Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Truth of Judaism

[dawn from just below the peak of Mount Sinai.]

The truth of Judaism is based primarily on several principles, each of which is so obvious it hardly needs to be explained. No other religion comes close to having such a clear, logical, factual basis.

1 - The Watchmaker Principle

The Watchmaker Principle states: A machine cannot come into existence unless an intelligent being creates it. Therefore an eternal, supernatural intelligent designer must have created life.

This is proven by the fact that we never witness a complex mechanism with many parts all working efficiently for a certain purpose form spontaneously. There is always a designer. A watch must have a watchmaker. Therefore life, in which every organelle in every cell is a complex machine, must have been created by God.

A possible refutation of this is that, while true, complex machines cannot suddenly develop spontaneously, however over huge periods of time, self-replicating living things can become more complex through a very gradual process of variation and natural selection. The main problem with this refutation is that the fossil record, even the marine fossil record which should be fairly complete, does not indicate anything like such gradual evolution having happened in the past. Instead, we find evidence of sudden changes. Evolution is irrational speculation which clearly contradicts the evidence. It also does not explain how the first life originated.

Potential falsification: Present one example of a machine which we have witnessed come into existence spontaneously, without any intelligent designer.


2 - The Anti-Conspiracy Principle

The Anti-Conspiracy Principle states: If a large group of people, for example 10,000 or more, unanimously claim to have had a certain experience, they must be telling the truth.

This is because most people tell the truth most of the time. If they do lie, they lie as individuals or as small groups. It is impossible to organize a large group to all tell the same lie and not have at least a significant minority eventually reveal the truth.

Our knowledge of history is largely based on the Anti-Conspiracy Principle. Without it, how could we know that the astronauts actually landed on the moon, that the Holocaust actually happened, that George Washington was a real person and that the Normans invaded England in 1066? If large-scale conspiracies were easily created, perhaps all these historical facts were fabricated by a conspiracy of thousands of people.

This proves that the miracles recounted in the first half of the book of Exodus must have taken place, since the entire Jewish people unanimously accepted them as fact since time immemorial up until the 19th century.

It would have been impossible at any time in the past to engineer a conspiracy whereby all Jews unanimously would tell their children “My parents taught me that our forefathers were slaves in Egypt and were redeemed with ten miraculous plagues, etc.” when in fact their parents had said no such thing. Therefore the only plausible explanation for the Exodus tradition is that those miracles did indeed happen.

One possible refutation is that perhaps in remote antiquity most Jews were illiterate and illiterate people can be enlisted in mass conspiracies. I know of no historical or anthropological evidence to support that.

Another possible refutation is that perhaps Judaism began as a small conspiracy, with a small group numbering let’s say a dozen families. From there it gradually expanded, by acquiring converts and by natural increase. This would be similar to Christianity. Originally, there were supposedly thousands of witnesses to Jesus’ miracles. However only the four authors of the gospels, who could have easily conspired together to lie, retold them to the world. There is, however, no record anywhere of such a contraction and then gradual expansion of the Exodus tradition. Again, we would have to resort to a mass conspiracy at some point to cover up that historical fact when, on the contrary, we would naturally expect the founding fathers of the tradition to be remembered with great honor, as is the case with the four Christian evangelists. The archaeological evidence also seems to indicate the sudden appearance of a large Israelite community in Palestine about 3,300 years ago (see “The Bible Unearthed” page 119).

A third possibility is that the events related in Exodus basically did occur; however they were natural events, which were later given supernatural significance. The problem with this, however, is that it is difficult to imagine what those natural events could have been which would have closely resembled the Exodus miracles. And if the actual events were insignificant, but gradually were greatly embellished upon, then we would expect each family and each to village to have developed widely separate traditions about what had happened. We would have to again resort to a nationwide conspiracy to convert everyone to the one accepted canonical version.

