Saturday, October 22, 2011

Camping and Christ

According to John Loftus, “Harold Camping Step Aside, Jesus Was Wrong And Should Be Ignored Too.”

But that’s a sloppy comparison. Camping didn’t caveat his original prediction. When it didn’t materialize as stated, he added ex post facto qualifications, but that was too late to salvage his prediction. He himself admitted that his prediction didn’t turn out the way he expected. He gave himself no out at the time he issued his prediction.

The situation is very different with Biblical prophecy. For one thing, ancient Bible prophecies are often highly idiomatic. You have to master the idiomatic terminology to grasp what is being referred to.

In addition, ancient Bible prophecies are frequently reflect a chain of literary allusions. A multilayered tradition. So there’s more to the oracle than meets the eye. You need to peel back layers, retrace the unfolding trajectory as it cycles through a number of earlier writings. The latest oracle comes at the tail-end of that process.

So what an ancient Bible prophecy was pointing to isn’t something you can just skim of the surface wording. There’s a lot of subtext and idiomatic phrasing which must be taken into account. By contrast, Camping was speaking to contemporaries in a common idiom. And the only antecedents were his trail of failed predictions. 

Loftus singles out Mt 24:34, but that’s deceptively simple. Case in point:


  1. Loftus is an admitted liar. He knows his argument is bogus.

    Why does this guy get so much attention?

  2. Jesus, approx. 1978 years and Christians are still waiting for you to return. I'm not holding my breath but at least you had the foresight to be more vague about the date than Harold Camping.

  3. I haven't been waiting for 1978 years. Had he returned in, say, 500 AD, I wouldn't be here. So it's worth the wait. And I'd extend the same courtesy to the next generation.

  4. Not to mention the wonderful truth that the saints of the past had only to wait until the end of their earthly existence to be with their Lord in paradise!

  5. We answered Loftus' argument that Jesus was a false prophet in chapter 12 of The Infidel Delusion. As far as I know, his only response so far has been some brief, evasive comments in a thread at TheologyWeb. I responded to him there, and he never replied.