Wednesday, May 27, 2009
[Religulous trailer. Release date October 1, 2008]
In the documentary, Religuluos, Bill Maher, a comedian and atheist of Catholic upbringing, attempts to demonstrate how ridiculous monotheism is.
Since he is ridiculing the majority of humanity, we would expect him to be a person who is living a very successful, exemplary life.
Mr Maher has never married or fathered children nor does he plan on ever doing so. He considers marriage to be a form of slavery. His recent girl friends have all been pornographic actresses, one of whom sued him for allegedly promising marriage and then dumping her.
This post may be dismissed by many as ad hominem. However consider this: Atheists are not only trying to teach us something theoretical, like for example that there are no little green men on other galaxies; they supposedly are teaching us how to enjoy life. What if everyone advocating a certain diet and fitness program was dying of cancer by age 30? Would that make you hesistant about it?
I think that atheists will admit that they have a problem when the last living human stumbles out of a gay bar and drops dead in the gutter from an overdose. Of course, then it may be a little late.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 8:36 AM
Monday, May 25, 2009
[The Western Wall]
One thing which I am sometimes asked is "Doesn't the Torah change over time?" The answer is a little confusing: The Torah does not change, however Judaism does change.
The way it works is like this. The Torah is a collection of five books, the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch. These five books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were dictated to Moses by God at Mount Sinai and will never change. In addition to that, Moses was given by God an oral explanation of the Torah. This explanation is included in the Talmud. Usually, it contains details about how the Torah's commandments must be performed - for example how phylacteries are to be made. In some cases, the oral law contradicts and supersedes the written Torah. For example, the written Torah says "an eye for an eye" while the oral law explains that money needs to be paid by the damager. Similarly, the Torah imposes a death penalty for many crimes, while the oral law makes applying the death penalty so difficult that offenders were rarely executed.
In any case, the written Torah and its Talmudic explanation are eternal and unchangeable.
Judaism - the actual practice of Judaism - does change.
First of all, certain commandments may at times be impossible to fulfill. For example, everything connected with the Temple cannot be fulfilled at present because the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.
In addition to that, certain Jewish practices have been instituted by the rabbis during the centuries since the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. These practices are meant to reinforce and strengthen the observance of the Torah. For example, prayer is a Torah commandment. Praying three times a day is a rabbinical commandment. Not marrying a gentile is a Torah commandment. Not drinking wine handled by a gentile is a rabbinical commandment. In ancient times, the rabbis determined that certain new laws had to be enacted to safeguard the observance of the Torah. These are not part of Torah and they may someday be abolished, following the coming of the Messiah and reinstitution of the Sanhredrin. These rabbinical enactments are also recorded in the Talmud.
Many things associated with Judaism, like black hats, bagels and lox and so on are simply part of the fashion and culture of certain Jewish communities and do not involve any religious obligation at all.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 6:52 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
[Brian Sapient and Kelly O'Connor members of the RRS, participated in a debate with actor and evangelical Christian, Kirk Cameron, and his colleague, Ray Comfort on May 5, 2007. Nightline included a short two-segment summary on its May 9 broadcast.]
Why do I find it difficult to take atheists seriously? Well, let's see where "Kelly" is now. The great atheist spokesperson is now a legal prostitute in Nevada. I guess the atheist business wasn't paying very well.
This, along with so many other atheists, is a great role model to teach us how to live.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 1:47 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
[lyrics in German and English]
I cannot help but feel that there is a clear connection between Nazism and atheism. Nazis without exception accepted the core belief of atheism - that there does not exist a Biblical God and evolution created us. This belief then permits if not encourages the most extreme violence.
Even the best atheist today will condone the killing of unborn children. He will condone "gay rights" which has caused the AIDS epidemic and millions of deaths. He will condone "sexual freedom", which generally means telling women that you love them when you don't, and then dumping them when someone else comes along.
In all of this, it is easy to see a hint of the "death's head" symbol of the SS.