The most plausible scenario might be something like this:

A group of a few thousand Semitic slaves escaped from Egypt about 3,300 years ago under the leadership of an Egyptian nobleman named Moses. After they settled in the highlands of Palestine, these Israelites as they called themselves, began retelling and embellishing the story of their escape. [Which is in itself a little bizarre – wouldn’t escaped slaves rather not advertise that fact?] Numerous different versions arose. Other Canaanites joined the Israelite community. The community grew. Versions of the story became more and more fantastic. Moses became a great lawgiver and miracle worker. Ten Plagues struck the Egyptians. Ten Commandments were given at a mountain in Sinai. In the time of Josiah, these stories, as well as Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, were edited and became closer to their present form. Finally, a couple of centuries later, Ezra the Scribe finalized the Hebrew Bible, which was then universally accepted by Jews (Nehemiah 8:1) . Ezra had the power (Ezra 7:26) to punish all those who disagreed with him. The Samaritans as well, enemies of Jews (Ezra 4:1) , for some reason decided to accept the Pentateuch, although no other writings.

The main problem with this story is, if this is true, why were all the earlier versions, which were in the possession of the tens of thousand of Jews throughout the Persian Empire, and the Samaritans too, immediately, totally and silently disposed of once Ezra presented his scroll? There should have been “Pentateuch police” busy for many years destroying other, not canonical, writings. We know that the early church leaders had to suppress many apocryphal gospels and some have survived to the present. Something similar even happened with the Koran. In Judaism as well, certain books, such as the Book of Ben Sira, were excluded from the Biblical canon and banned. However there isn’t even a record of any command to disregard other versions of the Pentateuch; they are simply unmentioned anywhere, as if they never existed. We again must violate the Anti-Conspiracy Principle and say that all Jews, and Samaritans (!), unanimously and immediately agreed to lie and to say, “This is the only scroll of the Law of Moses which we received from our forefathers”, although they knew that it wasn’t. There was a perfect, empire wide cover up.

Potential falsification: Present one example of a successful conspiracy of 10,000 people who knowingly all told the same lie, which was later somehow discovered to be a lie. [Bear in mind that falsifying the Anti-Conspiracy Principle brings into question the truthfulness of the Holocaust, the moon landings and many other events as well, not only the Exodus tradition.]


3 – Ordinary Claims Do Not Require Extraordinary Evidence
[implied by Carl Sagan’s famous principle]

If something seems likely to have happened, we do not require extraordinary evidence to prove that it happened. Since, based on the Watchmaker Principle, we know that a God exists; we might expect that at some point in history he would reveal his identity and wishes to the human race in a public announcement. Therefore, extraordinary evidence is not required to prove that the revelation at Mount Sinai happened.

(Evolution, on the contrary, is making an extraordinary claim – that simple life spontaneously transformed itself into complex life. Extraordinary evidence is needed to support that, however the fossils offer little if any support.)

In addition to this, the rabbinical tradition, as opposed to the Samaritan and Karaite traditions, is validated by the successive levels of rabbinical literature. We can actually see the “shock waves” of the Sinai revelation rippling through and gradually decreasing in the structure of rabbinical literature.

It would seem obvious that Judaism has not been popularly rejected due to any lack of evidence, but rather because it is too burdensome – it contradicts people’s natural laziness, lust and arrogance.

The most popular refutation of the divine origin of the Torah is that the Torah states that the world was created 6,000 years ago. This has been proven wrong by the fossil evidence. Therefore, since the Torah contains a clear factual error, it cannot be divine. In fact, according to ancient rabbinical commentaries, only this phase of the world began 6,000 years ago; however other phases came and went before this one. The fossils are remnants of them. This also provides an explanation for the sudden changes in life during the earth’s natural history, which we see in the fossil evidence.


SearchingForMeaning said...
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SearchingForMeaning said...

Oh my, where do we start with these. The teleological argument is so full of holes as to be laughable; the witness theory well misrepresents the truth about Jewish mesorah ad what we think we "know" about our origins. I will try to get a more comprehensive response, but that may be difficult as I am joining the Israeli army in four days. Perhaps the rest of you can pick it up for now...

