From the outside - an Orthodox Jew, from the inside - a Kofer
כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי
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I have often wondered why people like us continue to be so obsessed the logic behind all the crap that was fed to us in our youth. MAYBE some of you are still in yours but I am definately near the end of my time on this world. Don't get me wrong, I am in good health but I was born in 1946 and people only live just so long. The problem is we just can't stop being religious. When I am driving on shabbos I am fully aware that I am driving on shabbos unlike Jews who don't have this "klug" sitting on the keppie
Well, I'm not too impressed by this video for a few reasons.First of all, Christian tradition, even according to Christian beliefs, is based on the testimony of only four people.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_EvangelistsObviously, four people could easily have conspired together to make everything up. As I'm sure they did.Likewise the miracle of the splitting of the moon is based on the testimony of three of Mohammed's companions, while being interpreted by some early Muslim scholars as being a miracle which will happen only in the future on the day of judgement.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_of_the_moonThe revelation at Mount Sinai, on the contrary, is based on the tradition of two separate entire communities - Jews and Samaritans.At Fatima, no revelation of any sort occurred. Three young shepherd children had predicted that the Blessed Virgin Mary would appear in a field in an area of Fatima called Cova da Iria. However instead, according to many witnesses, after a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disc in the sky.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_SunRegarding Zeitoun, apparently some sort of flashes of light were seen on the roof of a church for a few years. That was about it. People who revered the Virgin Mary assumed it was the Virgin Mary.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_ZeitounThese videos seem to specialize not in "science and reason" but in red herrings.http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/red-herring.html
Incidentally, even among Christians, Zeitoun isn't officially approved by anyone other than the Coptic Church.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_apparition#Approved_apparitions
The basic problem with this type of argument (from these videos) is that the speaker apparently is claiming that people are very dishonest, irrational and gullible creatures and to believe that something is true just because a lot of people say so, or because there is some so called evidence such as photographs or documents, is certainly very foolish. Taking this logic to it's ultimate conclusion, there is likewise no reason to believe in the Apollo moon landings or the Holocaust. After all, humans may say and believe any nonsense.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing_conspiracy_theorieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_denial
there is likewise no reason to believe in the Apollo moon landings or the HolocaustPrecisely the opposite. People who deny the moon landing and/or the Holocaust tend not to be normal, reasonable people, but crackpots and misanthropes people who have an axe to grind and who are often a danger to society.There is nothing irrational or implausible about flying to the moon, given the level of technology available in 1969, and unfortunately there is nothing implausible about mass murder, given that every page of history is filled with spilled blood. These are well within common sense human experience, and there is no need to provide any "supernatural" rationales to explain them. That is not the case when it comes to miracles, whose whole point is to lead the person to draw supernatural conclusions, because no other reasonable explanation is available.
Forgot to say: UK, thanks for posting!
My kofer pleasure!
Why distinquish between natural and supernatural events? Mr Science and Reason in these videos is attempting to demonstrate convincingly that humans are by nature extremely dishonest, delusional and gullible. We see from numerous examples, brought in these clips, that people are basically crazy and will believe anything. Therefore, logically, all history is suspect. The moon landing hoax and Holocaust hoax people are completely justified in in believing that these incredible stories are no more real than the apparations of the Virgin Mary at Fatima and Zeitoun.Of course this is not the case. Likewise, the Mount Sinai revelation is as well estabilished historically as anything else in ancient history, as I explain.http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.htmlhttp://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html
"People who deny the moon landing and/or the Holocaust tend not to be normal, reasonable people, but crackpots and misanthropes people who have an axe to grind and who are often a danger to society."This inicidently perfectly describes atheists as well.
