Friday, June 29, 2007

The Holocaust – a Painful Miracle


[Photograph in a letter sent home by a German solider. It was intercepted by the Polish Home Army. The back of the photo is inscribed “Ukraine 1942, Jewish Aktion, Ivanogrod”]

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a miracle means “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs”. In that sense, I believe that the Holocaust was clearly a miracle, although an extremely painful one.

On January 20, 1942 15 leading German government officials, the majority of whom were holders of doctorates, gathered in Berlin to organize the systematic and complete extermination of European Jewry. This was done at the direction of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. During the next three years, until May 7, 1945, approximately five million innocent, unarmed Jews would be murdered, in addition to the one million who had already been killed previously by the German authorities. This seems to have been a unique event. There may be no comparable example of coolly premeditated mass murder.

The strangeness of the Holocaust cannot be overstated.

First of all, Germans were on the average highly educated and civilized. They were very cultured people. They were not superstitious savages. Prior to 1933, there had been no anti-Semitic violence in Germany since 1819. German Jews had been granted legal equality in 1871. Twelve thousand German Jews gave their lives for the Fatherland from 1914 to 1918. Many German Jews had converted to Christianity, intermarried and had family ties with gentiles. Few were conspicuously observant.

Secondly, in 1942, Germany was in the midst of a tremendous battle for survival, fighting on all fronts against the USSR, England and America. It would lose this battle three years later. The idea of committing precious administrators, troops, trains, fuel, weapons, ammunition, etc to the pointless murder of civilians, civilians who could have worked productively, was not only criminal, it was inexplicable.

The Holocaust is so unbelievable that one can begin to understand the logic behind Holocaust Denial.

Yet we know it happened - but why?

I my humble opinion, there is only one plausible explanation.

The Jewish Enlightenment began in Berlin in 1783 with the publication of a translation of the Pentateuch into German by Moses Mendelssohn. From there it spread across Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, causing the most flagrant, voluntary abandonment of Jewish observance in history. Millions of Jews embraced secular Zionism, Communism and Socialism.

As the Torah predicts, devastation followed. Beginning in Berlin, spreading across Europe but primarily eastward, the war against the Jews spread, just as the Jews’ war against God had spread.

One rabbi, who was later murdered, commented “Because people no longer believe in hell, God brought hell to this world.”

Regarding the over one million children who were killed in Holocaust, the rabbis have taught “minors may die by their fathers sin, by Heavenly decree” Sifre, Devarim 24:147.

While it is true that many Jews, especially those in Poland, were still observant, however even in Poland observance seems to have been weak. Poland had a pre-war Jewish population of 3.3 million. Of those, to the best of my knowledge, no more than 100,000 voted for the ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel party in the pre-war Polish Parliament. The secularist Zionist and Bund were far more numerous. And in many cases God may punish the righteous because they did not make sufficient efforts to influence the evil.

On the other hand, in the ultra-Orthodox strongholds in the Oberland region of Hungary and Romania I believe that a majority, especially young adults and rabbis, did escape the Nazis. Their deportation to Poland began in the spring of 1944 and many survived until the war ended. Many Lithuanian rabbinical students also survived. Many of them fled to Shanghai, China or were deported to Siberia by the Soviet government in 1941, where most survived the war. These groups, together with their descendents, make up the bulk of Orthodoxy today.

North African Jewry was far less affected by the Jewish Enlightenment and also far less affected by the Holocaust.

The Jewish communities in America and Israel, although also mostly irreligious, were not affected by the Holocaust, I would assume because they were new communities, which were not yet deserving of such a fate. Let us hope that we all soon repent and avert any future catastrophes, God willing. We must not forget for a moment the enormity of our responsibilities and the horrendous consequences of failure. Ever action is ultimately rewarded or punished, in this world or in the next world. The Holocaust was simply a case where it clearly happened in this world.

Important to note as well, the perpetrators did not escape without punishment. The number of Germans who perished during the war (counting only those who lived within the pre-war borders of Germany) seems to approximately equal the number of Jews killed by the Germans. What goes around comes around.

It is true that I am making use of a tragedy to advocate my own beliefs, however I don't feel that is different than a doctor who uses the tragedy of lung cancer to convince his patients to stop smoking.

In my opinion, the Holocaust is one of the strongest proofs of the truth of Judaism.

