Monday, 8 October 2012

Faith = Credulity? Part 3


I went on Wikipedia and looked at the heading “Prophecy”. You can check it yourself but this was an interesting comment which I think is shared by the majority:
“According to skeptics, many apparently fulfilled prophecies can be explained as coincidences (possibly aided by the prophecy's own vagueness), or that some prophecies were actually invented after the fact to match the circumstances of a past event ("postdiction"). Whitcomb in The Magician's Companion observes,
One point to remember is that the probability of an event changes as soon as a prophecy (or divination) exists. . . . The accuracy or outcome of any prophecy is altered by the desires and attachments of the seer and those who hear the prophecy.

Let's see.

 Each confession tends to have its own prophecies. Even the ones professing believing in the bible have their own interpretations. So let’s take something we can all agree with.

Once upon a time the bible was translated from relatively recent manuscripts and one could question whether they had been gradually changed over time and become completely different to the original (written version of Chinese whispers).
Then the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1947 and surprisingly, although at least 1000 years older than other copies,  no fundamental changes were found. Just spelling and grammar variations. The scrolls are digitalized now so you can actually see them .
I will focus on the Isaiah scroll which is dated circa 125 BCE (so clearly written BEFORE the events).

Interestingly, Jesus was not considered to be the Messiah foretold in Isaiah by most of his contemporaries as they were not waiting for a son of carpenter. They were expecting a leader that would deliver them from Roman rulership But most converts to Christianity after Jesus ‘ death became so after studying the book of Isaiah. One of these is the Eunuch Ethiopian in Acts 8:32 who read a passage of Isaiah saying “As a sheep he was brought to the slaughter, and as a lamb that is voiceless before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth.” He wanted to know if Isaiah was talking about himself or somebody else. His answer came from Philip the Evangelizer who in verse 35, “ starting with this Scripture, declared to him the good news about Jesus.”
This is one prophecy about how the Messiah would be silent before his accusers. So OK. Say Jesus would have known this scripture and strove to keep silent. Fair point. Let’s delve a bit deeper.
What other scripture might Philip have used? Just a few more from Isaiah, maybe:
Buried with the rich                               Isaiah 53:9    applied to Jesus Matthew 27:57-60 (How could he have any control over that?)
Descended from King David                Isaiah 9:7    applied to Jesus in  Matthew 1:1, 6-17 (Again, you either are or you are not, the Jews would have known if he wasn’t)
He would not believed in.                    Isaiah 53:1     applied to Jesus in John 12:37, 38
I find interesting that the Israel Museum’s only comment about Jesus is that the manuscripts do not contain “Messianic prophecies" per Se.  It’s ironic, they themselves are fulfilling this prophecy about Messiah not being believed in.
However, there are numerous Hebrew Scripture texts that do not specifically mention “Messiah” but were understood by the Jews as prophecies applying to that one. Alfred Edersheim located 456 passages to which the “ancient Synagogue referred as Messianic,” and there were 558 references in the most ancient rabbinic writings supporting such applications. (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 1906, Vol. I, p. 163; Vol. II, pp. 710-737)
When Jesus was around but had not manifested himself as such yet, the people in Palestine were in expectation of the Messiah (Luke 3:15 “Now as the people were in expectation and all were reasoning in their hearts about John: “May he perhaps be the Christ?). There is a prophecy in the book of Daniel that said that “from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader, there will be seven weeks, also sixty-two weeks.” (the 70 weeks prophecy, Daniel 9:25). So the timing had to be right.
There was a total more than 300 prophecies regarding Jesus, including his place of birth, the killing of babies after his birth, his betrayal by one disciple for 30 pieces of silver, his being struck, spat on, accused with false witnesses, abandoned by his disciples when struck, things Jesus had no power on.

300 vague coincidences? You be the judge.
Some go as far as argue that Jesus did not exist. Was Jesus only referred to by Christians? No. Cornelius Tacitus, a respected first-century Roman historian, wrote: “The name [Christian] is derived from Christ, whom the procurator Pontius Pilate had executed in the reign of Tiberius.” Suetonius and Pliny the Younger, other Roman writers of the time, also referred to Christ. In addition, Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, wrote of James, whom he identified as “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” 


The Evolution theory has yet to complete all the steps of the scientific method so it simply does not qualify as a scientific fact. You can call it anything you wish but saying it’s true science would be incorrect. Just a passing comment, if you can will something into existence as suggested by the second statement at the outset, we would have found several conclusive missing links. There are enough evolutionists looking for them and believing they will turn up.

As there is true science and pseudo science, there is also true faith and pseudo-faith.

True faith has a basis that can be defended. Pseudo-faith cannot defend itself, it just is.
Evolution does not connect all the dots for me. In my opinion, it has too many gaps, it belittles our humanity, does not give us meaningful purpose, or provide satisfying answers to the big questions that strike sooner or later : “Who are we, where do we come from and we are we going?”
On the other hand I find that creation explains all of this. And amazingly, true science and true faith are not at loggerheads. One complement the other.  What makes them look incompatible is human error and vested interests.

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