Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Book Is Available

The book is primarily a summary of everything written in this blog, condensing it as clearly and as concisely as possible.

If you like this blog, you will love this book.

Please click here and order your copies.

To view or download a free PDF of the entire book, click here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Blog is Closed

I have decided to tentatively close this blog. The posts will remain however I do not intend to add to them.

I began blogging because of an experience which I had over seven years ago. About December, 2005 I accidentally stumbled upon a blog written by an Orthodox Jew who had converted to atheism. The blog was entitled "Hassidic Rebel" or "Hassidic Heretic" or something like that. The blog was devoted to vilifying Orthodox  Judaism. I was truly stunned and appalled. I left some comments. Another blogger, I believe identifying herself as a Hassidic woman, suggested that I start my own blog.

Hence this blog was born.

Now, however, the anti-Orthodox blogs which once were so numerous seem to have almost all have faded away. I would like to think that my constant exposure of their lies has had something to do with that. 

I have learned a tremendous amount from debating with anti-Orthodox Jews online for all these years. But I think now I have gained all that I can from "blogger university". I think it is time to graduate.

I tentatively intend to publish a book, both in electronic and paper format. I am exploring that concept at this time.

I want to thank all of the people who have left comments over the years. 

In particular I thank my critics. Although I may vehemently disagree with you and even in some cases personally hate you, however I have learned so much from all my critics over the years. Your critiques have immensely helped me to refine and strengthen my arguments. Your efforts I hope will make it possible for me to now successfully transition to different media.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hemingway: the Atheist Trainwreck

Hemingway about age 50 - real man or real monster?
Ernest Hemingway is probably the most highly respected American author of the twentieth century. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Probably no American graduates high school without reading something written by him. Additionally Hemingway has represented for many Americans the ideal of manhood.

But who exactly was this ideal man whose words of wisdom every young person must study?

First of all, he was apparently an atheist or at least close to it. In his book A Farewell to Arms, chapter 11, the main character, Frederic Henry, who apparently represents Hemingway himself, states that he does not love God, but he is sometimes afraid of God at night. According to Kenneth S. Lynn in his biography of Hemingway, page 314, Hemingway believed that God did not care about man, that the universe was an eternal, meaningless automatic machine and that human life was hopeless.

In his personal life, Hemingway's callousness is repulsive.

He married Hadley Richardson in 1921. In 1923, she bore him a son, Jack Hemingway.

In March, 1926, Hemingway began having a sexual relationship with Pauline Pfeiffer. He divorced Richardson in January, 1927 and married Pfeiffer in May. She bore him two sons, Patrick Hemingway in 1928 and Gregory Hemingway in 1931.

In 1937, Hemingway began having a sexual relationship with Martha Gellhorn. In 1940, he divorced Pfeiffer and immediately married Gellhorn.

In 1944, Hemingway began having a sexual relationship with Mary Welsh, who was at the time married to another man. In 1945, Hemingway divorced Gellhorn and married Welsh in 1946, after she had divorced her husband.

Hemingway did not stop there however. In 1948, 49 years old and of course married, he desperately attempted to seduce a 19 year old girl. And in 1953, he apparently had a sexual relationship with an African girl named Debba. He remained married to the long suffering Welsh however until his death.

In addition, at least from about age 40, Hemingway was an alcoholic.

At age 60, Hemingway shot himself.

This brutally selfish man who gradually destroyed himself as he had others, is for some bizarre reason, considered to be an icon for American youth. This may be a symptom as well as a cause for some of society's problems.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Islands of Civilization

"View of Fort Pierre," Dakota Territory, 1855

I clearly recall that as a fourteen year old gentile living in New City, NY, one of the first things which impressed me about Judaism was the lack of violence and substance abuse apparent in the Orthodox Jewish communities. This very much reminded me of a chain of colonial European forts, small islands of civilization, fixed in the midst of a sea of primitive barbarians. This was the first indication which I had that Judaism was not natural but supernatural, not man made but divinely created.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I was not the first person to make this comparison. Israel Zangwill was a British Jew who was raised in Victorian England. Although he did have some Jewish education, he was thoroughly secularized and married a gentile woman.

