Monday, April 16, 2012

A Case for Slavery



[Advertisement for Slave Sale, Charleston, South Carolina, 1760]

The Torah permits slavery ( Leviticus 25:44). On the other hand, Proverbs 3:17 states, in reference to wisdom, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” In that case, how can the Torah, the embodiment of divine wisdom, condone the evil of slavery?

I believe the answer is that slavery is not essentially evil.

Generally slavery occurs under certain specific conditions. First of all, there must be a high demand for unskilled labor. Second of all, there must be a large community of primitive people available who can be forced, with minimal supervision, to do that labor.

In ancient Rome, slaves were often German barbarians. In medieval Europe Slavs were often enslaved and the English word “slave” comes from them. In modern times, Europeans enslaved black Africans. I believe that generally, slaves were far more primitive technologically than their masters since otherwise it would be difficult to capture them and perhaps even more difficult to make them work without payment. Educated people tend to find ways to malinger, escape or revolt. They will only work under heavy guard, which is expensive and therefore negates the benefit of using slaves. (This probably was the real reason closing the Soviet labor camps in the 1950’s.)

Therefore, we see that slavery tended to introduce primitive people to more advanced societies and thereby to spread civilization. Seemingly, slavery is similar to colonialism and it often existed in connection with colonialism. Colonialism could be brutal, however it could be benign as well. The same may be true of slavery. I would not say that slave traders and slave owners were exactly Peace Corp volunteers, however that may not be so far from the truth.

Witness the results of slavery in modern times. Although I do not condone the unneeded cruelty of some American slave owners, and neither does Judaism, however if not for slavery, millions of blacks would not be enjoying a comfortable life in America. People like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright may be filled with hatred for white Americans, however perhaps they should have a little gratitude also. What type life style do their never enslaved cousins in Africa have? The life expectancy of blacks in America is  73 years, for blacks in Africa it's 46 years.

Within Judaism, slavery meant that the slave had a semi-Jewish status (he would be circumcised if male, observe the Sabbath, but not attend synagogue) and and upon being freed, which inevitably happened eventually to the slave or his descendants, he became a full-fledged Jew. There can be little doubt that the ancestors of many modern Jews were at one time slaves owned by Jews. Slavery therefore was a means to spiritually enlighten primitive gentiles. Apparently because of this, the Catholic Church fought repeatedly against the Jewish ownership  of gentile slaves.

83 comments:

ah-pee-chorus said...

Thank you for providing a prime example of how dangerous all religions are, including judaism.

And thanks for proving that the torah, like all other bibles contains many teachings which are immoral and unethical.

And thanks for serving yourself up as an exhibit for how those that believe these books were written by an imaginary sky-friend are devoid of any moral compass. Having resigned all such thought in lieu of a 2700 year old book, the moral portion of your thought process has atrophied. You are left to defend morally repugnant ideas such as human slavery. The saddest part is that you probably believe what you wrote.

Dave said...

This is a no brainer.
The Torah was obviously written in a context, historically and culturally. For the same reason it allowed child brides, death by stoning, and polygamy. Your slavery answer, even if one could agree with it, would obviously not apply to these examples.

Every social policy benefits some people and not others. It depends on what you define as "inherently evil"

The Bald Guy said...

There is something wrong with you...

jewish philosopher said...

"Thank you for providing a prime example of how dangerous all religions are"

Darwin, the founder, of atheism, didn't believe in enslaving Africans, he believed in killing them.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2006/06/evolution-pseudoscience-of-genocide.html

"it allowed child brides"

Rarely.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2010/07/pedophilia-and-talmud.html

"death by stoning"

To my knowledge, Jews are the first people in history to ban the death penalty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_capital_punishment#Judaism

"polygamy"

This seems to have been limited to Biblical kings. Those women probably didn't mind being a plural wife of the monarch.

"There is something wrong with you..."

A little bit of psychological projection?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

natschuster said...

Guys:

What exactly is your basis, beyond youur own opninion, for saying the anyhting in the Torah is immoral? What is your basis for saying anything is immoral, or that morality even exists?

Dave said...

Nat,

What is your basis, beyond your own opinion, for saying that the Torah is moral?

jewish philosopher said...

Let's not forget that racism had full scientific support up until 1945

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism

According to Judaism, however, all humans are sons of Adam.

natschuster said...

Dave:

I believe that the Torah is divine in origin. The Torah says that the Torah is moral. My own intuition tells me that the Torah is moral. The Torah seems to work better than any other system of morality. It has stood the test of time. It got us through 2000 of Golus. That's my basis. Anyway, for the sake of this discussion, people asserted that the Torah is immoral. I would like to see them back up that assertion with some evidence, logic, something, anything, beyond their own opinion.

