Monday, October 15, 2007

A comment on comments

I enjoy blogging and enjoy hearing other, different points of view. But it is so tiresome to read the same rants again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Why can’t someone intelligent read my blog and actually try to disprove logically what I am saying? For example, in my most recent post, I am saying: Atheists and agnostics adopt whatever moral values are popular in the general society in which they live. Can anyone prove that false? Can anyone demonstrate that atheists consistently base their morality on some higher logic? If not, so why comment on this post?

Please allow me to explain here a few points for the record.

Judaism has never permitted child rape or any forced sex.

Child marriage is permitted by Judaism, as it is in every traditional culture.

Judaism does permit slavery, with certain limitations.

Judaism does mandate a death penalty for adultery, provided that the adulterer is properly convicted by a qualified Jewish court. This has not happened in about 1900 years and rarely before that.

Judaism does mandate a death penalty for apostates, provided that we know the individual is a willful apostate, not merely theologically mistaken or ignorant, and provided that killing him will advance the cause of Judaism, not hinder it. To the best of my knowledge, such an assassination has never taken place.

The Torah is not a “magic book”. It includes no magic lessons. Magic is prohibited by Judaism.

If atheists are naturally so benevolent, then could anyone please explain to me how atheists created and supervised the Stalinist concentration camps and the violence of the Chinese Cultural Revolution?

The strategy employed by many commentators on my blog seems to be: Emphasize to the hilt any injustices, real or imaginary, ever committed by Jews since the world began. Conveniently forget about any atrocities committed by atheists in recent decades. Throw in a few general insults. Declare moral victory for atheism. Isn’t this getting a little old?

How about we do this:

If you want to comment on my blog, fine. However stay focused on the topic. Bring logical arguments demonstrating why I am wrong, not just trying to prove that Jews are evil. And not just comments like “JP, this is garbage”. Let’s try to limit the abuse, please.

If you want to discuss the crimes of Jews, fine. However limit yourself to crimes committed by Orthodox Jews within living memory which have either been proven in a court of law or which are accepted as fact by the majority of historians. The Israelite invasion of Canaan has as much to do with modern day Jews as the Gallic Wars have to do with modern Italians.

Thank you.

18 comments:

yitz.. said...

how does pinchas killing zimri not qualify as one of your described assasinations ?

and why not have a comment policy where you delete stupid comments with no redeeming intellectual qualities?

jewish philosopher said...

Zimri was killed because he had sex with a Midianite woman, not because of apostasy.

I don't want to delete comments because then I will be accused of removing any questions I can't answer.

badrabbi said...

JP what you say is garbage!

jewish philosopher said...

But I think you would be adding a lot more to the blog if you would explain, using specific examples, facts and logic why it’s garbage.

And note that I’m not filtering your comments, deleting your comments or banning you from my blog, as some anti-religious bloggers do to me.

avrum68 said...

"it is so tiresome to read the same rants again. And again. And again. And again. And again."

Jacob, we tend be repulsed by traits/habits that we embody, albeit unconsciously, in ourselves. Your posts parrot the same message over, and over, and over again.

If you didn't think Atheists had legitimate claims, you wouldn't dedicate so much of your time debunking 'em.

jewish philosopher said...

First of all, if my blog bores you, don't read it. Problem solved.

"If you didn't think Atheists had legitimate claims, you wouldn't dedicate so much of your time debunking 'em."

An interesting theory. I suppose that’s why Jews spend a great deal of type and effort debunking Holocaust deniers – because they really know they are right?

Cameron said...

JP: I enjoy blogging and enjoy hearing other, different points of view.

CH: that is also why I blog.

JP:Why can’t someone intelligent read my blog and actually try to disprove logically what I am saying? For example, in my most recent post, I am saying: Atheists and agnostics adopt whatever moral values are popular in the general society in which they live.

CH: I know that I frequently go line by line through your posts in an effort to leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding disagreements, or (in some rare cases) the occasional agreement.

JP: Can anyone prove that (atheists and agonstics adopt popular moral sentiments) false?

