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Does God exist? (5 Viewers)

do you believe in god?


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MoonlightSonata

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wizard146 said:
It concerns me that a lot of people here seem to want to prove religion right. It seems to me that religion is definately something that needs something more then human logic to be believed. I think that this is faith-
Faith is belief without evidence. Ergo, your argument is "Religion requires more than logic, it requires belief without any evidence."

That alone should illustrate the problem, but if you still do not get it: I could say the same thing about aliens. You need a reason to believe in God, just as you need a reason to believe in aliens.
wizard146 said:
...something given to man by God that enables him to know, believe and trust him and his word, the Bible.
If you read the second post of this thread (here), you will see why you cannot use the Bible to prove the existence of God.
wizard146 said:
The entire OT points forward to the coming of Jesus, and Jesus fulfills the promises and prophecies of the OT.
If you read the second post of this thread (here ), you will see why "prophecies" do not prove that God exists.
 

Enlightened_One

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Perhaps you cannot use the Bible to prove the existence of God along your lines of argument, but bear in mind that the New Testament is the most historically preserved text and I think second place is reserved for the Old Testament.

There are 25,000 copies of the New Testament, some dating back to the first century A.D. This is when they were supposed to have been conscribed. They are the writings of eye witnesses to Jesus.

Most of the copies of the Old Testament date back to the year 1000 A.D., however, the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls contained copies and parts of the Old Testament dating back to at least a hundred years before the birth of Jesus. Across the thousand year span between these copies there is a 95% match up. In other words 95% of it was copied precisely. Most of the differences were spelling mistakes or conjectures.

Obviously the Old Testament contains the prophecies of Jesus' birth. And there is a copy of this in existence before his birth.

Bear in mind also that no other ancient texts come close. Most have only a few copies. The Iliad has the most copies aside from the Bible and they pale in comparison. Thuclydides has less than ten (possible) only one of his works still in existence. The same is the case for Herotodus and all the ancient writers.

There also exists archaeological evidence showing some of the places or people mentioned in the Bible did exist. E.g, a pavement discovered in Corinth bears the name Erastus, city treasurer. It is thought that this man is the one described in Rom. 16:33.

There were also other mentions of Jesus made by other writers, including non Christians.

The Bible has more support than any other ancient text.

All this was gained from The New Evidence that Demands a Veredict by Josh McDowell.

Interesting reading and it makes you think.

Further, it is interesting that seldom few historians look at history with an open mind. Most of them believe miracles are impossible and thus do not have an unbiased view. This could be said for manyw ho engage in religious debates.

It is also interesting that with some people the problem is not whether God exists or not, but whether or not they can bring themsleves to believe in him. Most modern people resent the thought of a higher power, someone that they're accountable to.

And when it comes to God and seeing the future and thus wouldn't that make it predeterminate, bear in mind that just because no one can comprehend it does not make it impossible. How do we comprehend the twelve dimensions said to exist in a blackhole?
But, perhaps God can see all possible futures, or perhaps he has some other way.

And for another thing, how come we take the word of science so easily? We are told that we are made of small atoms, yet we cannot prove this for ourself. Or else we're told there is ice on Mars. How can we check this for ourselves? Do we even bother? People hold some inherent skeptical bias towards religion which is not reserved for anything else.

This is sort of what Wilmo was hinting at. We take many things for granted today even if we don't know they exist.

And just because a person chooses to ingore something does not make it any less real. You may ignore the car coming down the street, you may say to yourself that it does not exist, but it'll still splatter you across the windscreen.

All of you on the thread, ask yourselves if you truly come here with an open mind or do you hold innate prejiduces.
 

Generator

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EO, the existence of a man or a book doesn't suggest that a god exists, it merely suggests that the religion and its prophet did exist at such a date. For the record, nobody is disputing that a man known as Jesus may have lived.

Also, you seem to be of the opinion that Science claims to provide the/an answer to everything - it makes no such claim. Science is merely the pursuit of knowledge, and one of it's key notions is that there is always more to learn. However, I should add that Science and religion/christianity (in this instance) do not exist in stark contrast to the other - that distinction only only exists for those who take a literal interpretation of the bible to heart.

And just because a person chooses to ingore something does not make it any less real. You may ignore the car coming down the street, you may say to yourself that it does not exist, but it'll still splatter you across the windscreen.
Surely that's a joke, yes?
 
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MoonlightSonata

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Enlightened_One said:
Perhaps you cannot use the Bible to prove the existence of God along your lines of argument, but bear in mind that the New Testament is the most historically preserved text and I think second place is reserved for the Old Testament.

There are 25,000 copies of the New Testament, some dating back to the first century A.D. This is when they were supposed to have been conscribed. They are the writings of eye witnesses to Jesus.
Generator put it succinctly, "The existence of a man or a book doesn't suggest that a god exists, it merely suggests that the religion and its prophet did exist at such a date."
Enlightened_One said:
Most of the copies of the Old Testament date back to the year 1000 A.D., however, the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls contained copies and parts of the Old Testament dating back to at least a hundred years before the birth of Jesus. Across the thousand year span between these copies there is a 95% match up. In other words 95% of it was copied precisely. Most of the differences were spelling mistakes or conjectures.
Again, the age of a document does not necessarily mean that its content is true.
Enlightened_One said:
Obviously the Old Testament contains the prophecies of Jesus' birth. And there is a copy of this in existence before his birth.
Refer to the post here , which deals with prophecy claims.
Enlightened_One said:
Bear in mind also that no other ancient texts come close. Most have only a few copies. The Iliad has the most copies aside from the Bible and they pale in comparison. Thuclydides has less than ten (possible) only one of his works still in existence. The same is the case for Herotodus and all the ancient writers.
Again, the number of copies in no way demonstrates the truth of the text.
Enlightened_One said:
There also exists archaeological evidence showing some of the places or people mentioned in the Bible did exist. E.g, a pavement discovered in Corinth bears the name Erastus, city treasurer. It is thought that this man is the one described in Rom. 16:33.
I forgot to add this rebuttal to the second post; I will update it --
Claim:

Archaeology supports the accuracy of the Bible. The Bible's historical account has many times been substantiated by new archaeological information.


