End Times Events And
Bible Code: Clever Fakes?
Olivia J Clymer
We received two versions of the basically the same letter. Here are both, and then our response.
To whom it may concern:
I have a question.
Catholics that I know are all in an upheaval about the end times. There are two books: one is entitled End Times Events by Charles Capp, and the other is The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin.
The first is something of an extension of the second, which was authored by a journalist. End Times Events combines scriptures for the Bible that correlate to events that have happened, what will happen, the new understanding of The Rapture and The Tribulation along with "biblical" historical explanations of the seven millennia.
The Bible Code is just kind of creepy. In case you have not read it, this book talks about how the Hebrew Bible was put into a computer and searched, kind of like a search-a-word puzzle using key words. The prophecies in there are a little scary. I can see where there are some contradictions, some things that don't seem quite right about it, like the fact that no new predictions have been made that I have heard about, and if this is the Bible Code, they should be able to key in anything to try to come up with something to "tell the future."
Also, In End Times, Capp states that the first people were Adam and Eve, who existed 7 millennia ago. Well, according to my math and science, people existed long before that, which means that history books lie and scientific evidence is a lie.
But in light of the recent events in New York and Washington D.C., I really want to know. How to you contend all of this with solid reason?
I do read on-line Positive Atheism Magazine. Having been an atheist all of my life, I find myself always trying to logically argue against anything that might come up. Several years ago I purchased a book called "The Bible Code" by Michael Drosnin. If you have not read it, it was written by a journalist and essentially, it is an explanation of how a code was discovered in the Hebrew Bible, that it was put into a computer and names were put in with numerical skip-sequences, and it was found that there were names and events and some dates encoded in the Hebrew Bible.
Recently, my mother, a devout Christian, showed me a book that she purchased, called "End Times Events" written by Charles Capp. It too is an interesting book to say the least. In it, the author is essentially building on "The Bible Code," but going a bit further doing something with numerics to determine that this is in fact the seventh millennium. That numbers in the Bible indicate that these are the end times, that any day now we could see the beginning of the Rapture and the seven years of Tribulation. The only major hole I could find was that they claim that Adam and Eve were the beginning and that according to Biblical history (not real history) they were the first man and woman, which clearly stands in opposition to the reality that men existed thousands and thousands of years prior.
But what got me was the fact they are taking scriptures, and pulling out of it some really incredible things. Let me tell you, I am having a lot of difficulty explaining to myself how any number of men could have written a book with that many layers, with that much meaning ... that runs so smoothly. Of course "I don't know" is still the difinitive answer for me. I'm comfortable saying that I don't have to know there's a god to be comfortable, but this book really makes me wonder at what would almost seem to be the psychic abilities of men more than a thousand years ago.
How is anyone else accounting for things like this? I feel that it is very important that all holes be filled, otherwise it's not a tight and convincing argument. In light of the things that have happened in the past week I have discovered that the notion of "god" is entirely based on fear. I had only guessed at that before, but now I'm convinced, because I was almost scared into faith myself. What does anyone think? Has anyone read these books? Does anyone have anything more that they know?
Any answers would be greatly appreciated.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "olivia j clymer"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: September 14, 2001 2:56 AM
I have studied the reports about The Bible Code, having been familiar with the basic premise for over twenty years, now. This idea is easily dismissed by substituting any modern novel (or even a sleazy pornographic paperback, for that matter) into the algorithm used to produce the Bible Code grids. Any book you choose to use will result in almost anything you want -- in just about any language you want (any language which uses Roman letters, of course, but then you can use numerical conversions to do this with any character-based language). Thus, you could probably "prove" that a sleazy dime-store romance is actually secret code message for terrorists by coming up with the numeric equivalents to Arabic characters and fudging a bit on the spellings (like The Bible Code did with its spellings of both Hebrew and English words).
End-times prophesy, to me, is the most underhanded and despicable recruiting techniques that the various churches have resorted to (apart from the physical violence of the Inquisition, although that's a different kind of persuasion altogether). The "Left Behind" and "Late Great Planet Earth" scenario of Premillennialism is today a mainstay of Evangelical Protestantism, however it originates from Roman Catholicism. Before it became popular about a hundred years ago, most Protestants interpreted the Book of Revelation to be talking about Roman Catholicism: Anti-Christ meant "instead of Christ" and this, to them, referred to none other than the Vicar of Christ. To distract the impact of this interpretation, Roman Catholic theologians began to popularize amongst Protestants the notion that the Book of Revelation is to be read literally and thus spoke of events that had yet to occur.
Protestants, particularly tongues-speaking Pentecostalists, picked up on this angle. It caught on like wildfire because it proved so utterly effective at frightening people into joining the fold. Premillennialism enjoyed a revival during the 1960s, when just about everybody was experimenting with bizarre religious themes in preparation for the "dawning of the Age of Aquarius." As a bizarre religious theme in its own right, Premillennialism fit right in. Premillennialism played easily into the Utopian mind set of the 1960s because it preys on the same human emotional weaknesses as does Spiritualism, with its Astrological forecasts and Tarot prognostications and other alleged methods of obtaining information without having to work for it. The Bible, then, became a variant of the Crystal Ball of the fortune teller.
Reason can only reject these claims, it does no good to contend with them. Study the methods of the Skeptics such as Victor Stenger and Michael Shermer. You will see clearly how none of this stuff is even worthy of casual consideration, but is just a bunch of hooey designed to separate people from the hard-earned contents of their pocketbooks. In short, it is religion on steroids, doing what religion does so well but doing it openly and without any sense of shame about it.
We have a whole section of writings designed to help you learn those techniques of discerning truth from falsehood as well as the indeterminate from bogus claims.
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