Dave said...

Ok,Nat. So you basically concede that your adoption of the Torah morality and truth is a judgement call. You use your own reasoning and intuition. Fair enough.

An atheist can use the same mechanism to claim that some other system is more moral than the Torah.

ah-pee-chorus said...

I'll tell you why the torah is immoral. All that is required is that a definition of "moral" be accepted. I have 2 definitions I accept as proper definitions.

1. Don't do unto others what you wouldn't want them to do to you.

2. Actions such that if all in a society would do them, some objective measure of quality of life would be raised. And behavior which would lower an objective measure of QOL if all would do it would be "immoral".

Slavery as permitted in the torah would be immoral by either definition. The misogynistic rules found therein are immoral. Instructions to kill children of your enemy, or take the single girls as sex-slaves/wives is quite immoral.


"The Torah seems to work better than any other system of morality."

says who? it wasnt even original. Other systems of law were in effect prior with many of the same laws for society. The torah is patterned after the code of hammurabi.

So apart from the logical fallacy that the torah is divine and therefore all contained in it is moral, on what basis is the torah moral?


Your reasoning only works if you first define "moral" as being what god says, and that refers to the torah. But if that were true, there'd be no need for any debate on whether the torah is moral , since that is its definition.

jewish philosopher said...

"The misogynistic rules found therein are immoral."

In hypocritical contemporary Western society, women are encouraged to be as masculine as they want to be, while at the same time are constantly beaten and raped.

http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html

"Instructions to kill children of your enemy"

Modern day orthodox Jews are basically pacifists.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/02/massacre-of-midianites.html

"take the single girls as sex-slaves/wives is quite immoral"

I don't know of a single orthodox Jew in recent times convicted of forcible rape.

Furthermore, if not God but evolution created us, that means we have no souls. If we have no soul, we have no free will. If we have no free will, we have no moral responsibility for our behavior.

Hence, an atheist can do anything yet claim to be innocent because his brain chemistry, bad childhood experiences and society made him do it.

Additionally, an atheist can say "Morality doesn't concern me. I just want to do whatever feels good and provided that I can evade law enforcement I just don't care."

Atheists have a licence to kill.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/10/atheists-have-license-to-kill.html

natschuster said...

A-pee-ko-rus:

What is the basis for your definitions beyond your own opinion? And according to your first definition a suicidal person is allowed to commit murder. And, according to your second definition how do you define quality of life. And if religion improves the quality of life, then religion is moral.

And there seems to be so much chesed, tzedaka, etc. etc in frum communities, and there seems to be much less self destructive and anti-social behavior. So, based on mu own experience in practical morality, I say that the Torah seems to work better than any other system.

Dave said...

"To my knowledge, Jews are the first people in history to ban the death penalty."

That was post-Torah. Not because of it. The bible is full of killing for religious reasons.

jewish philosopher said...

While the surrounding gentile culture was enjoying the entertainment of gladiatorial combat, Jews were abolishing all death penalties, fretting over unjustly executing someone.

ksil said...

"Jews were abolishing all death penalties"

orthodox jews long for the day when they can determine who is an amalekite and murder them and their children and their animals in cold blood

that doctrine is troubling to some - and hard to reconcile with morality

Anonymous said...

This is probably one of the most vile posts you've ever written. You are also ignorant of the actual halachos of slavery and how slaves were treated. Please learn some rambam before spouting off.

- OSM

jewish philosopher said...

"orthodox jews long for the day when they can determine who is an amalekite and murder them and their children and their animals in cold blood"

Who said? And atheists don't need to wait to murder, ask Jim Jones, Jeff Dahmer, Kim Jon Il, etc etc

"You are also ignorant of the actual halachos of slavery and how slaves were treated."

Sources please?

Anonymous said...

I am horrified that a you would call yourself a Torah observant Jew and write such ill-informed and vitriolic posts.

jewish philosopher said...

But you're not going to bother informing me. Because I'm right.

ah-pee-chorus said...

JP-

i'm glad to see that we agree. each of your responses is a variation of...

"yes, the torah is immoral but some people who don't follow it are too."

and.." while the torah is immoral, orthodox jews ignore the parts they have risen above thanks to societal influence."

Dave said...

"Sources please?"

Here's a challenge, TP.
No one human being is always correct about everything, 100% of the time, right?

