Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Torah is the first book to advocate monotheism.
The Torah is the first book to advocate altruism.
The Torah is the first book to advocate one day of rest every seven days.
The Torah is the first book to be written using an alphabet. (The first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet are “aleph” and “bayt”.)
These are ideas that have since been accepted by the majority of humanity. No other book contains so many important and original ideas. Is it hard to believe that God wrote it?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:25 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
[George Collins on Sexual Addiction - Part 1 Part 2]
There are a certain number of Orthodox Jews who choose to leave Orthodoxy. I would estimate that about 3% of those raised as ultra-Orthodox and 10% of those raised as modern Orthodox leave Orthodoxy as teenagers or adults. In addition to that, there are hundreds of people who continue to pose as Orthodox Jews although they no longer believe in the basic principles of Orthodox Judaism (see Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels by Hella Winston page 51).
What is motivating these people?
If asked, the standard answer seems to be something along the lines of “I feel that Judaism is ridiculous and science has proven it to be false.” When questioned more closely about what exactly proves to them that Judaism is false, they have difficulty explaining and usually don’t want to discuss it. When they are questioned about the absurdity of atheism and are asked about how they explain the existence of the universe, the existence of life and the authorship of the Torah, they are unable to answer. Nevertheless, the Jewish skeptics are not at all bothered by these philosophical problems. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that these people are motivated by scientific or philosophical questions. They don’t seem to be doing any real searching. They may go online and enjoy ridiculing Jewish leaders from Moses to present day rabbis however that is generally about as far as their "intellectual" activity goes.
So what is actually going on?
One clue I think is the gender of the people involved. Based on my experience on the Internet, about 90% of Jewish skeptics are male. Winston in her book (page 57) seems to have noticed this as well. There seems to be something about the secular world that attracts Jewish men far more than women. The desire for sex is strongly influenced by testosterone, a hormone found in much higher levels among males than among females. 72% of visitors to Internet pornography sites are male and sexual addiction is most commonly a male problem.
In addition to that, it would appear that sexual prohibitions are generally among the first ones breached by Jewish skeptics and among the most frequently breached. In Judaism, basically any sexual stimulation outside marriage is prohibited. Even though there are good reasons for this, apparently many Orthodox Jews find these restrictions to be very burdensome and they are anxious to abandon them. One subject in Winston’s book (page 123) considered wearing a t-shirt stating, “I eat everything and I fuck everything.”
The eagerness to dispense with the Jewish sexual prohibitions is the one common factor which I have noticed in all apostates I have been personally well acquainted with (and there have been several, including my first wife) as well as with all of those profiled in Hella Winston's book (with the exception of Malkie Schwartz, who is the only person mentioned by their real name).
I think therefore it is reasonable to suggest that the current wave of Orthodox Jews leaving Judaism is primarily motivated by a desire for greater sexual freedom – pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, casual sex, etc. I think this can be called an addiction in the sense that it is a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life. The idea that “I feel that Judaism is ridiculous and science has proven it to be false.” is then adopted in order to escape from feelings of guilt.
In other words, I think that the Orthodox community is currently under siege from sexual addiction. That’s what the “Frum skeptic”, “kids at risk” and “Orthodox drop outs” are really coming from.
I want to point out that probably 90% of the time, addiction is based on pain. People suffer because of divorce, abuse, their parents' divorce, the death of a loved one, etc and they choose to medicate themselves with something harmful. The next stage is to rationalize and decide that they aren't doing anything wrong. The earlier in life pain is suffered, the greater affect it generally has. It is therefore imperative that we try to shield our children from unnecessary pain. That means: if at all possible, don't hit kids, scream at kids, hit your spouse, scream at your spouse or leave your spouse.
In any case, first of all, we must save ourselves. Torah study is of course protective. I have yet to meet an atheist who previously studied Torah full time until age 25 or later. We must develop self control. And we must be vigilant regarding our loved ones. No one should have a computer without filtering software and we should be monitoring each other. We should also be prepared to intervene and to expel from our schools and our homes people who have this addiction until they have demonstrated full recovery.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:36 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
On the way into work this morning, I stopped at a deli across the street and bought a banana for breakfast.
Taking it in my hand, I realized what a miracle this is. The fruit is nutritious, delicious and satisfying. Together with some water it can be an entire meal by itself. Most remarkable of all, it comes packaged in an attractive, easily removed wrapper, which is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Let's just take a moment and thank God for this gift.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 7:23 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
In the process of researching atheism, one thing I have become convinced of is that it is not based on anything rational.