Response:

1. Archaeology supports at most the general background of the Bible and some relatively recent details. It does not support every biblical claim. In particular, archaeology does not support anything about creation, the Flood, or the conquest of the Holy Land.

If a few instances of historical accuracy are so significant, then an equal claim for accuracy can be made for The Iliad and Gone with the Wind.

2. Archaeology contradicts significant parts of the Bible:
  • The Bible contains anachronisms. Details attributed to one era actually apply to a much later era. For example, camels, mentioned in Genesis 24:10, were not widely used until after 1000 B.C.E. (Finkelstein and Silberman 2001).
  • The Exodus, which should have been a major event, does not appear in Egyptian records. There are no traces in the Sinai that one would expect from forty years of wandering of more than half a million people. And other archaeological evidence contradicts it, showing instead that the Hebrews were a native people (Finkelstein and Silberman 2001; Lazare 2002).
  • There is no evidence that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were nearly as powerful as the Bible indicates; they may not have existed at all (Finkelstein and Silberman 2001; Lazare 2002).
Many claims that archaeology supports the Bible, especially earlier ones, were based on the scientists trying to force the evidence to fit their own preconceptions.
Enlightened_One said:
There were also other mentions of Jesus made by other writers, including non Christians.
1. Most non-believers do not really doubt the existence of Jesus. But that says absolutely nothing about the claims of the Bible (including that God exists), other than a man name Jesus existed.

2. There have been many other ancient prophets of a similar nature, who were also recorded in other texts.
Enlightened_One said:
The Bible has more support than any other ancient text.
This is a logical fallacy - appealing to majority. The number of people who believe something does not necessarily mean it is true. A long time ago most people thought the world was flat. Numbers have nothing to do with truth.

Additionally:
1. Popularity does not indicate reliability. Indeed, the opposite is more likely. Other best-sellers, such as Spock's Baby and Child Care, Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods, The Atkins Diet, and Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, range from seriously flawed to downright bogus.

Longevity is a better indicator of quality. The Bible rates well in that category, but it is surpassed by several other works, such as the Iliad and Odyssey and the Hindu Vedas and Epics. And even then, the quality that matters is mostly in how the ideas are expressed, not in scientific accuracy.

2. To a significant degree, the Bible achieved its large circulation by conquest, not merit. Native cultures were subjugated or murdered by Christian missionaries, and their works were destroyed.

Even today, many so-called Christians try to force the Bible on others through political dominance; for example, by trying to get it taught in science classes of public schools. They act as though the Bible cannot succeed on its own. This is a reason to reject the Bible, not approve of it.
Enlightened_One said:
Further, it is interesting that seldom few historians look at history with an open mind. Most of them believe miracles are impossible and thus do not have an unbiased view. This could be said for manyw ho engage in religious debates.
1. Science says that certain miracles go against what we know about the laws of the universe and about all our observable and collective knowledge of the world. Therefore, it is extremely improbable that such miracles occured. That is perfectly reasonable.

2. (As quoted before) Divinity is not shown by miracles. The Bible itself says true prophecies may come elsewhere than from God (Deut. 13:1-3), as may other miracles (Exod. 7:22, Matt. 4:8).
Enlightened_One said:
It is also interesting that with some people the problem is not whether God exists or not, but whether or not they can bring themsleves to believe in him. Most modern people resent the thought of a higher power, someone that they're accountable to.
Irrelevant. That has nothing to do with the question of whether God exists. If God does not exist, it does not matter how much people resent a higher power.
Enlightened_One said:
And for another thing, how come we take the word of science so easily? We are told that we are made of small atoms, yet we cannot prove this for ourself. Or else we're told there is ice on Mars. How can we check this for ourselves? Do we even bother? People hold some inherent skeptical bias towards religion which is not reserved for anything else.
I think that you have a misguided idea about what science is. Science does not tell us what to think, it only asks that we think critically about our beliefs. Those propositions you state have been achieved not through following something blindly, but by thinking critically about the world and using reason and evidence to discover things.

It is very misguided to say that people follow science in the same blind way that it is alleged that theists follow religion. Science is not about destroying religion. Science is the pursuit of truth. If religion were true and provable, then science would be on it's side. But contrary to what you suggest, science is not a bias.
Enlightened_One said:
This is sort of what Wilmo was hinting at. We take many things for granted today even if we don't know they exist.
We do not take reason "for granted". We use reason because it works. As I've said before, no-one has come up with an argument for irrationality!
Enlightened_One said:
And just because a person chooses to ingore something does not make it any less real. You may ignore the car coming down the street, you may say to yourself that it does not exist, but it'll still splatter you across the windscreen.
Of course it does not make it any less real, should there actually exist a god. No-one is trying to argue against that proposition. But we do not have any evidence or reason to suppose that God does exist, so that point is irrelevant.
Enlightened_One said:
All of you on the thread, ask yourselves if you truly come here with an open mind or do you hold innate prejiduces.
A bit ironic, because those who rely on reason do not start on a default position of religious dogma that they have been (probably) brought up on. Instead they start with the tools for discovering truth: reason and evidence, and work from there. If there is any prejudice, it is far more likely to be on the theistic side. I would implore you to heed your own advice.
 

gerhard

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that video rubbed me the wrong way completely. as an athiest.
 