Nevertheless, in 1892 he wrote the following about the Whitechapel area of London in his book Children of the Ghetto: A Study of a Peculiar People at the end of Book 1 Chapter 18:

The roaring Sambatyon of life was at rest in the Ghetto; on thousands of squalid homes the light of Sinai shone. The Sabbath Angels whispered words of hope and comfort to the foot-sore hawker and the aching machinist, and refreshed their parched souls with celestial anodyne and made them kings of the hour, with leisure to dream of the golden chairs that awaited them in Paradise.

The Ghetto welcomed the Bride with proud song and humble feast, and sped her parting with optimistic symbolisms of fire and wine, of spice and light and shadow. All around their neighbors sought distraction in the blazing public-houses, and their tipsy bellowings resounded through the streets and mingled with the Hebrew hymns. Here and there the voice of a beaten woman rose on the air. But no Son of the Covenant was among the revellers or the wife-beaters; the Jews remained a chosen race, a peculiar people, faulty enough, but redeemed at least from the grosser vices, a little human islet won from the waters of animalism by the genius of ancient engineers. For while the genius of the Greek or the Roman, the Egyptian or the Phoenician, survives but in word and stone, the Hebrew word alone was made flesh.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Seven Year Anniversary

climbing a mountain toward the truth
It will soon be seven years since I began writing this blog.

Over the years of writing I think that my attitudes have changed significantly. Specifically, when I began blogging I still had some lingering doubts about whether atheism might be true. However as I spent more time writing and debating with atheists, both in the comments on this blog and in the comments on other blogs, it suddenly dawned on me, as Gertrude Stein once wrote, "There is no there there".

In other words, atheists simply have no good answers to a lot of very obvious questions.

For example, isn't evolution both impossibly improbable and contradicted by the fossil evidence? And isn't it unbelievable that Ezra could have invented Judaism, a feat which would require him to have had virtually superhuman power over others and which would have required many thousands of Jews and Samaritans to keep silent concerning any earlier traditions, characteristics which are clear signs of a false conspiracy theory?

Furthermore, I realized that atheists aren't in the least bothered by these questions and simply brush them aside, as would any irrational religious fundamentalist.

I became hardened in my belief that atheists were in fact motivated by addictions, not logic.

Finally, I became more aware of the horrible suffering directly caused by the atheist attitude toward the value of human life, or the lack of value, exemplified by the suffering continuing even today in North Korean concentration camps.

As the years have gone by, everything I have learned has caused me to become so much stronger in my appreciation for Judaism and conversly my distain for atheism.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Science and Atheism

Fine, but should they?
There seems to be a deep link between science and atheism.

For example the mission statement of The Richard Dawkins Foundation states: Our mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering. (Of course, this means overcoming intolerance of good people. Bad people, for example someone like myself who gives his children a religious education should not be tolerated. Obviously.)

However how solid is science?

Here are 5 retracted science studies from 2012:

Korean scientist Hyung-In Moon took the concept of scientific peer review to a whole new level by reviewing his own papers under various fake names.

Computers and Mathematics with Applications published a one-page article entitled "A computer application in mathematics" by the perhaps fictitious M. Sivasubramanian and S. Kalimuthu. It was actually a spoof, unnoticed by the journal's editors.

The Dutch social psychologist Diederik Stapel has pondered some deep questions. His research has found that, paradoxically: failure sometimes feels better than success; beauty ads make women feel ugly; power increases infidelity among men and women; and comparing yourself to others might help you persevere with studying or dieting but ultimately won't make you happier. The only problem is that his research appears to be either mostly or completely fabricated.

In 2008, scientists published a paper in the International Journal of Andrology stating that cellphones in standby mode lowered the sperm count and caused other adverse changes in the testicles of rabbits. In March 2012, the authors retracted the paper. It seems the lead author didn't get permission from his two co-authors and, according to the retraction notice, there was a "lack of evidence to justify the accuracy of the data presented in the article." The lead author lifted data and figures from his two previously published papers that doom rabbits and their sperm. But alas, one of those papers also was retracted this year and the other soon will be.

In early October Hisashi Moriguchi, a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo, claimed at a New York Stem Cell Foundation meeting to have advanced this technology to cure a person with terminal heart failure. However, two institutions listed as collaborating on Moriguchi's related papers — Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital — denied that any of Moriguchi's procedures took place there. By Oct. 19, the University of Tokyo fired Moriguchi for scientific dishonesty even as the investigation was just getting underway.

As in any other human endeavor, when it comes to science, "Trust, but verify".

