Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Interesting Parallel

I am simply amazed by Christopher Hitchens comments.

Ad homenim arguments - ancient people were ignorant of science, therefore their religious beliefs must have been wrong.

Straw man arguments - since idolatry is false, Judaism is false.

Argument from personal incredulity - God would not have created a universe which will come to an end. He would not have revealed the Torah only to the Jews 3,300 years ago.

Question begging - no God exists because a transcendent being cannot exist and therefore no God exists.

Factual errors - Darwinian evolution is needed to produce flu vaccine.

His coup de grĂ¢ce is that everything we see in the world can be explained without believing in God. Everything, I suppose, except for the Big Bang, life and Judaism.

It just goes on and on. He doesn't make one accurate, logical argument. Just a buffoon whose brain has been half eaten by alcohol.

But listen to the crowd applaud his every comment, no matter how illogical or false.

Then look at this: Triumph of the Will, released only 73 years earlier in 1935. See the crowd roaring approval as the Nazi leaders spout their nonsense. Today we know how crazy they were, but then who knew and who cared? (Incidentally, many leading Nazis were atheists and Darwinian evolution was a foundation of Nazism.)

Imagine someone had taken the podium after Hitler spoke at the Nuremberg rally and had said "Listen, we really can't do this. Germany does not have the resources to conquer all of Europe. If we try this, we're all going to die." Of course, he would have been right, however somehow I'm not sure the crowd would have appreciated him.

People have a tendency to believe any lie which allows them to do what they want to do. This is known as denial.


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Hitchens is actually quite easy to debate. You just need to set some ground rules:
1) No insulting
2) No personal opinions, just facts based on reliable research
3) No "First you accept my underlying principles and then we'll debate"
Once you've done that, he really doesn't have anything left.

Menashe said...


Here's another logical fallacy you may wish to familiarize yourself with: 'Reductio ad Hitlerum', (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum), a variant of Association Fallacy.

Some examples:

- Hitchens has adoring crowds cheering for him, and so did Hitler, so Hitchens is like Hitler.

- The Nazis used Darwinian Evolution to support many of their evil pseudoscientific claims, so Darwinian Evolution is evil.

jewish philosopher said...

I don't see any problem with referring to Hitler.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."


Regarding Darwinism, it quite clearly spawned Fascism.


Anonymous said...

Dawkins compared Rabbi Boteach to Hitler.

Anonymous said...

The ancients had a easier time denying G-d. They could have said that the universe is infinitely old. We can't say that because we know the universe had an origin that closely parallels Bereshis. And the ancients believed in spontanious generation. We know that life cannot come from inanimate matter by itself/

Anonymous said...

Dawkins actually said that Boteach screamed and shouted in a manner that was Hitlerian. There's no doubt that Boteach's histrionics are over the top. It's also clear that no challenge or rebuttal was offered to Hitchens' thesis that religion prevents people and societies from being as good as they good be. Hitchens observed the highly destructive attributes of all religions, including judaism, christianity and islam. I have never heard any religious believer who was able to provide a direct, unevasive, convincing refutation of the argument Hitchens makes. I have been hoping that someone would be able to do so, but it hasn't happened yet. Indeed, even toarh and talmud confirm the argument. Read them more and a Hitchens-type argument seems more an more correct.


jewish philosopher said...

"Hitchens observed the highly destructive attributes of all religions, including judaism, christianity and islam."

Nothing is as destructive as atheism.


And nothing is as good as Judaism.


Anonymous said...

You have it wrong.

A society without god is a blessing -


Government and religion often team up against people, as in the recent NJ mayors and rabbis kidney harvesting atrocity.


Don't forget that Hitler was a catholic in a largely catholic country and that he led his regime with the full blessing of the vatican.

To call judaism "good" is not entirely wrong, but it's a highly partial and naive statement. You don't think judaism has legitimized human horrors? Do you even know anything about judaism and its history?

