Thanks for posting the article about the Bible Code.
It's a weird topic. On one hand, the Bible is a holy book, but on the other hand, the Bible Code sounds like it could be something of a ouji board approach to it, so to speak. The criticisms were really good I thought, first that the Bible itself speaks against such methodology, and second that the Bible wasn't written exactly word for word in its current form originally.
It sounds silly too that the leaders would take this so seriously that they would call a big meeting about it. They should just have some people look into it and act on it if helpful. It doesn't seem like something extremely insightful and certain and all-encompassing that it would require their attention, unless the experts gained some specific information that qualified.
For example, ok let's say they know where a bad guy is from it, they can just send some guys to catch him.
Anyway, I got a sense from the critical voices cited in the article that they felt it was like an arbitrary crossword puzzle. This word X matches what I know about word Y, so it goes together. Word L is in the cluster, but I don't see a connection, so I won't pay much attention to it.
Another problem is that the Bible is supposed to be read with love and faith, but instead the interpretation in the article just seems to be a nonreligious researcher's ideas about militaristic events.
The article says:
Drosnin discounts the religious angle. "This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."
Well, that sounds persuasive. Except I have a sense that most of the stuff he finds is white noise, so to speak, that he discards. I mean, the Bible can be stretched into one very long line, which is what he says he does.
I could create a system that really isn't some "matrix," except where I arbitrarily chooses to break a line into two lines.
Like the sentence:
This is a short sentence.
can be broken into
a short sentence
Someone can perceive that "is" lines up in the matrix with "short". But I assure you that when I wrote it I intended no such combination.
Or how about:
I assure you that
when I wrote it
So there's a matrix that says I did.
Such a method feels like an arbitrary, unreliable way to read something. But I am just making this up to show that a matrix doesn't necessarily give the right message.
OK, here's how they say they work in the article:
Suppose we start with the sentence, "All of our avenues are wide." To locate an ELS, we eliminate the spaces and look for words that could be formed from letters that are equally spaced within the string of letters that form the sentence.
So, if we start with the second letter (L) and then skip three letters to pick up the next letter of the code (O), and so forth, we find the word LOVE within the string: a L l o f O u r a V e n u E s a r e w i d e.
Maybe that doesn't show anything, because we don't know whether the article author intended to include such a word. However, it's worth pointing out that if you follow the "code" all the way in the example, you actually get "LOVEEE."
OK, how about Ilikethisglass. Want to find hidden codes? LOL I am teasing rhetorically, because I didn't intend to put any in. So it's silliness.
Let's look again at his words:
"This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."
OK, let's check:
apparently, the Big One is coming. Drosnin's most dire warning yet contains the words "world war," "atomic holocaust" and "end of days" all in the close vicinity of "2006." (Note the similarity to Newton's year of doom).
2006 has gone with no such happening. Drosnin could reply that the topics were in the news and make a rebuttal, it just seems somewhat arbitrary and subjective.
The thing about Iraq sounds persuasive, except that Sadam wasn't actually destroyed in 2003, but later, although his army was officially destroyed then, except for insurgent groups.
The alleged "codes" about Rabin, the wtc, and the sages sounds persuasive, on the other hand. Plus, the mathematicians' support for the idea sounds persuasive, especially when the US researcher, Gans, corroborated it.
On the other hand, it sounds stupid when the article claims that Gans corroborated it, but then says that:
both Rips and Gans have distanced themselves from Drosnin's conclusions, saying using the Torah codes to predict the future is unfounded, futile and of no value.
Plus, I agree with Levy's remark "You could probably do this with a newspaper." In fact, there are somewhat crazy people who read newspapers in ways they think are prophetic codes. It's weird, I know.
I just think that whether you believe that the newspaper or Bible is saying what you view its code to mean actually is a matter of faith. I mean, ok, you can get an entertaining idea from the Bible Code, and that idea can line up with a real future occurrence, but that doesn't mean that the scriptures are actually "saying" that idea, in the everyday way of understanding something.
For one to accept that the Bible actually says the "Bible Codes," one has to accept that the Bible-Code-method is a valid way to read the Bible. And for me, it seems to have the same kind of validity as the Greek oracles, or Chinese tea leaves or turtle shells. It's validity in my mind is only greater inasmuch as I value the Bible as having inherently more mystical power than a turtle shell. But even then, one could rationally take the view that if such an interpretation of the Bible sometimes gives wrong results, then putting faith- which is what it would really be, however well supported- in such a method goes against the Bible's sense.
The absence of discussion in pre-Christian Judaism and in Christianity, at least the absence of a record of such discussion, goes against such a matrix of interpretation being valid.
Anyway, just writing about it critically feels like ranting, which feels like a reflection of its frustrating arbitrariness and unreliability.
I expected that some people would find references to Jesus in the Bible Codes. Some Bible Code researchers found 20 references to Jesus in Isaiah 53, and another 20 in Psalm 22:http://www.biblecodedigest.com/page.php/755
Here's another strong, persuasive-sounding claim:
"More than 2,750 ELSs concerning Jesus Christ have been discovered in the Genesis-Exodus cluster. To date, the Isaiah 53 cluster, within a passage many scholars acknowledge to be prophetic of the Messiah, has yielded approximately 1,500 codes concerning the last days of Christ." (http://www.biblecodedigest.com/page.php/78
One doubt I have is that the Bible Code researchers often find supposed "codes" that they disagree with in content, so they reject them and don't mention to their readers about them. For a humorous example, maybe there is a supposed Bible Code that says "Hey people, you shouldn't listen to that Moses guy."
In fact, I believe there are many webpages that connect the supposed Bible Codes with Jesus, following the method. But if the Bible Code method was so convincing, then Drosnin wouldn't be a secular Jew, but rather a Christian, because the Christian results I see are persuasive in their presentation.
So it seems like maybe Drosnin believes in it enough to warn people based on, but not enough to actually become religious.
One criticism that sounds likely real is that
the ELS Hebrew 'Bible Code' of Michael Drosnin and Eli Rips, which is not a bible code at all but rather a statistical trick which works on any long book given a free choice of vowels, (see http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html and http://www.math.caltech.edu/code/petition.html)http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding159.html
This site has a somewhat humorous, irreverant-to-religion debunk of the Bible Code idea:http://www.nmsr.org/biblecod.htm