Enlightened_One

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MoonlightSonata said:
Generator put it succinctly, "The existence of a man or a book doesn't suggest that a god exists, it merely suggests that the religion and its prophet did exist at such a date."
Again, the age of a document does not necessarily mean that its content is true.
Refer to the post here , which deals with prophecy claims.
Again, the number of copies in no way demonstrates the truth of the text.
I forgot to add this rebuttal to the second post; I will update it --




1. Most non-believers do not really doubt the existence of Jesus. But that says absolutely nothing about the claims of the Bible (including that God exists), other than a man name Jesus existed.



2. There have been many other ancient prophets of a similar nature, who were also recorded in other texts.
This is a logical fallacy - appealing to majority. The number of people who believe something does not necessarily mean it is true. A long time ago most people thought the world was flat. Numbers have nothing to do with truth.

Additionally:


1. Science says that certain miracles go against what we know about the laws of the universe and about all our observable and collective knowledge of the world. Therefore, it is extremely improbable that such miracles occured. That is perfectly reasonable.



2. (As quoted before) Divinity is not shown by miracles. The Bible itself says true prophecies may come elsewhere than from God (Deut. 13:1-3), as may other miracles (Exod. 7:22, Matt. 4:8).
Irrelevant. That has nothing to do with the question of whether God exists. If God does not exist, it does not matter how much people resent a higher power.
I think that you have a misguided idea about what science is. Science does not tell us what to think, it only asks that we think critically about our beliefs. Those propositions you state have been achieved not through following something blindly, but by thinking critically about the world and using reason and evidence to discover things.

It is very misguided to say that people follow science in the same blind way that it is alleged that theists follow religion. Science is not about destroying religion. Science is the pursuit of truth. If religion were true and provable, then science would be on it's side. But contrary to what you suggest, science is not a bias.
We do not take reason "for granted". We use reason because it works. As I've said before, no-one has come up with an argument for irrationality!
Of course it does not make it any less real, should there actually exist a god. No-one is trying to argue against that proposition. But we do not have any evidence or reason to suppose that God does exist, so that point is irrelevant.
A bit ironic, because those who rely on reason do not start on a default position of religious dogma that they have been (probably) brought up on. Instead they start with the tools for discovering truth: reason and evidence, and work from there. If there is any prejudice, it is far more likely to be on the theistic side. I would implore you to heed your own advice.
For Some reason you seem to have ignored the first line of my post, which I'll copy here:
Perhaps you cannot use the Bible to prove the existence of God along your lines of argument, but bear in mind that the New Testament is the most historically preserved text and I think second place is reserved for the Old Testament.

When I wrote that I had just finished skimming the fallacies section. I was merely stating that is interesting to note how well preserved the New Testament was. Historically the bible should be considered the richest text available for studying the time it talks about. Historians seem to apply far less rigorous tests to other preserved scraps of ancient text.
I am well aware of what science is. Perhaps you're deliberately avoiding the issue. What I am saying is that science is so readily accepted without question. How many of you in year ten science raised your hand and asked your science teacher if they'd ever seen atoms? Cells, certainly, I remember seeing cells, but atoms?

Not everyone admits Jesus existed, I think you'll find.

With reference to 1 in your post:
Improbable, but not impossible. The point is that most do not even allow for the possiblity that miracles and the like could happen.
As for the world is flat argument, do not rely to heavily upon that one for in another thousand years everything that may have been 'proved' now shall be overturned.
I did not say a lot of people believed in it, though they do. I said that a lot of copies existed. I also mentioned that copies of the Old Testament which contained the prophecies existed before Jesus. And it can be argued that he fulfills these prophecies.
I did not say science was destroying religion, I was using science as a comparison.

True and proved do not necessarily mean the same thing. A lot of what the bible describes has been proven as well as any archaeological theory has been proven. Thus the context exists. However, what would it take to prove the existence of God?
Even if the ten commandments were found nothing could be absolutely discerned except that they were stone, and that they came from the time Moses was supposed to have existed. They could not prove themselves to be the word of God.

Reason is the only vehicle I use. I try to detach it from passion, which I suggest you do. Never anywhere was I stating the bible was true or proved anything, I was asserting that the context existed.

Do not lecture me on research and the like, I don't know about you, but at least I can say I have looked into it (though I have not yet completely read the bible). I started studying from that book in my spare time simply out of interest and I approahced it with an open mind.

The analogy with the car was a joke, but it was a dig at skeptical people who try to ignore everything and the perils that may arise from it. And it was a hit at those people who only believe in what they choose to believe. I borrowed it from the author I cited before.

As for the cheap shot that my mind is closed because I was raised in a religious household, YOU"RE WRONG. I was not raised in a religious household, I have never read all of the bible, and I do not attend church reguarly. I am only looking at this as a philosophical problem from a university perspective and I suggest you do the same.

Bear in mind that the trick is to go and look at all the evidence, both sides and then make up your own damn mind. It seems your mind is already made up. I am in the process of doing that. I was just resenting some stuff from the book I am looking at which lays out evidence for God and His son (and later some criticisms).

There are a lot more books on the topic and the best I can offer you is to look for one by an author who has credentials and who, if they are religious, either has not always been or has a hell of a good defence. The author I was referring to pursued it merely to disprove it and was surprised by what he found.

I never stated whether I was religious or not. You merely assume I am. That however is something that should have no bearing on a purely reasonable argument except to show bias. As stated before though, I tried to detach my passion and subsequently have not found a good reason to disprove the existence of God since year seven and eight science. I did find some good philosophical problems with divine existence though, but they don't prove anything really just open up long discussions.
 