No one should be more critical of judaism than jews.



jewish philosopher said...

Sweden is not entirely secular.


Hitler was not Catholic as an adult.


Find one community anywhere at any time with a population of 10,000 or over which has a below average crime rate, a below average rate of alcoholism and drug abuse and a birth rate which is at or above replacement level and most people call themselves atheists. I don't believe you can.

Why not?

Atheism is the world's most false and most destructive religion.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but your mis-informed posts don't make your case.

You call atheism a religion, but why would you want to do this? If atheism is a religion like all the others, then they all share a common crappiness.

I wouldn't say atheism meets the criteria for being a religion:
(1) No being is recognized as a deity.
(2) No person is recognized as having any special leadership function.
(3) There are no holidays.
(4) There are no publicly subsidized buildings specifically set up to be a place or meeting and worship.
(5) There is no concept of sin (although there are concepts of right and wrong, good and evil).
(6) There is no concept of magical realms where people live go after they die.
(7) There is no concept of a soul that lives eternally.
(8) There is no concept of divine retribution.
(9) There are no divinely- or priestly-ordained restrictions on what kind of foods people are "allowed" to eat.
(10) There are no divinely- or priestly-ordained restrictions on whether two consenting adults may marry each other.
(11) There is no teaching that one community is better, favored, or entitled than any other.

Now, why are you avoiding the rabbi kidney harvesters story? Where's your condemnation and outrage? Where is your morality?


jewish philosopher said...

Sure atheism is religion. It's a set of spiritual beliefs.


Where's your outrage about Jeffrey Dahmer? Their's a real organ harvester!


Anonymous said...


Atheists have sadi to me that they have faith that science will answer the big questions about origins someday. So atheism is faith based.

And the worst mass murderers in history were atheists, a disproportionate number of mass murderers were atheists, and every time atheists run a country, they wind up commiting mass murder. While religious people have done bad things, the numbers form history show atheists are worse.

Anonymous said...

But Darwin didn't found atheism. I have no idea why you would think such a claim is at all warranted.

There is no sacred text in atheism. OOS is not considered infallible, and in fact much of it has been superseded.

Evolution didn't create us. Once life appeared, its various forms and populations evolved under ever changing conditions.

Your sense of "rituals" for atheists is bizarre. Here and elsewhere it seems as though you are talking about yourself.

The basic attraction of atheism is that it seems to be more correct than any theistic view.

Have you read the history of your bible? How it came to be and who began to start using it as an infallible, inscrutable set of instructions on how to live? Biblical texts were not always thought of in the way that we think of them today.

Why do you equate atheism with being able to commit any kind of evil? I am still a member of society and I still respect laws and people. In fact, I empathize quite a bit with all people.

You think it's OK to indiscriminately kill non-believers. I don't. But you think you're mor moral than I am.

A disproportionate number of criminals in prison today claim to be theists. They kill, rape, molest children, steal, and so on. Why doesn't their belief stop them?

You still have not commented on the NJ orthodox rabbi kidney harvesters.


jewish philosopher said...

About atheists and Darwin, check this out.

“Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” (1986: 6). The Blind Watchmaker Richard Dawkins.

"The basic attraction of atheism is that it seems to be more correct"

Which all religions claim.

"Why do you equate atheism with being able to commit any kind of evil?"

It does and that is in fact the entire point of being an atheist. If you have any feeling of guilt, morality or ethics, then you still harbor some residual theistic beliefs and are not a true atheist.


"You think it's OK to indiscriminately kill non-believers."

No, but atheists do.

"Why doesn't their belief stop them?"

This blog does not defend all theists.

"You still have not commented on the NJ orthodox rabbi kidney harvesters."

You didn't comment on Jeffrey Dahmer. He used to kill people and eat them.

Anonymous said...

I'm aware of the Dawkins quote. It does not say that Darwin founded atheism. If you can't see this, then you are beyond help.