SearchingForMeaning said...

As an aside, it amazes me, how, you, JP, take theories and ideas that have long ago been called into question, and cast into doubt, such as the faulty and weak watchmaker (a.k.a. teleological) argument, and present them as fact, as proof. Interesting how in real philosophical circles, such concepts are still debated and remain open, yet you know better.

Anonymous said...

"The truth of Judaism is based primarily on several principles, each of which is so obvious it hardly needs to be explained. No other religion comes close to having such a clear, logical, factual basis."

All of your "principles", (which, by the way, aren't principles at all, but regurgitated soundbites) could apply equally well to any religion.

What are you banging on about?

Avi said...

This proves that the miracles recounted in the first half of the book of Exodus must have taken place, since the entire Jewish people unanimously accepted them as fact since time immemorial up until the 19th century.

Jewish Non Philosopher, you make no sense. Because the Jewish people accept what the torah says makes it true??? More Christians believe in their religion, does that make it true? More Moslems believe in theirs, so that makes it true? The Jews believe the torah, they never witnessed any of the miracles.They are all relyinh on heresay, your logic would elude anyone who knows how to think. By the way more children believe in santa Claus then there are Jews in the world. I guess that means Santa Claus is real. Avi

Anonymous said...

I note that you link to William Paley and his "Blind Watchmaker" metaphor. In 2006 this is not acceptable. You do not have to agree with everything Richard Dawkins says to recognise that on this at least he is sound. You should read with an open mind what he says in his book of the same title.

The fossil record is very fragmentary. Most creatures simply do not survive as fossils. And if you want to study fossils you have got to go out and look for them. What has been discovered since people started studying fossils is not representative. There are doubtless many fossils lying beneath where you are at this moment, but it is not practicable to dig down and start looking. So what has been found is fortuitous; only a tiny total of all species has even been discovered as fossils. Most are found incidentally to other activities such as mining and quarrying, and the findings are a matter of chance.

To say that fossils are not known is no argument at all, since they might turn up in the future. Since the evidence is that evolution has taken place with relatively rapid changes interspersed by periods of little change, the transitional species are around for a relatively short time and are less likely to be found. Though of course there are some transitional species around today.

These days, in any case, fossils are not regarded as the main evidence for evolution.

Were the truth of religion to depend on the failure to find certain fossils, it would indeed be in a precarious position. What if they turned up in the future? Would that invalidate your religion? What kind of a religion is it that could possibly be invalidated by the discovery of a few old bones turned to stone?

Anonymous said...

The conspiracy principle. Why does it matter so much if events described in the bible actually happened? Their importance is surely what, if anything, they mean today. They are stories with a moral.

As regards the miracles described in Exodus, they are consistent with the events following the huge volcanic eruption of Santorini (Thera) in 1650BCE, which give a possible date for the event.

Your comments on the early church indicate a severe lack of information on the subject. The church did not contract down to four evangelists who got together and concocted a yarn. St Paul, who had been amongst the main persecutors of the members of the early church, had a vision of Christ on the road to Damascus. And it was then that he joined the church. The Acts of the Apostles, written by the evangelist St Luke, gives an account of the development and difficulties of the early communities, whilst St Paul, in his letters to those early communities, makes it evident that this was a fast-growing group of believers.

Further evidence against your contraction theory of Christianity is in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, born in Syria, around the year 50; martyred at Rome between 98 and 117. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the importance of the testimony which the Ignatian letters offer to the dogmatic character of Apostolic Christianity. The Bishop of Antioch constitutes a most important link between the Apostles and the Fathers of the early Church. Receiving from the Apostles themselves, whose auditor he was, not only the substance of revelation, but also their own inspired interpretation of it; dwelling, as it were, at the very fountain-head of Gospel truth, his testimony must necessarily carry with it the greatest weight and demand the most serious consideration.