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Shermer's Fallacy

I'm skeptical of skeptics

In the August, 2006 issue of Scientific American magazine page 34 Michael Shermer’s “Skeptic” column is devoted to the topic of “Folk Science”, which seems to mean any beliefs not based on scientific experiments.

One example of folk science is prayer. Shermer cites a study published in the April, 2006 American Heart Journal. In this study, about 1,000 heart surgery patients were prayed for by members of several religious congregations and were found to have no better outcome than other heart surgery patients. According to Shermer this proves conclusively that prayer for sick people does not help them.

The weakness of this conclusion is appalling.

Obviously, prayer involves communicating with an intelligent being who has free will. Therefore the person offering the prayer, the manner of its offering, the subject of the prayer and other circumstances may be crucial. It is not as simple a process as administering a drug to heart surgery patients. Prayer is not a medication; it involves creating a relationship.

To give an analogy, let’s say I want to do an experiment to discover whether or not writing letters to the President of the United States has any affect. One thousand people will write to the President asking that their federal income tax be lowered. Then we will check to see if their taxes drop compared to other people or not. If not, then we can conclude scientifically that the President either does not exist or he never reads his mail.

An experiment like that is obviously absurd junk science which no one would take seriously. Therefore one wonders why Dr. Shermer finds the AHJ study to be so compelling and in fact why the editors of Scientific American magazine even published his column. Could there be a need in scientific community to grasp at any straw which seems to disprove monotheism, thereby discrediting the clergy and increasing their own prestige?

Monday, December 17, 2012

How Atheists Kill

A book called Escape from Camp 14 was published earlier this year. The book tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin's life unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state, North Korea. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin's Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family.

One wonders how atheists are capable of inflicting such incredible cruelty on their fellow men. How can they kill with no guilt?

I suspect that the answer may be, because according to atheists, nothing is really alive in the traditional sense of the word.

Monotheists understand that something is alive because it has a soul. When something dies it "gives up the ghost".

Atheists of course do not believe in a soul and therefore have trouble defining life. Murder simply means changing a bag of chemicals, known as a human being, from one state to another somewhat different state. Nothing fundamental or terrible has happened. It's like unplugging an appliance. The bag of chemicals is still there, it has just stopped moving and eating.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Justice or Witch-hunting?

rapist - or not?
This week a Hasidic man was convicted of having sex with an underaged girl.

What is interesting to me is that this type of trial, regarding underage sex, seems to be unique in the American legal system. I cannot think of another case where a person could be tried and convicted based solely on the testimony of one witness, with no other evidence that any crime even occured.

Let's say for example a young man would come to the police and tell them that eight years ago when he was 12 his next door neighbor John Doe tried to poison him. John gave him a bottle of soda and he drank it. After he drank it he fell down feeling extremely ill while John taunted him saying that it was poisoned. The boy was unconscious and vomiting for hours until he gradually over several days recovered. The boy never went to a doctor or called the police or told anyone about what had happened because he was afraid of revenge from John Doe. Now however the young man has gotten older and summoned up the courage to turn John Doe in. John Doe, a well respected middle aged family man with no prior criminal record, denies vehemently that anything like this ever happened.

Would any district attorney prosecute John Doe and would any jury convict him? I really doubt it.

If instead of poison soda, the crime was sex, them seemingly John Doe could very well end up doing many years of hard time. I wonder why that is exactly?

Seemingly the public considers adults having sex with minors to be a very serious threat and therefore Draconian methods must be used to stop it.

On the other hand however apparently any American man who has ever been acquainted with an underage girl, including his own daughter, had better hope and pray that this girl never becomes hostile and vindictive toward him. If she does and if she can tell a very emotional although fictitious story of underage sex with him, he may spend decades in prison while the false accuser is hailed as a courageous heroine.

Does ever generation perhaps feel an emotional need for its own Salem witch trials to somehow exorcise its evil and cleanse the community?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Everyday Manna from Heaven

One of my personally favorite foods is the banana.

A banana is inexpensive, nutritious (a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin B6), tastes good and comes in its own attractive, easily removed wrapper, which is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It requires no cooking or seasoning.

Atheists will argue that actually the original, wild banana was not that perfect. The wild banana is just a few inches long and consists of 80% edible pulp and 20% seeds while our bananas, thanks to thousands of years of selective breeding, consist of about 96% pulp and 4% seeds.