that humans are by nature extremely dishonest, delusional and gullibleFirst off, I didn't find the tone of the video to be disparaging in the way you imply, portraying people as dishonest, delusional or gullible. I thought it was refreshingly tasteful in that way, because a great deal of atheist material does tend to have a condescending tone.But yes, the video does make the point that it's common for people to believe in all manner of purported "miracles", and that we always put down the other person's miracle as nonsense while believing with certainty in the veracity of our own. As Jews, we'd like to think we're immune to this phenomenon, that we're different from other religions in this regard. But when we say precisely what everyone else says, that our miracles are real and theirs are phony (for reasons A, B, C...), we're kidding ourselves if we think we're not caught in the same trap. To me, the real difference comes when we own up to the fact that yes, we're just as susceptible, and when we break free and take an intellectually open/honest approach. THAT is the mark of greatness, a distinction to be proud of.Therefore, logically, all history is suspect.I disagree with your logic that just because people have the propensity to believe in non-truths that all history is therefore suspect. Yes, it is "possible" that the moon landing never took place, or that George Washington never existed, but it's not "probable". Reasonable people deal in probability, not "possibility".I do agree that at a certain point "natural vs. supernatural" is not a meaningful distinction. People can be taken in by conspiracy theories or any manner of fabrication just as they can be taken in by supernatural/metaphysical beliefs - and the former can be every bit as dangerous as the latter.And I agree that atheists are just as susceptible to having an axe to grind, not thinking clearly, and concocting the most brutal ideologies with "reasoned" justifications.You need REASON + BENEVOLENCE, and then you start to produce something worthy of praise and emulation.
I contend that of course many people believe in all sorts of silly nonsense, however that doesn't mean that everyone does or that I do. I believe I've done the research, examined the facts and come to the most logical conclusions.So in any case, Mr Science and Reason can claim that "We know lots of people believe crazy stuff, so therefore there is no reason believe in Orthodox Judaism." I can just as well say "We know lots of people believe crazy stuff, so therefore there is no reason believe in evolution."If he wants to put his beliefs above criticism, so can I.
Basically this person seems to be attempting to discredit Judaism in two ways.First of all, a mass revelation is not unique to Judaism and is in fact very common among gentiles as well. This is not true.For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? (Deuteronomy 4:32-33) These words are as true today as when they were written three thousand years ago.Secondly, he wants to claim that people are so dishonest, delusional and gullible that they'll believe anything, eye witnesses, documents and photographs not withstanding.Fair enough, however if so then all history is worthless nonsense, not only the Mount Sinai story.
If he wants to put his beliefs above criticism, so can I.That is your decision, JP.For ask now of the days past...If you're quoting the Torah as proof of the truth of Torah, can you not see that this is exactly the kind of circular reasoning they pointed out in the video?this person seems to be attempting to discredit JudaismIt only discredits Judaism if your Judaism rests on belief in the supernatural. For me, it's not in any way threatening, because I already see Torah as a purely human product. So a video like this does not diminish my observance, my commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people, or my joy of involvement in Torah - not even a single iota. Speaking of which, it's Friday afternoon and time's a wastin' - good Shabbos!
"If you're quoting the Torah as proof of the truth of Torah"What if I quote Neil Armstrong as proof of the Apollo moon landing? Is that a problem?"It only discredits Judaism if your Judaism rests on belief in the supernatural."Even Reform Judaism preaches a belief in God.http://urj.org/about/reform/whatisreform/I think you're confusing atheism and Judaism.
What if I quote Neil Armstrong as proof of the Apollo moon landing? Is that a problem?If we had no rocket science, lacked the technology to leave the Earth's atmosphere, and all we had to go on was the testimony of Neil Armstrong and a crew of ardent "believers", then yes Houston - we have a problem! Even Reform Judaism preaches a belief in God.Too true. What you're saying is that Judaism without God is "below" the level even of Reform Judaism, since it denies the very foundation of the system. That is a perfectly logical conclusion coming from the traditional perspective. I completely understand and expect that, and I realize that what I'm saying is a radical departure.But for those who find the theological and/or literalist approach to Torah to be untenable (despite people's attempts to prove otherwise), and yet they believe in Judaism on so many other levels, they're committed to the Jewish people, Jewish observance, and love being connected to Torah, what I'm suggesting is actually quite reasonable. It's a way to stay connected as a Torah Jew without having to sacrifice one's mind in the process.So no, I'm not confusing atheism and Judaism - I've simply found that they can be surprisingly compatible. I recognize that for most frum Jews this is a total oxymoron, but I can live with that.
