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Prophecies and Other Illogical Stories at Garage Sale Posing as Culture Market

Updated on June 26, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

There Is This Unfathomable Intelligence Permeating Everything in Existence---but I Am Not Ready to See It as a Deity
There Is This Unfathomable Intelligence Permeating Everything in Existence---but I Am Not Ready to See It as a Deity

Can't Just Kneel to Believe

To make this article a little more bearable to the eyes of some devoted believers, allow me to mention that I do believe in a superior intelligence "behind all this" - whatever its real nature may be - but I am not following any of the existing organized religions.

If that doesn't pass as a "qualification for a real believer" - so be it, I am not planning to make it sound any better, while on my way to share some of my views well announced by the title. Having in sight the obvious popularity of religion on this planet, I would gladly join the believing majority, if I didn't have this chronic problem of basing my beliefs on logic. Take it as a shortcoming if you will, but I just can't "kneel and believe".

Still Sitting There, Trying to Figure It Out on My Own
Still Sitting There, Trying to Figure It Out on My Own

Not Really Shopping Much There

At the other side on the scale of my disbeliefs, I am having similar problem with accepting what's popularly called "common sense". It may help you to understand if I mention how there was a time in history when a "flat earth" was also a "common sense".

As we upgrade it into something that sounds more sophisticated, we are talking about a "paradigm", or a general belief system of a certain epoch and its cultural reach. I prefer calling it a "culture market", and after everything that I have said so far, I hope it's becoming obvious that my mind is not really frequenting that market, since there is so much that I can't "buy" there---or my "currency" would not be valid there anyway. To save the metaphor for another moment - I prefer "home-grown products".

Fortunetelling, One of the Oldest Pastimes Taken Seriously
Fortunetelling, One of the Oldest Pastimes Taken Seriously

Anyone Can Make Predictions

We could all agree upon one thing - humans are not known to spend their lives in a well protected "crystal vase", to use a little metaphor - but something like life happens to all of us. Here I mean a long repertoire of good and bad events only explainable by our incredible talent for complicating our coexistence.

So, how hard is it really to pick out any combination of those standard features in our "destiny" to make a prediction? If I tell you that you are bound to have some disappointments, unexpected calls, some problems with relationships, and someone is badmouthing you, and your health may turn to worse - am I describing your life?

No, I am describing everybody's life. Let me mix-in some wild guesses into this standard soap opera of modern living, and here is your fortune story - are you paying by cash or by a credit card? Here, for a bonus I can top it up with my own weather forecast.

The World's Stupidities Are Easy to Be Predicted
The World's Stupidities Are Easy to Be Predicted

Who Needs a Crystal Ball

While many of you may be waiting for my switching to the biblical prophecies, let me beat around the bush for another moment. Quite similar to personal fortune-telling are those global predictions that are worth mentioning.

With one advantage that the "prophets" have - a stretch of centuries to play with, and the world is crazy enough to fulfill just about any prophecy imaginable. Will there be wars? How about famine, natural disasters, greed, lust, assassinations, corruption, political deceit...O.K., you finish the list if you feel like it, and welcome to the club of prophets.

Even some of those biggies in the trade like Nostradamus, with his famous "quatrains" was too vague, and many are not taking the dude too seriously. And Edgar Cayce, with all his obvious and mysterious talent really blew it big time by predicting the Atlantis to rise up from the ocean--in recent times.

Sometimes We Tend to Believe the Whole Story just Because a Part of It Sounds True
Sometimes We Tend to Believe the Whole Story just Because a Part of It Sounds True

We Make It "True"

Isn't it interesting how we are inclined to believe in the totality of a story just because some details have turned out true. Not only that, but as long as we believe, we are going to interpret the story in a way that it "has to be " true.

For a lack of a better name, let me call it "wishful thinking". It somewhat reminds me of a story in my Latin textbook about an ancient king that visited this famous fortune-teller before going to war to tell him about the outcome of his military venture.