Cardinal Newman did not exaggerate the matter when he said ("The Theology of the Seven Epistles of St. Ignatius", in "Historical Sketches", I, London, 1890) that "the whole system of Catholic doctrine may be discovered, at least in outline, not to say in parts filled up, in the course of his seven epistles". Among the many Catholic doctrines to be found in the letters are the following: the Church was Divinely established as a visible society, the salvation of souls is its end, and those who separate themselves from it cut themselves off from God; the hierarchy of the Church was instituted by Christ; the threefold character of the hierarchy; the order of the episcopacy superior by Divine authority to that of the priesthood; the unity of the Church; the holiness of the Church; the catholicity of the Church; the infallibility of the Church; the doctrine of the Eucharist, which word we find for the first time applied to the Blessed Sacrament; the phrase "Catholic Church", used to designate all Christians; the Incarnation; the supernatural virtue of virginity, already much esteemed and made the subject of a vow; the religious character of matrimony; the value of united prayer; the primacy of the See of Rome. He, moreover, denounces in principle the Protestant doctrine of private judgment in matters of religion.

Thus not only do we find a direct link between the Apostles and the early Church, but also that the early Church was in broad outline much as we find the Catholic Church today.

If you want to attack orthodox Christianity, go ahead by all means but please get yourself acquainted with the facts first otherwise the attacks are silly.

Anonymous said...

Yes, JP, I think the anti-conspiracy principle doesn't work the way you think it does. The problem is that you're reducing Christian claims to their written sources (the four gospels, though there is more evidence than that, as has been pointed out) but thinking of Judaism in terms of the tens of thousands that the written sources witness to. It's easy for four writers to conspire, but hard for tens of thousands to do so. The problem is that those tens of thousands are themselves only witnessed to in few texts!

In other words, your argument against Christian claims defeats your own claim as well. Whoever wrote the Pentateuch could have made it all up. It's easy for a few writers to conspire.

The fact that intervening generations have all believed it doesn't add credibility to the original claim. Lots of people have believed lots of wrong things for years and years and years -- their collective belief doesn't strengthen the claim.

Now, I happen to agree with you that the events in the Pentateuch (and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible) are factual, supernatural, and are the work of God. They are genuine testimony to real events -- testimony that we ought to believe. It's not an anti-conspiracy principle that leads me to believe that but a much more holistic consideration of things -- metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, my own experience of the world, and so on.

I don't think it's possible for us Christians or Jews to compel people's assent with the kinds of proofs you're offering. As evidence for that, I offer the reality of idolatry, understood theologically the way a Christian or Jew would understand it (that is to say, I'm not now addressing you atheists among the readers but JP specifically and other believing Jews or Christians). Some idolators are incorrigible. Take Elijah and the prophets of Ba'al. There is no persuading some people because it's due either to blindness or an act of will to disbelieve (i.e., not disbelief at all but just rebellion). Proofs -- even genuine proofs that legitimately do prove what you're saying -- will never persuade such people.

Anonymous said...

Divine origin of Torah. I have no problem in accepting the divine origin of the Torah, or, for that matter, all of the books of the Old and New Testament, but how did they come into existence?

If these came directly from God, which is the what scriptural literalism implies, how did they materialise? Were they encapsulated in a rock, perhaps a meteorite? Did they arrive in the form of a celestial email, perhaps via a modem connected to the numinal realm - to the mind of the supreme creator who conjoured a material cosmos into being from eternity?

And what precisely do the words mean? Two centuries of philology has demonstrated the fluidity of language. The scriptures are between 1900 and 3500 years old. That is a long time in the history of a language. 2500 years ago, the Germanic languages were undifferentiated. Subsequently, by, say, around the year 500, they had split into Proto-German and Proto-Norse; the former split into German and various Dutch and Friesian dialects, of which one of the latter became Anglo-Saxon. The Norse group of languages split into Old Norse (present-day Icelandic) and a collection of Scandinavian dialects including Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Faroese and the dialect of Skåne, all of which are mutually only-just-understandable to speakers of other dialect groups (so they often speak to each other in English). A nice example of evolution and species formation.

