כי לא מחשבותי מחשבותיכם

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Selected Kofer Posts

I thought I'd share some post links with you before I take off to Israel for a few days. Not all of them are koferdik, but nonetheless interesting kofer reading:

The Kvetch of the Kolel Wife (Life in Israel blog)
Instead of shortening hours for the overworked kolel wife, we should indeed be looking for a solution where the husband gets up his lazy bum to work for a living.

Getting over the joy of believing? (Jewish Atheist blog)
Losing belief can be like losing an abusive partner; emotions can endure against better knowledge.

Are people saying "I am spiritual" to just appear attractive? (Center for Inquiry)
One explanation why so many people are not honest enough to be agnostic.

A Creator God cannot be a Reasonable Explanation (Center for Inquiry)
Kiruv clowns preach otherwise, but really they have no better explanation for the universe.

Beliefs validate actions, actions don't validate belief (Thinking Bochur blog)
Good quote: "Religious people are religious because overall it works out for them. Then because it works out for them they validate it by convincing themselves it is true." The guy has great potential to become one of us.

See you again next week!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Heaven for Real?

The proof is finally there! Heaven is for real after all, we were all wrong all along the way!

Hmmm…did he really just mention Jesus? He must’ve been mistaken; he probably meant to say Moishe Rabeinu olov haSholom!

Oh wait, they wrote a book about it and are earning money on this stuff.

Dang, disappointed once again.

PS Listen carefully to the slow answers of the child; I don’t think he even believes in it himself. But the father is far better at lying.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hachnosas Kalloh Appeal

Even though I am not a fan of shnorring and definitely not online, especially in light of the recent tzedokah scams, still I found it hard to resist sharing this holy appeal with you.

May we all be zoiche to biyah, each one to his / her own liking, omein.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oh, Those Heretical Trees!

Tree-ring dating or Dendrochronology is  a reliable, scientifc way of determining the age of trees and, if you combine the results, of the miminum age of the earth.

And guess what? The trees whisper to us that they alone already can refute the myth of the earth being less than 6000 years old. In fact, we can prove, not using carbon or any type of dating, that the earth is at least 11000 years old!

Of course, the earth is way older than that, but that would already border on heresy... No, seriously, we just don't have an unbroken record of trees beyond 11000 years ago, so we can't go back further than that (in the meantime).

Credits: YouTube user cdkoo7. This video can only be found on Dnatube due to featuring music from Sony Music Entertainment (The Final Countdown, by Europe). If the logo in the top obscures viewing, just switch to fullscreen using the icon in the bottom-right.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Taste of Some Warped OJ Thinking

A recent post  called The Long and Winding Road to P'shat -- Part Two by Shel Bassel of the Parsha'l Thoughts blog is symptomatic to the way many OJs think about learning Torah.

He starts off well by saying that:
Any thoughtful student of the Torah is confronted with myriad problems. Even if we can get through some sort of cursory reading of, say, the first chapter of B'reishit, we are then confronted with blatant contradictions to that narrative in the second chapter! One moment you think that male and female were created simultaneously into a world with a whole ecosystem and the next (chapter) you see that a male is created before any female or any trees, for that matter.
This is one screwy story, you might say.
Further perusal of the Torah will yield numerous anomalies including contradictions in the particulars of various commandments, many obscure passages and quite a bit of repetition.
In short, a rather messy book. 
Shokiach, I like it so far. Almost offered him to do a guest post. But then:
If you take the critical approach you'll say that these discrepancies reflect a multiplicity of authors whose stories and versions are stitched together over time. This basic approach leads to the Documentary Hypothesis—and a very fancy hypothesis it is!
Also, to my mind, somewhat dull. 
Is that your criterium for true or false?!
But more than that, it doesn't do a very good job of explaining how we end up with this variegated text. It's all well and good to say that various texts got edited together but then why would anyone put together a text that is so full of problems sometimes even within the same paragraph?
This hypothesis seems to assume that if God had written a book it wouldn't be so messy. 
Oh boy, I am starting to wonder what stuff this guy was smoking?!

It doesn't do a good job explaining how we came up with such messy text? Well, it is a much better explanation to say that this mess is written by God! That sounds blasphemous, keveyachol!

Science does not concern itself with God and that for obvious reasons. Just like that it doesn't concern itself with Santa Claus. The hypothesis is not at all about why God can't have written the text. It tries to understand how such a 'messy' body of text came about from a scientific point of view.

He then goes on to ask us to accept the premise that God wrote the Torah (premise 1: that there is a God, premise 2: that he wrote the Torah). And here comes the crux of his piece. He wants us to believe that the universe is messy as well and maybe we just have the mistaken view that all should be perfect but that God does not work that way.

The same applies for the the Torah, of course:
Maybe it is precisely those parts of the Torah which seemingly contradict or don't fit in with each other very well that point to deeper meanings on other planes?
This is essentially the rabbinic approach.
When one puts his or her mind to it, and struggles with the text, one can actually, albeit usually briefly, hold the contradictory passages simultaneously and see something beyond.
OJ logic at its best. We have a messy Torah and no real good answer as to why. Instead of answering that its Author is imperfect, it is actually a sign of how perfect and unfathomable He really is!

(But I guess we can't expect much from a guy that posted a YouTube video called Why The Destruction of the Temple Was Worse Than The Holocaust...)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Hand of Hashem?

A relative of mine is a tmimusdika (gullible) person with a good heart that sometimes sends me stuff that I just need to defuse.

His latest mail showed a picture of a 'photo taken in Alabama:

The mail was forwarded and labeled as "G"D PARTING THE SKY". It was accompanied by the following text:
Bob Frew sent this out.
"I took this picture on Int.20, traveling to Leeds , AL . It has given me strength in the times of trouble. I feel I should share it with the rest of the world. I hope it is an inspiration to you. It just goes to show what we already know...We have a God, and he's watching over us.
I e-mailed this picture to News Channel Fox 6. I was contacted by Meteorologist James Spann. He said that this picture of the sky is showing up in all states and around the world. He wanted to know where I was from and where I took it. He saw a similar picture taken in Texas. He said this is amazing to him.
Would you look at this picture? It reminds me of that song 'He's got the whole world in his hands.' He is definitely in control. I needed this today more than ever.. Enjoy and pass it along!"
First thing you need to do when you read any forwarded frum mails is to check your facts. Just go over to Snopes and enter 'Hands of God'. It will quickly lead you here.

The original picture looks like this:

The picture was doctored by someone for www.shacknews.com and doctored with Photoshop in 2 minutes.

Interesting points:
  • This is clear proof that someone deliberately misled others in order to make people believe in God.
  • Wonderful how fundies always try to make their claims credible (in this case a meteorologist)!
  • WTF does the picture prove anyway?!?