It's not just religions that claim correctness: political and economic systems do too. Are you saying that political and economic systems are religions too? You seem to be fine that atheism does without the 11 attributes I mentioned.

What is your definition of religion? Not Wikipedia's. What is your personal definition?

You are simply, flatly wrong to say that atheism allows, encourages or promotes any behavior at all. I reject the idea that good and evil come from god, but that doesn't mean that I reject the ideas of good and evil.

Indeed, I am arguing that the idea of the divine skews and perverts good and evil. All you have to say is "god told me to" or "this is what god wants" and you can kill, rape and destroy just like our ancestors did at jericho and elsewhere. Plenty of other religions have also used this same tactic to devastating effect. When god told the crusaders to burn us at the stake, what should we have done? When god permitted the 9/11 terrorists to make planes into bombs, should we have simply accepted it? When go tells David Berkowitz to kill, should we help him out?

I have commented on Dahmer. Like you, he felt that without god he couldn't be good, that he would have had free rein to do anything at all. This was false and evil. Simple as that. If Dahmer instead had said that he was fulfilling the will of HaShem, would you have found his deeds more palatable?

You still have not commented on the NJ orthodox rabbi kidney harvesters. I guess you are OK with this, since they were OJ? Maybe you think that what they have done is not such a big deal?

Criticize atheism if you can, but at least be brave and honest enough to present atheism as it actually is, not as the crude and false stereotype that you routinely use.

And take a look at yourself, too. You have blood dripping from your teeth and mouth.


Anonymous said...


I meant that atheists rely on faith to justify their beliefs.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheism is system of beliefs about creation, the afterlife, gods, etc, just like any religion. American law considers atheism to be a religion.

"You are simply, flatly wrong to say that atheism allows, encourages or promotes any behavior at all."

I am simply, flatly right to say that atheism allows any behavior at all, making it the world's most dangerous religion. There is not and has never been and I bet never will be one community anywhere with a population of 10,000 or over which has a below average crime rate, a below average rate of alcoholism and drug abuse and a birth rate which is at or above replacement level and most people call themselves atheists.

"All you have to say is "god told me to" or "this is what god wants" and you can kill, rape and destroy"

Not unless the Talmud says so.

"You still have not commented on the NJ orthodox rabbi kidney harvesters."

There is nothing to comment. Jews have never claimed that embracing Judaism will make you an angel. Read the Bible.
Golden Calf
Sin of the Spies
The list is endless.

I do believe however that we are quite a bit better than average.

And who says the kidney guy wasn't a secret atheist? You know there are plenty.

Anonymous said...

If there wasn't such a strong correlation between atheism and mass murder, then maybe I'd feel a little more comfortable. And when I tell atheists that if they succedd in theior quest to make the world atheistic, then if history is any indication, then we can expect to see a marked increase in mass murder, they respond that they are not concerned because the motivating factor wouldn't be atheism. They say that mass murder is okay, as long as it isn't motivated by atheism. I find that a tad scary.

Anonymous said...

No, atheism is not a system of beliefs about creation, etc., because there's no system. There's no positive establishment of any divine or supernatural entity. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

In atheism, there's no book prescribing what to say about how the universe came to be, what if anything happens after we die, etc. Nothing sacred and everything may be questioned. Why do you hate questioning and skepticism?

You can keep saying that "atheism allows any behavior at all," but you're making an assertion that doesn't make any sense. For the umpteenth time, atheism does not codify behavior. It doesn't need to because parental teaching, social norms, official laws, and personal conscience all act to help people decide whether their actions are justified or not. God is simply irrelevant.

I suspect you keep trying to make atheism into a religion because you don't like the idea of god being irrelevant. You keep trying to re-direct the conversation to avoid the critical point: god doesn't matter. Even in all your posts and rebuttals, you have very little to say about god. I suspect that your real binky is judaism and your need to have that kind of identity. God for you is a nice feature of judaism but really just superfluous.