Interestingly, the Swedish word for Creator is Skapare, which has an obvious resemblance to the English "shaper". It is essential to accept this degree of latitude when reading ancient texts. Which raises the question why anyone would want to tie themselves to a literal reading based on present-day dictionary definitions? You might as well try and claim that Elijah's chariot of fire was a coal-burning steam-powered car, thereby proving that the ancient Iraelites had already achieved a level of technology not reached again until the nineteenth century.

Anonymous said...

Pity, JP has gone quiet. Perhaps he is doing some reading during the Chanukah holidays. Once he has had a look at Newman, Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould and perhaps Dawkins, and separated out the chaff from the wheat, we might have something really interesting.

jewish philosopher said...

I have read “The Blind Watchmaker” by Dawkins, however I don’t find it convincing. We still have no actual watches without watchmakers; merely fair tales that once upon a time it did happen. I want more than a fairy tale.

Regarding my Anti-conspiracy Principle, I see no evidence of any other religion which violates that principle. Every other religion could easily have begun with one original, alleged seer\miracle worker and a small team of devoted followers. Imagine in Tibet 3,000 years ago a shaman emerges from his tent and excitedly tells the villagers that he has had a sacred vision that the universe began with a giant turtle egg hatching. There you have it – a new mythology and religion has been born, with no mass conspiracy. Only Judaism defies this principle.

Unfortunately, it is true that few people are intellectually oriented enough to base their lives on any intellectual arguments. However, some people are really thoughtful. If I can influence a few, that’s fine with me.

jewish philosopher said...

Also, Henry, regarding the Santorini idea, as far as I can see that might account for the splitting of the Red Sea, but not much else. The idea that Mt. Sinai might be describing a volcano is also well known, however there are no volcanos in the Sinai. It's difficult to put together a natural scenerio for the Exodus, which is not so unlikely it's basically miraculous in itself. Don't forget about manna from heaven too.

Agkyra, I would agree with you if Jewish tradition stated something like "Ezra discovered the scroll of the Law of Moses and all the people accepted it." It could be Ezra and a few assistants faked it. However Jewish tradition has always been "all our forefathers told us this is the scroll of the Law of Moses". How could that happen without a mass conspiracy, which is implausible?

Anonymous said...

Please delete my silly comment about you being off on your holidays, didn't know you had been seriously ill.

Anonymous said...

The huge eruption of Santorini could have accounted for most of the plagues. It threw up a vast cloud of dust and would have disrupted the weather, with all sorts of other consequences as the ash fell.

Dawkins is sound on his science, it is no good when he strays into what is properly the area of religion. Conversely, it is unwise to regard as science textbooks literature which is primarily of interest in the realm of spirituality.

Nobody needs to hold to literal interpretations of scripture in order to sustain their religious belief. In fact, it is impossible to know what were the meanings intended by the people who wrote down the scriptures, and they did not fall out of the sky. The scriptures may be the word of God but it does not mean they arrive from nowhere.

So why is anyone tying themselves to scriptural literalism?

As regards Christianity, what possible motive could anyone have to conspire such a thing? Throughout the Christian period there are people, like myself, who will honestly report that they have had an encounter with the Risen Christ. No conspiracy, and why otherwise would anyone have joined a such a cult when membership meant you were likely to end up as a lion's dinner?

The valid points you make are spoilt when you pontificate about that of which you clearly know very little.

jewish philosopher said...

Volcanic eruptions can cause a lot of destruction, such as ash and a tsunami (which are not mentioned in Exodus), however I would imagine that the lower slave class would suffer more than the nobility. I’m not sure how it would work to liberate them.

