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Feedback #9


Names and e-mail addresses have been witheld to protect the guilty. If you recognise your letter here, and wish to have your name and address displayed, feel free to contact me.


Received: 7/27/98

I would like to know why that you asume that al Prophets in the Bible are false. First off, I highly doubt that you do to much Bible reading, or you would know that there are several historically recorded cases where the Prophesies, mostly those about the fate of Israel, are fullfilled. For exapmle, the entire book of Jeremiah is alomst completely based upon the fact that Babylon will come and force Israel into exile.

You will note that Jeremiah himself acknowledges that parts of his book were written after the captivity had already begun (see Jeremiah 29:1 for example). How difficult is it to predict something that had already happened?

You will also note that Jeremiah is remarkably accurate on his short-term prophecies, but way off base on the longer range predictions. He said that the exile would last seventy years (25:11,12, 29:10) when in fact the exiles were freed by Cyrus after spending only about fifty years in Babylon. He also said that Babylon would be conquered by the Medes (51:11,28). Wrong again. The Medes were conquered by Cyrus the Persian fourteen years before Cyrus went on to take Babylon.

Sure enough, this porphesy is fullfilled by Daniel himself. Daniel follows Jeremiah in chronilogical order of the prophets, and if you actually read the book of Daniel, he was writing from babylon.

The Book of Mormon says that it was written by a bunch of ancient American prophets. Am I supposed to believe that without evidence as well? How can you quote the book itself as part of your "proof"? You may want to look up the definition of "circular argument" sometime.

Secondly, in the book of Daniel, he prophesys Nebhacunezzar's dream to him when none of the kings wise men could. Now, the king did not mess around. When none of his wise men could tell him what he had dreamnt, he ordered them executed. We know that there must have been truth toDaniel's prophesying abilities because he was not executed.

Or, perhaps, Daniel never existed? Did that ever occur to you? If not, perhaps you could explain why there is no mention of any part of the Book of Daniel before the second century BC?

For example, the apocraphyl book called the Wisdom of Sirach, which was written about 200 BC, quotes from every book of the Old Testament - except Daniel. However, another apocryphal book, I Maccabees, which was written about 100 years later, does quote the book of Daniel. Why do you suppose that is? Is it possible that the answer is that the book itself was written sometime between 200 and 100 BC?

Finally, do you actually think that the Bible is just one big storybook ? The prophets of the Bible spent years and years recording events and Prohesies- even in times when it involved risking their lives to do so.

Which proves what, exactly? Do you believe that David Koresh was a true prophet because the government "persecuted" him? If not, please explain how the alleged persecution of the OT prophets proves that their message was true.

I hope the you change your opinion of the prophesys of the Bible. There is much to be Learned. May the Lord of Heaven bless you, and praised be His name.

I would change my opinion if anyone could show me one prophecy that was unambiguously fulfilled. By this I mean that you have to be able to show that the prophecy was written before the event it presaged, that the event did in fact happen as prophesied, that the prophecy was specifically referring to said event, and that the prophecy was not taken out of its intended context. If you could do that, I might be inclined to change my mind.


Received: 7/17/98

Hi, you have a pretty good page. Anyway, I'm investigating Mormonism and I guess I don't really know what to believe. I do however feel that most anti-mormon pages exagerate and draw some hasty conclusions. Though I'm also critical of some response pages who avoid the issue. Anyway here are some thoughts on some points I read on your page. I mostly think you have some valid points, but there are also some that I feel are unfair. The part about view of the Hebrews suggests that the idea that Christian ideas were never a part of the Americas before columbus is wrong. Have you ever looked into Hopi prophecies? They say that their prophecies have been passed down and have been perfectly preserved for about 2000 years, and their prophecies about the end of the world sound uncannily like the 2nd coming. They believe in a final war of good vs evil, and a "purifier" who will come, and who's description sounds just like Christ. There was a radio talk show with them as guests, you should be able to find a transcript of it at http://www.artbell.com.

Also there are other legends that are similar to Christian beliefs. You read read about them @ http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5499/ldsstuff.html you may be already familier with this site, but I think it would be a good link to put on your page. The parallels I mentioned are in the "Incan Legends" section.

As for the Bible connection section the evidence is a little more damning, but I did feel that many possible explanations were neglected. For example, the straight vs strait argument doesn't even take into consideration of the fact that the whole book was being dictated, and the scribe was only writing down what he heard. Of course you do point out later how it seems that straight was definitely the way he meant it, but I just wanted to give you an example. Anyway, I won't bore you with all my refutations. Please consider linking to these LDS sites though.