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Enlightened_One

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SashatheMan said:
Not a single text exists from jesus himself or from a person who knew jesus in flesh.
only texts we have of them are dated decades after his death.



we are not denying that jesus didnt exist, or the places he lived are not real, we are saying that jesus was nothign more then a person, and in noway does it prove the existance of god.




its hard or impossible to amagine an actaual blackhole, but the difference between a blackhole and god is that scientists have made numorous observations of a blackhole , while god still hasnt been seen.


i egnore god, why is nothing happeneing to me RIGHT NOW IN THIS LIFE?


i open my mind up when i see good evidence. you should be asking yourself the same question
You're slightly wrong. The texts we have are copies of texts written by four people who knew Jesus. The earliest of the New Testament copies date back to around 50 AD. Whoever copied them may been alive in the time of Jesus, or else their parents were.

Scientists observe blackholes and they SPECULATE AND THEORISE that there are twelve dimensiosn or more once you get deeper in. They certainly haven't sent any probes in or seen directly what the eigth dimension looks like.

The point I was making was that if I was a scientist and I said that I had found a evidence of fossilised bacteria on debris from an asteroid and my cohorts backed me up, then you all would believe me. Even if you never saw the fossils you would believe me.
Or if I claim (and I happen to be a foremost and distinguished scientist) that I have found a hidden gene that links us to chimpanzees and my cohorts confirmed it then the public and you included would take us at our word. How many average people (I don't mean uni students) see a scientific annoucement on TV and say "I reckon that's bullshit. Let's see some real proof." and then they go and look up all the articles and scientific journals etc. How many uni students even do that.

As for the second last part, if God does exist and created the universe then He is infinitely more intelligent than me and I dare not assume to be able to claim what His thoughts or reasons are.

Do you go and see if there is any good evidence? Do you come at it with an open mind? Or have you already reached a conclusion and you'll only accept what evidence fits in with your theory?

What is enough evidence anyway? I expect that Jesus could return tomorrow, perform divine miracles and prove his existence to those he meets and yet those who did not see him or talk to him etc would still be unwilling to believe.

Even if he did return tomorrow, two thousands years from now I'd wager a similiar debate would be occurring.
 
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MoonlightSonata

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Enlightened_One said:
For Some reason you seem to have ignored the first line of my post, which I'll copy here:
Perhaps you cannot use the Bible to prove the existence of God along your lines of argument, but bear in mind that the New Testament is the most historically preserved text and I think second place is reserved for the Old Testament.
I did not ignore it -- I said:
MoonlightSonata said:
Generator put it succinctly, "The existence of a man or a book doesn't suggest that a god exists, it merely suggests that the religion and its prophet did exist at such a date."
That is, the point that the Bible is well preserved has no relevance. How does the fact that it is well preserved matter?
Enlightened_One said:
When I wrote that I had just finished skimming the fallacies section. I was merely stating that is interesting to note how well preserved the New Testament was.
As I said above, that has no relevance.
Enlightened_One said:
Historically the bible should be considered the richest text available for studying the time it talks about. Historians seem to apply far less rigorous tests to other preserved scraps of ancient text.
1. There are claims made in the Bible that go beyond history; they are metaphysical and cosmological claims. There is an important difference between purely historical texts that tell us when a battle was fought, and texts that tells us how the universe was created. The truth of the latter cannot in any way be proven by a religious text, for the reasons I mentioned before.

2. As was quoted before, "If a few instances of historical accuracy are so significant, then an equal claim for accuracy can be made for the Iliad and Gone with the Wind." (And note: other religious texts too). Historical accuracy is not remarkable.
Enlightened_One said:
I am well aware of what science is. Perhaps you're deliberately avoiding the issue. What I am saying is that science is so readily accepted without question. How many of you in year ten science raised your hand and asked your science teacher if they'd ever seen atoms? Cells, certainly, I remember seeing cells, but atoms?
1. You make the point that the conclusions of science are accepted by some people without question. That has no relevance as to the truth of science. It only means that some people do not bother to read up on things and test the reasoning for themselves.

2. Look around at all the complex machines - electricity, light, computers, cars, everything that you see around you. Those are the results of science. Laypeople accept scientific reasoning because it works!
Enlightened_One said:
Not everyone admits Jesus existed, I think you'll find.
It is quite irrelevant; even if he did exists this proves nothing about God.
Enlightened_One said:
With reference to 1 in your post:
There were a number of "1"s. In the future, please quote the exact passage so that I know what you are referring to. It makes things a lot clearer. I shall add my previous comments in for you this post.
Enlightened_One said:
MoonlightSonata said:
1. Science says that certain miracles go against what we know about the laws of the universe and about all our observable and collective knowledge of the world. Therefore, it is extremely improbable that such miracles occured. That is perfectly reasonable.
Improbable, but not impossible. The point is that most do not even allow for the possiblity that miracles and the like could happen.
Do you allow for the possibility that I am an alien? Improbable, but not impossible.

Even accepting your point entirely -- that scientists assume that miracles cannot occur (very reasonable since we have no proof of them ever occuring) -- that says nothing about the existence of God.
Enlightened_One said:
As for the world is flat argument, do not rely to heavily upon that one for in another thousand years everything that may have been 'proved' now shall be overturned.
The point still stands: you committed a clear appeal to majority. Numbers do not equate to truth.
Enlightened_One said:
I did not say a lot of people believed in it, though they do. I said that a lot of copies existed.
You stated:
Enlightened_One said:
The Bible has more support than any other ancient text.
So I'm afraid you did.

Even if you change your stance solely to the claim that a lot of copies existed, that says absolutely nothing about the truth value and it is an indirect appeal to majority anyway. Additionally, that point was already addressed in the quote I gave before, which I shall repeat:
1. Popularity does not indicate reliability. Indeed, the opposite is more likely. Other best-sellers, such as Spock's Baby and Child Care, Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods, The Atkins Diet, and Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, range from seriously flawed to downright bogus.

Longevity is a better indicator of quality. The Bible rates well in that category, but it is surpassed by several other works, such as the Iliad and Odyssey and the Hindu Vedas and Epics. And even then, the quality that matters is mostly in how the ideas are expressed, not in scientific accuracy.