As the story goes, the witch would fall in her trance and scribble down : "Ibis redibis nunquam peribis in bello." The royal idiot would interpret it the way he wanted it to be - while the smart witch actually gave him a double-meaning prophecy. Namely, if the coma comes after "redibis", it meant: "You'll go, you'll return, you'll never die in war".

But if the coma came after "ibis", then it meant : "You'll go, you'll never return, you'll die in war". Of course, there was no coma in her scribbling. Like I said - we interpret things according to our beliefs. Someone expressed it like this - "Believing is seeing".

Oops! Some Details Missing from Those Prophetic Visions
Oops! Some Details Missing from Those Prophetic Visions

What's Missing Is Telling More

Now, as for biblical prophecies, they didn't really foresee anything that would be out of the ordinary historical repertoire. I just can't get over a certain problem with those "visions into the future", and it's not about what was said there - but what was "missing".

Namely, let's get to the very crux of "seeing the future". For Pete's sake (no pun intended), how selective it turns out to be! For, anyone in those times making such claims must have seen the "whole" picture, not merely some details.

So, they must have seen these "things" on the road going by themselves without being pulled by horses. And some "shiny flying things". And some "sticks" that make a big noise and kill a person at a distance without touching them. And so many other wonders that would fill Part Two of the Bible, if not make a fat trilogy out of it.

What's the Point of the Sacrifice if It Ends Up with a Resurrection?
What's the Point of the Sacrifice if It Ends Up with a Resurrection?

Makes No Logical Sense

There are so many illogical pearls of inconsistencies, contradictions, and pure mythology which I won't go into, and which have been well cataloged by those scientifically minded scholars with whom I can't compete.

However, as these are strictly my own views on the topic, I might as well mention this thing about resurrection that I simply fail to put on any logical legs. Namely, if God Almighty and All-knowing had known in advance about His only son's intentions to sacrifice himself for the salvation of the imperfect human race, why did He let him do it, rather than fix His imperfect creation - humans? You know, parents are known for warning their kids and protecting them from rushing into something dangerous.

But, then it comes to a much more mind-boggling question - if He had known that His son was going to resurrect, what was the point of the "sacrifice"? Just for the show? Sorry guys of all denominations, but I can't put everything under that umbrella of "God works in mysterious ways, and we are not supposed to question it." But you just go ahead, don't mind me, keep believing whatever makes you happy.

Why Not Come Up with a Really Effective Formula?
Why Not Come Up with a Really Effective Formula?

Take It as My Confusions - Not Your Illusions

I hope that you are still willing to see it as a problem in "my" reasoning, not that I am necessarily pinning it on "you". You just keep believing your stuff, I don't mind, I am not one of those bona fide atheists that are at times giving a bad name to logical folks.

So, while still presenting it as my problem, let me continue with another of my big confusions. Someone said it before me, so I'll paraphrase the dude who said the following about Jesus's healings some unfortunate folks from leprosy, blindness, and alike - "If I was a messiah with those powers, I would not heal a blind person or a leper, but I would make those terrible illnesses disappear altogether."

You see, that logical dude said exactly what's making me confused. And I wish that was the only example.

Anybody Ever Heard of a Book Being Written for a Predominantly Illiterate Society?
Anybody Ever Heard of a Book Being Written for a Predominantly Illiterate Society?

The Problem of Illiteracy

There is another question which keeps bumping into my sense of logicalness : Who was the Bible really written for? Now, don't jump the gun, the question is actually not as crazy as it may sound at first. You see, it is a historical fact that the great majority of those Middle Eastern folks were illiterate. Don't think of it as impossible - as if it was somehow "inherent in all humans to learn reading and writing."

To help you with some facts, even nowadays there are many illiterate folks - guess where - in these United States of America, and in many other countries. So I assume it's not so hard to imagine a society of a couple of millennia ago mostly made of shepherds, peasants, and those who would today qualify for welfare.

