Saturday, October 29, 2011

A prediction as clear as a foggy night

In my talks/debates/fist fights with Christians, I often hear about how remarkable the story of Jesus is when you consider the "fact" that his arrival was foretold by the prophecies in the Old Testament.  They usually say it with such certainty, the same way you'd insist that somebody had peed himself by the obvious wet spot forming on his crotch.  There are so many different ways to respond to this, but I always have to wonder: "What about the Jews?"

For those of you who don't know, the Jews are the people who gave us the Old Testament of The Bible.  Here's the catch though:  they don't call it The Old Testament.  Why?  Well, it turns out that they don't believe in the New Testament.  They don't even think that Jesus was divine.  They don't even think that he was God and impregnated a virgin with himself.  Crazy, huh?

And why can't they acknowledge the prophecies about Jesus if they happen to be in their holy scriptures?  I mean, it's laid out VERY clearly in the Book of Prophecies, Chapter 5, Verses 22-38.  (You can find the Book of Prophecies right before the New Testament Book of A Clear Explanation of What Rules Still Count from the Old Testament and Which Ones Don't.)

And lo, there shall cometh a boy
whose name shall be DA JEEBUS
but some folk'll call him Jesus
and his Mom will have him in her belly
even though she never got laid.
Don't confuse him for Perseus,
'cause he so ain't Perseus, seriously.
He won't killeth any Gorgons
nor willeth he use his willy.
He'll be the messiah, only he
won't do all that stuff that
you think that a messiah will do.
But there will be people who will
TOTALLY insist that he's the Messiah.
And C.S. Lewis will make a false dilemma
that proveth it.  Oh yeah, some time later
there will be Mormons in Utah.  Where
lieth Utah?  Do not question!  For I am

Yeah, I bet you're thinking what I'm thinking.  What's with those Jews that they can't read their own damned scriptures to see that there's a CLEAR prophecy about Jesus!  What are they, blind?  ("Blind" being an actual word used by one of the Christians I was debating.)

Wait, you're not thinking that?  You're thinking that there is no Book of Prophecies?  You're thinking that I just made all that crap up?  And I didn't even bother to make it look believable?

Okay, well what is it then?  Turns out that there's a prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 that reads:  "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel."

That's a bit better, isn't it?  Well, beside the whole "Immanuel" thing, which isn't the same thing as "Jesus".  (Immanuel means "god is with us", so that's close enough, I guess.)  But hey - virgin, huh?  That's gotta mean something, right?

Turns out that Jewish people (and many scholars) think that the word that was translated into "virgin" didn't even mean that.  (It just means "young woman".)  And then they have the nerve to say that the prophecy gets fulfilled RIGHT THERE in the same book!  In other words, those Jews have the unmitigated temerity to try and interpret their own scriptures to mean something other than what Christians tell them that it means!

Turns out that there are other prophecies, or supposed prophecies.  I seem to recall being told by one Christian that there are THOUSANDS of them.  I'm thinking that's an exaggeration, or somebody's just trying too damned hard to find them.  I think that the ingredients to Lucky Charms contain a prophecy about Jesus as well, if that's the case.

Anyway, if you want to read more, Wikipedia seems to have a pretty good rundown of the prophecies and the objections to them.  Also, you can find out what a group called Jews for Judaism (what a concept) have to say about it.

Here's the thing.  Let's ignore the fact that even IF Christians are right, and there are all sorts of prophecies for Jesus, it's still a pretty silly argument.  I mean, couldn't the Gospel writers have deliberately tailored their narrative to fit the prophecies?  Just because they wrote it, that doesn't mean it happened!  But let's dismiss that for the purpose of argument.

Was the coming of Jesus predicted in the Old Testament?  Or to put it better, does the story of Jesus match the prophecies of the Old Testament?  Honestly, I don't know.  As of right now, I'm not very convinced, but I'm willing to admit that maybe I'm not getting something, or maybe there is a passage that's as clear as the one I made up and I just haven't seen it yet.

There is only one thing that I have concluded about this though, and that is that Christianity rests upon the notion that Jews don't know how to interpret their own scriptures.  And that's pretty frikken' arrogant.


Nolan said...

I liked this for the Atticus Finch allusion.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I was hoping somebody would catch that.