Can you please provide us with just one post or comment of yours, anywhere on this blog, on any subject, in which after being presented with an argument or source, from a comment, you admitted to being wrong?

ah-pee-chorus said...

natschuster-

What is the basis for your definitions beyond your own opinion?

when discussing the relative morality of anything its necessary to define the word. I have offered 2 . if you differ and care to suggest an alternative definition, please do and we can discuss it. it just cant be "whatever the torah says".


according to your first definition a suicidal person is allowed to commit murder

Incorrect. Since the suicidal person WANTS to die and the other person does not, then by murdering him, the suicidal guy is violating the others desire to live.

And, according to your second definition how do you define quality of life

There are many possible ways and they can be combined as well. One possibility could be a survey of peoples reported happiness. If that number were raised by having clean streets and lowered by litter and garbage, then it would be immoral to litter and moral to refrain from it, and to clean public areas. I'm sure you can think of many similarly appropriate measures.

And if religion improves the quality of life, then religion is moral.

Not exactly. To begin with, religion is not a single undivideable act or concept. It includes many variations, and many
separate actions within each one. So while a religion may require giving charity, which would be moral by my definitions, it may also call for killing non-believers which is decidely immoral. Further, the act of charity doesnt require religion for it to be moral. Theres no need for religion.
And you cant measure an acts morality only within a small group. So while a religious cult might claim that having sex with young girls raises their satisfaction, society as a whole can say that if everybody felt and acted this way there would be a lowering of QOL and thus it is immoral.
The torah is filled with immoral and nonsensical laws. Frum jews are thankfully unable to carry out many of its barbaric rules such as sacrificing animals, killing sabbath violators etc...Thats because peoples morality has risen far above that of man from 3000 years ago. Were there to be a new sanhedrin and beis hamikdash, killings of innocents would resume.
Slavery is an indefensible act of immorality. You wouldnt desire to be a slave and have no right to enslave another human being. Its really that simple.

jewish philosopher said...

"while the torah is immoral, orthodox jews ignore the parts they have risen above thanks to societal influence"

If the Torah would prohibit slavery then 2,000 ago, Jews would have been ridiculed "What kind of craziness is that? You can't have an economy without slaves! Don't you see how foolish the Torah is?"

"Can you please provide us with just one post or comment of yours, anywhere on this blog, on any subject, in which after being presented with an argument or source, from a comment, you admitted to being wrong?"

Has Richard Dawkins?

ah-pee-chorus said...

ksil said..."orthodox jews long for the day when they can determine who is an amalekite and murder them and their children and their animals in cold blood"

and JP responded...Who said?

so , JP , are you denying that there is a torah obligation to kill every amalekite? and if it could be proven to rabbinical satisfaction that amalekis existed today, and there was an operating jewish monarchy al pi halacha, are you denying that there would be a requirement to kill them?

ah-pee-chorus said...

If the Torah would prohibit slavery then 2,000 ago, Jews would have been ridiculed "What kind of craziness is that? You can't have an economy without slaves! Don't you see how foolish the Torah is?"


I see. so god permitted a horribly immoral act which robs people of their very existence because he was worried about how others would ridicule his followers. And in his infinite wisdom god couldnt predict there would come a time when nearly everyone (except JP) would understand how disgusting slavery is. So he didnt just permit it for another 100 years, he made it PERMANENTLY legal thus ensuring that those same people who would have ridiculed the jews for outlawing slavery back then, can now ridicule the jews forever and ever for continuing to PERMIT it.

ah-pee-chorus said...

JP-

your responses have shifted from...

"the torah is immoral but so are others..."

to

"the torah is immoral because others would have made fun of god and jews..."

theres a common theme: its immoral.

Amy Newman Smith said...

1. Your lack of Jewish learning (or desire to ignore it) is showing. Jewish tradition lays out strict laws against permanently disfiguring, maiming, etc. Slaves. Slavery as practiced in America or anywhere else has no relation to the slavery described in the Torah and Talmud.

2. Your lack of basic knowledge is showing as well. Israel was founded in the ashes of the Holocaust. Is the Holocaust a good thing because Jews now have a land of their own as opposed to living at the whim of other countries. This is a question without an answer.
American slavery was murderous, from the capture of slaves to the transport of slaves to the use of slaves. To say that African-Americans are better off having been slaves is to defame the (lost) memory of the untold numbers who died being brought here and worked here.

3. Your argument about life-expectancy is laughable. Look at the history of Western colonization of Africa. Western nations are directly responsible for the factors that lead to the low age of life expectancy. The colonizing powers disrupted their political systems, creating countries from tribes with centuries of animosity, laying the seeds for ongoing civil wars, which lower life expectancies.
Western corporations continue to pollute the countries of Africa as we tear out its natural resources in ways that would never be allowed in Europe and the United States. Western-owned countries help poison the water, the air, the ground. They are killing people and they wouldn't be allowed to do it in your backyard. If they were, your life expectancy would drop as well.