The minority were soldiers, merchants, and noble folks calling the shots and deciding who lives and who dies. And those doomed to die would coincide with those who would have dared to write anything that would have been against the religious status quo of those times. Don't forget, they were hardly waiting to get an excuse to pin someone on a cross like a rare butterfly, or go into a delirious trance while watching gladiators getting torn apart by lions.

Now, my question is coming back in a gallop - who of all those would have been into reading a holy book - or any book for that matter? And if hardly any - why bother writing it?

Indeed, would you write a manuscript for which there is no market, no reading public, and even those few who might dare reading it would get executed just like you? What's the point of "opening someone's eyes" if those eyes are bound to be closed forever as the consequence of "getting opened"?

Look at the nature of the people these days - they have no problem at all living with a bunch of lies, and even making some fresh ones. Life is good - lies or not, so why expect from those poor devils of biblical times to give up that little of life they had?

Life Was Strictly Tied to Everyday Survival---Almost No One Trying to Be Smart About It
Life Was Strictly Tied to Everyday Survival---Almost No One Trying to Be Smart About It

Spirituality Was Not On the Menu of Life

Allow me to elaborate a little more, if I may, on the societies of biblical era. Whoever bothered to write those scriptures couldn't have done it while having in mind some "future generations" when a whole bunch of literate people would make it more popular than Shakespeare's "Hamlet".

They had to be written in the spirit of that era, not for some future times. And no one, with an exception of a little number of advanced minds was really into "serious, philosophical stuff". Remember folks, those days you could only see all kinds of entertainers on a typical Middle Eastern street - like magicians, storytellers, clowns, acrobats, fortune-tellers, and of course---a garden variety of mystics and prophets.

People were gullible, simpleminded, easily swayed into any kind of believing. Indeed, how gullible does one have to be in order to believe in a complete catalog of deities depicting just about anything that one doesn't understand? Well, not that we have evolved very far in that respect, but those times were marked for something that we could call, without any mocking in mind: general public ignorance.

Those folks were working hard, life was hard beyond our imagination, and they just wanted to be entertained between two rounds of struggling with their everyday hardships - not to be smart, not to be enlightened.

No matter how Hollywood movies have been trying to romanticize those folks and their passion for spirituality and higher learning, they were simply not equipped in their heads for something like it. Unlike these days when everyone is mostly literate, relatively educated, and well advanced in the skill of texting while driving - those folks' minds were strictly tied to their hard routine of daily survival.

And now, before this text turns by its volume into some "unholy scriptures" of a sort - I might as well leave the theme, along with some other logically unexplainable puzzles relating to it. If it looks like my attempt to debunk anything, it's by sheer accident - I just wanted to share my own doubts.

The Magic Is in Those Words : To Each Their Own

For my last words of this article I have saved a little plea to those readers who may feel called upon or tempted to try "saving my soul from my confusions."

Well, they shouldn't bother, I appreciate the noble motive, but I am one of those, call me "incorrigible logical users of mind", with an accent on "incorrigible". Of course, neither am I expecting that anyone would find some fun in verbally smacking my ignorance around with their holy book.

For, look, I am perfectly fine with their believing, while I don't even claim to have all that love, tolerance, forgiveness, and acceptance that religious folks have developed through their devoted following their religious idol, Jesus Christ---or any other for that matter.

So, let's keep nurturing our own gardens without throwing any stones over the fence - let's love our neighbor as we love ourselves, meaning those " confused by logic" as well!

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    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 9 months ago from Canada

      Gilbert---My "confusion dictated by logic" is more of a figure of speech than a real confusion. Namely, I could easily turn it around and say that those who believe without an evidence are "confused"---while I am pretty much on the way of having some solid answers.

      Thus, "confusion" that I mention is more of a polite expression of a disagreement with the religious paradigm.

      My theme is heavily falling on the "brain's function of believing" which doesn't need any substantial evidence in order to form a belief---being somewhat in the same category with "fantasizing".

