Tuesday, June 12, 2007
[“Fire is one-sixtieth part of Gehinnom” Talmud Berakoth 57b]
I think it’s obvious that it is worthwhile to be an observant Jew even if one is not certain that Judaism is true – provided one condition is met: one is convinced that Judaism is more likely to be true than any other religion.
The reason is as follows. Let’s say someone would give you a hamburger but then explain to you that there is a 1% chance that there is fatal dose of cyanide in the sandwich. Would you eat it? I definitely wouldn’t. Therefore how can someone eat pork if there is even a 1% chance of burning in hell if he eats it?
The only logical reason I can imagine for ignoring Judaism would be a situation where someone believes that another religion makes more sense, and therefore he is embracing that instead, however actually no other religion comes close to having the logical basis Judaism does.
Alternatively, one could argue that although there is some chance that Judaism is true, however the cost of being a Jew is too great to make being observant worthwhile. This is surely untrue, since actually Judaism does so much to enhance the lives of those who observe it.
What amazes me are the skeptics who seem to view religious discussions as some sort of court case where they are the accused and I, the Jew, am the prosecutor. I must “convict” them. I must bring evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that Orthodox Judaism is true before they can be “condemned” to a life of observance. So long as they can raise some doubt, they are free. This is just delusional nonsense. The truth is precisely the opposite. They must bring evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that Orthodox Judaism is false before they can be “freed” from a life of observance.
[Incidentally, I have heard of “Pascal’s Wager” , however I believe that my argument avoids all the major objections to it.]
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:52 AM