CH: I'm not sure that it is false. But if you go back and read your post, that isn't the contention that is the most provocative. Ostensibly, you were writing about how morality evolves, and how this evolution if not rooted in some bedrock could eventually come to include pedophilia. The problem is that you admit up front that Judaism has itself changed its moral code over time (do the evolution baby), and so while on the one hand you bash atheists and agnostics for their supposed moral relativism, you on the other are blind to the relativism that your own tradition has engaged in.

JP: Can anyone demonstrate that atheists consistently base their morality on some higher logic? If not, so why comment on this post?

CH: if you read my response you'll see that this is not something atheists claim - instead we base morality on the essence of what we are as moral animals who have evolved over time. Yes, we can work backwards with logic to parse out why we have the morality we do, but that isn't the same thing as basing our morality on some fundamental philosophical propositions.

JP: Judaism has never permitted child rape or any forced sex.

CH: If a child of say 13 is married to an adult of say 30(as occurs in Bible stories) and they have sex, can she legitimately considered to have consented to this? Isn't that still rape?

JP: Judaism does permit slavery, with certain limitations.

CH: And has since evolved away from this position. There is no doubt a Masters Thesis available for someone willing to wade through the historical documents surrounding Orthodox Jewish reactions to the emancipation of slaves in the US. How did they feel about it? What was their view of the emancipation before and after? It strikes me as a legitimate historical question to wonder whether they were involved in the abolition movement, or bystanders (and let me add that I have no clue or bias whatsoever as to what history has to say on the subject - for all I know the Rabbis of the time could have been actively involved on either side of the debate).

JP: Judaism does mandate a death penalty for adultery, provided that the adulterer is properly convicted by a qualified Jewish court. This has not happened in about 1900 years and rarely before that.

CH: I've never suggested that the moral traditions of Judaism haven't evolved and improved over time, quite the opposite. I applaud the progressivist rejection of outmoded moral conducts.

JP: Judaism does mandate a death penalty for apostates, provided that we know the individual is a willful apostate, not merely theologically mistaken or ignorant, and provided that killing him will advance the cause of Judaism, not hinder it. To the best of my knowledge, such an assassination has never taken place.

CH: Another evolution.

JP: The Torah is not a “magic book”. It includes no magic lessons. Magic is prohibited by Judaism.

CH: Fair enough. I will cease using that phrase.

JP: If atheists are naturally so benevolent, then could anyone please explain to me how atheists created and supervised the Stalinist concentration camps and the violence of the Chinese Cultural Revolution?

CH: The same we way explain the violence between Catholics and Protestants, or between Sunni and Shia's, or between Fascists and Communists - human beings are evolved predators and have an innate capacity for violence. Things like religion, political ideologies and moral codes are useful in rationalizing the legitimacy of force against others, and in policing it in ourselves, but they are not brakes on our human nature.

JP: The strategy employed by many commentators on my blog seems to be: Emphasize to the hilt any injustices, real or imaginary, ever committed by Jews since the world began.

CH: I can't think of any situation where I have done this.

JP: Conveniently forget about any atrocities committed by atheists in recent decades.

CH: Jacob, it's you have set those conditions up for combat. You suggest that Jews (and in particular Orthodox Jews) are somehow morally superior to other faiths and to atheists in particular. So of course people are going to point out when Jews commit atrocities and ameliorate those committed by atheists - those are the very battle conditions you have invoked. I'd add, that I have not taken this bait, and refused to attack Jews for being morally inferior (I don't believe they are), nor held atheists up as moral paragons (again because I don't believe they are).

JP: Throw in a few general insults.

CH: You mean like describing atheists as pedophiles and Communists who follow morality out of convenience and fashion rather than conviction or character? Sometimes you should examine the beam in thine own eye first.

jewish philosopher said...

Cameron, you've really got a thing with evolution.

Let me just mention that the killing of unborn babies and the killing of feeble elderly people are two aspect of moral evolution we Orthodox Jews have sadly not yet caught on to.

Nor will we ever - because God forbids it.

jewish philosopher said...

“You suggest that Jews (and in particular Orthodox Jews) are somehow morally superior to other faiths and to atheists in particular.”

YES! EXACTLY! Something is seeping through, Cameron. I am not wasting my time.

And isn’t it interesting how I don’t have to go back to the Roman gladiators or ancient Greek marriage practices to prove the depravity of other religions and particularly atheism? I can find literally millions of examples from recent history, current events and even YouTube.

david said...