Ironically, only atheism really deals with the main questions. In fact, atheism deals with one question and one question only: is there a god. As an atheist, I think no; god is a myth. As a human being, I observe that god(s) have been particularly deadly myths tied into others, such as whiteness, political superiority, etc.

Now, I wonder about this supposed correlation between atheism and mass murder your cronies keep bringing up. I wonder if you or they have any independent statistics that back up this correlation. I mean, something scientific and not from a biased source. (BTW, that link to the CA court did not work.) I would be genuinely interested to get a list of mass murderers and serial killers going back 50, 100, 200 years and finding out how many proclaimed themselves to be religious and how many proclaimed themselves to be atheist.

Of course, in 2008 the Journal of Religion and Society presented a study by Gregory S. Paul comparing 18 countries and found that predominantly atheist countries have the lowest crime rate.

In Japan, for example: "Over eighty percent accept evolution and fewer than ten percent are certain that God exists. Despite its size – over a hundred million people – Japan is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation."

Regarding Hitler - again: He repeatedly identified himself as a Catholic both publicly and privately. He was supported by the Catholic church and the Pope described Hitler's opposition to Russia as "highminded gallantry in defense of the foundations of Christian culture."

So, I don't see where you get some of the dogmatic assertions you make and the lies you try to tell about what bad people atheists are.

Again, I think you need to look in the mirror.


jewish philosopher said...

Not believing in the Biblical God and in the afterlife is also a belief. Atheism is generally an option on surveys about religion. It's not the same as "no religion".

"atheism does not codify behavior"

That's exactly what I'm saying. So an athiest behaves according to hormones, hunger, greed, the weather or a lot of other things but not a God given code, like I do.

"Even in all your posts and rebuttals, you have very little to say about god."

In almost all posts God is referred to, often five or ten times.

"genuinely interested to get a list of mass murderers and serial killers"

I believe the expression "serial killer" actually was coined only after evolution began being taught in American public schools. Before that, the concept was unknown. Could be coincidence of course. And about mass murder, is there any atheistic state past or present you would like to live in - I mean a state which officially promotes atheism?

"predominantly atheist countries have the lowest crime rate"

I bet most of those countries were devoutly Protestant until less than a century ago and still are imbued with those traditions.

"Japan is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world"

According to the CIA World Fact Book 84% to 96% adhere to Shinto and Buddhism while 4% to 16% of the demographic population adhere to other religions or non-religious, atheist groups.


And all Japanese were devout Shintos until 1945.

"He repeatedly identified himself as a Catholic both publicly and privately."

Hitler never worshipped as an adult as far as I know.

jewish philosopher said...

By the way, if you want to check out a famous atheist whose life is well documented and who is far from the worst of the bunch, read this:

It makes you wonder a little about the motives of people like the blogger failedmessiah.com, who spend their entire lives panicking “OMG – look at this! A rabbi bounced a check!!! Judaism is a big scam!!” but who seem to have no trouble accepting atheism as being perfect.

Anonymous said...

"Not believing ... is also a belief."

Really? Is not thinking a thought? Is not moving an activity?

I understand the general point you are trying to make, but you are sidestepping my point. You said that atheism was a religion (and a system of beliefs). I explained that it was not and gave you several direct reasons why. You have not presented any reasoning why the the 11 points I raised are incorrect or why your argument should be preferred even if some or all of my 11 points were correct.

In other words, I am trying to argue in good faith with you, but you are not returning the favor.

You wanted to know about atheistic societies. I brought in information about Japan and Sweden, and then suddenly you moves the goalposts and say these aren't "real" atheistic societies. You exhibit both the "No True Scotsman" and "Moving the Goalpost" fallacies.

My information on these nations came from credible sources and people who had done primary research. You keep bringing in Wikipedia and your own personal conceptions. Sorry, but you need better evidence because it seems as though you are simply out to protect your dogmatic thinking.