I think this can help us to appreciate the urgency of hunting down and eliminating these degenerates from the Orthodox community. How would we feel about sitting next to secret Nazis in our synagogues?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:10 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
[studying the Talmud, but not history]
One thing which has always puzzled me is the lack of Jewish historical records.
The Hebrew Bible covers history from the creation of Adam up until just before the Greek invasion of Palestine – a period of about 3,500 years. After that, however, most Orthodox Jews have only a very vague idea of Jewish history. In the last twenty years or so a number of books have been published and I think some Orthodox girls’ schools teach Jewish history classes, however traditionally this topic has been pretty much ignored.
Jewish genealogy is also very sparsely documented. Some Jews can trace there lineage back to Rashi, however that’s as far back as anyone can go. Very few Jews know much about their ancestors beyond living memory – the past century perhaps. This is surprising considering that Jews have always been literate. One of my hobbies is genealogy and I know that many people, especially from Protestant families, can find quite a bit of information going back centuries.
I recently heard a tape by Rabbi Avigdor Miller obm. He says in tape #92 that Jews never recorded their remarkable history because they knew that doing so was unnecessary. They knew that God was recording everything; nothing is going to be forgotten. Imagine that a digital video camera is recording everything you do and say and even everything you think and it’s all being archived on YouTube forever. No other records are necessary.
I also have an impression that the immense emphasis placed by Jews on studying the Talmud meant that any other type of literature, including history, was basically considered to be an unnecessary distraction. If I remember correctly, the Steipler obm once said that as a child he realized that studying the Talmud was more important than reading inspirational stories about great rabbis.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:14 AM
Friday, May 08, 2009
One interesting thing I have noticed is that my blog seems to get more than its share of negative comments.
I suppose one reason for that is the fact that my opinions differ from the opinions of most people who use the Internet. I am an Orthodox Jew, and they are not.
However I think there is something more to it than that. Based upon the emotion in many of the comments I get (many of which I don’t even post because they are so mindless) it appears that I am really hurting people.
Imagine someone who was raised in an Orthodox home who has read, let’s say, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. He has finally persuaded himself that the there is no God and he is free to do whatever he wants to. He no longer has to feel guilty about being lazy, dishonest and self indulgent. Without God, everything is permitted! Hurray!
Then somehow he stumbles across my blog. And here I am, point by point, logically, irrefutably contradicting all of his new found atheistic ideas. This must be devastating. So, in anger and frustration, he must lash out. He must make some meaningless comment about how “Science proves evolution.” (Yeah, right. Just like Christians claim that the Old Testament "proves" the New Testament.) Or he may hope to convince me to stop hurting him by claiming “Your ignorance and hatred are an embarrassment to Judaism so stop blogging.”
In any case, if my blog upsets someone for these reasons, I am not sorry. On the contrary, it proves to me that I'm doing a good job.
Here’s a suggestion to all these people: If you want to stop feeling guilty, then stop being guilty. Clean up your act. Return to Judaism.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:26 AM
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
[model of the Temple c. 66 CE from Israel Museum, Jerusalem]
This coming Saturday, Jews will read Leviticus 21:1-24:23 in the synagogue. The book of Leviticus deals primarily with the sacrifices, which were initially brought in the Tabernacle and later brought in the Temple.
The Temple was located in Jerusalem, the center of Palestine, the Jewish homeland. Palestine itself is located at the intersection of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, at the crossroads of the Old World. The Temple was intended to be a spiritual center for all of mankind, Isaiah 56:7.
The Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 CE, and today its memory seems very distant, however for centuries it was the center of Judaism and large sections of the Torah and Talmud deal with its rituals.
The Temple served as a symbolic house for God. There was a table where bread was brought each week and an altar where incense was burned twice daily. There was a lamp, the menorah, visible to this day on the arch of Titus. It was lit each day. Lambs were burnt each day on the altar in front of the Temple. We demonstrated our love for God by symbolically feeding Him.