Sorry JP but you are reguarly guilty of doing most of what you are complaining about. For example in this very post,

"If atheists are naturally so benevolent, then could anyone please explain to me how atheists created and supervised the Stalinist concentration camps"

Clearly putting all atheists in the same basket, as if to suggest that any one of them is equally capable of dreaming up such camps. You then also include the line,

"If you want to discuss the crimes of Jews, fine. However limit yourself to crimes committed by Orthodox Jews"

We can then take this next quote,


"The strategy employed by many commentators on my blog seems to be: Emphasize to the hilt any injustices, real or imaginary, ever committed by Jews since the world began. Conveniently forget about any atrocities committed by atheists in recent decades. Throw in a few general insults. Declare moral victory for atheism. Isn’t this getting a little old?"

This can equally apply to you. Rather then Jews, you will say any other faith or system of belief, and remove the 2 references to atheists and replace with Jews, and we have the basis of half of your posts.

As for the logic argument, you have set a standard that cannot be met. If we take your moral argument, which I personally aagree with, we can see why you will never be hapy with an atheists reponse.

"Can anyone demonstrate that atheists consistently base their morality on some higher logic?"

If an atheist has denied the whole idea that there is a God then they will not sight a higher logic, they will explain it in the terms of the highest logic that they accept, that of humanity.
Maybe you should try to prove to them in a logical manner why morality is real and why it points to a creator. I would suggest reading the first few chapters of Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis. This starts without assuming any God exists and uses human nature to show that morality is more than preferance. A brief summary is at the below URL

http://www.opendiscipleship.org/node/164

jewish philosopher said...

David, I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Where have I mentioned crimes committed by gentiles prior to living memory? I think seldom if ever. I have never said “Atheism is morally corrupting as proven by what happened during the French Revolution” for example.

On the other hand, I constantly find comments on my blog “proving” the morally corruption of Judaism because:

- Jews owned slaves. (When? 2000 years ago?)
- Jews stoned adulterers. (ditto)
- Jews married girls under 18 years old. (ditto)
- Jews committed genocide. (In the sack of Jericho, c. 1300 BCE)

Again, this is getting a little old.

And yes, the poor behavior of all atheistic governments does indicate that atheism is morally corrupting. When atheists live among non-atheists, they, reasonably, imitate their neighbors and adopt whatever morality society is imposing. When atheists themselves are in control of society, they steal and kill without limit, because they have no morals. And I don’t need to go back 3,000 years. This is happening now in North Korea, for example.

George said...

Repeat after me; it does not matter. Subjective morality is still morality.


IT DOES NOT MATTER.

Any arguments beyond this are likely appeals to emotion.



"And yes, the poor behavior of all atheistic governments does indicate that atheism is morally corrupting."

Now repeat after me

All Christian communists were saints, communism did not cause anything.

Now you have read my comment, repeat after me:

IT DOES NOT MATTER.

badrabbi said...

JP,

Recall your own blog: in your last blog, you wrote that whereas atheistic morals evolve, religious morality is constant.

Cameron, others, and I responded that this is not so. We readily admitted that morality evolves for us secularists. But we pointed out that Judaism's (as well as other religions') morality also tends to evolve. We further gave examples of such changes, such as slavery, such as genocide, etc. Judaism’s morality does evolve whether you like it or not. So, in effect, we were reacting to your blog, and were dealing with your own assertions.

Now, with this new blog of yours, I think you are saying that we should forget about ancient history, and deal with more recent events. I think what you are saying is that TODAY, the moral values of orthodox Jews is superior to the secular Jews or to atheists. You are saying that religious governments are superior to atheist governments TODAY.

To be fair, though, we have not any instance of a government run by Orthodox Jews. It has been over 2000 years since there have been any society that has been controlled by OJ's. The modern state of Israel, according to you, is not a good example, so we cannot use it for comparison. So we are left with analyzing a small enclave of Orthodox Jews.

Now it is probably also true that crime rates amongst orthodox Jews are significantly lower than the rest of society. The question is why? I do happen to think that on average OJ's are taught to respect law, life and property, and on average, they are good citizens. But there is more to it than that, I think. If you look at Amish society, you would also notice a very low crime rate. If you look at fundamental Muslims on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, you would also notice a very low crime rate. Even Harry Krishna's followers tended to commit less crime. In general, any cloistered sub-segment of society that happens to have rules significantly different from its neighbors tends to have lower crime rates. This is an interesting phenomenon that merits study.