Thanks for your message. I am aware of the Hopi prophecies, but as far as I know, there is no good evidence that they existed prior to the coming of the Christians. Since the Hopi, like all North American tribes, did not have a system of writing, there is no way to verify that these prophecies have not been tainted by Christian influence.

Even if it were possible to prove such, there remains the problem that apocalyptic thinking is present in many different traditions, and seems to be a general fact of human existence, not necessarily evidence of a common tradition. The Messiah myth, too, figures largely in a great number of religious traditions, most of which predate Christianity by millennia.

I will add your links to my Book of Mormon page.


Received: 7/17/98

It's a sad thing to read your story. You can't understand scripture or even relate until you choose to have a relationship with Jesus. Since you know the bible so well I'm sure you've spent time reading Job. Who are you to question the authority of God? Life sucks. People are bad. God gives us a choice. You choose to be an agnostic...one who doubts...Jesus said that you could know the truth and the truth would set you free... but you have to (and don't give the excuse of being raised a Christian) believe and choose to believe that you a man with limited intelligence...and you need a Saviour to save you from -if nothing else- yourself.

This is one of the few statements of Jesus (John 8:32) that I happen to agree with. I do know the truth - the truth that the Christian religion is no better than any other, and has no more basis in fact than any other tradition. And now that I know the truth, I am free indeed. Free of mindless dogma and ritual, free of guilt for breaking pointless and idiotic "commandments", free of guilt for not living up to an impossible standard, and free to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

God gives us a choice? Believe in me or go to Hell? What sort of a choice is that? God, as presented in the Bible, is a psychotic murderer. Personally, If I were God, I would be extremely annoyed if anyone tried to pass off the violent, jealous, illogical and greedy caricature of a Deity that we find in the Bible as my own.

It's obvious that there is a hint of "hope" from you that there is a God. Give him a real chance to show you who He is.

I am always open to the possibility that a god exists. I also feel that if such a being did exist, it would be entirely within his capabilities of making himself known, not just to me, but to humanity at large. The fact that he has not done so indicates that he either is not capable of such a revelation, simply does not care, or does not exist. It is impossible to decide which answer is the correct one, and, from my point of view, it really does not matter.

Received: 7/20/98 (in response to above)

First, I want to apologize for my first email to you. I never should have sent it. It was written out of anger instead of love for a fellow human being. Forgive me.

Secondly, I understand your disgust with religion (especially Christians) and lack of understanding the bible and all that "God" has done to humans because of violence, jealousy, hate...

I'm a father who has adopted 2 kids. When I got my youngest son at 5 years old, he would do things that were hateful. Breaking stuff, yelling and screaming out how much he hated us, etc... I had two choices. 1. ignore him and allow him to destroy everything including himself. 2. Discipline him and teach him that when he breaks things, when he lies, whatever....there are consequences.

Today at 10, he still has his moments but he knows my love for him is forever forgiving. He can not do anything that would ever change that. He knows it and I know it. Yes, he'll pay for his "sins" or his rebellion...but he will never be sent away as he had previously.

When God created man, man had a choice. We blame God for all that is "bad" with this picture but it is our sin that gives us the consequences. The order of the world is in place. If you put your hand in a fire...it will burn. That's the consequence.

I quite understand your reasoning. I have two small children myself, and I feel exactly the same way you do. But consider - when my son acts up (which happens pretty often) he goes into timeout for three or four minutes. I don't pour boiling water over him for hours. The latter would rightly be considered abuse, and I would probably find myself locked up.

And yet, this is precisely what the New Testament teaches. God will punish the sinners with an eternity in Hell, no matter how minor those sins may have been. A person could live a completely moral life, but if they fail to accept Christ's sacrifice, they will still be punished forever. This makes absolutely no sense to me. A father who did this to his children would be jailed. Do we as humans have a higher moral standard than God in this regard?

At the risk of being offensive, I have to say that this is probably one of the most reprehensible ideas to ever have hatched in the mind of man. It is, in my opinion, one of the strongest reasons for rejecting Christianity altogether.