I sense you have some anger with atheists. You keep saying some variation of atheists think they are better than theists, or that atheists think religion and religious people are stupid.

Is this the true problem for you, that you think atheists are mocking religion and religious people?


Anonymous said...

In chapter 11 of "Mein Kampf" Hitler said quite clearly that his core belief system was Darwinian racism. In chapter 1 of Volumn 2 Hitler elaborated on his views of religion. He took a utilitarian view. He said that religion was usefull for organizing society, but that it was time to move on to a Darwinian raced based philosophy. And when he did say nice things aboty religioun he was doing what politician do best, which is lying to get votes

Abe said...

...No, atheism is not a system of beliefs about creation, etc., because there's no system. There's no positive establishment of any divine or supernatural entity. Why is this so hard for you to understand? ...

I'll tell you why its so hard for for Mr. Stein to understand.
I've seen many septic arguments that attempt to harmonize atheistic denial of god with efforts to assert his existance, but nowhere as crass and contrived as Mr. Stein's vacuous strains to equate the two.
Mr. Stein's clueless attempts demand not only that you suspend disbelief but your sanity as well. His blog is merely a showcase to set logic on its head and churn out cretinous allegations against scientific fact. It is the sorry state of fundamentalist orthodoxy which runs the gamut from gauzily implausible fantasy to blatant and fatuous dishonesty.
So what is the governing calculous behind his attempt to smear atheism as a religion? Or the indecorous argument that denial of god makes atheism a religion.
Its the misery that plagues Mr. Stein's ultra-orthodox mindset -- and misery loves company.
It is futile to debate an irrational fundie, he'll just prop up his argument with his own quotes as proof. Better to accept Mr. Stein for what he is: a poster-boy for the failure of torah enlightenment and a good substitute when all the funny situation comedies are on rerun.

Anonymous said...

According to this:


recently released OSS documents say that the nazis were planning on eradicating Christianity in Germany. Doesn't sound like Hitler was a good Catholic.

alex said...

The link
didn't work, can you get us the right link?

jewish philosopher said...

Larry, I think I understand you. What you seem to be saying is this:

Atheism is a science, like chemistry and physics.
Judaism is a religion, like Christianity and Islam.

Science is a good thing because it helps us live longer, more comfortable lives.
Religion is a bad thing because it incites people to attack each other.

Therefore atheism is good and Judaism is bad.

The only thing I can ask of you is that you come back to this blog after at least two weeks drug and alcohol free and then we’ll chat.

Abe, your attitude is not too original. Martin Luther in 1543 wrote of a similar experience:

Three learned Jews came to me, hoping to discover a new Jew in me because we were beginning to read Hebrew here in Wittenberg, and remarking that matters would soon improve since we Christians were starting to read their books. When I debated with them, they gave me their glosses, as they usually do. But when I forced them back to the text, they soon fled from it, saying that they were obliged to believe their rabbis as we do the pope and the doctors, etc. I took pity on them and give them a letter of recommendation to the authorities, asking that for Christ's sake they let them freely go their way. But later, I found out that they called Christ a tola, that is, a hanged highwayman. Therefore I do not wish to have anything more to do with any Jew. As St. Paul says, they are consigned to wrath; the more one tries to help them the baser and more stubborn they become. Leave them to their own devices.


So there you have it. We stupid, stubborn demonic Jews wouldn't listen to the Pope or to Luther and now we don't listen to Darwin and Dawkins. Some nerve, huh?

Alex, try this

Anonymous said...

This is not a thread about Hitler (your favorite topic), but we can be fairly certain that Hitler and the Nazis wished to institute a state religion, that is, a political religion.

Surely you can see that an atheist should abhor such an idea. An atheist denies the existence of all gods. Religions, whether god-based or state-based, are superfluous because there is nothing that does or should occupy the position/status of being worshipped.