66 comments:

badrabbi said...

With this reprehensible blog post, JP once again has proven that no matter how much we try to talk sense, no matter how much evidence we bring to the fore, no mater how clearly we argue our case for reason, that he is as thick headed as an oak tree.

Shame on you JP for using the millions of dead Jews and millions more non-Jews to try to prove a bone-headed point!

God killed 6 million Jews and 50 million non-Jews (who presumably were collateral damage), to punish people because they davened less than three times a day or did not vote for the �agudath Israel� party. That is what you are saying, JP! Of course you are wrong, but if you are right, and God has sunk to this abominable abyss, then you can shove your deity in a dark and damp crevice.

The killer of the Holocaust Jews is not my God!

avrum68 said...

"The killer of the Holocaust Jews is not my God!"

Ok, you've piqued my curiosity badrabbi, who is YOUR God?

Henry said...

The only thing the Holocaust proves is the reality of evil.

zdub said...

Maybe the holocaust was a punishment for the Zionistic movement (violation of the 4 oaths) as many Chassidic groups claim.

Or maybe it was because not enough yidden were Zionistic (see R. Teichtel who relates this to the relatively few yidden who returned to Israel from Bavel).

Or maybe it was because God was angry with the Chassidic movement; after all, 1/3 of all of those killed were Chassidic.

Or maybe it was because not enough people adopted the German assimilationist attitude - after all, "only" 20% of German Jews were killed, far less of a percentage than places like Poland.

The bottom line is that you do not have ruach hakodesh to say why the shoah occurred. You have crossed the line with this repugnant post in trying to claim that you know why 1/3 of all Jews were killed in the holocaust. I will refer you to David Weiss Halivni, a survivor. In "The Book and the Sword" he uses a gemara that talks about the 4 things that H' detests to tell about the 4 things that he (DWH) detests: "let me speak first of the one that I reject with derision: the attempt to make theological excuses for the Holocaust. I consider it obscene to assume that the Shoah took place (especially since it came from Germany) as a divine response to the spread of the German culture of Haskalah, or secularism, among the Jews. First of all, these apologies are historically absurd: Germany had the most secular Jews, and yet more Jews of other nationalities were exterminated. But, more important, these rationalizations are theologically offensive. The phrase "For our sins, we were exiled..." has a legitimate place in our tradition and liturgy; but dispersion, even with its attendant suffering, is one thing, and vast annihilation of man, woman, and child is another. To say to the people whom we know, "because of our sins", we were sent to Auschwitz - this must be rejected out of hand. There are certain times in history where justification almost smacks of participation. A justification, by definition, means: it should have happened, it's justice, it is the fitting course of events. People who make such statements suggest, in effect, that had it not happened, they would have worked to bring it about. Even aside from the historical absurdity, sensitive human beings must consider this abominable".

avrum68 said...

"The bottom line is that you do not have ruach hakodesh to say why the shoah occurred. "

The only thing more fitting than the above quote would be for Jacob to delete this post and apologize.

Henry said...

If this was Jewish Philosphy it would be a shameful thing, fortunately it is not.

I agree the whole thing should be deleted.

jewish philosopher said...

The point of this post is not to try and tell anybody “You’re uncle died in Auschwitz, therefore he was a bad man.” Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. I never met your uncle.

The point is rather: Leviticus 26 predicts that when the Jews abandon the Torah they will slaughtered in the cruelest ways possible. In Europe, between about 1800 and 1940, the Jews did abandon the Torah and they were afterwards slaughtered in the cruelest way possible. As far as I am concerned: Prophesy fulfilled; validity of the Torah proven.

Of course, people who do not accept the Torah will howl with indignation because this argument proves their beliefs to be wrong.

“1/3 of all of those killed were Chassidic.” I would love to know the source for that. I would guess the truth is about 5% were ultra-Orthodox, but I haven’t found any hard statistics.

If anyone can provide a convincing materialistic explanation for the Holocaust I will happily delete this post and post the alternative explanation instead.

zdub said...

Re % of Chassidim killed in the holocaust, sorry, I mistyped. The statistic that I heard (will try and find the source) was that 1/3 of all Chassidim were killed in the holocaust (not that 1/3 of all Jews killed were Chassidic.) Whatever the real number was (and there is no clear historical "census consensus" as to the numbers of adherents to Chassidic sects), a VERY large percentage of all Chassidim were killed; many dynasties no longer exist as a result, while for many others it was basically rebuilding from scratch (Ger, Bobov, etc).

avrum68 said...

