beliefs.

  • Mia
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Jesus's life was written to fit the prophecies. Even so since the stories were passed orally before they were ever written down there are apparent contradictions in the life story that don't match up. Much of the book of Daniel according to Bible studies was actually authored after the events it claimed to foretell by the usage of language, style, and references. At the end it attempted future prophecy that failed. Bible believers simply reinterpreted the prophecy to get it to not have failed. The prophecies are often vaguely written and people can read many events into them. The psychological dishonesty of those who feel this stuff is compelling is apparent to me. On that site you link some of the "prophecies" they claim are fulfilled are stuff like "no one knows when Christ will return" and then as proof this is fulfilled they list failed prophecies for the return. This assumes a Christ will ever return to begin with!

  • 1 decade ago

    to the person at the top:

    WOW it's funny you should mention geology

    maybe you should have been paying attention in 4th grade when you were studying sedimentary rock and if you were actually educated in what you were talking about you would know that sedimentary rock is

    layers of sand, soil, and material-mostly laid down by water-that were once soft like mud, but they are now hard stone. And encased in these sedimentary layers are billions of dead things (fossils of plants and animals) buried very quickly.

    hmm sounds kind of familiar? a global flood maybe?

  • The problem with biblical prophecies is that they set up statements that ignorant people wanted to believe.

    I’d consider a biblical prophecy more seriously if it told us something that seemed wrong at the time but was later found correct by science. Instead, it’s the other way round. The bible is wrong, wrong, wrong. It doesn’t even tell us that the Earth goes round the sun; and it doesn’t explain disease, famine and floods other than by calling them punishments from ‘God’.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here's some good pages about how prophecy 'works'. From the James Randi Institute.

    B.C.-A.D. According to the New Testament, The End should have occurred before the death of the last Apostle. In Matthew 16:28, it says:

    Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

    One by one, all the apostles died. And the world rolled on for everyone else. . . .

    A.D. 992 In the year 960, scholar Bernard of Thuringia caused great alarm in Europe when he confidently announced that his calculations gave the world only thirty-two more years before The End. His own end, fortunately for him, occurred before that event was to have taken place.

    December 31, A.D. 999 The biblical Apocrypha says that the Last Judgment (and therefore, one supposes, the end of the world) would occur one thousand years after the birth of Jesus Christ. When the day arrived, though it is doubtful that there was all the panic that was reported by later accounts, a certain degree of apprehension was probably experienced. It was said that land was left uncultivated in that final year, since there would obviously be no need for crops. According to the Encyclopedia of Superstitions, public documents of that era began, "As the world is now drawing to a close . . ." Modern authorities suspect that historians Voltaire and Gibbon may have created or at least embellished this tale to prove the credulous nature of medieval Christians.

    Significantly, Pope Sylvester II and Emperor Otto III momentarily mended their considerable political differences in anticipation of a certain leveling of those matters.

    A.D. 1033 Theorists pressed to explain the A.D. 999 bust decided that the 1,000 years should have been figured from the death of Christ rather than from his birth. Bust number two followed.

    September 1186 An astrologer known as John of Toledo in 1179 circulated pamphlets advertising the world's end when all the (known) planets were in Libra. (If the sun was included in this requirement, this should have occurred on September 23 at 16:15 GMT, or at that same hour on October 3 in the new calendar.) In Constantinople, the Byzantine Emperor walled up his windows, and in England the Archbishop of Canterbury called for a day of atonement. Though the alignment of planets took place, The End did not.

    A.D. 1260 Joaquim of Flore worked out a splendid calculation that definitely pinpointed A.D. 1260 as The Date. Joaquim had a bent pin.

    February 1, 1524 This was one of the most pervasive Doomsday-by-Flood expectations ever recorded. In June of 1523, astrologers in London predicted that The End would begin in London with a deluge. Some 20,000 persons left their homes, and the Prior of St. Bartholomew's built a fortress in which he stocked enough food and water for a two-month wait. When the dreaded date failed to provide even a rain shower in a city where precipitation is very much to be expected, the astrologers recalculated and discovered they'd been a mere one hundred years off. (On the same day in 1624, astrologers were again disappointed to discover that they were still dry and alive.)

    The year 1524 was full of predicted disaster. Belief in this date was very strong throughout Europe. An astrologer impressively named Nicolaus Peranzonus de Monte Sancte Marie, found that a coming conjunction of major planets would occur in Pisces (a water sign) that year, and this strengthened the general belief in a universal final deluge.

    George Tannstetter, another astrologer/mathematician at the University of Vienna, was one of very few at that time who denied The End would occur as predicted. He drew up his own horoscope, discovered that he would live beyond 1524, and denied the other calculations were correct. But George was considered a spoilsport, and was ignored.

    A "giant flood" was prophesied for February 20 (some say February 2) of 1524 by astrologer Johannes Stoeffler, who employed his skill to establish that date in 1499. Such was the belief in his ability that more than one hundred pamphlets were written and published on his prediction.

    The planets involved in this dire conjunction were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, along with the sun. Neptune, unknown then, was also in the sign Pisces. Other major influences, Uranus and the moon, were not. Nor was Pluto, also unknown then. But the date of this conjunction was February 23 (old calendar), not the twentieth.

    In response to the 1524 prophecies, in Germany, people set about building boats, while one Count von Iggleheim, obviously a devout believer in Stoeffler's ability, built a three-story ark. In Toulouse, French President Aurial also built himself a huge ark. In some European port cities, the populace took refuge on boats at anchor. When it only rained lightly on the pre

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In 2 Peter, which is the name of an epistle (letter) in the New Testament of the Bible, we are told that the return of Jesus will take people by surprise, that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief."

    Well, I guess it is never happening then...

    I took this right off that little link you gave us... don't like the effect, don't give us the ammunition.

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