But crime rates in differing environments are radically different. Average crime rates in Alaska are lower than in Detroit. What does that mean? That cold weather is somehow morally better? Average crime rates are lower in India compared to, say, the US. What does that mean? That poverty is morally superior to wealth? Average per capita charitable donations are higher amongst secular Jews compared Orthodox Jews. What does that mean? That secular Jews are more compassionate?

I would suggest that before we say something as monumentally stupid as “OJ’s have superior morals”, JP, you step back and realize that the world is a big place, that there are myriad phenomena contributing to human behavior and morality, and that you can not box complex human interactions into simple religion vs. no religion differentiation.

david said...

George subjective morality is not real morality, it is preferance. If morality is derived from what people like at a certain time then how can we have any real good or bad? For instance if morality is subjective then Hitler did nothing wrong in causing a world war and killing millions of Jews, he simply did what was moral to him, and something you don't like. Unless you can point to an objective measure of what is moral, then you can't say he did anything wrong, only that you didn't like it.

JP, I am simply saying that when I read the posts and comments on this blog I see you useing many of the same methods as you denounce in this post. You reguarly point to a crime committed by an atheist, Christian or Muslim and throw a blanket over the rest of that faith to show they are all morraly bankrupt. When somebody points to a crime of a Jew you
claim that the person was not an Orthodox Jew and doesn't count.

You also need to accept that quoting Bible stories is a fair argument against you. The morality in the Bible is a guide for how to live your life, it is where your idea of morality comes from.

jewish philosopher said...

Bad, I have to disagree with you. The moral principles of Judaism don’t change. Rather different circumstances cause them to be expressed differently. I am not killing Canaanites not because I have decided it is morally wrong to kill Canaanites. I am not killing Canaanites because I am not part of Joshua’s army invading Canaan who were commanded to kill Canaanites.

I don’t think the moral superiority of Orthodox Jews is any great mystery. It works like this: We teach our children from birth that God exists. We teach them that if they are nice to people, they will be rewarded by God. If they are bad to people, they will be punished by God. We keep repeating that message on a daily basis. That’s it. Probably the Amish do the same. Muslims, maybe not so much.

David, what I try to do, and tell me if you find exceptions, is point out crimes committed in recent times by atheists and Muslims (I don’t think I’ve done Christians really) and I point out how their beliefs have logically led to this result. The title of this blog does say “The purpose of this blog is to promote Orthodox Judaism and to critique other ideologies, in particular atheism.” If you want a pro-atheist blog, there are tons of those.

david said...

JP, I am not after a pro-atheist blog, but I come here in part as there is a wide range of views, and I would like to better understand these views. While you have not done Christians to the degree that you have atheists or muslims, we have a few times gone down the path that you see the Christian belief in salvation by Grace and not works as allowing Christians to justify crimes they commit. That is however another issue.

I do know that you intend this blog to promote your own view. My main point is really that if you are going to do this you need first to accept that people who comment will often do so because they disagree. But also that you seem to take certain things for granted that atheists don't, for example that your morality is by default the right one. This is only true if your idea God is accurate. To somebody who rejects your idea of God your idea of morality is also wrong.

jewish philosopher said...

David, I understand that and I even invite disagreement.

However what I see happening is this. I point out that a prominent atheist such as Bertrand Russell was married many times, had random sex with dozens of strangers and was unkind to his children. Then an atheist will answer back “Well, Jews are just as immoral. After all, the Talmud allows marriage to three year old girls.”

Perhaps I’m wrong, however I feel that’s not comparable. It’s a cheap shot at Judaism which doesn’t really make sense.

I am referring to an abusive person who surely harmed many people emotionally for the sake of his own self-indulgence, yet is admired by many atheists as a great man. The Talmud is referring to a practice that may have rarely occurred in history, which certainly was not been practiced by any Jewish leaders as far as we know, and which may have been for everyone’s benefit. For example, there may have been cases where a poor man was unable to feed to his family and may have given a child in marriage to a more wealthy man, who would raise her to maturity and keep her as his wife in a loving, committed relationship.

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