The church and religious zealots make the commandments impossible to live. Jesus didn't. When the prostitute was about to be stoned, Jesus asked the people "Whoever has not sinned - cast the first stone". The righteous folks walked away because they knew they where sinners. Even people who don't believe know what's right and wrong for the most part. Anyway, Jesus told the prostitute to "go, and sin no more". Don't put your hand back in the fire, cause it will burn. He didn't tell her to go join a church or follow any special commandment or read a particular verse. Man has always made their own "institutions" with laws and rules.

Jesus said. "Believe in me and follow me." When you have a personal relationship with Jesus (not the church) it becomes much more clear. He clears it up because He is the truth that all of us seek. The bible with all it's complexities, gives us understanding that God does love us and chose to become human to show us how much he does by dying for us and conquered death by His resurrection so we could live. The church (the real one) are believers who follow Jesus. Period. There is a real church out there. It's made up of many people who come from many different backgrounds. They follow Jesus and Jesus only.

The problem, as I see it, is that we really don't know what Jesus taught. Outside of the New Testament, contemporary references to Jesus are very scant, and those that do exist tell us nothing at all about his teachings. All we really have are the gospels, but even then there are problems. For one thing, it is pretty obvious that Matthew and Luke simply repeat much of Mark, so they do not really count as independent witnesses. John could be said to constitute another witness, but then we have to explain why he often disagrees with the synoptic gospels.

Did Mary see the resurrected Jesus before she called the other disciples, as Matthew said, or did she first call the disciples as John said? Was Jesus born in Bethlehem, as Matthew and Luke claim, or was he a native of Galilee, as John intimates? Does salvation come by good works, as the synoptics state, or do we have to be "born from above" as John claims?

I think you see what I am getting at. The reason why there are so many factions and schisms that make up the Christian Church is simply because the New Testament is inconsistent on a large number of issues. One could support just about any position with the appropriate "proof texts".

It's so simple that it is a stumbling block to the "wise". 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

Jesus said to have faith like a child...my son has faith and now the knowledge that I correct him and discipline because I love him. It's that simple.

Bless you. I hope and pray that you will continue to seek God to find the answers that you are looking for. Just remember to look to Him instead of man.

P.S. Your "Prophets Page" of all the date setters is amusing. As a Christian, I find it funny that any of the "Christian" folks would even dare to predict a date. I do believe we are in a season and possibly the season of Christ return, but to do what alot of these folks are doing is odd to me. Jesus made it clear that we would not know the day.

Jesus also made it clear that he would return within the lifetime of his followers. It seems odd that few of these "prophets" actually recognize that point.


Received: 7/13/98

It does seem odd that a Baptist would change to an agnostic. If hell was a problem why didn't you become a Jehovah's Witness(hehe...kidding). They don't believe in Hell.

Actually, one could make a good case for the fact that the doctrine of Hell does not exist in the Old Testament. It definitely does exist in the New.

This is not the only reason that I rejected Christianity, however. I guess if I were to pint at the most important fact, it would be that I discovered that the Bible was a man-made document, just like any other so-called "holy" book. In terms of historical accuracy, it is better attested than, say, the Book of Mormon, but in terms of Truth it is little better. What is more, I discovered that I was using precisely the same flawed arguments to defend the Bible that LDS scholars use to defend the Book of Mormon, and Muslims use to defend the Koran. There is no difference.

There are ways to prove the Bible inspired. What are you going to do with Jesus's statement that Jerusalem would fall and it did in AD 70(I think I got the date right)? That is just one example and there are many more.

Since there is no proof that any of the Gospels were written prior to 70 AD, there seems to be a good chance that the "prophecy" of the destruction of the Temple was actually written after the event had actually occurred. It is very easy to "foretell" the past.

It may be a lame excuse to believe in God to you, but I most certainly do. I would like to ecourage you to reevaluate your decision. It bothers me! Isn't it better anyway to have the possibility for eternal life than just dying? May God have mercy on you, and I will pray.

Why does it bother you? Are you concerned for my soul, or are you concerned by the fact that someone could objectively examine the facts that make up Christianity and decide that it is not true?

Received: 7/16/98 (in response to above)

Both make me uneasy. It is all faith, really!! Either one has faith and believes in God or he doesn't, it can't be proven either way. These facts that I have read on your web page presented a problem for even me to figure out. I do think it odd that the old testament never mentions hell, if it really does exist I would think that God would have mentioned it, but he didn't. So your position is that all the religions of the world are not inspired by a real deity but the different groups of people "made" them up. Those points you made on your page can be argued against, and the arguments are just as good as those who believe contrary to God.