2. To a significant degree, the Bible achieved its large circulation by conquest, not merit. Native cultures were subjugated or murdered by Christian missionaries, and their works were destroyed.

Even today, many so-called Christians try to force the Bible on others through political dominance; for example, by trying to get it taught in science classes of public schools. They act as though the Bible cannot succeed on its own. This is a reason to reject the Bible, not approve of it.
Enlightened_One said:
I also mentioned that copies of the Old Testament which contained the prophecies existed before Jesus. And it can be argued that he fulfills these prophecies.
You have ignored my reference to the second post in this thread that rebuts the prophecy claims, so I shall reproduce it here for your convenience:
Claim:

The religious text contains many prophecies that have accurately been fulfilled, proving it is a divine source.


Response:

1. There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:
  • Retrodiction. The "prophecy" can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.
There are no prophecies in religious texts 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. A fulfilled prophecy was a failed prophecy, because it meant people did not heed the warning.

3. Specifically, the Bible 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).
  • Isaiah 17:1-3 says that Damascus will cease to be a city and be deserted forever, yet it is inhabited still.
  • 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.

5. For Christians, divinity is not shown by miracles. The Bible itself says true prophecies may come elsewhere than from God (Deut. 13:1-3), as may other miracles (Exod. 7:22, Matt. 4:8).
Enlightened_One said:
MoonlightSonata said:
I think that you have a misguided idea about what science is. Science does not tell us what to think, it only asks that we think critically about our beliefs. Those propositions you state have been achieved not through following something blindly, but by thinking critically about the world and using reason and evidence to discover things.

It is very misguided to say that people follow science in the same blind way that it is alleged that theists follow religion. Science is not about destroying religion. Science is the pursuit of truth. If religion were true and provable, then science would be on it's side. But contrary to what you suggest, science is not a bias.
I did not say science was destroying religion, I was using science as a comparison.
I realise that, but my point was that science is not simply "an opposite viewpoint". It is the objective tool for discovering truth. Pure science has no bias other than the limits of the human mind.
Enlightened_One said:
True and proved do not necessarily mean the same thing. A lot of what the bible describes has been proven as well as any archaeological theory has been proven. Thus the context exists.
As mentioned, the context is not remarkable.
Enlightened_One said:
However, what would it take to prove the existence of God?
I do not think that you can prove the existence of God. Hence why I am agnostic.
Enlightened_One said:
Even if the ten commandments were found nothing could be absolutely discerned except that they were stone, and that they came from the time Moses was supposed to have existed. They could not prove themselves to be the word of God.
Precisely.
Enlightened_One said:
Reason is the only vehicle I use. I try to detach it from passion, which I suggest you do.
Thank you, but I do not feel that I need that particular point of advice; I have and will continue to rely on reason, evidence and logic.
Enlightened_One said:
Never anywhere was I stating the bible was true or proved anything, I was asserting that the context existed.
Good, I agree with you.
Enlightened_One said:
Do not lecture me on research and the like, I don't know about you, but at least I can say I have looked into it (though I have not yet completely read the bible). I started studying from that book in my spare time simply out of interest and I approahced it with an open mind.
Good to hear.
Enlightened_One said:
The analogy with the car was a joke, but it was a dig at skeptical people who try to ignore everything and the perils that may arise from it. And it was a hit at those people who only believe in what they choose to believe. I borrowed it from the author I cited before.
I understand, but as I stated, no-one is arguing that so the point is of little use.
Enlightened_One said:
As for the cheap shot that my mind is closed because I was raised in a religious household, YOU"RE WRONG. I was not raised in a religious household, I have never read all of the bible, and I do not attend church reguarly.
I was responding to an indirect ad hominem suggestion that we had prejudices -
Enlightened_One said:
All of you on the thread, ask yourselves if you truly come here with an open mind or do you hold innate prejiduces.
Which I admit that for the sole purposes of this argument I was wrong to respond to. I simply felt that it was unfair to let that slip, since in my experience theists are usually the ones who have been brought up with a set of beliefs that are quite diffuclt for them to question. Hence, my amusement at the wide generalisation that those who disagree may be narrow-minded or prejudiced. But I shall say no more on the matter. You have my apologies. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Enlightened_One said:
I am only looking at this as a philosophical problem from a university perspective and I suggest you do the same.
Thanks, but I don't really care about your credentials - I care about your arguments.

(If a "university perspective" is so utterely important to you, you may like to know that I am now a 4th year combined law student and have completed a major in philosophy for my arts degree. I have studied reason and metaphysics. How do you like them apples? :rolleyes: )
Enlightened_One said:
Bear in mind that the trick is to go and look at all the evidence, both sides and then make up your own damn mind. It seems your mind is already made up.
Just address my argument please.
Enlightened_One said:
I am in the process of doing that. I was just resenting some stuff from the book I am looking at which lays out evidence for God and His son (and later some criticisms).
Okay.
Enlightened_One said:
There are a lot more books on the topic and the best I can offer you is to look for one by an author who has credentials and who, if they are religious, either has not always been or has a hell of a good defence. The author I was referring to pursued it merely to disprove it and was surprised by what he found.
If it is so good, perhaps you can reproduce such an argument here.
Enlightened_One said:
I never stated whether I was religious or not. You merely assume I am. That however is something that should have no bearing on a purely reasonable argument except to show bias. As stated before though, I tried to detach my passion and subsequently have not found a good reason to disprove the existence of God since year seven and eight science.
The onus is on those who believe in God to prove that it exists, not the other way around.
Enlightened_One said:
I did find some good philosophical problems with divine existence though, but they don't prove anything really just open up long discussions.
Right.
 

