Sunday, July 12, 2009
[a flying saucer]
People sometimes ask how Judaism is different from any other religion. Many religions claim to represent the true will of God. Why do Jews believe that they are right and others are wrong?
I think that this can be answered very simply.
Imagine that a UFO supposedly landed in a farmer’s field in Nebraska one day for ten minutes. One person claims to have witnessed it.
Alternatively, imagine that a UFO supposedly landed in Central Park in New York City and remained there for two weeks. Millions of people claim to have witnessed it.
Obviously the second UFO sighting would be far more credible than the first.
Similarly, the Torah was revealed by God in front of millions of witnesses (see Exodus 20). The New Testament and the Koran however were revealed only to an individual.
One may ask that considering this, why are Islam and Christianity more popular than Judaism? The answer is simple: Most people prefer to lead an easy life and Judaism is perhaps the most burdensome of all religions. Therefore it is the least popular. Additionally, Judaism has never pressured people to convert, as has been the case with other religions.
One may ask, doesn’t the Torah contain clear factual errors which disqualify it from being the true word of God, for example doesn’t the Genesis creation story contradict paleontology? I have explained elsewhere that this is not the case.
Another argument sometimes advanced is that the account of the revelation at Mount Sinai is an ancient story and people in ancient times were extremely gullible. Therefore ancient stories lack any credibility. The problem with this assertion is that first of all it seems to be baseless. Second of all, if this were the case, then we would assume that many other ancient religious leaders would have convinced their incredibly gullible followers that they had all heard God affirm the truth of their religion. Of course, that is the not the case.
Some people may say that they cannot believe in anything supernatural regardless of the evidence. This is equivalent to saying that one cannot believe in extraterrestrial life regardless of the evidence. This is known as an argument from personal incredulity .
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:26 PM