Book Of Daniel
Predicted Terrorist Attacks!?
Gil Gaudia

From: "Gil Gaudia"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Sent: September 17, 2001 1:12 AM
Subject: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section

Dear Cliff,

A friend just told me that all the destruction of this past week is prophesied in the Book of Daniel. As you know I would not pay any attention to it, but do you have any suggestions about a counter argument other than that the Bible is total bullshit?

Gil Gaudia

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Gil Gaudia"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: September 17, 2001 1:07 AM

Daniel? That's a good one! Ha, ha, hah! The Book of Daniel, indeed!

This is a classic example of people exploiting tragedy for personal gain -- in this case, to gain converts to their religious sect or to gain credibility for their view that the Bible is a book with magical properties.

If this week's tragedy was prophesied in the Book of Daniel, then why did nobody warn us about it? Why was this "interpretation" not known until after the fact? Why was Tuesday's attack such a surprise to everybody (except as a vague notion that something like this was inevitable)?

A prophesy, in the biblical sense, is not the after-the-fact solution to a cryptic puzzle, but a direct warning from God that something is about to happen and you'd better repent if you wish to avoid certain catastrophe. The Bible God even warns His enemies, as exemplified by the tale of Jonah, when God delivered a bile-bleached Jonah onto the shores of Nineveh for the express purpose of making sure that His (God's) enemies heard about the impending destruction that awaited them if they did not straighten out their act. (In Jonah 2:10, the Bible waxes explicitly graphic when detailing this part of the story: "And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.")

The Bible God never destroyed a nation or a people without first warning them specifically of the things that would come to pass and also what could be done to avert the impending calamity. The Hebrew takeover of Palestine and the resulting genocide is the only incident that could remotely be considered a "surprise attack," but the nations knew of the news of this great army and thus were not surprised. For an attack to happen and then the prophesy be understood is completely contrary to both the attitudes expressed in the Bible as well as the way the Bible has done this everywhere else. Thus, this does not fit the biblical model of prophesy, since nobody -- absolutely nobody -- reported to us beforehand that the Book of Daniel warned us that these specific these things were about to come to pass.

If you can find a specific document predating September 11, 2001, which specifically describes a terrorist attack against both the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., I will be glad to take a look at it. Here's how to tell when an Internet document was posted: log onto that page and then place the Java command
     javascript:alert(document.lastModified)
into the browser's Address field and press Enter. A little window will open up telling you the date and time (according to the time zone the server uses or according to Greenwich time) when the file was posted. While is it possible to fake this time stamp, you pretty much have to own the box (server) in order to do it, because faking this stamp is highly unethical and most ISPs and hosts will not allow you to do it.

If we find such a passage (etc) we will want to consult its traditional interpretations, that is, the way it has been understood by commentators throughout history or across a wide cultural range. What did Luther and Calvin and Wesley and the others think of this? What have even the Premillennialists of the Dallas Theological Seminary said? You see, this is just one quack out of thousands who have offered suggestions as to what the highly symbolic and very cryptic writings could possibly mean.

Meanwhile, this is probably just another one of those Nostradamus tricks, where a cryptic string of schizophrenic ranting is made to say whatever it is that the "interpreter" wants it to say. And as for Daniel, he is possibly matched by Ezekiel and John, but he is certainly not outdone by either of them or anybody else when it comes to hallucinatory imagery. The acid-heads of the 1960s could only wish to be this psychedelic.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

From: "Gil Gaudia"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Sent: September 17, 2001 4:44 AM
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section

Dear Cliff,

Thanks for your, as usual, very thorough and competent reply.

Also I was dismayed to read the exchange between you and the guy who took you task over his perceived lack of atheist support in the New York City disaster. I'm particularly sorry to hear that you suffer from a serious health problem.

As I've said before, don't let the occasional lunatic, theist or atheist, get to you. The rest of us are usually applauding you in the background, because you provide an outstanding source of valuable material to us.

Gil Gaudia

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Gil Gaudia"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: September 17, 2001 7:32 AM

What's surprising me is the sheer amount of restraint that I've witnessed. Our Inbox is averaging about four to ten times its normal volume, though the piece-by-piece incidence of anti-atheist hate-mail has dropped to a mere trickle of its normal rate.

This is a good thing, and I will follow truth wherever it may lead and use this as an opportunity to point out that fact. Although I had become quite upset over the handful of nut-cases who did write (their meanness seemed so much harsher today than it normally would), I looked back and realized that we've been doing quite good.

Most of the antagonism is over my anti-Bush remark (three, two of whom eventually backed off), with one or two notes from religoius nuts who are so clueless that they're only vaguely aware that several thousand people's only opportunity to live -- ever -- was cut short so that a dozen or so self-indulgent fanatics could (ostensibly) commence an eternity of sensual pleasure with their very own harems of 72 houris each.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.