Your should revise the original post: The real parallel is between orthodox religious belief and the Nazis. Indeed, I don't quite see how you can call yourself a theist and not rail against a democratic-republican form of government. As an OJ, you have happily admitted that you don't believe that women are the equals of men. You don't believe that people not in your specific religious camp have the same rights as you. Why is it that you don't come right out and advocate for the destruction of the U.S., a country you surely hate, with a president you detest?

Now, to get back to the original post: I played the Boteach-Hitchens video and I felt that Hitchens not only presented the better, more substantive case, but also that he was more candid and more intellectually honest than his debating counterpart.

All of the flaws you list about Hitchens seem not to apply to him in the video but to Boteach and to you in your post. You greatly misrepresent Hitchens' arguments. I don't even need to get into it because all one has to do is watch the video and listen to the audio to know that your either being obtuse, malicious, or some combination of both.

Your big laugher (laffer?) is to claim that Hitchens argues that "Darwinian evolution is needed to produce flu vaccine." Of course he neither says nor implies any such thing. Listen to the audio and get straight what he actually does say.

Right here is a fairly common problem with having any sort of discussion with theists on atheism/existence of god/evolution/etc.: The atheist says one thing, and the theist presents it as saying or implying something else and then pisses and moans about it.


Anonymous said...

Wrong again, JP.

Atheism is not a science or a branch of science. Didn't you out up something about being in MENSA? I'd like to see the shingle, if you don't mind. I suspect it's just a GED and someone misled you.

Science, however, is a good thing because it helps advance our understanding of reality.

Religion is a bad thing because it promotes things that are known not to be true and other things that are unlikely to be true.


jewish philosopher said...

Larry, of course you love Hitchens. Hitchens promotes harmful addictions and you love that. However can you cite one thing he says which makes a drop of sense?

About atheism - it's not science, it's not religion, so it's what? A beautiful angel that tells you to snort cocaine?

Anonymous said...


Volumn 2 of "Mein Kampf" says that Hitler's "State Religion" was to be based on Darwinian Racial Theories. And atheists Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Il, had no problem with state religions.

Anonymous said...


About atheism: I would say that it's an opinion. It's a reasoned conclusion about reality that I think is more likely to be true than theism.

The thesis Hitchens advances is highly sensible, even if you disagree with it. His argument is that belief in a supreme being is a pernicious belief that does great moral and intellectual damage to humanity as a whole.

I also think Hitchens makes an excellent point about not turning famous people into saints, such as the Dalai Lama, MLK, and Mother Teresa. In the video, Hitchens clearly knows what he was talking about in the cases of each person while Boteach seems only to know that these are supposed to be great and pure people. Boteach doesn't seem to have studied anything about these people and doesn't seem to have anything substantial to say in rebuttal.

Don't misunderstand me: I don't think you need to agree with Hitchens on everything or anything he says. But you do an injustice to yourself and your readers by simply dismissing Hitchens as not making sense. This is clearly not the case, and I'd rather see you honestly and directly take on his arguments, that is, both his claims and his reasoning, than by just rejecting them out of hand.

jewish philosopher said...

"it's an opinion. It's a reasoned conclusion about reality that I think is more likely to be true"

Which is exactly what I would say about Judaism.

By the way, there are plenty of people who will argue that Judaism is not a religion.


In my opinion, this is just silly hair splitting. Judaism and atheism are religions and that's that.

"belief in a supreme being is a pernicious belief that does great moral and intellectual damage to humanity as a whole"

Which is not true.


If if were true, then why isn't Hitchens moving to a place which is most free of this perniciousness, for example North Korea? He seems to be much more comfortable in the company of those pernicious Christians and Jews.

Also, if it were true, then why is belief in God essential to recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse?

Excuse me, but Hitchens is merely a clown, a delusional Marxist and an alcoholic. His opinions make no sense. But, like Hitler's audience, his audience doesn't care.

Anonymous said...


