Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Internet was supposed to be the prolix paradise where there would be no more gatekeepers and everyone would finally have their say. We would express ourselves freely at any level, high or low, with no inhibitions.
Yet in this infinite realm of truth-telling, many want to hide. Who are these people prepared to tell you what they think, but not who they are? What is the mentality that lets them get in our face while wearing a mask? Shredding somebody’s character before the entire world and not being held accountable seems like the perfect sting.
Pseudonyms have a noble history. Revolutionaries in France, founding fathers and Soviet dissidents used them. The great poet Fernando Pessoa used heteronyms to write in different styles and even to review the work composed under his other names.
As Hugo Black wrote in 1960, “It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.”
But on the Internet, it’s often less about being constructive and more about being cowardly.
Maureen Dowd New York Times August 25, 2009
I think what Ms. Dowd is saying is that anonymous writers are liars and that is why they choose to be anonymous.
If you live in a country which guarantees freedom of expression, there is no legitimate reason to write anonymously. No reputable newspaper has anonymous articles. Even when people sign their names they may still lie, however if they refuse to sign they are guaranteed to be lying.
Some people may claim that they must remain anonymous because if they would sign their articles, their family or neighbors would be angry with them. My opinion is that if what you are saying is something you would not tell your wife or your next door neighbor, then it is not worth sharing it with the rest of the world.
Click here for a story about a recently exposed blogger.
In my humble opinion, if you don't have the courage to sign your name to it, you shouldn't publish it
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:05 AM
[Bill Maher with porn star Lexxi Tyler; increasing scientific knowledge?]
The Richard Dawkins Award is given every year by the Atheist Alliance International to honor an outstanding atheist whose contributions raise public awareness of the nontheist life stance; who through writings, media, the arts, film, and/or the stage advocates increased scientific knowledge; who through work or by example teaches acceptance of the nontheist philosophy; and whose public posture mirrors the uncompromising nontheist life stance of Dr. Richard Dawkins.
At the 2009 AAI Convention , the award will be given to Bill Maher, a well know whore monger.
I am not attempting to denigrate in any way all of the esteemed scientists and intellectuals who I am certain will be attending this great convention for the transformation of society into one that supports and respects a worldview based on the values of reason, empiricism and naturalism. I guess porn could be called naturalism - or is that naturism? Who the heck knows; whatever.
Interestingly, of 27 speakers at the conference, only four are scientists, probably the most eminent of whom is Lawrence M. Krauss, best known for writing The Physics of Star Trek. I guess the rest of the scientific world couldn't make it.
I would just be curious to know, if Maher is an outstanding atheist, what are the average ones like? Are they the ones who don't succeed in dating porn stars but just buy DVDs?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 8:35 AM
Monday, August 24, 2009
[Christopher Hitchens expresses the atheistic point of view on circumcision to Rabbi Harold Kushner 1/29/2009]
The Torah introduced the practice of circumcising all male infants.
Atheists have long denounced circumcision as child abuse and in fact it was illegal in the Soviet Union. Circumcision was viewed as being barbaric genital mutilation based on primitive superstitions.
However now public health officials are considering promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to reduce the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. New York Times 8/24/2009
Genital perfection, not mutilation.
We may perhaps wonder: How much more wisdom does the Torah contain which has yet to be recognized?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:04 AM
Friday, August 21, 2009
[Anger and vengence: German prisoners killed by Czechs; U.S. Army Footage filmed on May 8 1945]
Although any rational person must be overwhelmed by the kindness and goodness of God and the care which He devotes to sustaining all life every moment, however we must also look briefly at the pain and suffering which exists in the world. It too is an example of God's kindness and majesty.
I believe that today’s news media tends to focus excessively on what goes wrong rather than on what goes right. Only about one commercial airline flight per million suffers a fatal crash, however that is the one you will you see in the evening news. People are fascinated by tragedy. This distorts terribly our understanding of the world and life.
Nevertheless, there are real tragedies every day. How do we reconcile God’s infinite kindness with human tragedy?
The answer is that not only is God kind, He is also just. Every sin is punished and the punishment is always big. The Bible and Talmud are filled with this concept; see the book of Lamentations for just one classic example. There is no escape and there are no exceptions, other than repentance.
This is how we can reconcile seemingly contradictory verses.