Evolution is ridiculous. The Documentary Hypothesis is likewise baseless. The entire philosophy is a scam.
Considering this, why do we find a small but seemingly growing number of Orthodox Jews who convert to atheism? What is the attraction?
The answer is simple: sex. In my experience, these people are all suffering from a sexual addiction. They have lost control of their lives and this is basically no different than any alcoholic or heroin addict. In most cases, the Internet plays an important role in this, although work friends, romance novels, etc can also be important.
Many victims of this addiction will vehemently deny that they have any problem, however denial does not make the addiction go away. This video clip depicts a successful businessman who is in the terminal stages of alcohol abuse yet denies that he drinks heavily. He died soon after this documentary was made.
Many victims of this addiction will claim that atheism is true and they are doing the right thing. Rationalizing is a common defense mechanism in addiction, and that’s all atheism actually is. Reasoning with the addict usually has little affect.
Needless to say, as in any addiction, the family and friends of the addict may become codependents who enable the addict.
In my humble opinion, the best solution for this problem is to transfer the addict to a treatment facility where he or she will get help. If an addict doesn’t agree to go voluntarily, an intervention may be the best solution.
Intervention is somewhat similar to the concept of cherem. All the relatives and friends of the addict gather together in love and unity and tell the addict that they are completely cutting him off unless he accepts the gift of treatment today. This is not always successful, however it often is. In addition, this means that the family of the addict can continue with their lives undisturbed regardless of what the addict chooses to do.
The following series of video clips gives an idea of how this type of procedure is done. Clip 1 Clip 2 Clip 3 Clip 4 Clip 5.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 12:39 PM
Monday, July 14, 2008
[A member of PETA encages herself at an animal rights demonstration outside a KFC outlet.]
As animal rights move forward, what is to stop human rights from moving backward? Without the Torah, you can make up whatever "ethics" you want to.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:30 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2008
[Hassidic Jewish man]
I happen to be a bit of a health and fitness nut. I spend about an hour each day working out a gym in Manhattan. All types of people go there, all ages, shapes, sizes, etc. Recently I noticed something a little unusual – a couple of men with turbans and beards. I did a little research, and realized that they are Sikhs. Uncut hair is one of the basic symbols of Sikhism.
It then dawned on me that just as these Sikhs look a little weird to me that must be exactly how I look to other average secular Americans.
I wear a yarmulke, beard and tzitzis. I keep kosher and Shabbos and I don’t shake hands with women.
It’s easy to feel self-conscious about all this, however on the other hand, look at secular society today. Is it something I want to identify with? Or should I be proud to be different?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:48 AM
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killer, discusses his beliefs
If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…
Jeffrey Dahmer, in an interview with Stone Phillips, Dateline NBC, February, 1994.
Aldous Huxley, author
I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.
Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, pp. 270 ff.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 2:56 PM
Can anyone familiar with us imagine a father in the Orthodox Jewish community treating his sons the way the father described in this video clip (5:38 point) treated his sons?
In today's society, with it's growing culture of debauchery, fueled by the monkey myth, this is undoubtedly becoming more and more common. (Sexual abuse increased 83% between 1986 and 1993.)
Secular society is a society of monsters.
Imagine a city the size of Houston, Texas where there is no murder, no rape, and almost no violence of any type. [Houston actually experiences several hundred murders per year.] Imagine that there is almost no abortion or sexually transmitted disease. Imagine that there is almost no drug abuse or alcoholism. There are no homeless people. Imagine that 90% of the children in this city are raised from birth to adulthood by both biological parents who are married to each other. Imagine that girls are not being molested on a daily basis by stepfathers because the girls don’t have stepfathers – they have real fathers living with them.
This place does exist now – it’s called the Orthodox Jewish community. Is it any wonder that we, tiny, hated and persecuted, have become the mother of most other religions - Christianity, Islam and Reform Judaism?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 8:02 AM
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
[Christopher Hitchens, atheist, alcoholic, former Marxist]
1 - The fossils prove that life in the distant past was much different than life today. [This is true.]
2 - Therefore Darwinian evolution is clearly true and Genesis is clearly false. [This is a fallacy, and falsifies the rest of the argument.]
3 - Therefore the "argument from precedent" is clearly true, meaning that scientists have consistently discovered natural causes underlying things once thought to be supernatural, such as the origin of species. The logical inference is that since past gaps in knowledge have been filled by naturalistic explanations, probably all remaining gaps in knowledge will be filled by them as well. Hence we should presume that any unexplained fact has a natural explanation.