"Volumn 2 of "Mein Kampf" says that Hitler's "State Religion" was to be based on Darwinian Racial Theories. And atheists Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Il, had no problem with state religions."

And your point is....?

How about providing some quotes in context that we can look at and discuss?

You keep saying Darwinian Racial Theories. What does this term mean, exactly, and what does it have to do with atheism?

Besides, this very blog has its own theories. It believes men are superior beings to women. It believes that heterosexual people are superior to homosexual people. I would not be surprised if JP offered a future post that suggested the inferiority of Blacks or Asiatics. Correct me if I'm wrong, JP, but these are all positions you have espoused, right?


jewish philosopher said...


Men should make most important decisions in society and home (which is the practice everywhere anyway, even in atheistic North Korea or previously in the Soviet Union).

Male to male anal intercourse is a crime which should be punished by death. No particular sexual orientation is "inferior". (Unless you're the "bottom". Ha Ha - little joke!)

Anonymous said...

"Excuse me, but Hitchens is merely a clown, a delusional Marxist and an alcoholic. His opinions make no sense. But, like Hitler's audience, his audience doesn't care."

How cavalier of you to dismiss someone who has been quite successful by any standards as a journalist, scholar, and educator.

You'll have to ask him about why he chooses to live where he does.

You say: "He seems to be much more comfortable in the company of those pernicious Christians and Jews."

Notice how again you are twisting what Hitchens says into something he doesn't say. This is why I think you should post your GED here.

Hitchens never calls Christians and Jews pernicious. He calls belief in god pernicious. There's a big difference here.

Now, you may have a point that recovery from alcohol and drug abuse is more effective if a belief in god is involved. I don't really know much about addiction or recovery programs from addiction.

However, couldn't there be a placebo effect here? I mean, just because a belief in god helps some otherwise ill and desperate people why does that mean the belief is true or false?


jewish philosopher said...

"He calls belief in god pernicious."

Jews and Christians believe in God.

"couldn't there be a placebo effect here"

Even so it would mean that belief is therapeutic, not pernicious.

Anonymous said...

"Even so it would mean that belief is therapeutic, not pernicious."

I hardly think so. It's swapping one dependence for another.

Jews and Christians can have a pernicious belief and not themselves be pernicious. Also, I think it's important to remember that the perniciousness concerns humanity as a whole and not necessarily individuals. Hitchens' thesis is that religion has outlived its usefulness and has become a force retarding humanity, preventing all of us from creating a peaceable, sustainable world.

These are serious matters. Even if you disagree with Hitchens -and on many counts, I do - the subjects he addresses are worth consideration.

Whose opinions on current matters do you find challenging, helpful or enlightening?


jewish philosopher said...

"I hardly think so."

Leading addiction therapists do think so. Just for one example, this is one of the world's leading rehab facilities:

"Jews and Christians can have a pernicious belief and not themselves be pernicious."

As an Orthodox Jew, if there existed somewhere a country which promoted Orthodox Judaism, I would run to live there.

North Korea is probably the most atheistic country today. They have no tradition of belief in God and religion is illegal.

China has state sponsored atheism as well.

Why is there no exodus of atheists from England and America to those countries?

The Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba also had state sponsored atheism. Why didn't Mr Hitchens ever live in any of them?

I think the answer is fairly obvious: Atheistic societies are always very dangerous, poor places to live because atheists behave very badly. It makes much more sense to live comfortably in a basically theistic country and preach atheism in order to excuse ones own bad behavior.

These webpages are interesting also.



jewish philosopher said...

I just called up the cultural affairs desk at the Consulate General of Sweden in New York 212-583-2550. The official answering explained to me that Sweden is a liberal Christian country, not a militantly atheistic one.

North Korea, by the way, is really where you, Larry, and Hitchens belong. What a joy to live with people who are not pernicious!

Send me a post card when you get to Pyongyang. Just make sure you mail it before your atheistic comrades shoot you! (Ha Ha - again little joke!)

Anonymous said...


