Nostradamus VS the Bible

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Let’s face it, the Bible makes many pitiful excuses for prophecies. From prophecies that failed miserably, to them being fulfilled a few chapters later, real prophecies are not the Bible’s specialty. Most of the Bible’s prophecies are completely self-fulfilling. Nostradamus, on the other hand, does a bit better.

Michael de Nostradame was a French apothecary who is famous for his many, many prophecies, many of which have appeared  to come true. I am skeptical about this, and the answer I can give to the fact that so many prophecies have appeared to come true is that they are very vague and can be interpreted in different ways, some more than others. For example, this is one of Nostradamus’ prophecies:

“The young lion will overcome the older one, On the field of combat in a single battle; He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage, Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.” (Century 1, Quatrain 35)

(This was a prediction of King Henry II’s death, which Nostradamus actually warned him about in advance)

Fulfillment: In June 1559, Henry II ignored all warnings that Nostradamus gave him and participated in a jousting tournament against the Comte de Montgomery. Both men used shields embossed with lions. Montgomery was six years younger than Henry. A tournament is a field of ritual single combat. During the final bout, Montgomery failed to lower his lance in time. It shattered, sending a large splinter through the king’s gilded visor (golden cage). Along with minor punctures in the face and throat, there were two mortal wounds. One splinter destroyed the king’s eye; the other impaled his temple just behind the eye. Both penetrated his brain. Henry lingered for ten agonizing days before dying a cruel death.

This is a very interesting prophecy, and it seems to all add up, but perhaps it’s sheer luck, like when Julius Caesar was warned of his death. Let’s look at some others:

Nostradamus warned people of the Great fire of London: (Fire will burn the blood of the just in the year 66)

He correctly predicted the French revolution: (The enslaved people will rise up and rebel against the princes and lords.)

Nostradamus might have even predicted Hitler’s rise to power: (A child from West Europe will be born. He will seduce a great troop with his tongue, and his fame will spread as far as the East.)

Granted, this is inevitable: (The two greatest ones will be at war with one another.) This could be WWI, WWII or the Cold War, two great nations fighting is bound to happen at some point in time.

There are a few other claims about Nostradamus predicting 9/11,the Kennedy brothers deaths, nuclear weapons and the Napoleonic war, but the prophecies are so vague that it is only possible to know that they came true once they do, and this is a confirmation bias. Nostradamus made some interesting predictions about zombies in the 7th millennium, a third world war, time travel, and the third Antichrist, so we will just have to wait and see if they come true!

The Bible on the other hand, doesn’t do so well:

Bible prophecies are either even more vague than Nostradamus’ ones – for instance “a bright light will appear by a river” or “knowledge will be increased.” Or they are self fulfilling because people already know of them. Prophecies that came true outside of the Bible don’t really exist, but that isn’t what the authors of the Bible really wanted to do. But that still doesn’t mean the ones that were supposedly fulfilled really were, we have no real evidence of anything the Bible says being true. The claims that the prophecies came true might have just been lies, for the most part we don’t know.

The Bible correctly predicted the fall of Babylon, but it was never uninhabited like the Bible said it would be, and the Bible correctly predicted that Tyre would be destroyed, but it was rebuilt, unlike the Bible prophecised. Most of the Bible’s prophecies are self-fulfilling and unverifiable, so they don’t have much credibility.

Nostradamus: 1, Bible: 0. Nostradamus wins.

Further reading:

Nostradamus predictions

Prophecies – evidence for the Bible?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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