With regard to the question of faith, I'm surprised that you didn't consider the obvious problem. If we are to have faith in one particular religion, how do we know which one to choose? Since faith by definition is not susceptible to logical analysis, it follows that there is no objective way to determine if any one tradition is correct or not. It further follows that God would be unjust to punish a person for choosing the wrong faith, if he has not pointed out which one is the correct tradition.

Taking the problem one step further - if, as you insist, I am to have faith that God exists, why could I not simply have faith that the Universe exists without a cause? Both views are equally "provable".

The problem with faith is that one can use it to validate any belief system, no matter how strange or patently absurd. The thirty-nine members of the Heaven's Gate cult had faith in their own particular belief system. How does their faith differ from yours?

As for the points on my page being "argued against", this is entirely true, and I welcome rational discourse. The point, of course, is that any argument must be based on fact. If someone proposes a solution to a particular Bible problem, I want to see a solution based on an observable fact. Unfortunately, most of the "solutions" that people present are based on "what-if" type scenarios. For example, many people have said that Matthew records Joseph's genealogy, and Luke that of Mary's. Maybe this is possible, but it cannot be proven from the text itself, so the contradiction remains.

You will generally find that the point of apologetics, whether it be Christian, Mormon or Muslim, is to reassure the faithful, not to convince the unbeliever. The vast majority of Christian "proofs" advanced by the likes of Gleason Archer and Josh McDowell require that you first believe in the whole Christian rigmarole. The same goes for Mormon apologetics. Groups like FARMS regularly turn out so-called archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, but this evidence is usually ignored by real archaeologists, or simply laughed out of court. So why do they keep doing it? Because they need to reassure the Mormon believers that the Book of Mormon is not a fake, despite the fact that the evidence they advance would not last ten seconds when subjected to real scientific analysis.

These "facts" you talk about, are they scientific and historical facts? If so list a few if you don't mind. I place no emphases on what the so called scholars say, they are supposed to be so "smart" but are they really? Can one trust another man for his flawed opinions? I do think it really interesting that Jesus was prophesied several hundred years before he came. Archaeologist think they have found the ark.

By "facts", I mean both scientific and historical facts, but most importantly I am talking about common sense. When one gospel writer (Matthew) says that Mary saw the resurrected Jesus before she notified the other disciples, and the another writer (John) says that she saw Jesus only after she called the other disciples, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that we are not simply dealing with two different points of view. One or both must be incorrect.

What prophecies exist to show that Jesus was prophesied before his birth? I have examined all the so-called prophecies, and have come to the conclusion that all are either taken out of context, or do not apply to Jesus at all, or are simply wishful thinking on the part of the New Testament writers. If you think I am wrong, I invite you to submit your "prophecies" and see if they stand up to rational examination.

As for archaeologists thinking that they have found the Ark, I'm not even going to dignify that with a response, suffice to say that it is impossible because there never was an Ark. The Genesis story is a composite of two different Flood stories, both of which were derived from earlier Semitic myths.

The reason I said it was odd for a Baptist (or any christian for that matter) to go agnostic is the Bible speaks of the worlds knowledge as a carnal thing and that God's foolishness is more wise than the worlds wisdom. I'd think that someone who truly believes in it wouldn't even hear "worldly wisdom."

The Bible is full of these sort of things, and the reason for this is that, in order to insure their own survival, religious leaders of all types must make sure that their sheep never learn to think for themselves. This is why the Bible denigrates worldly wisdom as foolishness, and praises blind faith (Heb 11:1, John 20:29). Experience tells us that as soon as a believer starts to think for themselves, instead of accepting the words of their "bibles" and "prophets" at face value, the inevitable result is apostasy. And the simple reason for this is that no belief system can stand up to a rational examination.

I still hope you will re-evaulate your findings. I am concerned for your standing with God (your probably laughing out loud now-kidding).

Nope - I understand completely how you feel, because I used to think exactly like you. It also bothered me tremendously when I came across ex-believers. I used to comfort myself by thinking that they had either committed some terrible sin, or were too full of pride, or whatever. I now know that the reason most people leave is simply because the faith no longer makes sense to them. Your mileage may differ.