I was addressing your pount about atheists and state religions. State religions are perfectly acceptable to atheists.

I don't want to post quotes from "Mein Kampf" because that will mean posting whole chapters.

What I mean by Darwinian racial theories is the belief that Darwin states in chapters 5 and 6 of ""The Descent of Man" that some races are more highly evolved than others, and will eventually, in theocurse of nature exterminate the inferior races. Hitler said the superior race is the Aryans. Darwin said that the Europeans are.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to Mein Kampf.


Vol. 1 Chapter 11, and Vol 2 Chapter 1 are the relevant sections.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to "The Descent of Man"


Anonymous said...

I don't remember proclaiming that Sweden was a militantly atheist nation. However, I have read that Sweden contains a significant population of people who are atheist in practice and/or declare themselves to be atheist.

Sweden, like several other nations with a visible atheist population, is doing fine and living peaceably.

By the way, while I think it is generally a good thing that religion and religious belief are fading away, I certainly wouldn't want atheism to be officially mandated or forced. I think adults should be able to make their own decisions about their lives, and I support your right to hold your religious beliefs and to worship according to your conscience. I think a pluralistic society is a good thing. This is why North Korea, with its cult of the leader and state-imposed homogeneity, is repellent to me. On a more basic level, my choice of where I live is none of your damn business.

I suspect you are not a fan of pluralism?


Abe said...

...Male to male anal intercourse is a crime which should be punished by death. No particular sexual orientation is "inferior"...

Typical for Mr. Stein's congenital incapacity to understand the Torah, he misinterperts Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 etc.

There are many acts that are prohibited to most Jews but not to all. For example, ordinary Jews are prohibited from eating terumah--- which is a type of ritual sacrifice known as heave offering or tithing obligation on produce. Only the Cohain, or priest was permitted to consume that food. Similarly only the High Priest was permitted entrance to the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies. There are many more examples of activities allocated only to certain protected persons via halachic directive.
That is the case with homosexuality. The Torah forbids same gender sex only to straight people. But to homosexuals it perfectly permissable, it is even encouraged ! Gay people are Hashem's Cohanim and gay sexual prohibitions are directed only against straight people.
Mr. Stein, this is but another instance of your ignorance of Torah and its true meaning. You need to go back to kolel for remedial courses in Torah and Halacha.

jewish philosopher said...

So Larry, you are basically saying that Japan and Sweden represent typical atheistic societies (even though neither considers themselves to be atheistic societies) and since they have low crime rates this proves that atheism makes people better. You also choose to ignore, for some reason, all Communist countries, which really were atheistic, and which were and are horrendously dangerous, miserable places. You also ignore a place like Utah, which has a very high level of church attendance and a low crime rate. But, whatever.

OK, fine. I'll accept all that.

However what about another issue: demographics.

Sweden 1.67 children born/woman (As of 2009[update] est.)

Japan 1.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)

The replacement fertility rate is roughly 2.1 births per woman for most industrialized countries.

This means that if everyone imitated Japan and Sweden, humanity would lead fairly peaceful and secular lives before becoming extinct in a couple of hundred years.

I've got another idea: Judaism. Very, very low crime, plenty of kids.

Abe, I think you're refering to Reform, not Orthodox Judaism.


Anonymous said...

I understand that the crime rate in Sweden is going up as they distance themselves from Religion. And the suicide rate is very high.

I read that in Japan people who have lost government welfare benfits have starved to death becuase there is very little charitable giving. And the low crime rate could be due to a very tough prison system.

Abe said...

...Abe, I think you're refering to Reform, not Orthodox Judaism....

Absolutely not. I was referring to Orthodox Judaism. Authentic Orthodox Judaism embraces protected homosexual lifestyles and activities. I can prove it directly from the Torah.

jewish philosopher said...

Who told you that?

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic your support of Boteach. You're aware, I'm sure, of his recent comments regarding an issue near and dear to you?