This echos the argument made nearly 2,000 years ago by the governor of Judaea Quintus Tineius Rufus to Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph, at that time the elderly rabbi emeritus of the Jews, approximately in the year 130 CE.This conversation may have taken place while Rabbi Akiva was in prison, condemned to death by Tineius Rufus for the "crime" of teaching Torah. Apparently Tineius Rufus was interested in matching wits with the condemned prisoner, perhaps assuming that the Jewish scholar would be somewhat docile under the circumstances.

Midrash Tanchuma (Tazria, 5) recounts:

"Once the evil [Roman governor] Turnus Rufus asked Rabbi Akiva, 'Whose deeds are greater - God's or man's?' He replied, 'Man's deeds are greater.' Turnus Rufus asked him, 'Is man then capable of creating heaven and earth, or anything like them?' Rabbi Akiva replied, 'I was not referring to the sphere beyond man's ability, over which he has no control. I refer to those creations of which man is capable.' He then asked, 'Why do you circumcise yourselves?' Rabbi Akiva replied, 'I knew that that was the point of your question, and therefore I answered in the first place that man's deeds are greater than God's.' Rabbi Akiva brought him grains of wheat and some bread, and said: 'These grains of wheat are God's handiwork, and the bread is the handiwork of man. Is the latter not greater than the former?' Turnus Rufus answered him, 'If God wanted you to perform circumcision, why did He not create the child already circumcised while still in the womb?' Rabbi Akiva answered, 'Why do you not ask the same question concerning the umbilical cord, which remains attached to him and which his mother must cut? In response to your question - the reason why he does not emerge already circumcised is because God gave Israel the commandments in order that they would be purified by performing them. Therefore David wrote, 'Every word of God is pure (or, purified).'"

In any case, we see that in many cases God has allowed man to put the finishing touches on a divine masterpiece, and the same is true of the banana.

Let's take a moment and thank God for this gift.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Spot Intelligent Design

 Crockfords Casino - they know design  when they see it

About a month ago an article appeared in the news about Phil Ivey an American professional poker player who is regarded by numerous poker observers and contemporaries as the best all-around player in the world today. 

During two nights of card playing in August, Mr Ivey won £7.3 million at  Crockfords Casino in London. 

The casino refuses to pay. 

The casino apparently believes that this could not have occurred through random chance and therefore some sort of cheating (in other words what might be called "intelligent design") must have been involved, even though every move was observed by an inspector as well as having been recorded on ten cameras and no sign of cheating has been found.

The reason for this is obvious: when a great number of improbable events, such as hundreds of winning hands of cards dealt to a certain player in a matter of hours, are all clearly accomplishing a certain purpose, such as making that player very wealthy, then we can assume that those events are not merely good luck but are being controlled by an intelligent designer, such as a cheating card player.

Therefore when we see the immense improbability of the universe possessing the qualities which would make life possible, of life forming from simple chemicals or of more advanced life evolving from simpler life, we clearly understand that an intelligent designer is involved. So many unlikely events would have to happen separately and all of them accomplishing the purpose of forming intelligent life. This is infinitely more improbable than Mr Ivey's winning streak, which the casino is assuming could not be the result of blind chance.

This cannot be dismissed by arguing "Well, if God did it, then who created God." anymore than Mr Ivey's attorney can argue "Well, if Mr Ivey cheated, then who created Mr Ivey?" The question doesn't make sense. Nor can one argue "Well, some sort of cards had to be dealt. It could have been these as well as any other." because we know that specifically those cards were dealt which served the purpose of enriching Mr Ivey and this implies intelligent design, not mere chance.

Monday, November 12, 2012

God is Not a Delusion

The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx chronicles each day of Nikki’s life, from December 25, 1986 to December 23, 1987 based upon a diary which he kept at that time.

Nikki Sixx is an Italian American guitar player and song writer. He was born in 1958 (named originally Frank Feranna). In 1981 he was a founding member of the hard rock band Motley Crue. Having acquired new management in 1983, Motley Crue began achieving major success in 1984 and reached its peak in 1990. In 1987, the period covered by this book, they released the Girls, Girls, Girls album.

