Chapter

How Prophecy Endures

Diana G. Tumminia

in When Prophecy Never Fails

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195176759
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835720 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195176758.003.0011
How Prophecy Endures

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The discussion revisits the criticisms of Leon Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory by indicating alternative explanations of disconfirmed prophecy and adherence to irrational beliefs. Subsequent empirical research on actual prophecies show Festinger’s original perspective to be flawed. Charismatic organizations that give rise to prophecy provide whole lifeworlds of activity and meaning that go beyond a single prediction. Groups, like Unarius, with repeated prophetic failure develop coping mechanisms and specific methods of interpretation that explain away the reality disjuncture connected with such disappointments. One Unarian method is to account for the non-arrival of the Space Brothers in terms of past lives.

Keywords: prophecy; Leon Festinger; cognitive dissonance; empirical research; charismatic; lifeworlds; beliefs; interpretation; reality disjuncture; past lives

Chapter.  3193 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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