The LORD is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalms 145:9)
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God, the LORD avengeth and is full of wrath; the LORD taketh vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. (Nahum 1:2)
I think we can say that God practices “tough love”. He is kind and loving, however He is not an enabler. The Talmud teaches us "one must receive the evil with gladness". It is all for our good.
The punishment however is often far removed from the sin, perhaps later in this life, perhaps in the afterlife or perhaps in a future incarnation. This in itself is an additional layer of punishment. Since we have forgotten about God, He may give an appearance of having forgotten about us.
Nevertheless, when suffering strikes, even when the justification for it is unclear, one thing is clear: This is an example of God’s anger. If a father spanks one child, all the children learn to behave - if they are smart. This is a reminder to us to repent. This is a wake up call. It’s a lesson which should not be wasted.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:41 AM
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Each day set aside time to contemplate the beauty, the majesty and the unfathomable complexity of creation. This can be done anywhere and at any time. While waiting for a bus or standing on line, think about the miracle of the eye, of the water cycle, of photosynthesis, etc. During all the obligatory prayers and blessings focus on God's love and wisdom. Let this bring you to a greater love of God.
Pray each day to be filled with a love of God.
Don’t expect instant results. Gradually feelings of joy will increase as your love of God increases. This is similar to the sun rising. Dawn gradually breaks until everything is illuminated.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:12 AM
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sex historian Amo Karlen wrote that according to the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, "Homosexuality was phenomenally rare among Orthodox Jews." Judaism's Sexual Revolution by Dennis Prager.
This would seem to refute the concept that homosexuality is genetically determined, while also demonstrating the moral superiority of Orthodox Judaism to secular American society.
As an aside, I would like to point out that since the late 1960’s homosexuals have tried to portray sexual orientation as equivalent to race and that homosexuals are an oppressed minority similar to blacks. After 40 years of lobbying, homosexuals have basically been successful in convincing most Americans of this.
In reality, it would seem to be more correct to compare male homosexuality to alcoholism rather than to African ancestry.
Like alcoholism, male homosexuality, has a genetic component however there are also important childhood environment and cultural factors. Like alcoholism, male homosexuality is basically an unhealthy and unhappy way of life. It also endangers other people because homosexuals spread dangerous infections to heterosexuals and have a much higher than average tendency to molest children.
Rather than resembling the black civil rights movement, the gay equal rights movement is reminiscent of the way many American liberals supported the Soviet Union, naively believing that Communism was a force for social justice. (See for example John Reed’s book The Ten Days That Shook The World which is full of the highest praise for the Bolsheviks.)
Rather than being embraced, glorified and celebrated, it would seem clear that homosexuality, like alcoholism, should be prevented, controlled, managed and sometimes punished. The Orthodox Jewish lifestyle would seem to be highly preventative of homosexuality in males.
It's interesting that until the 1944 murder of a homosexual, the New York Times makes no reference whatsoever to homosexuals residing the New York area.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:34 AM
Monday, August 10, 2009
[maybe it’s not so bad]
I recently saw a study done by the Paris School of Economics which used survey data on 90,000 individuals in 26 European countries to examine the effect of religion on life satisfaction. The study found that religious behavior is positively correlated with individual life satisfaction. Additionally, the average religiosity in a region also has a positive impact: people are more satisfied in more religious regions. This spillover holds both for those who are religious and for those who are not. The flipside of the coin is that a greater proportion of "atheists" (those who say they do not currently belong to any religious denomination) has negative spillover effects, for the religious and atheists alike.
This spillover effect may help explain the unfortunate phenomenon of “Hasidic Rebels” - atheists who continue to pose as Orthodox Jews even after rejecting Jewish beliefs. Simply remaining in the Orthodox community adds to their overall satisfaction in life.
It makes one wonder what exactly militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins are trying to accomplish by advocating atheism. Do they own stock in the companies which manufacture anti-depressants? Or do they perhaps confuse “happy” with “high”, a common mistake today.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:02 AM
Sunday, August 02, 2009
[just say no]
Nothing became chemicals.
Chemicals became bacteria.
Bacteria became worms.
Worms became fish.
Fish became lizards.
Lizards became mice.
Mice became monkeys.
Monkeys became people.
And all this happened without the involvement of any sort of transcendent, intelligent supreme being.
This is the basic belief of atheism, the world's most irrational and destructive religion. This is merely an absurd myth,not based on a shred of science, created to permit us to do anything our heart desires without fear of God.
It is true that life in the distant past was different than it is now, however that proves nothing.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 1:41 PM