Monday, May 23, 2011

Should Christianity Concern Itself With Predicting the Future?

I came across an interesting blog post today reflecting on science and religion in the aftermath of the failed apocalyptic predictions of Herold Camping.  In the post Time, Duration and Prediction: Some Thoughts After Armageddon, astrophysicist Adam Frank makes the case that the reason we give science such and exalted place in our world is precisely because it has been proven to be such a good predictor of natural phenomenon.  Through science we can predict eclipses, hurricanes, and even the likelihood of a person’s risk of disease.  As Frank sees it religion has been shown time and time again to be a lousy predictor of natural phenomenon as demonstrated most recently by Camping’s failed claims of the end of the world.  Regrettably I think I would have to agree with him on this if only based on all the crazy and failed apocalyptic predictions I’ve seen in my short time on earth.  

I tend to think we Christians are at our worst when we try to either predict natural phenomenon or when we try and interpret natural phenomenon on behalf of God.  Whenever we expend much of our energy in either of these pursuits we begin to miss the point of simply and humbly following Jesus in the here and now.  
  • Do you agree with Adam Frank’s post or do you think he’s just trying to make excuses for why we don’t need religion?
P.S. Since I published this yesterday Herold Camping has come out publicly with further insight into why his prediction of Judgement day was right and yet how the end of the world won't really come until this October 21.  Read article.


Betty Richard said...

I believe that God is orderly and precise. Just look at the placement of the earth to the sun--any closer and we're too hot; any further away and we're too cold. What about the human ph level? Off even a bit, we either live with a lifelong illness or we don't live at all.

I think that God is in science--after all, He invented it. Why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Why can't it be both?

So the universe started with a big bang. Isn't it possible the big bang was God's voice as he spoke it into existence? I can't do anything by just speaking--but God can create a universe by speaking. I would imagine that would be a pretty large sound (if He wanted it to be).

I worry whenever Christians predict the future on such a public scale. But how do I know what God is directing them to do? Maybe we think the guy that predicted the end of the world now has egg on his face; but what if his predictions brought some people to Jesus? If even one person had a changed life--even if it was for a failed prediction--that one changed life may be worth being a little egg-faced.

Pi Man said...

I think that one who tries to predict the end times is foolish at best. JC made it clear: only the Father knows. So when anyone tries to do this, we (followers of Christ), are unfortunately looked upon with even more skepticism, and are, frankly, in many circles, looked upon as fools, cultists, and possibly idiots. Let us get on with the business of bringing heaven to earth, or more accurately, appreciating the awesome privilege of doing that now, without worrying about when the end will come. Thanks for asking that question, Bro. Peace, TA