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Friday, May 26, 2006

Prophecy

Is there a practical purpose to studying biblical prophesy? As a stoic, I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is a virtue for many reasons. Certainly it would be better to study prophecy than not to, but we have finite time; to execute my purpose, for example, I must spend my time studying lean principles and management techniques. The benefits from doing so, I think, are greater than the benefits to knowing about the End of Days.

Of course, making he decision to study one subject over another requires a vague knowledge of both and a cost/benefit analysis. What do we really gain from studying prophecy?

The phrase "playing God" occured to me; it wasn't in the sense of pretending to be God, which is a topic for another day, but in the sense of managing risk. Bobby Fischer, the itinerant chess legend, plays each game of chess as if he is playing against God, assuming that the opponent would make the best possible move. Kasparov, in contrast, tries to get into the mind of his opponent and take advantage of the opponent's strategy.

Playing God in daily life isn't efficient. It minimizes risk, but "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Some risk is acceptable, especially if the worst outcome is not catastrophic (like losing a game of chess would be).

Returning to the main point, it's possible that understanding biblical prophecy would give us an advantage in making decisions. Certainly if there were a specific date mentioned for the end of the world we could adjust our planning accordingly. That leads us to ask what sorts of things we can learn from prophecy.

Hm... Well, the antichrist will have a seven headed pet gila monster from Chernobyl (wormwood?), so maybe the antichrist is a Slav? Err...

Even if true, I fail to see the use of knowing that. Death can come at any time, and death by Tribulation is less likely than death by earthquake. Well, equally likely after it starts, but...

I don't see any benefit to studying prophecy, other than personal fulfillment. I assume the experts will let me know if they find something relevant.

Incidentally, I want to write a book one day entitled "Harnessing Your Ignorance." There is a computer science technique wherein object code is hidden by the programmer to make it easier for later coders to reuse the object and interface with it. Sure, it would be "better" to have access to the code, but from an ease-of-use/profitability standpoint.. It's really not better.

I think I just applied a Japanese industrial paradigm to a Jewish religion. Hm.

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