Regarding Neil Armstrong, there is no reason why a document cannot be proof of something in and of itself. That's not circular reasoning. That's proof based on a document. Pretty much everything we know about pre-modern history is based on a rather contradictory jumble of sources such as innumerable copies of ancient Latin and Greek manuscripts whose originals have vanished in the Dark Ages. I explain this here.http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.htmlWhat is circular reasoning is to argue that we know that God does not exist because supernatural events never happen and we know that supernatural things never happen because God does not exist.If find the author of these video clips to be what I would call a kefira klown. Upon careful examination they are just deceptive nonsense.Judaism is a religion which includes the belief in God. I think that's pretty much a universal definition. I think for someone to live in Australia but claim to be American because he personally considers Australia to be part of America would be pretty silly if not just fraudulent.
there is no reason why a document cannot be proof of something in and of itselfThat's true, though I would distinguish between "proof" and "evidence". And yes, Tanach does provide strong evidence for a great deal of actual historical events and leaders. At the same time, the fact that other ancient documents exist, describing how their gods created the world, interacted with people, and helped to form their nations, is evidence that at the time of the Torah it was common to mix together history and myth. That is how stories were told - you didn't have the strict history vs. fiction dichotomy that exists today.to argue that we know that God does not exist because supernatural events never happen and we know that supernatural things never happen because God does not existI agree it's circular, and I'm not saying that. I would say that we can be all but certain that the God described in the Torah is a myth, because supernatural events have never been sufficiently proven to happen, and because God-filled narratives were common in the ancient world. And while we should remain open to evidence of the supernatural, we also need to be very wary that what looks to be supernatural invariably has an alternative, down-to-earth explanation.would be pretty silly if not just fraudulentWhat I'm saying would be fraudulent if I claimed that Judaism was traditionally/originally atheistic, if I didn't fully admit that I'm departing from the traditional theology. I'm very open about that and don't make any claims to the contrary.
"at the time of the Torah it was common to mix together history and myth"As it is now. Watch any political advertisements."because supernatural events have never been sufficiently proven to happen"I find the evidence for the Torah to be very suffient, as I explain.http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.htmlevolution however, not so muchhttp://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html"because God-filled narratives were common in the ancient world"As well as in the modern world.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_healinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeping_statue#List_of_weeping_statueshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inspiration_of_Ellen_G._Whitehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith#Revelations"we also need to be very wary that what looks to be supernatural invariably has an alternative, down-to-earth explanation."Please explain:The origin of the universe.The origin of life.The origin of species, past and present.The origin of Judaism."What I'm saying would be fraudulent"What would you say about an Australian who claims to be American, however he says he's not lying because he is not claiming that traditionally/originally Australia is considered to part of America. He openly admits that it's only his own new definition of America which includes Australia as part of it.
Please explain: The origin of the universe. The origin of life. The origin of species, past and present.And if I (or science) can't give a full explanation, does that mean I should accept the Torah's narrative? Is there a reason I can't simply say "I don't know, but I hope we find out someday"? Personally I think "I don't know" is a liberating answer.Please explain:... The origin of Judaism.There are many theories which are orders of magnitude more plausible than a literal/historical understanding of Torah. But again, we may never know which (if any) is correct, and I'm perfectly fine with that.What would you say about an Australian...It's a cute analogy, but a more correct analogy would be as follows: Imagine that America is made 10% of people who believe the Constitution is from God and stick to every word of it, 90% of people who don't believe it's from God and simply don't bother with the Constitution, and have a very minimal patriotism or self-identity as Americans. And then there's .1% who believe that the Constitution is indeed a human product but find value in studying it and following it nonetheless.
"Is there a reason I can't simply say "I don't know, but I hope we find out someday"?"So you're argument against the supernatural is that everything has been found to have a natural explanation except for those many things which haven't. I don't find that to be a very convincing argument in favor of atheism. The fact is that 20th century science has made atheism far less plausable.http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/11/science-versus-atheism.html"There are many theories which are orders of magnitude more plausible than a literal/historical understanding of Torah."I'd be happy to hear one."It's a cute analogy"If an atheist can be a good Jew, then why not a Christian as well?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_JudaismWhat meaning does the word "Judaism" have at all?
JP, I'm starting to hit "conversation fatigue" here, not feeling like much actual communication is happening. I'll just end for the moment by saying that if you believe God split the sea, why can't someone else believe that God "begot" a son named Yeshua? Not only doesn't Atheodoxy support belief in Jesus as the "son of God" - it offers a slam-dunk refutation that traditional Orthodoxy can never achieve, by simply saying that the whole supernatural premise is a non-starter!
"by simply saying that the whole supernatural premise is a non-starter!"Even though so many things, and more all the time being disovered, clearly have no natural explanation.Why not simply say that the whole gravity premise is a non-starter and jump off a building?
u jump first JP, we are all right behind u
I accept reality as it clearly is.