"many dynasties no longer exist as a result, while for many others it was basically rebuilding from scratch (Ger, Bobov, etc)."

That was my understanding as well. And why so few Chassidim were willing to engage in theodicy writings post-Holocaust.

I'd also like a link.

avrum68 said...

"The Holocaust brought final destruction to all chasidic centers of Eastern Europe."

"Almost all Gerrer chasidim (about 200,000) in Europe perished during the Holocaust, but the Imrei Emes managed to escape and quickly set about rebuilding the movement in then Palestine."

- taken from Wikipedia

"The Holocaust brought final destruction to all chasidic centers of Eastern Europe. Most survivors moved eventually to Israel or to America, and established new centers of Hasidic Judaism modeled after their original communities."

- taken from answers.com

I'm having difficulty quantifying the above. Suffice to say, I haven't found ONE site that supports your claim. So Jacob, you've got a problem:

1) You're wrong, and hence your entire cause/effect theology is wrong, and that'd make me sweat a bit.

2) You're going to be spending a late night finding a legitimate source for you claim.

Either way, it's your responsibility to back-up your claim.

avrum68 said...

"Like some of the other groups originating in Poland, the Belzer chasidus was nearly wiped out by the Holocaust. Some chasidic followers from other communities joined Belz after the war and following the deaths of their rebbes. Belz, like Ger and Satmar, was comparatively fortunate in that its leadership remained intact and survived the war, as opposed to many other Hasidic sects who suffered losses both in terms of rank-and-file supporters, as well as the physical decapitation of their leaders."

jewish philosopher said...

"Either way, it's your responsibility to back-up your claim."

My claim that the vast majority of European Jewry was not fully Torah observant in January, 1942? I that is very well known.

To paraphrase Professor Richard Dawkins, "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in the connection between the Jewish Enlightenment and the Holocaust, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

avrum68 said...

That isn't all you said, you said this:

"On the other hand, in the ultra-Orthodox strongholds in the Oberland region of Hungary and Romania I believe that a majority, especially young adults and rabbis, did escape the Nazis. "

And you said this:

"I would guess the truth is about 5% were ultra-Orthodox, but I haven’t found any hard statistics."

According to all the adhoc research I found, you're wrong. And this means that Torah observance DID NOT save religous Jews from Nazis.

Furthermore, how do you justify the dwindling #'s of Jews who follow a Torah lifestyle in 2007. Oh wait, I know, they're Holocaust is coming, right?

avrum68 said...

""It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in the connection between the Jewish Enlightenment and the Holocaust, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

This isn't a paraphrase, it's a lie.

JP, you're losing it pal.

jewish philosopher said...

I think you'll find what happens is that regarding pre-war Europe everyone gets nostalgic and rewrites history. Chassidim will tell you "Oh, Poland! It was all Chassidism!" Socialists will tell you "Oh Poland! It was all Bund! It was all Labor Zionism!" I haven't found good statistics beyond a little information about Jewish voting patterns for the Polish parliament. If you can do better, let me know.

"Oh wait, I know, they're Holocaust is coming, right?" There are many ways and means God has of punishing people. The Holocaust was mild. “Fire is one-sixtieth part of Gehinnom” Talmud Berakoth 57b

"you're losing it pal." No, actually I'm winning it.

avrum68 said...

JP...I admire your steadfastness. My rabbi has traits similar to yours.

badrabbi said...

JP Quotes Richard Dawkins as saying or paraphrasing: "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in the connection between the Jewish Enlightenment and the Holocaust, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

JP, can you supply a reference to the above mentioned paraphrase?

jewish philosopher said...

Click here.

badrabbi said...

LOL, folks, the EXACT quote that Richard Dawkins uttered is as follows:

"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

Notice that JP conveniently changed 'evolution' to 'Jewish enlightenment'.

I need not say any more about that!!!

badrabbi said...

JP, we as athiests and agnostics, appreciate your helping our side. With enemies to our cause like you, who needs friends?

jewish philosopher said...

If the gas chamber door slams shut on you, don’t come crying to me.

badrabbi said...

OK, JP. This is what you have degenerated into.

avrum68 said...

