Sunday, February 27, 2011
First of all Judaism makes more sense than atheism.
Second of all, Orthodox Jews are on the average happier than atheists. (The sadness of atheists is understandable. Atheism means that after all the pain and disappointments of the typical life, one loses everything forever at death. Judaism, on the contrary, teaches that death is merely the beginning of eternal paradise.)
Thirdly, Orthodox Jews are on the average nicer people than atheists.
It's an obvious choice, except for one thing - Orthodox Judaism is much harder than atheism. It requires a high level of sacrifice and self discipline. It may be in fact the world's most burdensome religion.
On the other hand, atheism requires nothing. (This is famously explained by Fyodor Dostoyevsky who in The Brothers Karamazov Chapter VI wrote "Ivan Fyodorovitch added in parenthesis that the whole natural law lies in that faith, and that if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be lawful, even cannibalism. That's not all. He ended by asserting that for every individual, like ourselves, who does not believe in God or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that egoism, even to crime, must become not only lawful but even recognized as the inevitable, the most rational, even honorable outcome of his position." This is often paraphrased as "If God does not exist, everything is permitted.")
We know that given unlimited access to food, most adults will not control their eating even though they know that excessive food is making them ugly and will probably make them eventually very sick. We also know that few adults bother to exercise even 30 minutes a day although they know that it will make them look and feel better. We know that about one in five Americans smoke even though it makes them smell badly and will probably make them very sick.
Therefore, considering human nature, how much chance does Judaism have compared to atheism, when atheism is so much easier? Laziness, lust, peer pressure, etc are much more important decision making factors for most people than any long term benefits - unless you are highly disciplined and very honest.
In that case: Welcome!
Posted by jewish philosopher at 4:39 AM