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midnight_magick said:
yes, but what if we are of a different religion? do these 'god rules' still apply to us? or must every single human being believe in this god, and those who just happen to be of a different faith be subject to god's damnation?
I believe Jesus is the only way to the Father. I believe this because I believe what he said... This is an example from Luke 13:22-30

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"

He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.'
"But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'

"Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'

"But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'

"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."
I believe that there is only ONE way to God, and yes that does limit your options. Very people who are looking for God will actually find him. Anyone trying to enter his kingdom through a entrance way that is not an enterance way is a robber.

You may think that's not fair. BUT you are given ample warning! If you want to come inside come in through the door! Why look around for another way in?! There is no other way...

This may prompt the response "Well, what if YOU are wrong and Jesus was just a man?"

That has a simple answer. If this Jesus is not who he said he was, if he was not raised from the dead and if what he said was not the word of God... I am to be pitied above all men! If only for this lifetime do I have faith in Christ then I am to be pitied.

To quote a Dogwood song "I have a faith noone believes, I love a God noone can see..." on top of that I deny myself earthly pleasures for the greater pleasure of glorifying God. I put my hope in something beyond this life, and if after I die there is nothing then I will let you pity me.

But as it stands, I'm convinced of what I believe, I trust what God has revealed to me through his word and through his Spirit and my citizenship is in heaven where Christ has made it possible for me to go.




SashatheMan said:
Not a single text exists from jesus himself or from a person who knew jesus in flesh.
only texts we have of them are dated decades after his death.
Umm... The Gospel according to Matthew was written by Jesus disciple... Matthew. He was a tax collector until Jesus called him to follow.

That's an interesting thing too. A tax collector with a nice, cumfy job and an income that's a much as he likes would not give up his position for just any man. It would take a big change of heart to change from being someone who lives for themself to being someone who lives for God.

And then he would have had 3 years of walking around with Jesus and getting to know him and probably even writing down some of the things he said.

Several times Jesus sends out his disciples to preach the kingdom of God to the surrounding countries. What Jesus recieved from God, he passed on to his disciples. And what he passed on to his disciples they passed on to everyone else. So several times the disciples would have had to present the gospel message just as Jesus would have presented it if he were doing it. I dunno about you, but when i practice a speech for a while I start to remember it pretty clearly.

Then at Pentecost, the twelve recieved the Holy Spirit and were made apostles (messengers or sent ones). This meant they were sent out into ALL the world to present the exact same message. This message they would have presented and lived out every single day of their lives. It's something that they treasured dearly and would not forget.

I would say John knew Jesus in the flesh too... but there is some debate about whether he was the apostle John or whether he was someone else.

Paul is the main contributor to the text of the New Testament. There was another man how had an encounter with Jesus. He had a very specific experience meeting the Lord on the road to Damascus.

On top of that, Paul was different to all the other apostles because he was VERY learned. He was very familiar with the texts of the old testament and he could read and write in several different languages. He would no doubt have written lots of stuff down.

After he was converted, he went back to Jerusalem to meet the other apostles. And I'm sure that when he was there, the Apostles would have told him everything that Jesus has taught them. And I bet Paul would have taken it all in and all down so he can present the teaching to others.

Then there is Luke. He was a doctor. Paul brought the Gospel to him, and you can just imagine that someone as scientifically minded as a doctor would want to know all about what he is hearing. So for ages he would have followed Paul listening intently to everything he said and writing it down.

The Gospel according to Luke, and the book of the Acts were both written by him because he wanted to present a clear, no nonsense message to the person he was writing to. You can almost tell how excited he is when he writes these words! It's like he's saying "Everything I am writing to you is true and can be vouched for by the apostles. This is what Jesus did... It's hard to believe but it is all true! This Jesus was amazing!"

SashatheMan said:
we are not denying that jesus didnt exist, or the places he lived are not real, we are saying that jesus was nothign more then a person, and in noway does it prove the existance of god.
Jesus claimed that he was in the Father, and the Father was in him. I believe the bible to be historically accurate, and as such I believe these to be the true words of Jesus. No mere human could have God dwelling in them, nor could they have any place in God. It's a supernatural thing and as such I believe that Jesus was more than a person.

I believe that he is fully God and fully man as well.

SashatheMan said:
i ignore god, why is nothing happeneing to me RIGHT NOW IN THIS LIFE?
So... you're inviting the wrath of God upon yourself because you ignore him now and nothing has happened so there is no reason to care?

As i said earlier. God is quite fine by himself and he doesnt need you to acknowledge him to have a sense of worth. BUT having said that, you are a child of his and you were created to give him glory.

In ignoring him, you are falling short of what your very purpose in life is. Whether you are conscious of it or not you are in an active rebellion against him. This makes God angry and rightly so.

God is slow to anger and his desire is that all people may bring him glory. But we desire to honour ourselves rather than honor him. We find our pleasure in things that are not as pleasurable as delighting in God.

Because of this, God has set a date where he will judge the nations according to how they performed their task of giving him glory and you will have to say "Well... I didn't go out of my way to take glory from you... I just didnt do anything to give it to you..." and he will punish you ETERNALLY for that.

And don't think I get off lightly either! God will ask me the same question "How did you bring glory to me?" and all the ways in which I have failed and continued to fail in glorifying him will be laid before him and he will be as disgusted with them as he is with your sin.

The difference is that I have put my trust in Christ and in what he said. I have admitted in this lifetime that I am stubborn and rebellious and that i seek my own glory. But when I became a christian, I gave my sin and my rebellion to Jesus and it was dealt with on the cross.

Now there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. My debt has been paid in full and as such i can spend eternity with God, glorifying him as he intended.






The only other thing i have time to say at the moment is about the prophecies. MS said that all prophecies fit into these dodgey little boxes which shows they're untrue. But I thought about it, and Isaiah 53 is a prophecy that doesnt.