"If the gas chamber door slams shut on you, don’t come crying to me."

Well, that's that. JP, I keep trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I agree with badrabbi, your blog does more harm than good (though badrabbi would see it the other way around). And not just with respect to Orthodox Judaism, but Judaism period.

JP...it's not just the insesitive tone of your posts, but the sheer falsity of the claims you state. When I stumbled upon your blog, I thought: "Huh, a Jew with a background in science who's willing to confront atheists on their terms." But what you consistently do, over and over again, is:

a) choose science when it suits your arguement;
b) heresay when you can't back up your claims;
c) use misquotes to prove points
d) ignore challenges to your arguements

I humbly suggest you discuss some of your ideas with a few rabbis in your community.

On that note, we've had more than a few kooks throughout our 4000'ish romp, one more ain't no big surprise.

jewish philosopher said...

The truth really hurts, doesn't it.

Kylopod said...

"JP, we as athiests and agnostics, appreciate your helping our side. With enemies to our cause like you, who needs friends?"

Bingo!

I've been glancing at JP's blog for a long time. I never posted anything until a week ago. I'm not sure why I bothered to finally break the silence. It wasn't for a challenge, I can tell you that.

It was more like when I play Internet Checkers and I occasionally go back to Beginner level just because I want a break from playing Expert.

JP is not just a walking strawman for nonbelievers. He's also something of a megalomaniac. He constantly leaves messages on the skeptical blogs telling people that if they come here, all their doubts will be solved.

I am normally not one to engage in personal attack, but JP greatly tests my stamina. Maybe that's his point. Maybe he's some angel coming here to test us. Even the most polite bloggers like S. and Orthoprax end up ridiculing him.

Or maybe he's just some demented parody, sort of a Stephen Colbert directed at Orthodox Jews.

Without any way to know, I can only take his persona at face value. But I am curious to see how he answers the following question.

JP: Have you mekareved a single person through your blog?

avrum68 said...

The truth JP, is that your blog has, after the past few posts - had - would be more apropos, the potential to be very good. What's sad is that you care more about "winning" then discussing the merits of a frum lifestyle.

From your public bio, to the content of some of your posts/comments, this blog sounds more like a rationalization (for the restricting lifestyle you choose) and very little to do with Jewish Philosophy.

Baal Habos said...

>In my opinion, the Holocaust is one of the strongest proofs of the truth of Judaism.

So the Armenian genocide is proof of Christianity?

http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/Genocide/armenian_genocide.htm

You analysis of cause and affect is so flawed. Any event can post-facto be attributed to some evil or another. And even if some Rabbi "predicted" bad events, so what? At any given time, there are always rabbi's, priests and imams preaching that the the end is near. Hardly a month goes by where I don't hear some rav saying things are in an Ais Tsarah. And it's been this way for 2,000 years.

Jon said...

the lubavitcher rebbe (who was a wee bit better at bringing jews back to their heritage, then you! JP) wrote, that not even Satan couldn't think up such an evil plan, and to suggest that it was the work of God, is a slap in the face to Him.

but that's just one man's opinion.

jewish philosopher said...

I think what’s upsetting people about this post is that I am implying that if a Jew veers from Orthodox Judaism then he deserves to be thrown into a gas chamber together with his children. All I can say is, that is what the Torah says. Read it yourself.

jewish philosopher said...

"So the Armenian genocide is proof of Christianity?"

I don't think I follow you. Does the New Testament predict disaster in this world for Christians who leave the fold? Were Armenians apostatizing and in unprecedented numbers? I don't think so. So what's the comparison?

jewish philosopher said...

"Have you mekareved a single person through your blog?"

Probably.

avrum68 said...

In some twisted way JP, it would seem that it is important for you to believe Jews are gassed for non-observance. I can't help but wonder if you need this to be true to justify life choices which have clearly brought suffering into your life. Because if the above wasn't true, then perhaps you would've been spared meaningless suffering due to a choice founded on myths and half-truths (conversion).

By the way, you still haven't proved any of your assertions that the majority of frum Jews in Europe were spared death due to their observance.

Waiting...

jewish philosopher said...

"you still haven't proved any of your assertions that the majority of frum Jews in Europe were spared death due to their observance"

Where did you find this assertion? In fact I wrote "in many cases God may punish the righteous because they did not make sufficient efforts to influence the evil".

avrum68 said...