      But, out of pure friendly attitude, I called "myself" the one who is confused, not them. I love people, and there is nothing of a "guilt" in that love, Gilbert. The fact that my intellectual adventurism oftentimes takes me away from the mainstream thought doesn't make us antagonistic, just different, and I love that difference as well; my fingerprints are only mine, and it feels good being myself.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 9 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Keep searching Val, you don't have to feel guilty if you express a loving warm heart for your friends and loved ones. I encourage you to continue your voyage in life. I hope concepts that confuse you may clarify themselves for you one day.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      As I understand it, it WASN'T the disciples who composed or compiled the New Testament. In any case, preferring to die rather than renounce one's faith is certainly not any measure of the truth or correctness of that faith.

      Then again, nobody has more consistently demonstrated a willingness to die in defense of faith than Islamic suicide bombers. If I understand your logic, it seems THEIR faith is the one that is true, and yours is in error.

      Sorry about that...

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      JDWilhite 16 months ago

      The thing i find fascinating is that the disciples, those who allegedly created the false narrative, were willing to die rather than denounce their faith in Christ. I would think at least one or two would have called "gotcha" if it were all just a fabrication.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      JD, while extra-biblical authors and historians do, indeed, make reference to Jesus of Nazareth, I would argue that his historical existence is far from 'confirmed.' Every historical reference to him is in the past tense, decades after the fact, whereas contemporary historians who actually lived and wrote during Jesus' lifetime make no mention of him.

      Of course, this doesn't mean he didn't exist (and I actually suspect he did). After all, historians make a business of writing about things after the fact (often LONG after the fact). But it would certainly add credibility to the story if there were some contemporary historians who made reference to him.

      As for Josephus, I don't know how Val feels about promoting hubs in comments, but I actually published one about this particular reference. All total, Josephus makes reference to FOURTEEN different people named Jesus, and you may find it an interesting read. You can find it on my profile page. Just look for "Josephus & The Baker's Dozen."

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 16 months ago from Canada

      Larry - Thanks, I appreciate it.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 16 months ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful series.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 16 months ago from Canada

      JD - While I am not saying one way or the other to be an "undeniable truth" about historical Jesus, let me remind you what Napoleon said about history : "It's a story told by a madman". Someone else called it a "his-story. "

      My question is - how many highly influential fingers were involved in tailoring those history textbooks? Even some data of recent history - like events of the WW2 have been altered. For example, not so long ago Chinese scholars were protesting about the Japanese history books "not telling about some incredible atrocities committed by Japanese in China". If we can't rely on the truth of some decades ago, how can we rely on something being said about a couple of millennia ago?

      We don't even have to go into history. All you have to look is our daily news, which are tailored according to who is owning the station or newspapers.

      I know I am just shooting in the dark here, but there are people in a position to "put some words in the mouth of those ancient historians". Again, one way or another - to me it makes no difference, but my good instinct is telling me not to put too much faith in historical books. You may find scholars of equal credentials stating two opposite things - existence of Jesus being one of them.

      However, I like your last sentence - yes, it all boils down to what we choose to believe.

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      JDWilhite 16 months ago

      Extra biblical authors/historians confirm the existence of Jesus (Josephus being one) . Archaeological discovery time after time confirms details found in the Bible - but it in the end it comes down to faith.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      No, JD, what I'm saying is that the assumption that Jesus was a "sacrifice" as a means to human salvation -- along with the sort of details you alluded to in your previous comment -- were fashioned after the fact by the New Testament authors to fit the Old Testament narrative.

      There are a number of obvious attempts in the New Testament to make Jesus of Nazareth (assuming he even existed) fit some of the Old Testament 'prophecies.' Its authors, writing (at the earliest) DECADES after Jesus supposedly died, certainly had the luxury of modifying and embellishing the story to try to match the OT stories -- long after anyone would have remembered what actually happened!