Received: 7/19/98 (in response to above)

I will try to explain myself. I have been on the biggest spiritual journey of my life. I have tried to determine what the "true faith" was and is. It has been very difficult, and it seems at times impossible. In reality, even though it is hard for me to admit this in my heart (actually this is the first time) I agree that we can't really prove which one is true , it is impossible. It would seem that God would point us the the right tradition, I am glad you used the word tradition because many times protestants don't like the idea that they really are a tradition, but they are. At one time in my life I was set on being Catholic. If you know anything about the Church of Christ denomination, then you would know they think they are the true church. When I told my Dad of my decision, it almos killed him. He thought that I was damned to hell if I became Catholic; he cried that night and was scared for my soul. At that point I just wanted to give up on God altogether. When I saw him so upset, I thought what kind of God would inflict this much fear on someone. I was just about through. I have so many times pretended to believe the Church of Christ doctrine that it has almost killed my innersoul, it is hard to go on pretending. After all my study I had decided that God recognizes his children from different sects of Christianity, those that truly follow, and that they would inherit a heavenly home. It was a HUGE change for me. It was hard for me to accept because of the way I was raised to be, but I knew that if God was Gracious then it was true that others had salvation in other Churches and traditions.

This is an interesting conclusion, and it shows at least that you have the ability to think for yourself. Far too many people are quite willing to follow what others tell them, without question. Whatever direction your path happens to take you, I am firmly convinced that independent, rational thought is the only sure guide to truth.

I accidentally came accross your page because I was looking for Christian web pages, but I found yours. To tell the truth I brissled up at first, but I am giving your page a chance to prove itself. I am sorry if I was rude to you, I know that many "Chrsitians" get down right ugly if you don't agree with them, that isn't how they should be if they are moral.

Your point [about faith not being subject to proof] is well taken. I understand that the faith argument isn't really sufficient. We, as humans, can have faith in whatever we choose no matter what. Just saying we have faith I guess is not signifigant in determining if something is true.

Precisely. Faith, in my opinion, is not a good guide to truth, for all the reasons that you listed. In order to accept something as true, I feel that it must be objectively true. This means that a "true" truth must be the same for all observers. Many people have a lot of trouble with this concept, and seem to feel that if they have some sort of powerful spiritual experience, that it validates their belief-system. Obviously, it does not. An experience, by definition, is true only for the person who is experiencing it. It is not necessarily true for anyone else.

I have no solution to rectify Matthew and Lukes contradiction. Before I emailed you I looked at what some of the commentaries said, but they were all based on "what if's." I noticed one man described his solution as the most satisfactory. I guess they all got to this juncture and scrambled around to find solutions to it.

I will have to agree that apologetics are aimed at the fold of what ever the apologist is defending. The apologist will only go so far to try to convince someone of another denomination of their "truthfulness."

[Prophecies] I was referring to Isaiah the prophet, but I examined what the Jew's had believed and still do concerning Isaiah. It also occured to me today that if the Jews were really interpreting the prophecies of Isaiah the way christians do and were looking for someone like Jesus as their savior then it would seem that they would have heeded to the Christian way. On the Contrary Judaism is one the world's major religions.

An excellent, and very prescient, observation. Indeed, I wish that more people would realize this simple fact. If all the messianic prophecies are really as self-evident as some Christians would have us believe, then why do the Jews, on the whole, reject them? Is it because they are blinded by Satan? Or is it simply that they know the Old Testament better than most Christians?

There is a simple way to answer this question. It's quite a bit of work, but it's well worth it. Read Isaiah 40 through to the 55 from a good, modern English version. All the way through, ask yourself what the author is talking about. Ask yourself who the "servant" is that he keeps referring to. When you get to chapter 53, you will easily see how it fits in with the rest of the second part of Isaiah.

To set the historical background - most scholars believe that the second part of Isaiah (from chapter 40) was written in about 536 BC, shortly after the destruction of Babylon by the Persians. It was at this time that king Cyrus gave permission for the exiles to return home (See Ezra 1:1-4). Keep this firmly in mind when reading the book of Isaiah, and you will find that it really is quite clear and simple. There are no hidden mysteries here, because the author never intended any!

I will have to say that your web page has made me start re-examining my Christian beliefs. I was telling you do examine yours, but here I am finally taking my own advice. (Again I am sorry if I offended or was rude).

No offense. I always enjoy a good argument ;-)

If it isn't hard or too much trouble I would like to have your opinion on something. Do you believe that when Jesus died on the cross that the New Testament writers went to work to shape the doctrine surrounding Jesus? Like do you think they tried to fit the stories around Jesus's birth to make it sound like it and the propecies fit?