Your words:
"On the other hand, in the ultra-Orthodox strongholds in the Oberland region of Hungary and Romania I believe that a majority, especially young adults and rabbis, did escape the Nazis. "

A quick google search claims that many Satmar Chassidim were murdered during the Holocaust i.e. Hungary.

It would seem a MINORITY not a MAJORITY escaped the Holocaust. And I'd assume this was true for Poland as well.

You'd do well to follow the lead of your co-blogger - Orthoprax - and substantiate claims with facts/figures.

jewish philosopher said...

Based on conversations with survivors and their families, I believe that a majority of Hungarian and Romanian Chassidim did survive the Second World War. I am not aware of any published statistics, however.

avrum68 said...

And my zaidye, his brother, sister and parent's - all from Poland - avoided concentration camps, etc. Spend their remaining day in Montreal. So how does any of this translate into the workings of God?

jewish philosopher said...

It's elementary. God saved them so that you could be born, read this blog and repent with all your heart and soul.

Cameron said...

I actually think you are getting short shift from your readers, the God of the Jews - if he is also the 'God of everything' is certainly responsible for the holocaust, just as he would be responsible for all other evil in the world (he's omnipotent, etc.).

As I understand it, there is no requirement that the God of the Jews be a nice, happy friendly God (see: Old Testament Jehova) - and the holocaust, along with cancer, rabies, my crazy ex-girlfriend, and jock itch, bear that out.

To the readers who object to Jacob, I'd say 'have the courage of your convictions' - his God (defended by the Torah!) punishes those who don't obey his commands - viciously.

His is a God who permits slavery, child marriage, the stoning of adulterers and apostates, and the massacre of the faithful by Nazi's.

Jacob isn't promising you some namby pamby limp wristed God of Love. His is a jealous and wrathful God, and he isn't going to pretend otherwise.

So in a way, he's much more honest about things than his critics here are being.

avrum68 said...

Cameron...two things I've learned about atheists:

a) they rarely have direct experience with what they're critiquing i.e. they claim prayer doesn't work, but never have prayed for any length of time.

b) they muck up Jewish theology/halacha so poorly, it's best they stick with Christian dogma which pisses 'em off in the 1st place

So, when you say:
"he's much more honest about things than his critics here are being"

You wouldn't know what being honest, or lying for that matter, would look like according to traditional Jewish sources. Suffice to say, Jacob's post is repugnant, and according to all my ad-hoc research, simply wrong i.e. religious Jews being spared from the Shoa.

Good to see you backing Jacob when he looks like a complete arse though. How big of you.

Cameron said...

Avrum68: So, when you say:
"he's much more honest about things than his critics here are being"

You wouldn't know what being honest, or lying for that matter, would look like according to traditional Jewish sources.

CH: When have I ever said he was honest with regards to the original sources? I leave that kind of Judeo-centric psychobabble to you. I merely pointed out that if God is Omnipotent (as Jacob has indicated he believes) that if follows from that that God is ultimately responsible for allowing the Holocaust.

Other options like;

'God doesn't actually care about the Jews at all'

or 'God is absent'

or (gasp) 'perhaps there really isn't a God'

...are also available to you if you wish, but there is nothing openly dishonest philosophically about Jacob's position.

Avrum68: Suffice to say, Jacob's post is repugnant, and according to all my ad-hoc research, simply wrong i.e. religious Jews being spared from the Shoa.

CH: Of course its repugnant. I find most of Jacob's positions repugnant, I'm just shocked it took you this long to figure out that his God really is a terrible vengeful jealous God and not the loving kind kitty-cat God you've been pretending.

Avrum68: Good to see you backing Jacob when he looks like a complete arse though. How big of you.

CH: As much as he is wrong about things, Jacob has been ruthlessly consistent.

If God doles out punishments (earthquakes, plagues, etc.) to the wicked as Jacob suggests (and as you have probably acquiesced to in other postings), then to ask 'what prompted the Holocaust when the Jews are supposed to be the chosen people?' is a fair question - just don't be surprised if his logic forces an answer on you that aren't comfortable with (and feel free to choose from the other options I presented at the beginning as alternatives).

As for defending Jacob, hardly. At best his position is philosophically consistent - your mad God punished your people for a lack of faith in him. If you find that notion uncomfortable maybe you should start by unpacking what Jacob's claims about your God really mean.

jewish philosopher said...

