Wednesday, June 06, 2007
[One of the modern homeless. Can science help her?]
I have seen atheists write “I believe in science because it works.” I have no problem in agreeing with this. Science does work – for certain practical things; so does plumbing and auto mechanics. However are there some situations where religion, and only religion, will work?
I would like to briefly relate two stories, one about myself and one about a former coworker.
My first wife and I divorced in 1991. She was also a convert to Judaism, however after 12 years as a Jew she regretted her decision and returned to being a gentile. We had no children after ten years of marriage. I was 31 at the time. I have had almost no contact with her since. However I was terribly disappointed and hurt. For months I felt suicidal. I reminded myself that suicide is prohibited my religion (“You will not murder” Exodus 20:12 includes suicide). Therefore, rather than escape my suffering, I would only compound it by committing suicide. I would be punished by God even after leaving this world. Also, greatly comforting me, close friends allowed me to live with them for several years until I remarried, fulfilling the religious commandment “Love your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:18). I was tempted to drown my sorrow in alcohol, however making vows prohibiting alcohol to myself stopped me, vows which I dared not to break due to the religious commandment in Numbers 30:3.
Thank God, my life gradually got back on track. I kept my job and my sanity. I remarried to a lovely young woman in 1994. Soon after I switched to a much higher paying job at my present company. We now have three beautiful children and a beautiful home.
In 2001, a beautiful 26-year-old woman I worked with divorced from her husband of eight years. She caught him cheating. They were also childless. Let’s call her Olga. Olga was raised in the Soviet Union with no religion. She was heartbroken by her divorce. She attempted suicide soon afterward. She was so distracted by her sorrow that she soon lost her job. She found work, however she was never able to have a stable relationship with a man after having been hurt. Recently, she has become unemployed again. She is drinking heavily. She has adamantly refused psychiatric treatment. Lately she has begun making threatening phone calls to former coworkers. There is a complaint pending against her for aggravated harassment (complaint #2815 with Officer Powlett badge #31995 of the 10th precinct Manhattan NYPD). She has been arrested. The long-term outlook for her doesn’t seem good.
Olga and I both have all the advantages of modern science available to us. However is that always enough? Doesn’t this indeed demonstrate literally “Man does not live by bread only, but rather by every thing that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.” Deuteronomy 8:3.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 12:25 PM