In his book, Nikki describes his consumption of huge quantities of alcohol, cocaine and heroin. He often suffered from cocaine induced paranoia, frequently locking himself in his closet (page 19). He seldom bathed (page 104). He was very rude, neglecting to visit his grandmother during her terminal illness or attend her funeral (page 145) and refusing to speak to his mother and sister (page 305). At one point he was arrested for throwing a bottle of whiskey on a crowded train (page 373). He performed innumerable sex acts with women who were total strangers. He was also an extreme atheist, and when a friend mentioned God, Nikki pulled down his pants, pointed his two middle fingers in the air in an obscene gesture and screamed “F--- you God! If you’re so real, strike me down.” (page 355)

In any case, he was so ill and self abusive, it appeared as if he would not survive very much longer (page 383).

Yet he is still alive today, and still performing. In fact, he has since married twice and fathered four children, with whom he seems to have a strong relationship.

On page 384, Nikki describes how he overdosed on heroin and had a near death experience. When he woke up in the hospital two days later, he wrote “maybe there is a God”. That was the turning point of his life. It was a very long hard road to recovery from there, however today he has been clean and sober for eight years. He now describes drug use as “retarded” . Well, better late than never.

The fact that belief in God can have such a powerful, life saving therapeutic effect, would seem to validate that God is in fact real, not a delusion. After all, do we ever find a situation where believing in something completely false could have such a beneficial effect and help people to function, rather than hinder them?

Monday, November 05, 2012

What Everyone Thinks Can Be Totally Wrong

The god of Imperial Rome - hot or not?
Of course we know logically that the appeal to the people is a logical fallacy. It is silly to argue that "If many believe so, it is so."

Nevertheless, it is perhaps instructive to see a remarkable example of this from ancient history.

If we were living in the year 150 CE, an apostate Jew would have boasted to a loyal Jew, that it's obvious that those who worship Jupiter are right while Jews who persist in worshipping their invisible God are wrong.

After all, Jupiter was the main deity of the Roman Empire.

The Roman empire was vaster than any seen in previous history and few seen since.

The Romans had brutally destroyed the Jewish community in Judea.

Rabbis were tortured to death by the victorious Romans.

Jerusalem was wiped out and replaced by a Jew free Roman city dedicated to Jupiter and a temple to Jupiter occupied the Temple Mount.

Jews were singled out to pay a special tax to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome.

What could have been more blindingly obvious than the fact that Jupiter was real and he was succeeding while Judaism was finished? No doubt thousands of weak Jews indeed accepted that argument. (This is a sort of natural selection you might say. Throughout history, the worst Jews are constantly dropping out while the best gentiles convert and drop into the Jewish community.)

Well, where is Jupiter today? I don't believe he has had one worshipper in perhaps 1,500 years while probably a majority of mankind believes in Jewish based monotheism in some form.

And tens of thousands of people still pour over the words of those martyred rabbis.

This should remind us today how all the latest ideolgies, however popular, will surely sooner or later land in the dustbin of history while we will still be here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Church of Atheism

this could just as well be Richard Dawkins the atheist leader
It's interesting how atheists passionately insist that atheism is not a religion. This is apparently done in order to make an impression that atheism is superior to mere religion. Atheism is some sort of scientific fact, according to it's believers, not just a religion.

On the other hand, I recently came across an article on The author, Chris Stedman, a homosexual atheist, descibes having begun searching for an organized community of nontheists, which led him to a reception following a public discussion organized by a nonreligious group. At the reception he was shocked to discover that religion — and religious people — were roundly mocked, decried, and denied. He heard comments such as “Wasn’t it wonderful how intelligent the panelists were and how wickedly they’d exposed the frauds of religion? Weren’t they right that we must all focus our energy on bringing about the demise of religious myths?” and “We have the superior perspective; everyone else is lost,”

Stedman claims that as a former Evangelical Christian, these words were hauntingly familiar, and they represented a kind of sure-handed certainty and dismissal — a kind of fundamentalist thinking, really — that he’d hoped to leave behind with his “born again” beliefs.

So when you come down to it, atheists are not merely religious, but religious fundimentalists. Their belief that there is no Biblical God and evolution created us is ultimately no different than a Christian's belief that Jesus Christ is his lord and savior and anyone who believes differently is evil.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gonorrhea: The New AIDS?

As true now as it was in the 1940's
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease which if left untreated will cause sterility as well as other painful complications. Untreated gonorrhea infection spreads to sites other than the genitals, such as the joints, skin, heart, or blood. It may even be fatal.

And apparently there will soon be no treatment for it.

Gonorrhea can be transmitted from either partner to the other by vaginal and anal sex as well as by fellatio.