I have to pretty much agree with Cameron and ask "what is all the fuss about". If you read the Hebrew Bible, something I do daily and urge all other Jews to do as well, you will notice that God is described as fair, just, good and merciful. And He is. Are you breathing? Is your heart beating? Have you eaten this week? Good! Thank God! You should be crying tears of gratitude.

But, and this is a very important "but", God does and will really kick ass. See the Deluge, Sodom, the destruction of Jerusalem. Read Lamentations.

This concept will help explain a lot of things.

avrum68 said...

1) To state, with such confidence, that that God punished the Jews because of secularism, breaks with normative traditional rabbinic opinion, and why is that so...

2) BECAUSE SO MANY RELIGIOUS JEWS DIED AS WELL.

And hence, your wrong. Your wrong that religous Jews are spared from God's wrath.

It doesn't bother my personal theology that you feel this way. But it does make frum Jews look like an ass when you spew incorrect data.

Though it would seem, from the few regular commentators on your site, your message isn't so far reaching. A very good thing indeed.

On the other hand, it's because of your blog that I found:
http://askrabbimaroof.blogspot.com/

A true heavy weight, and one that keeps putting badrabbi in his place like here:
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8202889976050169877&postID=7140520544412197190&isPopup=true

joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jewish philosopher said...

"2) BECAUSE SO MANY RELIGIOUS JEWS DIED AS WELL."

I am sure that apparently very pious Jews died during the destruction of Jerusalem, see for example Lamentations 2:21 "The youth and the old man lie on the ground in the streets; my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; Thou hast slain them in the day of Thine anger; Thou hast slaughtered unsparingly."

So what? I guess Jeremiah "breaks with normative traditional rabbinic opinion".

jewish philosopher said...

And I’m not especially surprised that my blog is not the most visited site on the web. Who will attract more attention – someone standing on a street corner handing out free Bibles or handing out free Playboy magazines? That doesn’t necessarily prove which is more meaningful.

Cameron said...

Would it be silly for me to point out that God doesn't heal amputees no matter how devote or how much they pray, and ultimately kills everyone no matter how faithful they are?

Kylopod said...

There is certainly precedent for what Jacob is saying. In no way, however, is it the only valid explanation. People who believe the reasons for human suffering are meant to remain mysterious can find plenty of support in traditional sources, principally the Book of Job.

Granted, there will probably always be a variety of believers who, when confronted by disasters, whether human or natural, look for some previous instance of "sin" to blame. At the extremes, it gets kind of silly, where you have figures like Pat Robertson attributing a hurricane to the teaching of evolution. Not only are such exercises arbitrary and prejudicial, they are based fundamentally on a simplistic theology in which all human suffering is the direct result of prior transgressions. The most honest answer a person can give is, "I don't know."

jewish philosopher said...

We should be grateful for the time we do live and the limbs we do have.

avrum68 said...

Cameron, I found this disclosure on another blog:

"and I am what you would say is a 'goyim' is I believe how you would put it?"

So when you say:
"I leave that kind of Judeo-centric psychobabble to you."

I thank you. As a Jew, I DO have a degree of legitimacy - due to experience and some education - to discuss Jewish theology, etc.

However, you're not Jewish so I'm assuming your knowledge of Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Hebrew, etc., etc., is lacking...if not nil. So when you say this:

"I actually think you are getting short shift from your readers, the God of the Jews - if he is also the 'God of everything' is certainly responsible for the holocaust"

I can only assume your words are founded upon a Jewish educational/experience of reading/posting on Jewish blogs. So before you pontificate about what the Jewish God "is certainly responsible" of, perhaps you should consider taking an "Intro to Judaism" class at your local JCC (Jewish Community Center).

avrum68 said...

"Would it be silly for me to point out that God doesn't heal amputees no matter how devote or how much they pray, and ultimately kills everyone no matter how faithful they are?"

No. But it would be more honest if you mention Dawkins or Harris whereby you stole/borrowed that "slam dunk" against deism.

avrum68 said...

"There is certainly precedent for what Jacob is saying."

It's not the spirit of Jacob's posts, but his conclusions that are full of errors. That, and his inability to respond to challenges posed that, I assume, have caused other's to abandon his blog.

Though, like a car wreck, Jacob's site is hard to look away from.

jewish philosopher said...

