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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Aished Jazz Player Insults Atheists, then Gets Grilled

Rabbi Adam Jacobs, who was Aished after he got his degree in music at Brandeis and a Masters in Jazz Performance, has some assertions to make that infuriates atheists and insults people with an IQ higher than the amount of valves on a jazz trumpet. So he probably thought he did a big mitzvah.

In a blog post in the Huffington Post called Atheism's Odd Relationship with Morality, Jacobs displays his ignorance about atheism and reveals a condescending attitude so typical of kiruv clowns.

He starts off bashing Sam Harris, who is probably one of the greatest experts on the topic of morality and atheism:
What I do not yet understand is why he (or any atheist for that matter) makes so many moral proclamations. The average atheist makes certain basic assumptions about reality: that we all exist as a result of blind and purposeless happenstance, that free will is illusory, that there is no conscious "self" and that there is no objective right or wrong. As Dr. Will Provine has said, "[as an atheist] you give up hope that there is an imminent morality ... you can't hope for there being any free will [and there is] ... no ultimate foundation for ethics."
And later on, he writes:
Through my private conversations with atheists, most of whom I would describe as very good people, I am becoming convinced that they don't really buy the party line when it comes to ethics. Like it or not, they seem to have an objective sense that certain things are "just wrong" and it's almost as if those things are built into the fabric of reality. Objective morality requires an absolute standard by which to judge it. The alternative is amorality.
Very much the Aish party line of course.

Thank God therefore (sorry for the pun) for people like Ezra Resnick who wrote a devastating rebuttal called A rabbi’s odd relationship with morality. I highly recommend you read it.

Now, just for the record, I am not an atheist (perhaps I am agnostic, not really clear about that yet), but the argument that there are no real morals without God is really bad. Resnick offers a superb refutation and I hope Jacobs read it:
The Bible repeatedly and unequivocally supports slavery, tribalism and discrimination, and commands the destruction of entire nations including women and children. The idea that all people have intrinsic value and ought to be treated equally — regardless of race, gender, or religion — is a modern, secular value, resisted mightily (to this day) by traditional religion.
His conclusion is priceless:
If Jacobs were not so arrogant and ignorant, he would realize that whatever parts of his own ethics are defensible are products of human rationality and secular thinking. And if he cares more about obeying the purported will of God than about the actual well-being of people in this world, then his morality is a disgrace, and he might stand to learn a few things from some atheists.
I would suggest Rabbi Jacobs to stick to his posts on Jazz and Kabbalah, a topic that would be more in his area of expertise and less likely to insult his target audience.
 
For more reading material on morality and religion, click here.

16 comments:

  1. "Now, just for the record, I am not an atheist (perhaps I am agnostic, not really clear about that yet)"

    I'm not a vegan. The reason is that I have brown hair instead.

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  2. I don't understand why an Aish rabbi is writing on the Huffington Post. It would seem to me that he'd accomplish what he wanted more by focusing on the Jewish skeptic or orthoprax blogs. Besides, I've read a few of his posts at Huffington Post and from what I recall he gets clobbered in the comments.

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  3. Without God everything is permitted. It's no secret that atheists are almost invariably either self pleasure seekers and/or murderers. Listen former atheist and cannibal Jeff Dahmer.

    http://youtu.be/IjW7bezdddE

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Dahmer

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  4. Brian: What do you smoke?

    IC: Publishing on the HP gives him more credibility towards his real prey.

    JP: I love it how, whenever I mention the word Atheist, you spring into action. Still waiting for your comment on this post: http://undercoverkofer.blogspot.com/2011/05/banality-of-eden.html#comments.
    By the way, WITH God, also everything seems to be permitted. Vehameivin yovin.

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  5. UK: I suspect that JP's repeated slander of all atheists is a reflection of his inner self. Perhaps it's possible that deep down he knows that without the restraints of his religion, he would be a drug and porn addicted serial killer.

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  6. "Publishing on the HP gives him more credibility towards his real prey"

    It might if there were mostly favorable comments, but from what I've seen there aren't. I also don't see any J blogs linking to him unless it's to criticize him.

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  7. I love that term, Aished...like it's something that can be done to someone..."Dude, I just got seriously Aished!"

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  8. >without the restraints of his religion, he would be a drug and porn addicted serial killer.

    Isn't he that already?

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  9. Ha!

    He should probably do some actual research before making himself look foolish on HuffPo.

    A recent study, written up in the LA Times, showed that there is no difference between the ethics of believers and non-believers. I wrote about it here: Ethics Battle: Believers vs. Non-Believers

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  10. Thanks E. Fink, that is an excellent post.

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  11. I second that!

    OTD: Porn perhaps, the rest is unlikely.

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  12. "Now, just for the record, I am not an atheist (perhaps I am agnostic, not really clear about that yet)"

    I don't think it more likely that there isn't a god than that there is. The reason is that instead, I'm uncertain about it rather than certain about it.

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  13. "Perhaps it's possible that deep down he knows that without the restraints of his religion, he would be a drug and porn addicted serial killer." I believe this statement of yours gives credence to the neccessary morals of religion. Of course if one does not believe in God, he must believe that morals is a product of evolution. If so, morals and ethics have no intrinsic goodness. Even goodness can have no meaning. Morals is just the way for the larger group to control the deviant. Immorality has no meaning unless one ascribes it to genetic mutation. I guess we are all a bunch of mutants then.

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  14. No it proves nothing whatsoever. All it does is indicate that he relies on social and community constraints that he considers to be of "divine" origin. He could just as easily submit to a Humanist credence that subscribes to the same boundaries.

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  15. Thanks for featuring my post! You may also be interested in a recent column by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in the Jerusalem Post entitled "Godlessness has doomed Britain", which I've critiqued here.

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