Retrodiction: Isaiah was a prophet several hundred years before Jesus was born. The Jews believe in this text as well and know that Christians have not changed it to create a fufilled prophecy.

Vagueness: This prophecy is very specific in its detail. It is not vague. It does not say "This thing might happen... but if it doesnt this other thing might take its place"It says this is what will happen. And in Jesus it was fulfilled.

Inevitable: I dunno about you, but I think being killed in this way would be very inevitable.

Denial: Since nobody is debating whether Jesus existed or not... I dont think people would have a problem with skipping this one.

Self Fulfilment: I think it would be impossible to fulfill this prophecy as specifically as Isaiah has told it. Even with this prophecy, the people still did not believe that Jesus was this man. I highly doubt that someone seeking to self fulfil this prophecy would be very pleased with themself if nobody was going to believe they were someone special.


With a bit of twisting and turning... you could maybe get one or two to awkwardly fit into those catagories. But the claim was that "all prophecies easily fit into one or more of these catagories." I hope that you can see that NOT ALL prophecies do.

Not to mention there are soooooo many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled and if the best you can do is quote a couple that did not come true (for various reasons), I invite you to do a bit more reasearch :)
 

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I cant believe people seriously think that anyone who doesnt worship their specific god is going to hell. That billions of people will suffer eternal damnation because they grew up in a community that believed something else. People barely even get a choice in the matter. Who would want to go to heaven if god was this much of a fucking cunt?
 

erawamai

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gerhard said:
I cant believe people seriously think that anyone who doesnt worship their specific god is going to hell. That billions of people will suffer eternal damnation because they grew up in a community that believed something else. People barely even get a choice in the matter. Who would want to go to heaven if god was this much of a fucking cunt?
Hilter repents on his death bed and submits to god...he goes to heaven.

Mr x lives a clean life and is often charitable. He doesn't believe in god. He goes to hell.

Religion isn't very moral or just is it?
 

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This thread starts at a great disadvantage, as those who are predisposed to believing in God will continue to argue for the existence of God, and those predisposed against God's existence will continue to argue against.

I would be interested to know who would be willing to bet against Pascal and lie, cheat, steal, act without regard for consequence. Pascal stated that if he acts against God's will, and God exists, he will suffer, but if he acts according to God's will and he doesn't exist, he doesn't lose. Therefore, he stated it was more logical to act as if God existed.

However, if God doesn't punish you for acting like this, the State certainly will. So either way you're going to have to act with regard for consequence. Does it make much difference if you act because God told you, or the State told you?

*It's not a great description of Pascal's Wager, correct me if I'm wrong
 
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xeuyrawp

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The Nick said:
This thread starts at a great disadvantage, as those who are predisposed to believing in God will continue to argue for the existence of God, and those predisposed against God's existence will continue to argue against.

I would be interested to know who would be willing to bet against Pascal and lie, cheat, steal, act without regard for consequence. Pascal stated that if he acts against God's will, and God exists, he will suffer, but if he acts according to God's will and he doesn't exist, he doesn't lose. Therefore, he stated it was more logical to act as if God existed.

However, if God doesn't punish you for acting like this, the State certainly will. So either way you're going to have to act with regard for consequence. Does it make much difference if you act because God told you, or the State told you?

*It's not a great description of Pascal's Wager, correct me if I'm wrong
The Wager is far more simple (oversimplified?):

- God exists, you think he exists. You win the 'bet' and go to heaven.
- God exists, you think he doesn't. You lose the 'bet' and go to hell.
- God doesn't exists, you think he exist. You lose the 'bet', but that's it.
- God doesn't exists, you think he doesn't exist. You win the 'bet', but that's it.

Statistically, you have more to gain by believing in god; losing the 'bet' is better than going to hell.

However, he equates non-believing with going to hell, which is against the modern version of god's benevolence. Remember, though, that modern Christians think god is benevolent because it makes them better than the believes of the powerful Allah (who is never called a benevolent name), and the Hindu gods which appear before man -- moral high-ground, really.
 

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gerhard said:
I cant believe people seriously think that anyone who doesnt worship their specific god is going to hell. That billions of people will suffer eternal damnation because they grew up in a community that believed something else. People barely even get a choice in the matter. Who would want to go to heaven if god was this much of a fucking cunt?
You misunderstand... God is not just some guy who "These people grew up in a community where they knew about me so they automatically get to Heaven."

He is just and right. He judges people based on what they know about him. If I was born out in deepest darkest africa where there was noone to tell me about God, i wouldn't be judged very harshly. I would still be judged because I have creation, a conscience and the judicial sentiment of my community to show me that God is in control.

But instead I was born here where I am free to learn as much about God as possible. But in doing so, i have the potential to condemn myself even more. Because the more i know God, the more appropriate my response has to be to him. If I continue to live for myself knowing that God exists and that I am rebelling against him, I will be judged according to my knowledge.

An unfortunate side effect of me telling the Gospel, the way to be saved, is that if that way is not accepted God will be able to condemn you more. You have the option to accept the good news, or to reject it. But unfortunately, if you reject it, God has greater grounds in judgement "You knew what to do, why not respond appropriately?!"

But hey, I make no apologies because it is your response that matters to God :)


erawamai said:
Hilter repents on his death bed and submits to god...he goes to heaven.

Mr x lives a clean life and is often charitable. He doesn't believe in god. He goes to hell.

Religion isn't very moral or just is it?
Hitler lives a sinful life, rebelling against God. On his death bed he realises "I am sinful and I do not deserve salvation. But I believe that Jesus died for the worst of sinners and that if i repent, he will forgive me."

Mr X lives a good life, but is still sinful. Mr X has been good all his life and does not believe that God needs to forgive him because he has done great by himself.

