Sunday, May 15, 2011
[dancing for joy]
There are several reasons why being an Orthodox Jew will make you happier than being an atheist would:
First of all, a Jew believes that when he dies, he is not losing anything. In fact, life begins with death. Following a righteous life, when a person dies he enters eternal paradise. The Talmud teaches: This world is like a hallway to the future world. Prepare yourself in the hallway that you may enter into the banquet hall. (Avot 4:21)
Additionally, whenever a Jew suffers in this world, he rejoices, as the Talmud Berakoth 60b states "one must receive the evil with gladness". This is because the Jew realizes that suffering is an atonement for his sins and he is grateful for this.
The Torah also guides a Jew to enjoy this world, but in healthy moderation. We drink alcoholic beverages, but at home, with friends, in moderation. We have sex, but only with our spouses and only with mutual consent and there are certain periods of abstinence. We have a holiday each week – the Sabbath and many other holidays throughout the year, but we work hard too.
Finally, the Jew finds himself living in a basically peaceful and caring community, in comparison to the atheistic world.
I have been able to find only one confirmed case of an Orthodox Jew ever convicted of homicide in the United States; a man in Cleveland who over twenty years ago shot his ex-wife’s father during a dispute. The perpetrator was modern Orthodox and had become Orthodox as an adult. In the United States as a whole, 8,400 Americans were convicted of murder in 2004 from a population of about 300 million. There are about 600,000 Orthodox Jews in the United States. Proportionally, there would be 17 homicide convictions per year in the Orthodox community. I would suggest that a very low rate of homicide is an indicator of a very low level of violence in general since assault often escalates, intentionally or otherwise, to homicide. This applies to child abuse and spousal abuse as well.
In regards to kindness, one well documented example is the network of volunteer ambulance corps in Jewish communities known as Hatzolah - “rescue” in Hebrew. Thousands of men volunteer their time to participate in saving lives. Together, the combined New York State branches have grown to become the largest all-volunteer ambulance system in the United States. The work these people do is incredible. Their response time is lightning fast and the work is done with genuine concern and caring.
In consideration of all this, it is clear that on the average Orthodox Jews will be significantly happier than atheists.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:47 PM