It's my charisma.

Cameron said...

Avrum68: So when you say:
"I leave that kind of Judeo-centric psychobabble to you."

I thank you. As a Jew, I DO have a degree of legitimacy - due to experience and some education - to discuss Jewish theology, etc.

CH: Good for you! Your parents must be proud. Until they hear you talk about evolution, then I'm sure they throw up in their mouths.

Avrum68: However, you're not Jewish so I'm assuming your knowledge of Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Hebrew, etc., etc., is lacking...if not nil.

CH: If you go through any of my posts (and I also post frequently on non-Jewish blogs - along with running my own) you'd notice that I typically confine myself to my field - philosophy and political philosophy.

Avrum68: So when you say this:

"I actually think you are getting short shift from your readers, the God of the Jews - if he is also the 'God of everything' is certainly responsible for the holocaust"

I can only assume your words are founded upon a Jewish educational/experience of reading/posting on Jewish blogs.

CH: Why would you assume this, especially when I explicitly point out that I am referring to the philosophical consistency of Jacob's positon - not how it refers to Jewish theology? Here is what I said later on in the thread;

"I merely pointed out that if God is Omnipotent (as Jacob has indicated he believes) that if follows from that that God is ultimately responsible for allowing the Holocaust."

In short, I am pointing out that if you accept Jacob's premises, his conclusions aren't philosophically inconsistent.

Avrum68: So before you pontificate about what the Jewish God "is certainly responsible" of, perhaps you should consider taking an "Intro to Judaism" class at your local JCC (Jewish Community Center).

CH: Maybe you should take a critical reading course before you hurt yourself further. I reccomend 'English', there are some big words, but you'll survive.

Cameron said...

I had said "Would it be silly for me to point out that God doesn't heal amputees no matter how devote or how much they pray, and ultimately kills everyone no matter how faithful they are?"

Avrum68: No.

CH: Your right! And what's more you should have stopped right there.

Avrum68: But it would be more honest if you mention Dawkins or Harris whereby you stole/borrowed that "slam dunk" against deism.

CH: Avrum, it's hardly plagiarism if you can't even decide which atheist author bogeyman of yours I am paraphrasing! For the record, I ran across a website that made the amputee argument at length - (here it is: whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm)

So it wasn't Dawkins or Harris - but I wouldn't be surprised that either of them had made it previously.

More curiously though, why put quotes around "slam dunk" when I've never referred to it a slam dunk?

Freud would call that 'projection'.

Lastly, and just so you actually get the point I was trying to make -

If God is omnipotent and created the world, the universe and everything in it and has complete power over it, and God furthermore is Omniscient - knows everything about you, me, what we think, love, how we pray, etc. then there are two things that can be concluded;

A. any evil in the world (like, maybe say, the Holocaust!) is his responsibility. He foresaw it, started it in motion, and when it began, didn't stop it. Keep in mind as well, that the Holocaust is how he deals with his chosen people.

and,

B. You have no free will. God has already chosen your destiny, knows what you will do, what evil is in your heart, the mistakes you will make, and what your eternity will look like.

Now you may think that Jacob is being an ass (and let's be frank, he frequently is), but there is nothing inconsistent about his position philosophically. He believes firmly in this God of absolute power - and is therefore pushed by his own ruthless logic to assess the holocaust as something that the Jews must have DESERVED.

Yes, I think this is barbaric, repugnant and unconscionable - but that just reflects back on your creator doesn't it?

jewish philosopher said...

I would basically say you've understood me correctly, Cameron. However I do believe that God has given us freedom of choice, but not freedom of action. We can choose what we wish and then He decides if we can carry that out or not.

avrum68 said...

"any evil in the world (like, maybe say, the Holocaust!) is his responsibility. He foresaw it, started it in motion, and when it began, didn't stop it. Keep in mind as well, that the Holocaust is how he deals with his chosen people."

My understanding about the Holocaust is that PEOPLE murdered other PEOPLE. It's as simple as that.

I don't have the luxury of Jacob's wisdom to know what God does or doesn't do on a day to day basis.

Cameron said...

Avrum68: My understanding about the Holocaust is that PEOPLE murdered other PEOPLE. It's as simple as that.

CH: I have never argued otherwise.

avrum68 said...