I'm not sure that early Christian apostles and evangelists necessarily deliberately lied. I think that sometimes gullible people may try to convince themselves that they are part of some great, cosmic mission even when that obviously isn’t so. Look at the thousands who followed Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. He finally gave his life for his beliefs. And the thousands who followed an illiterate Arab named Mohammed. Even today, millions would joyously give their lives for Islam. Embellishing on stories about the "Great Prophet" may be considered merely a high level of devotion, not fraud.

Anonymous said...

People will follow all sorts of belief systems. Apart from Buddhism and Hinduism, they normally define themselves against orthodox (Catholic) Christianity. Catholic Christians accept the authority of the Magisterium of the Church. For everyone else, it is mostly pick-and-mix, with the occasional add-on. Christian Science, for instance, is neither Christian or Scientific. Islam and Protestant Christianity define themselves against orthodox Christianity, and so does Marxism. In fact, as you know, Judaism has had to spell out the points on which it differs from Christianity.

The advantage of following the teaching of the Catholic Church is that you know what is sound doctrine without having to work out everything for yourself from first principles - life is too short.

Following unsound doctrine gives rise to problems, though they may take a long time to show up. The orthodox Christian view on Judaism is that its followers are bound by the Old Covenant which remains valid, so there is nothing unsound about it.

Here is a silly test to check if you are Chalcedon compliant ie what you believe falls within the range of what is accepted Catholic teaching.


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realityinquirer said...

Dear Jacob Stein AKA "Jewish Philosopher"

Is it possible to be an orthadox jew and at the same time deny the literal account of the Noach Story and Babel story (that humanity started afresh some 4000 years ago post world destruction by mabul and spread across the world forming different languages and nations ????

Or can these stories be takes as figurative narative BUT true in the sense of the moral teachings and still be "ORTHADOX Torah min Hashamaim accepted"

reply to if you can help with this question.

(I am an orthadox jew grappeling with this problem)

RaspK said...

Ah, so you don't delete comments, huh? Interesting to note that you have actually done just that...

In any case, let me mention a simple refutation of 1.: nylonase.

Eat your heart out. :P

jewish philosopher said...

An enzyme is "a complex mechanism with many parts all working efficiently for a certain purpose"?

Please, don't embarrass yourself any further.

Anonymous said...


you want a false story thats supposed to have happend in front of over 10000 people?

look up the story of the cult of fatima

jewish philosopher said...

I don't think the events of Fatima were false. On October 13, 1917, tens of thousands of people saw the sun dancing for about ten minutes. I don't think anyone questions that, but what does it prove? A false prophet may also produce a miracle, incidentally.

K said...

1. Evolution doesn't work the way you think it does. It does account for spurts of change and cataclysms. Go take a college course.

2. The 10,000 believers thing is just funny. If we had to go with popular opinion, we'd all be Islamic.

That being said, when I originally searched for a religion 20 plus years ago, what did make sense in looking at Biblical texts was that Judaism was first, so why follow a splinter group--unless you actually believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. We all know the Catholic Church is corrupt, so that rules out it and all the Protestants. That leaves one with Mormonism. But why start with the premise that the Bible is truth? Which leads to:

3. You are telling us that Adam and Eve and all that jazz started 6 thousand years ago, and all that happened before was trial and error or God's playdough? If that's the case, then why are you even concerned with evolution in the first place?

Adnan Oktar said...

Please read the Blind Watchmaker, The selfish Gene and The god delusion. After you have read them, I hope you will have some better thing to say rather than just propaganding militant judaism. thank you.

jewish philosopher said...

K and Oktar, please go study in yeshiva. You don't understand Judaism. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"A watch must have a watchmaker"

Do you not consider God to be complex and working efficiently? According to The Watchmaker Principle God must have been made by a watchmaker.

You will say that God always existed, but then I can say that life always existed, and whatever else you answer to that can be questioned on God as well.

jewish philosopher said...

"I can say that life always existed"

And how did it get through the Big Bang? A big crash helmet?

