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Old 04-28-2014, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Illinois
4,754 posts, read 4,329,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakfish View Post
I was born to a Christian family and have studied the bible my whole life. After 30 years I find myself questioning everything I have believed. At this point I am only searching for truth, and if that truth turns out to be that God doesn't exist then so be it. The question I have for you in this thread is how do you atheists answer the Biblical Prophesy argument? The Idea that there are Old Testament prophecies foretelling the virgin birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus? This is one aspect I am somewhat hung up on. If this can be disproven it will discredit the whole Bible in my mind. I have lots of other random questions in my mind as well but I just want to address this one right now. I know many of you have been where I am now so I appreciate your time.
Thanks
The "problem" with Christianity is that it's an offshoot of Judaism, except for the fact that it diverges wildly from Judaism on some pretty important points. But in order for the new religion to line up with the old religion, one had to adjust the old religion just enough for it to work.

If you read a good translation of the Tanakh (NOT the Bible, NOT the OT) side by side with the Bible you grew up with, you will see the differences right away. One widely cited example is the prediction that a virgin will give birth, as you mentioned above, when the word "virgin" is a deliberate mistranslation of "maiden" or "young woman." There is a wealth of information out there about these changes.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,022 posts, read 18,583,829 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakfish View Post
The question I have for you in this thread is how do you atheists answer the Biblical Prophesy argument? The Idea that there are Old Testament prophecies foretelling the virgin birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus? This is one aspect I am somewhat hung up on. If this can be disproven it will discredit the whole Bible in my mind.
It is not difficult to make accurate prophecies if you are writing them down after the events have already taken place. Nor is it difficult to create fiction where your character appears to be fulfilling prophecies, you just make up the events to suit the predictions. Virgin birth? No problem, we will make our mother in the story a virgin impregnated by an angel from God. In fact, so eager were the gospel authors to shoehorn Jesus into the virgin birth prophecy, they utterly forgot that they had already linked Jesus to another prophecy which contradicts the virgin story.

The prophecies told that the Messiah would come from the House of David. So that readers would know that Jesus was the Messiah, it was necessary to run his lineage back to David. And that is what Mathew does, through 25 generations of begats (all male, what a happy coincidence since the Hebrews were a patriarchal society) we get Joseph linked to the House of David. Mathew then instantly invalidates all of that work by providing the virgin birth story.

Obviously both of those stories cannot be true. If Jesus is linked to the House of David through Joseph, then Joseph would have to be his father. If Jesus was the result of a virgin birth, Joseph cannot be his father.

Yet Mathew's gospel includes both stories, one right after the other.

Conclusion? Someone is obviously lying in this deal, one of those stories has to be false...and since we know there is at least one falsehood being advanced, we must suspect that perhaps both stories are false. It seems obvious that the gospels writers were taking liberties with the Jesus biography in order to force it to fit Messianic prophecies.

There is also self actualizing prophecy fulfillment. For example, if you were aware that the prophets had foretold that when the Messiah arrives, he will enter Jerusalem riding on an ass, and you want people to think that you are the Messiah, what are you going to do? You are going to round up an ass and ride it into the city.

If the prophecy business is all that stands between you and enlightenment, I do not see much of a problem here. They are easily discredited.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,998 posts, read 8,421,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
It is not difficult to make accurate prophecies if you are writing them down after the events have already taken place. Nor is it difficult to create fiction where your character appears to be fulfilling prophecies, you just make up the events to suit the predictions. Virgin birth? No problem, we will make our mother in the story a virgin impregnated by an angel from God. In fact, so eager were the gospel authors to shoehorn Jesus into the virgin birth prophecy, they utterly forgot that they had already linked Jesus to another prophecy which contradicts the virgin story.

The prophecies told that the Messiah would come from the House of David. So that readers would know that Jesus was the Messiah, it was necessary to run his lineage back to David. And that is what Mathew does, through 25 generations of begats (all male, what a happy coincidence since the Hebrews were a patriarchal society) we get Joseph linked to the House of David. Mathew then instantly invalidates all of that work by providing the virgin birth story.

Obviously both of those stories cannot be true. If Jesus is linked to the House of David through Joseph, then Joseph would have to be his father. If Jesus was the result of a virgin birth, Joseph cannot be his father.

Yet Mathew's gospel includes both stories, one right after the other.

Conclusion? Someone is obviously lying in this deal, one of those stories has to be false...and since we know there is at least one falsehood being advanced, we must suspect that perhaps both stories are false. It seems obvious that the gospels writers were taking liberties with the Jesus biography in order to force it to fit Messianic prophecies.

There is also self actualizing prophecy fulfillment. For example, if you were aware that the prophets had foretold that when the Messiah arrives, he will enter Jerusalem riding on an ass, and you want people to think that you are the Messiah, what are you going to do? You are going to round up an ass and ride it into the city.

If the prophecy business is all that stands between you and enlightenment, I do not see much of a problem here. They are easily discredited.
Nice catch. I was not aware of that inconsistency.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 13,291,704 times
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It is not just atheists that do see any real prophecies in the Bible, us non-Christian theists also don't.