The Temple service was conducted with the greatest reverence. Only descendents of Aaron, the righteous elder brother of Moses, were allowed to be priests and they had to have no physical defects. They wore special dignified garments. They had to avoid any contact with anything considered to be unclean, for example certain dead animals. If they did have contact with unclean things, they had to wash in a pool of water before reentering the Temple. Likewise, anything having contact with the offerings had to be ritually clean. This all emphasized the great reverence which we have for God.
Today, we mourn for the loss of the Temple each year on the anniversary of its destruction. We pray daily for its restoration. We still study the sections of the Torah and Talmud which describe in great detail all of its rituals. The Temple is still very much a part of Jewish life.
In addition to this, the synagogue today substitutes for the ancient Temple. The daily prayers substitute for the sacrifices. Although lacking the level of sanctity of the Temple itself, we must nevertheless be conscious of the great awe and reverence which we must have in God’s House today.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:49 AM
Friday, May 01, 2009
[the best parody of atheism on youtube]
Atheism is a popular modern religion.
Founder: Charles Darwin.
Sacred text: Origin of Species.
Core beliefs: There is no Biblical God and evolution created us. Evolution is different from God in that it has no intelligence, therefore it demands nothing.
Basic proof: The fossils prove the Torah is false and evolution is true.
Debunked: In this post and this post.
Pope: Richard Dawkins
Bishops: Secular professors.
Cathedrals: Secular universities which teach evolution as fact and God as fiction.
Priests: Secular public school teachers.
Churches: Secular public schools which teach evolution.
Common rituals: Binge drinking, drug abuse, promiscuity. (Basically, alcohol and opiates are the the atheist version of prayer; they offer comfort and solace.)
Atheism is especially attractive to several types of people:
Addicts. Atheism teaches that no God will punish their selfish and destructive behavior. Therefore addicts, whether alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc. flock to atheism. This is the typical atheist in Western Europe or English speaking counties. Part of recovery is belief in God.
Communists. Traditional religions might be a threat to totalitarian dictorships, therefore Communists are militant atheists. Additionally, atheism permits everything, including murder. Murder is necessary to carry out the proletarian revolution and maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Scientists. According to atheism prophesy cannot exist and therefore clergymen are unimportant, making scientists society's most important intellectuals. Many scientists have therefore enthusiastically promoted atheism while many young atheists have chosen a career in science. (The 1860 Oxford evolution debate and the 1925 Scopes Trial have become the legendary symbols of scientists triumphing over clergymen.)
In general, atheists are frequently either debauched libertines, murderers or both. Many are psychopaths - remorseless and egocentric.
Atheist = immature, irresponsible lowlife.
Agnosticism, humanism and indifferentism are transitional stages between either Christianity and Judaism on one hand and atheism on the other.
Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox Judaism are transitional stages between Judaism and atheism. Liberal Christianity is a transitional stage between Christianity and atheism.
It should be mentioned incidentally that many atheists would strenuously object to this post. They would argue that atheism is not a religion at all. Rather atheism simply means analyzing things rationally while “religion” means believing in things which are obviously fictional. In other words atheism is true and other religions are not. Of course many adherents to other religion believe this as well.
Atheists may argue that since they do not believe in a personal god and do not pray, atheism is not a religion, however the same is true of some Buddhists and Scientologists. Atheism is a belief system concerning spirituality, the afterlife, man’s origin and morality and therefore I believe it is a religion. The American government defines atheism as a religion and surveys regarding religion usually include "atheism" as an option. This video clip features atheist missionaries. There is an Atheist Alliance International complete with all sorts of activities, awards, conventions, publications, etc. There is no "People Who Don't Believe in Leprechauns Alliance International".
Animals truly have no religious beliefs. Asking "What religion is your dog?" is like asking "What color is a bald man's hair?" However atheism is simply another religion, although a somewhat bizarre, new and very dangerous one.
I also want to point out that while it is true that atheism did exist prior to Darwin, however "Origin of Species" made atheism respectable, popular and supposedly scientific. Before "Origin", "atheist" was used almost solely as an insult directed at others.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:33 AM