Thursday, April 18, 2013

The "prophecy" of violence in the "end times"

I just got a visit from two Jehova's witnesses who presented this rather curious argument that I have seen quite many times, that the Bible "prophesizes" that in the "end times" there will be much violence and hatred among people. (They brought up the recent Boston bombing, which I thought was really tasteless, but I'll let that slide.)

I don't really understand why so many Christians (yeah, I'll also let slide the debate among Christians whether Jehova's witnesses are "really Christians" or not) think that this is such a convincing argument. The Bible predicts that there will be much violence. There is much violence nowadays. Therefore the Bible predicted this correctly and thus it's a trustworthy source of information.

This is a really, really silly argument, yet surprisingly popular. Humans have always been violent, and will always be. There have been wars and violence for as long as there have been humans, and even before. "Predicting" that there will be violence and wars in the future is a really easy thing to do. It's like "predicting" that tomorrow I will be hungry and have to eat something, or that a year from now many cars will drive past my building. It would be quite amazing if these predictions would not be fulfilled. Now that would be something extraordinary. Predicting that status quo will continue in the future is nothing to write home about.

So why do they think that this is such a good argument?

(Also, the current state of the world is, in fact, overall much more peaceful than it has been for the vast majority of human history. There are some conflicts and some terrorism yes, but overall their amount is pretty small compared to what it has been for most of history. Thus, technically speaking, this "prophecy" applies pretty poorly to current times. But as said, even if this weren't so, this is such an easy thing to "predict" that it's just laughable.)

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