None of the OT prophecies have been fulfilled but some reverse engineering and creative writing was done in the NT to entrap the unsuspecting.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:45 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,743,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakfish View Post
I was born to a Christian family and have studied the bible my whole life. After 30 years I find myself questioning everything I have believed. At this point I am only searching for truth, and if that truth turns out to be that God doesn't exist then so be it. The question I have for you in this thread is how do you atheists answer the Biblical Prophesy argument? The Idea that there are Old Testament prophecies foretelling the virgin birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus? This is one aspect I am somewhat hung up on. If this can be disproven it will discredit the whole Bible in my mind. I have lots of other random questions in my mind as well but I just want to address this one right now. I know many of you have been where I am now so I appreciate your time.
Thanks
A lot of the supposed prophesies aren't even written as prophesies, or when they are prophesies, they are vague and could be applied to things that already happened in the OT timeline instead of the NT, or be applied to things after the NT.

The "cross" foretelling about being "circled by lions" is really Messiah David describing his (back then) current situation. Moses is called Lord by his brothers and sisters, and and Samson is told to be born a of virgin, being a Nazarite (who took vows against alcohol).

Either way, there are prophesies from Hellenic (Olympian) Oracles, Chinese mystics, Arab Muslims, Hindus, etc... all of them would have the same weight as "Biblical Prophesy" and yet contradict "Biblical" theology (Monarchist fascism).

The Jewish prophets themselves were CHOSEN BY THE PEOPLE on whether none of their prophesies were wrong (probably explaining why they were all vague and externalized blame). This means that the prophets that they canonized were the ones who said the best things that couldn't be disproved at the time (or later). The others were put to death and/or forgotten.

Same with forgotten Messiahs.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,998 posts, read 8,421,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuminousTruth View Post

The Jewish prophets themselves were CHOSEN BY THE PEOPLE on whether none of their prophesies were wrong (probably explaining why they were all vague and externalized blame). This means that the prophets that they canonized were the ones who said the best things that couldn't be disproved at the time (or later). The others were put to death and/or forgotten.

Same with forgotten Messiahs.
Another excellent point. If 100 people write vague predictions, at least some of them will come true. Throw out the 70 that don't, edit 20 that came kinda, sorta close, ignore a few oddities in the remaining 10, and you have a compilation of 30 successful prophecies.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Albany, GA
76 posts, read 93,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakfish View Post
I was born to a Christian family and have studied the bible my whole life. After 30 years I find myself questioning everything I have believed. At this point I am only searching for truth, and if that truth turns out to be that God doesn't exist then so be it. The question I have for you in this thread is how do you atheists answer the Biblical Prophesy argument? The Idea that there are Old Testament prophecies foretelling the virgin birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus? This is one aspect I am somewhat hung up on. If this can be disproven it will discredit the whole Bible in my mind. I have lots of other random questions in my mind as well but I just want to address this one right now. I know many of you have been where I am now so I appreciate your time.
Thanks
Hey, man. I went through the same thing last year, though I was a HS freshman. I actually began to question my faith for scientific reasons, but now probably prefer moral and logical objections since next to no one who is religious is highly scientifically literate. What I'm trying to say is, are your main objections scientific, historical, moral, logical, or something else?
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:57 PM
 
45 posts, read 34,742 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.A.F.2. View Post
Hey, man. I went through the same thing last year, though I was a HS freshman. I actually began to question my faith for scientific reasons, but now probably prefer moral and logical objections since next to no one who is religious is highly scientifically literate. What I'm trying to say is, are your main objections scientific, historical, moral, logical, or something else?
I tend to look at things from a logical point of view. Science is always changing since there are so many things we don't understand and as our understanding increases the science changes too if you catch my drift. Not really swayed by historical arguments much either since much like the bible interpretation can change perception.

I can't allow myself to be swayed by moral arguments either for variety of reasons that have some rather scary connotations. When people make moral arguments to negate God what they are really saying is, "If I were God I would do something different".

Once you come to the conclusion that there is no God you make yourself the standard of morality. Once you do that, anything goes and there is no longer any right or wrong. That is the scary part.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,022 posts, read 18,583,829 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakfish View Post

Once you come to the conclusion that there is no God you make yourself the standard of morality. Once you do that, anything goes and there is no longer any right or wrong. That is the scary part.
All that is required for morality to exist is a desire for civilization, no deity is necessary at all. I'm confident that you have the same abilities to distinguish civilized from uncivilized behavior as the rest of us, so you may indeed be a moral person without reference to any religious concerns.

Morality predates religion, it must. Without some pre-existing understandings among people regarding how they will treat one another, it would be impossible to form a collective religion, wouldn't it? Morality is forged first, later it gets assigned to the will of whatever god happens to prevail at the moment in that region.

Do you think this atheist forum is composed of outlaws and folks who spit on fairness, compassion and sacrifice?

With or without religion, we have always crafted own standards of morality, all that will change is your recognition that this is the case.

If you were to satisfy yourself that there is no deity with a moral program for us all, would you then launch a crime wave? Would you start treating everyone with contempt? Would you become insufferably selfish?

Or would you continue to behave pretty much the way you always have?
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:21 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,743,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbrains View Post
Another excellent point. If 100 people write vague predictions, at least some of them will come true. Throw out the 70 that don't, edit 20 that came kinda, sorta close, ignore a few oddities in the remaining 10, and you have a compilation of 30 successful prophecies.
Actually, no. The methodology was more sinister than that. Every "generation" there would be a group of dozens upon dozens of people who claimed to be prophets of YHWH/Elohim, those that got things right were brought closer to the bosom of the Israelite Monarchy; those that got even one thing wrong were "put to death" as was called for in the Jewish Scriptures. While they lived, it seems all the "prophet candidates" were fed and catered to. Those that got the most right and nothing "really" wrong were then canonized (and could write their own stories in their own way and recollection, or those of supporters). It wasn't about prophecies but about prophets. But I'm sure each prophet did that sort of editing with their vague prophesies.
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