4 - Therefore, since everything has a natural explanation, we may use the "argument from absence" to support atheism. If the supernatural exists (whether as gods, powers, or spirits), it is so silent and inert that its effects are almost never observed, and if they would be observed we would presume a natural explanation will be found based on the above "argument from precedent". Therefore there is no evidence of God and atheism is true.
Religion is not needed to be happy. A person can be perfectly happy by simply enjoying the world's physical pleasures to the greatest extent possible. Religion, on the contrary, distracts a person from life's pleasures and unnecessarily inhibits him from enjoying them.
Religion is not needed to be moral. A person can be perfectly moral by simply following his natural, inner conscience. Religion, on the other, encourages hatred of anyone different.
Therefore, an atheist will logically be the most moral and happy person. The low crime rate for atheists in English speaking countries and in Western Europe proves this. It is true that Communists killed millions, however they did that because of their belief in Communism, not their lack of belief in God.
[In fact, there is no question that Orthodox Jews are on the average nicer, happier and more sober than atheists.]
So the atheist skips merrily and illogically along, going from fossils to Darwinism to naturalism to atheism, hedonism and natural morality.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:20 AM
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
[John Dewey, philosophical naturalist, credited by some with having ruined American schools]
One thing which I have noticed while having discussions with atheists, is that atheism is usually based on metaphysical naturalism; the belief that “nature is all that there is”, nothing exists except for physical things and everything is capable of being understood by science.
There are many arguments in favor of naturalism, while there are many arguments against it as well.
Apparently, the argument in favor of metaphysical naturalism is primarily the “Argument from precedent” – the concept that since so many things previously explained by religion have now been explained by science, eventually everything once explained by religion will be explained by science, rendering religion entirely disproven.
I cannot speak for other religions, however I know of almost nothing that was once explained by Orthodox Judaism that is now explained by science. Science, by which I mean exact, repeatable, laboratory science of the type that wins Nobel prizes and creates new technologies, involves studying how things work in the present. Judaism explains how things originated (the universe, life, man, languages, the Jewish people). Science and Judaism therefore are discussing two entirely different things.
The only case where I am aware of Judaism explaining something in a religious way which science has now explained in a natural way is in the Talmud tractate Sukkah 29a, where eclipses are attributed, by anonymous rabbis and without any scriptural citation, to various sins. Science (actually Ptolemy about 2,000 years ago) has explained eclipses based on the predictable movements of the earth and moon.
To me the “Argument from precedent” seems to be just a baseless assertion. “We have cured smallpox, so tomorrow we will understand everything.”
The often repeated “Argument from absence”, that if the supernatural exists (whether as gods, powers, or spirits), it is so silent and inert that its effects are almost never observed, despite vast and extensive searching, seems to go a step further and implies that not only will science explain everything, but it ALREADY HAS explained everything, thereby disproving religion. This should come as a surprise to researchers who still have no idea how or why so many things occur, from cancer to the accelerating expansion of the universe.
Metaphysical naturalism seems to really just boil down to some Soviet era propaganda like “Science is reason” and “Religion is superstition”.
On the other hand, the arguments in favor of Judaism, in particular the Watchmaker Principle and the Kuzari Principle seem to be very convincing.
I am therefore amazed that someone raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, who has been educated in Judaism, can be totally convinced of naturalism. How can informed people have no doubt and no question about something clearly so wrong?
In my humble opinion the answer is simple: sex.
I assert that every single person who has switched from Orthodox Judaism to atheism first had a problem with sexual self-control. There was in every case pornography, masturbation, romance novels, a sexual attraction to someone non-Orthodox and then and only then the atheism followed as a means of escaping from guilt. I say this because first of all, in every situation where I have a detailed knowledge, this was the case and secondly because in present day America the only real material benefit the secular world has to offer the Orthodox Jew is promiscuity.
The New Atheism is basically sexual addiction coated with old Marxist beliefs.
I would add, however, that sex is merely the primary cause. There are often secondary causes as well. We all have, to varying degrees, sex drives, however, having a bad relationship with parents, coming from a divorced family or suffering from other problems and disappointments can make resisting these urges much more difficult.
Each one of us must try to strengthen himself in the study of Torah as much as possible as the Talmud teaches “The Holy One, Blessed Be He, said to Israel: My son, I have created the Evil Inclination; and I have created the Torah, its antidote. If you involve yourself in the Torah, you will not be delivered into its hands” (Tractate Kiddushin, 30b). I have never met an atheist who studied Torah full time after age 25.
We must realize that atheism is a symptom of a deeper underlying problem and the arguments supporting it are merely rationalizations.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 2:04 PM