If the chief end of man is to glorify God, which response do you think brings him more glory? Hmmm....
 

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Abarrnet said:
Pascal's Wager is well-known to many atheists. On the internet, it is probably the most common argument heard from Christians, and the regulars of newsgroups such as alt.atheism feel cheated if a week goes by without someone bringing it up (this rarely happens), only to be shot down in flames (this always happens). It is also one of the most common arguments I receive in my email box, so this article was written specifically to deal with it.


Pascal's Wager is quite simple, and superficially appears to be a strong and compelling argument for theism. However, a little close scrutiny soon reveals the flawed logic and reasoning behind it, which actually makes it one of the weakest arguments a theist could come up with.

The Wager
Pascal's Wager can be presented in many different forms, usually something like this:

"If you believe, and God exists, you gain everything. If you disbelieve, and God exists, you lose everything."
Essentially, you are hedging your bets...

Alternatively :

"It makes more sense to believe in God than to not believe. If you believe, and God exists, you will be rewarded in the afterlife. If you do not believe, and He exists, you will be punished for your disbelief. If He does not exist, you have lost nothing either way. "
The worst case for the theist is no afterlife, the worst case for the atheist is an eternity in Hell. You can see why this appears to be a potentially convincing argument - it is sensible to choose the least-worst case.

The flaws

The most obvious problems with Pascal's Wager are:
  • How do you know which God to believe in? There are plenty to choose from, and if you pick the wrong one, you could be in big trouble (e.g. what if you choose Jesus, but get to heaven only to come face-to-trunk with Ganesh?). This is known as the "Avoiding the wrong Hell problem". If a dozen people of different religions came to you with Pascal's Wager, how could you possibly choose between them? After all, many religions are quite specific that they are the One True Religion, and not any others. Jesus Christ said "I am the way, the truth and the light. None shall come to the Father except through me." [emphasis added] and no doubt most other religions make similar claims. If a Christian considers the Wager as strong support for his faith, surely he must accept that it is equally valid for all other religions when presented to himself?

  • God is not stupid. Won't He know that you're just trying to get a free ride into Heaven? How can you sincerely believe in a God simply out of convenience?

  • If there is no God, you have still lost something. You have wasted a good portion of your life performing the various devotional rituals, attending Churches, praying, reading scripture and discussing your deity with His other followers. Not to mention giving your hard-earned money to the church, wasting your intelligence on theological endeavours and boring the hell out of people who really don't want to hear your Good News.

  • Can you get away with just sort of generally believing in a Supreme Being, without specifically believing in one particular Deity? Probably not - God will still know what you're up to. Also, many Gods are quite particular about how they should be worshipped. Many born-again Christians will tell you that the only way to Heaven is through accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour - nothing more and nothing less. General-Deity-Belief and being nice simply won't do. Many people believe that all the different religions are merely alternative routes to the same destination. Nice and tolerant (if a little warm'n'fuzzy) though this may be, there is no valid reason to accept this stance over the fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist position : if the fundies are right, then the un-Saved liberal theists are in just as much trouble as the nonbelievers.

  • Few, if any, atheists disbelieve in deities out of choice. It's not as if we know the god is really there, but somehow refuse to believe in it (for example, see if you can choose to truly believe that Australia does not exist). Most atheists disbelieve simply because they know of no compelling evidence to suggest that any sort of god exists. If you want an atheist to believe, show her some good evidence, don't just say it's in her best interests to believe even if there is no god. A person cannot choose to sincerely believe in something, just because it is pragmatic to do so. Sure, you could say all the right prayers and attend church regularly, but that is not the same thing as actually believing, and any God worth his salt would obviously see straight through that.

  • It is quite insulting. It amounts to a thinly veiled threat, little better than saying "Believe in my God or He'll send you to Hell" (in fact, this is often the form it is presented in). Also, the theist making this threat assumes that the atheist believes there is a Hell or a God to send her there in the first place. If you don't believe in Hell anyway, it's not a scary thing to be threatened with - a bit like saying "If you don't start believing in unicorns, one will trample you to death while you're sleeping." Who would be worried by that?

  • It is often self-refuting, depending on the person's description of God. If you believe that God will forgive anyone for anything, or judge people purely on how they lived their life and not what they believed, or that everyone gets to Heaven regardless (unless maybe they were genocidal cannibal serial killers), then the Wager is meaningless. You might as well say "Believe in God, or you'll... erm... go to Heaven anyway." In such a case, it doesn't make a scrap of difference whether the person believes or not.

Pascal's Wager is hopelessly flawed. It sounds good at first, but poke it with the spike of reason and it quickly deflates, letting out all the hot air.

An alternative - The Atheist's Wager
This seems to be much more reasonable, both for atheists and theists :

"It is better to live your life as if there are no Gods, and try to make the world a better place for your being in it. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent God, He will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in Him."
(And if God is not benevolent, he's gonna git ya whatever you do!)
http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/wager.html

Sup Pascal? long time no see.
 
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erawamai

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Wilmo said:
Hitler lives a sinful life, rebelling against God. On his death bed he realises "I am sinful and I do not deserve salvation. But I believe that Jesus died for the worst of sinners and that if i repent, he will forgive me."

Mr X lives a good life, but is still sinful. Mr X has been good all his life and does not believe that God needs to forgive him because he has done great by himself.

If the chief end of man is to glorify God, which response do you think brings him more glory? Hmmm....
No idea. But as a core the non believe gets to go to hell doesn't he?
 

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Wilmo said:
The only other thing i have time to say at the moment is about the prophecies. MS said that all prophecies fit into these dodgey little boxes which shows they're untrue. But I thought about it, and Isaiah 53 is a prophecy that doesnt.
Before I can comment any further on that prophecy, I would need to see the exact prophecy. Please reproduce it here so that it may be scrutinised.
 

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