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Decoding Bible's 'cryptogram'

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And 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).

While Drosnin apparently has his fans in U.S. military circles, 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.

Barry Levy, dean of McGill University's religious studies department and a Torah scholar, says, "I'm surprised to learn that the Pentagon is engaging in sorcery as part of its military strategy. There is nothing particularly spiritual or convincing or valid about this. It's entertainment."

The major problem with the codes, as Levy sees it, is that the original Hebrew text of the Torah is long gone, and that results can vary wildly depending which of many versions of the Bible one uses -- and whether one believes the Bible is inerrant in the first place.

"The codes just confirm ideas people already have. To imagine this does anything other than provide spectacular entertainment is just silly," Levy says. "You could probably do this with a newspaper."

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