It is true that latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, reduce the risk of transmission of STDs such as gonorrhea. However very few people actually do use them consistently and correctly, for many reasons, between the discomfort of condom usage to the lack of sobriety of people having sex.  Surveys indicate that most sexually active unmarried Americans seldom use condoms at all. During fellatio it seems to be unheard of.

This should give a little bit of pause to potential atheists out there who are looking forward to a life of sexual freedom. They could well be in for a life of permanent misery. And it helps us to appreciate the great wisdom of the Torah's emphasis on chastity.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Free Will: The Atheist Battle Against Sanity

Sam Harris - another zombie
Sam Harris, the atheist activist, recently published a book called Free Will.

Harris states clearly: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control.”

So there you have it. Not only is design in nature an illusion according to atheists, however our constant subjective experience of making choices to do one thing and not another is an illusion as well.

Logically, therefore, all praise for good behavior or criticism of bad behavior is irrational since the person doing those things had no choice.

To me this is reminiscent of the doctrine of transubstantiation  the belief that,in the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and the wine used in the sacrament is changed into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before. Somehow nothing really is what it appears to be. Or something like that.

Even the New York Times reviewer has mixed feelings:

Couldn’t it be that we need the experience of what Wegner and others call “perceived control,” at least as a model of voluntary behavior, to get on with our lives and to have our achievements recognized and to be instructed by our failures? (Doesn’t Harris enjoy his success? I bet he does.) Finally, what happens to traditional qualities of character like courage, villainy, leadership? Poof! However correct Harris’s position may be — and I believe that his basic thesis must indeed be correct — it seems to me a sadder truth than he wants to realize.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Invisible God

The fact that God has no body is one of the fundamental principles of Orthodox Judaism. The antiquity of this belief is seen in Deut. 4:15 which notes “for you saw no manner of form on the day that the LORD spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire”.

Sometimes my children ask me “What does God look like?” I have to explain that we cannot see Him. Then they ask “Why not?”

Atheists also like to ask, “Isn’t God simply an imaginary friend?” In other words, doesn’t God’s invisibility imply that He may not exist at all?

To me it seems obvious that God must be invisible and in fact this is one of the first things which attracted me to Judaism, rather than for example Christianity.

For us to see something, for something to be tangible to us, it must have borders and limits and it must exist in space. Therefore, logically, an infinite being who created space itself cannot be visible. God is everywhere and furthermore everywhere is within God, therefore it is impossible to see Him.

Additionally, God’s level of reality is different from ours. Let’s say someone is thinking about a person. That person exists only in his imagination. The imaginary person cannot see the person who is imagining him. Likewise, we are like thoughts in God’s mind. He is the only true reality. This is what (Jeremiah 10:10) meant “The Lord God is truth”. He and He alone is real.

God is not our imaginary friend - just the opposite. We are God’s imaginary friends.

This makes clear the fallacy of Richard Dawkin’s question, “Who created God?” This question assumes that God is a material being. God is essentially entirely unlike any physical being, therefore He requires no creator.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Masturbation: A Cautionary Tale

The Talmud Niddah 13 states "Whosoever emits semen in vain deserves death", "He is as though he shed blood", "He is like one who worships idols" "A man who wilfully causes erection should be placed  under the ban" "He  is called a renegade, because such is the art of the evil inclination: To-day it incites man to do one wrong thing, and to-morrow it incites him to worship idols and he proceeds to worship them." "He who excites himself by lustful thoughts will not be allowed to enter the division of the Holy One, blessed be He".

It should be noted however that Sefer Ḥasidim section 176 does permit masturbation if there is danger that otherwise one will have intercourse with a forbidden woman (meaning any woman except his wife who is not niddah). Consult a rabbi regarding this.

In any case, the Talmud considers masturbation to be an extremely negative behavior. However following this teaching can be very difficult, particularly in today's world were online pornography is so easily available.

The Steipler obm offered the following advice:

The only hope of a young unmarried man is to study Torah for the sake of Heaven and to pray that the Holy One will have compassion on him and save him from sinning. You should not expect the rescue to happen in one or two days, however. Yet , with time, if you persist in the deep analysis of Torah texts, as much as your ability will allow, together with a good study-partner, without wasting any time in conversation, you will see how your urge for evil becomes dimmer. You will thereby succeed in your Torah study, as well as in your observance of the Torah... When you finish praying the Amidah, before taking the three steps backward, pray that the Holy One will rescue you, as well as all your brothers among the people of Israel, from this most bitter of sins.