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 16 months ago from Canada

      MizBejabbers - LOL, "resident skeptic" you say, what an honor, but I don't think I deserve the title - when I think of all those much more deserving whom I met while I was active at religious "questions and answers".

      Actually, maybe I am not a skeptic. Skeptic is a person who is willing to believe as soon as presented with some valid evidence. Now, since they are not going to change the Bible to appease my logicalness, there is no chance that I may start seeing something else there. So, I am not a skeptic, but simply a dude whose opinion is locked in that logical position.

      And yes, I absolutely agree, and let me add that there are many, many people who found their peace in faith, many benefitted in health and other aspects of life - so I am not knocking the faith down as a mindset. It's a mental tool, and it depends on how you use it. Like it is with all tools, some also hurt themselves. But that's an altogether another story.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 16 months ago from Canada

      Paladin and JD - You guys are welcome to have your little discussion here, as long as you keep it clean. It's actually quite interesting what the two of you are saying.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 16 months ago from Canada

      JD - I hope you gathered from my hub that I have no intention of mocking anyone's belief - although there seems to be such a thin line between my somewhat humorous expressions of my disbeliefs and a mocking. As a matter of fact, I am not a dude who would feed his ego by putting others down. I may not have a respect for your belief as such, but I have a respect for you and your right to choose what to believe.

      My different belief doesn't make me a better person, just a different one.

    • profile image

      JDWilhite 16 months ago

      Paladin - your view would hold that a man named Jesus felt compelled to subject himself to physical torture and death simply to align with OT writings...

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      I have nothing to add with regard to the main topic of the hub. However, I ought to note -- with regard to JD's comments regarding the supposed correlations between the Old and New Testaments -- that the Old Testament didn't "point to" items in the New Testament. Rather, the New Testament authors OBVIOUSLY wrote their texts to match the earlier OT manuscripts! And even then, they sometimes got it wrong (for example, the "Emmanuel" reference in Matthew).

      That's hardly compelling evidence for any sort of Old Testament prognostication!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 16 months ago

      Val, I'm just going to have to start calling you our "resident skeptic," LOL. Actually, your logic is pretty flawless. For a "god" to send his son down to earth to occupy a human body that will be killed and then the soul resurrected back up to heaven as part of a plan to save human creations is beyond all logic. I'm just not a person of faith anymore than I am a person of science, so I guess I don't fit in anywhere either.

      BTW, if religion of faith makes a person feel better, then I'm all for it. However, for someone to say that the bible was put together over thousands of years and miles apart rules out a conspiracy has not heard of the Council of Nicea, 325 A.D.

    • profile image

      JDWilhite 16 months ago

      For me one of the things that really affirmed my faith in the Bible is the way in which so much of the Old Testament points to condition of mankind and God's design to give us a means of salvation. Psalm 22 is a classic example of the crucifixion several hundred years before crucifixion was even conceived of as a means of torture/death. The design of the Tabernacle at every turn points to a Savior - the shape is that of a cross. There is only one entrance to the court yard...you must pass the table of showbread to get to the holy of holies - Jesus said I am the bread of life...

      For me there is just too many parallels for me not to believe. It is a book written by several different writers over thousands of years and miles apart - so that for me rules out any conspiracy to make the work consistent.

      That is one of the reasons I choose to believe. If that makes me in some peoples' eyes ignorant, than so be it.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 16 months ago from Canada

      Kiss and Tales - You are right, everyone has something to share, and all we have to do is allow our individual differences to be, without imposing onto each other what appears to be true to us.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 16 months ago

      Some times people get what they want to believe.

      The old saying you keep campaigning you can get elected.

      Just as people believe strongly they recieve what they believe.

      That could be negative or it could be positive.

      No one can argue with your own feelings and reasonings because you own them.

      But so do those who believe and experience a difference.

      So there can be no argument on your mental convictions

      And neither can there be for those who are 100 percent sure.

      They just want to share with many their experience.