My personal feeling is yes, the New Testament writers, on occasion, would modify history to make it fit their own notions. (Of course, it is also important to remember that the gospels were probably written long after Jesus died.)

There are several examples. One of these would be the "fact" that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This point is never once mentioned in any of Paul's letters, and is only mentioned in two of the gospels. Indeed, a few verses in John's gospel (John 7:40-42) seem to indicate that the people who knew Jesus thought that he was born in Galilee! (Apologists will obviously tell us that these people were simply mistaken, but it seems strange that the author of the gospel never corrected their perception for the benefit of his readers.)

If one looks closely at the two birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, you will see that Matthew starts out with Mary and Joseph living in a house in Bethlehem, while Luke has them living in a house in Nazareth. In Matthew's gospel, the family are forced to flee Bethlehem and live in Galilee, while in Luke's gospel the family travel to Bethlehem from Galilee for the taxation, and then return home.

It appears as if both writers were aware that the Bible states that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 - actually this is a "prophecy" of David, but that's another story), but both knew that Jesus was born in Galilee. They thus invented separate (and contradictory) stories in order to account for the discrepancy.

One more example. All four gospels record Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, in apparent fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9. Matthew, however, is the only gospeller who has Jesus riding on two animals. The reason, it seems, is that Matthew was reading Zechariah from the Greek Septuagint, and thought that the prophecy spoke of two animals (it doesn't), and modified his history accordingly.

I thankyou for not just passing me off as someone who is an annoying ankle biter. I am sure I have been annoying. To that I am sorry and other things too.

It really is no problem. Like I said, I never pass up a chance to debate anyone.


Received: 7/11/98

I loved your website about the end of the world. :) This is what happens when people try to take these prophecies literally. However, there is another way. I wonder if you have ever heard about the claim of the Baha'i Faith and its founder, Baha'u'llah, to be the fulfillment of these prophecies. The Baha'i Faith began in 1844, one of the biggest years for millenial expecations not only by Christians but Muslims as well (1260 A.H.) Baha'u'llah Himself also made prophecies that came true, dozens of them. They are documented and were fulfilled in the last hundred years.

Thanks for aiding in the cause of truth. People are really deceived by all these folks who claim to know what God has in mind. We really can only know what a prohecy means after it is fulfilled. Before that, we're just guessing.

Thanks for your message. I had a look at the page that you mentioned, but I have to say that it displays the same kind of fuzzy thinking and logical problems that characterize the Christian prophecies. As one example, one of the proofs of the Manifestation is taken from Daniel 8:13, where the author of Daniel states that the sanctuary would be defiled 2,300 days. This is taken to mean 2,300 years from the third decree of Artaxerexes, and thus arrives at 1844 AD.

The problem is that the piece never takes the actual historical context of Daniel into account. Daniel was written in about 164 BC, during the time of persecution of the Jews under the Greek Seleucid king Antiochus IV. Antiochus defiled the sanctuary by placing an altar to his god in the Temple. This is the event that the author of Daniel refers to, and it is this defilement that would last 2,300 literal days. (As it happens, the author of Daniel was almost right. The temple was eventually cleansed by the Maccabeans, but it took a little longer than the author of Daniel had predicted).

This is the problem with nearly all so-called "prophecies". They all tend to take the source out of context, and apply it in a situation that the original author never intended. As you pointed out, we can never recognize a prophecy until after it is fulfilled. The reason for this is that nearly all prophecies are nothing more than after-the fact retrofitted rationalizations.

Received: 7/12/98 (in response to above)

There are 16 prophecies in the Bible that all lead to 1844. Even if the 2300 days didn't, which I still think it did, that would leave 15 others. (1260, mentioned several times, on the Islamic calendar was concurrent with 1844). If nothing had happened in 1844, that would show they were all wrong, but since something did happen, you have to wonder if maybe the prophecies were right.

The Baha'i Faith is the only religion to start in that year that has become a true universal religion. It claims to fulfill the prophecies, gives teachings for a united world, and has people in it from every country and 2100 different ethnic groups. I hope you'll reconsider. At least people who visit your website might like to have an opportunity to judge the claims of something that actually seems to fulfill prophecy as well as all those whose predictions failed. Up to you, of course, but I had to try.

Like I said, I still see no difference between the Baha'i prophecies, and those made by any number of other "prophets". The problem with prophecy, whether it be Baha'i, Christian, Nostradamus or Edgar Cayce, is that they tend to very vague and open to interpretation. This means that one can find just about any prophecy that one wants by utilizing a little re-interpretation.