Anonymous said...

The same way that God did.

Any arguments you make about why anything needs a creator can be plugged back in and applied to God. You can't have double standards. If you say that God can in unexplicable ways acchive something I can say that nature can acchive the same thing in unexplicable ways. There's no need to insert an extra step.

jewish philosopher said...

The fossils indicate that life has not always existed.

Anonymous said...

JP, I am a 17 year old student and even I am able to perceive how flawed and elementary some of these arguments are.

If human beings are a creation due to the fact that they are complex and must have been designed. Does that not mean god must have been designed, since an entity complex enough to create entities as complex as human beings must have been designed by an even more complex entity.

The argument is an infinite vicious regress and is thus illogical.

The anti-conspiracy principle is flawed for so many reasons. I could go on to point out why, but I don't wish to waste my time any further.

Oh and Your third claim is pretty much null since you base it on your first, flawed claim.

jewish philosopher said...

In this post I explain that God is non-physical and eternal.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jewish Philospher,

Thanks for your website. Really like the arguments you make. As an added point to yours and Lawrence Kenelman's it's really hard for me to get past the question, "Why would any man make up something so crazy as Judaism?"

There are so many crazy laws that are inexplicable to humans, it just seems like if the whole thing was a lie to me, that people, especially the people that would have had the fake revelation at Mt. Sinai would just give up the whole thing.

The only reason I can think of why a person, maybe Moshe, would have falsely invented Judaism was for eternal glory; to be remembered forever in a book. Because certainly, even with a course understanding of Jewish law, it couldn't have been for him to get extremely rich, because Jews share everything with other Jews. If Moshe didn't practice what he preached and didn't give charity etc... do you think anybody would continue to follow?

Also, there is way more opportunity to screw up in Judaism than to earn reward. I recently found out I was not truly Jewish, and am also going through a conversion process. On the one hand when I found out, I was a bit devastated, but on the other hand I was happy I was not going to get judged as hard by g-d... If a man just made up a religion, Judaism really doesn't seem like a good way to get people following you...

As a matter of fact, not having to follow Torah law because they are difficult laws to follow would be a pretty reasonable explanation of how Christianity started. An analogy would be the start of Protestantism, because some guy wanted to divorce his wife...

Finally, atheists especially act like it's unreasonable to believe in g-d or in Torah. But it's actually the most reasonable thing to do, for logically if there is no g-d and you live a Torah life it doesn't matter at all. However, if there is a g-d and you didn't live a Torah life, there are indeed consequences.

I try my best to respect all people and their belief system. People however act, that because they don't believe in g-d, they don' have any beliefs and are completely rational logical beings with every action they take. Evolution is an elegant theory to explain the development of life, but as a theory to explain where life comes from it is way more farfetched than any religion out there.

I study these arguments, of yours, Lawrence Kenelman, Dr. Dovid Gottlieb to reaffirm my belief in Torah, so in a time where belief in g-d is at an all time low, I can stand my ground strong. In the end, however, belief in g-d and divine inheritance of Torah are beliefs, they just happen to be the most rational system of beliefs I know.

Anonymous said...

Hi JP:

I have one question regarding national revelation.

Maybe just ten percent of the people told about national revelation bought the story. The other ninety percent said the prophet or leader was full of beans – and left.

The ten percenters could be broken down into people who really believed the leader/prophet – having a more direct relationship with G-d – had the true history of their ancient past – and it had just become a lost tradition.

The other group in the ten percent are people who stayed because of other reasons: culture, business reasons, kids in school, friends, wife wanted to stay, parents wanted to stay – the usual.

Then the ninety percent assimilate – the ten become the nucleus of the Jews who “stood at Sinai,” and a myth seems perfectly validated.

And – like with Muhammed, and JC, no one wrote about how the story of national revelation was baloney – they all just washed their hands of early Judaism – and that was that.

What do you think?


jewish philosopher said...

I think I basically refute that idea here