To one boy who had essentially given up trying he wrote : An essential requirement is not to despair, G-d forbid. We must always hope that the Holy One will help us, for as it is written: Is G-d’s power limited? Furthermore, one who comes to purify himself is sent help from Heaven. Another important principle is not to fall into sadness. One who is unmarried should not think of his past till after he gets married. He will then have time to repair.

Let us all pray for a good new year devoted to loving God and loving those who serve Him.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Judaism and the Celebration of Legalism

90,000 Orthodox Jews celebrate Talmud study at MetLife Stadium 8/1/2012
An atheist, formerly orthodox Jewish, blogger wrote an article, in which he comments:

I'm pretty sure I don't have the personality type to find such absurd rules [certain minor Talmudic customs] meaningful even if I did believe in God. ("Does God really care how I tie my shoes?" I asked as a kid when I first learned that rule.)

What he seems to be saying is that any religious rules should be short and general, such as the Golden Rule. Laws about diet, dress, sex, etc. are unnecessary and even sacrilegious. This attitude is a basic part of modern American Protestantism, and therefore it isn’t surprising that someone raised in American society might feel this way.

One could look at this from a different perspective, however.

First of all, all pre-modern religions tended to be legalistic. Muslims have Sharia. The Catholic Church has Canon Law. The Hindus have a caste system.

Judaism, however, may be the most extremely legalistic. We revel in Talmudic law. The greater an expert a young man was in the fine points of almost totally irrelevant Talmudic laws, the greater a hero he was in the Eastern European shtetl and the more prized he was as a husband. This is still true in many ultra-Orthodox circles. Can one imagine even the most law abiding American citizen fanatically pushing his children to become experts in all of American law, even the most rarely, marginally applicable details? I think it could be correct to call traditional Jews not merely legalistic but hyper-legalistic.

The reasoning seems to be as follows. We see each additional law as being an additional sign of God’s love for us. The Mishnah Tractate Makkos 3:16 states “God wished to increase the Jews’ merits, therefore He increased the number of their commandments.” God in His great love for us wants our entire lives to be dedicated to serving Him and increasing His glory. Therefore He has created the huge body of Torah law to make it possible for us to do just that. In the blessings which we say before the Shema each morning and evening, we ecstatically praise God for the great love He has shown us by choosing us and teaching us His laws. We beg Him to help us understand and observe those laws. We see this as the highest honor; the exact opposite of absurdity.This is a life dedicated to the service of God and therefore eternally, cosmically important.

The absurd life is the life of an atheist, unfortunately. He eats so that has strength to work. He works so that he has food to eat. He continues this cycle until his body no long functions, then his remains may be thrown into a dumpster. A life lived like that is truly illogical and nonsensical. Absurd, in other words.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Talmud Trumps Atheism

no junk in the trunk

 In 1972, the term "junk DNA" was coined by scientists to describe DNA which did not not have any apparent function.

This was believed by evolutionists to be a clear proof of evolution for the following reason:

In copyright law there is a problem when determining if one source has copied another source because it is possible, particularly with topics in narrow subfields, that two authors could converge on a similar sounding passage to describe the same concept. However, errors in the passages are independent of the subject of the text and of each other. Multiple shared errors, particularly in grammar or spelling, become increasingly improbable for two independent writings. If there are several shared errors between two passages the only reasonable explanation is that one is a copy of the other or that both were copied from a common source.

This same concept applies to pseudogenes [an allegedly defective segment of DNA ]. While it is possible that two independently evolved genes will look the same because they both do the same thing, after an error invalidates a gene, the sharing of this same error between two species is extremely strong evidence showing that both species derived from the same source in which the mutation first appeared. By analyzing shared inactivation mutations in non-functional pseudogenes, scientists can construct phylogenetic trees and prove common descent.

It has now been discovered, following an immense federal project involving 440 scientists from 32 laboratories around the world, that the human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches.

So the junk DNA is not junk at all. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has gone so far as to call this finding a "eulogy for Junk DNA".

Interestingly, the results of this "immense federal project" could perhaps have been found simply by studying the Talmud. Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Of all that the Holy One, blessed be He, created in His world, He did not create a single thing without purpose (Talmud: Shabbos 77b).

This is also implied by Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom". We cannot begin to have wisdom without the fear of God. A world view based on atheism is bound to be distorted and false.