Friday, August 13, 2010

Prediction of the Future is Tough

The Web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (or simply SMBC) has a new comic that amused me:

After reading this, it occurred to me that the same formula could perhaps be applied to those who have predicted the exact date of the Rapture.  Has there been an individual who calculated the date that Jesus would return who was A) over 50 years old and B) calculated the date more than 50 years in the future?  Wikipedia has pages listing Unfulfilled Predictions of the Second Coming, as well as Unfulfilled Religious Prophecies in general. 

What strikes me as truly interesting is that religious believers point to fulfilled prophecies in the past as proof that their religion is backed by supernatural forces.  But when a prophecy in the present fails to pan out, the religion continues on.  Sometimes the expected prophecy is adjusted to another future date.  Sometimes the prophecy is re-interpreted to mean something else.  Other times it is concluded that the prophet was simply wrong but the religion remains true.

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