Nevertheless, in the interests of fairness, I have added a link to the fulfilled prophecy page that you suggested to the Doomsday List.

Received: 7/14/98 (in response to above)

Thank you so much! I'm so happy with your decision. :)

BTW, Baha'u'llah's prophecies were not vague at all. They were criticized by the pundits at the time He made them because they seemed so outrageous. However, almost all have come true, and those few that haven't well, time will tell. If you ever want to see what He said and compare His words to what happened, a good book that discusses all this is The Challenge of Baha'u'llah by Gary Matthews. It can be purchased through the Baha'i Publishing Trust at 1-800-999-9019 for about $10. Or, there's actually a Baha'i friend of mine, Derek Cockshut, who is giving them away for free: DCockshut@usbnc.org. Just ask for this title. I think you'll be amazed at how specific Baha'u'llah's prophecies were and how they were fulfilled.

I might look into it when I get some time. The thing is that I have spent a lot of time looking at prophecies from a number of various traditions. To date, none of them have actually displayed anything that requires Divine insight.

I have spent some time reading some of the Baha'i writings. I must say that in terms of sheer poetry and advanced concepts, they beat out any other so-called "inspired" writings, including the Bible. (I guess my favorite section would be the bit about the Falcon in the "Tablets". It also happens to be a great song.)

This is not to say that I believe that either the Bab or Baha'u'llah were god's messengers in any sense of the word. They simply displayed a moral code that is far more developed than anything found in the Bible. (Actually, it would be harder to find a book that contains more bloodshed and immorality than the Bible. If I were God, I would be severely angry if such a work were attributed to me).

At the end of the day, I have found that no god displays a moral code or universal knowledge any better than that of his current biographer. Baha'u'llah had the advantage of millennia of development in the area of morality and ethics.

There's a big difference between speculation on how a prophecy will be fulfilled and noting how a prophecy has been fulfilled. Naturally, most prophecy is very subjective and could be fulfilled in a number of ways, yet if it has been fufilled at all, you have to admit there might have been something to it. :)

Perhaps, perhaps not. I think you may be close to uncovering the key to prophecy - it is the power of the believer that makes prophecy real, not the accuracy of the prophet. By this I mean that believers tend to interpret the words of their "prophets" to match their current context.

This is why, for example, Christians have been convinced that they were living in the "last days" for the last two thousand years. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find out exactly what the author of a prophecy had in mind. It may have been "fulfilled" in a manner that he never dreamed of.

Still, as a skeptic my aim is not to discount anything out of hand, but rather to examine the evidence objectively. To date, I have found no evidence that indicates that an intelligent Deity exists, but that is not to say that such evidence does not exist.

Again, thank you for putting that link in. I think it's fair, and perhaps someone will find it worthwhile.


Received: 7/10/98

Just thought this may interest you

Supported by the Justice Department, the news media characterizes Christians who choose to believe in the Bible as cultists. Numerous examples of this bigotry is evidenced by the endless reports of people who believe the "end of the age" is near is responsible for all sorts of terrorists acts. Some of the more apparent examples includes the burning of the Davidian compound in Waco Texas, the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the murder of the family at Ruby Ridge.

"A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who has a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home schools for their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. Any of these may qualify [a person as a cultist] but certainly more than one [of these] would cause us to look at this person as a threat, and his family as being in a risk situation that qualified for government interference." - Attorney General Janet Reno, during an interview on 60 Minutes, June 26, 1994.

I would have to say that I agree, to a point. The actions of the Federal government at Waco proved that they did not understand the psychology of the believer (a shortcoming which they appear to have corrected, as their actions with the Montana Freemen showed). They obviously expected Koresh to act like a semi-rational human being, which, of course, he is not. This had probably led to an over-reaction on the part of the government when it comes to strong believers. The vast majority of the people that Reno defined as "cultists" above will never be a threat either to themselves or anyone else.

The problem is the very small minority who will. As recent events, most notably the Heaven's Gate and Solar Temple suicides, and the Aum Shrinkyo murders, have shown, there are believers who have lost touch with reality to the extent that they are a threat to themselves and others. It is these people who need to be watched. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell which believers are going to be dangerous, and which are not. Since all, by definition, are deluded to some extent, perhaps it is better to err on the side of caution. However, care should be taken to ensure that the civil rights of the believer are not violated by this caution.


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