To move past a grade 4 understanding of God is to appreciate that life is subtle, metaphorical and often complex. One can not talk about God without using anthropomorphism's. That certain people don't, that's there business. However I've never seen a bush burn without being consumed, witnessed a sea parting and/or heard God speak directly to me. Hence I can only assume that "God speaks..." and "God does..." as being a metaphor (at least for post-prophet folks i.e. us".

Though it does take huge amounts of Chuzpah for a non-Jew to start going on and on about Jewish theology like a "bull in a china shop". Incredible. Of course, said non-Jews usually distort everything they're discussing re: Judaism, usually the facts themselves (read anything by Dawkins/Hitchens about Judaism).

In other words Cameron, you've got balls telling observant Jews what's what.

Kylopod said...

Avrum: Do you have a website or blog? I keep trying to click on your profile and it says that it's not publicly available. I did get to Cameron's blog.

Cameron said...

Avrum68: To move past a grade 4 understanding of God is to appreciate that life is subtle, metaphorical and often complex.

CH: I appreciate that life is subtle, and complex, but metaphorical? That will need an explanation.

Avrum68: One can not talk about God without using anthropomorphism's. That certain people don't, that's there business. However I've never seen a bush burn without being consumed, witnessed a sea parting and/or heard God speak directly to me. Hence I can only assume that "God speaks..." and "God does..." as being a metaphor (at least for post-prophet folks i.e. us".

CH: Fair enough - your God is more ineffable, less defined, more intangible and less real than Jacob's.

Avrum68: Though it does take huge amounts of Chuzpah for a non-Jew to start going on and on about Jewish theology like a "bull in a china shop". Incredible.

CH: I could care a whit about 'Jewish' theology, I'm an atheist - I get to reject ALL theologies as equally vapid and devoid of content.

Avrum68: Of course, said non-Jews usually distort everything they're discussing re: Judaism, usually the facts themselves (read anything by Dawkins/Hitchens about Judaism).

CH: I'm not here to defend Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, Nietzsche, Martin, Sagan, Spinoza, Einstein or any other atheist. Smear them all you want, I won't bite.

Avrum68: In other words Cameron, you've got balls telling observant Jews what's what.

CH: Just my chutzpa talking. Listen, if you think your version of God is somehow more coherent than Jacob's go for it, and make your case about how your invisible super-deity is so much more cognizable.

But accusing me of having balls? What can I say, but 'You got me, I do have balls'.

jewish philosopher said...

I think many people would like to have a comforting fantasy of millions of innocent, pious Jews being marched to the gas chambers by demonic SS guards. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth, to the best of my knowledge. The vast majority of European Jewry was in rebellion against God in the 1930’s. Many violently anti-religious Communists were Jews. The results were predictable, based upon the covenant God has with the Jews. True, some pious Jews died as well; after all, we all will die someday. Auschwitz may have been no worse than cancer. Also, even those pious ones may have not tried as much as they could have to influence the others.

If we are going to remember the Holocaust, then we must learn from it these vital lessons. Otherwise, it’s victims will have to some degree died in vain.

joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joebaum said...

The simple reasen - why the frum hungarian Jews were not killed as much as the the frum Jews from the other countries - might be becouse they seperate themselves from the non-blievers, as it is famous "the seperation of hungary", wich wasn't in the other countries.

Anonymous said...

This makes sense.

Your assumption that civilized, intelligent, sympathetic people will not murder innocents is of course false; see the Milgram experiment, the Stanford experiment, war crimes and most propaganda techniques.

Germany was not in that much military trouble in 1942; its winning streak was just beginning to break. It was, however, trying to use patriotic enthusiam to recover from economic and social trouble, with means it needed a scapegoat, and history shows it's always Jews who get killed in such circumstances.

Still, your alternative explanation is not stupid. But then, here is what I claim:

Any being that tortures, rapes and kills as a punishment for lack of religious observance,
Any being that punishes people for the faults of others,
Is evil and must be incapacitated or destroyed as soon as possible.

Also, it's a great reason to stay away from Judaism: if you are Jewish, but not observant enough, you'll get killed by gentiles to whom nothing bad happens.

jewish philosopher said...

"you'll get killed by gentiles to whom nothing bad happens"

Funny, but I think a few Germans were killed during and after the war as well, and wasn't East Germany occupied by the Soviets for decades? What goes around comes around, you know.