What you put on this site is a perversion of Judaism, and the fact that you have no living rav that you accept is extremely telling. I hope readers of this blog understand that you DO NOT represent any form of Torah-true Judaism. You reflect your own ideas, which you refuse to submit to da'as Torah or rabbinic authority except deceased rabbis who can't tell you that you are wrong.

ksil said...

"If the Torah would prohibit slavery then 2,000 ago...." proves that the torah is manmade and not divine. thank you.

"And atheists don't need to wait to murder..." LOL...neither do muslims! or christians! (read some history, christians have an interesting history when it comes to mass murder...)

"Who said? " you ever listen to a rabbi with a black hat speak on parshas zachor?!?! in fact, on pesach i heard a speach from the pulpit from a modern orthodox speak about yizkor, mentioning our longning for the day when we can implement parshas zachor, not just "remember it"....was a lovely message (hurl)

jewish philosopher said...

"are you denying that there is a torah obligation to kill every amalekite?"

What's the difference? They have been unmentioned anywhere since the time of King David.

"so god permitted a horribly immoral act which robs people of their very existence because he was worried about how others would ridicule his followers"

It's not horrible or immoral as I explain in this post. The blacks who were transported to America were not living in paradise back in Africa and their descendents are certainly doing much better today as a result.

"American slavery was murderous, from the capture of slaves to the transport of slaves to the use of slaves. To say that African-Americans are better off having been slaves is to defame the (lost) memory of the untold numbers who died being brought here and worked here."

Who told you that conditions on Southern planations were any worse than conditions in African jungles? This is just nonsense.

"i heard a speach from the pulpit from a modern orthodox speak about yizkor"

Sources please? I don't know of anyone hoping to find an Amalekite so he can kill him.

natschuster said...

A-pee-ko-rus:

I still haven't seen any logical reason beyond your opnion as to why your definition of morality is better than the Torah's. And you seem to be changing the definition of treating people the way you want to be treated to treating people the way they want to be treated. According to your definition, would it be okay to kill a suicidal person? And how do you define improving quality of life? If 51% oercent of the people made slavers out of 49% then that would improve the quality of life for the majority of the population. SO slavery could be moral according to your second definition.
And what if prayer and spirituality makes people happier? Doesn't that improve their quality of life?
And I'm still waiting for a logical explanation beyond your opinion for the reason why your morality is better than the Torah's morality, or even Hitler's morality. At least Hitler backed his morality up with a scientific theory.

Amy Newman Smith said...

"Who told you that conditions on Southern planations were any worse than conditions in African jungles? This is just nonsense."

Mortality rates on the transatlantic crossing averaged 15 percent and ranged as high as 33 percent. Had Africans been dying at a rate of 15% every three to six months, the entire continent would have been depopulated.

Wikipedia:
"Approximately 1.2 – 2.4 million Africans died during their transport to the New World[60] More died soon upon their arrival. The amount of life lost in the actual procurement of slaves remains a mystery but may equal or exceed the amount actually enslaved."

Leaving all that aside. Let's say slavery, wherever and whenever it was practiced, was some magical dreamland where even your teardrops turned to jellybeans. Imagine YOUR life situation was improved, health, education, etc. etc. etc. Imagine the BEST situation you can imagine, would you be willing to give up your family, your free-will and your FREEDOM to have your life situation thus improved?

By your argument, we should have stayed slaves in Egypt. I mean, after all, we got fed, we were in contact with one of the most advanced civilizations at the time, etc. etc. We even had access to high-quality midwives who successfully delivered Jewish babies. Surely that would be better than going out and living in the desert. Where everyone who left died before they arrived at their destination. Right?

jewish philosopher said...

"Mortality rates on the transatlantic crossing averaged 15 percent"

That was probably true of all immigrants before the steamship era.

"would you be willing to give up your family, your free-will and your FREEDOM to have your life situation thus improved? "

Yes. And probably a lot of poor people would.

"By your argument, we should have stayed slaves in Egypt."

We actually do owe them a debt of gratitude.

Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land. (Deut. 23:8)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0523.htm#8

jewish philosopher said...

The Irish Famine immigrant ships allegedly had a mortality rate of 30%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffin_ship

ah-pee-chorus said...

natschuster -

I still haven't seen any logical reason beyond your opnion as to why your definition of morality is better than the Torah's.

thats an illogical statement. how can you compare my definitions of morality to the torahs when the torah doesnt define morality? the torah lists actions and non-actions which are required but nowhere does it define the word 'morality'. and if we are debating whether or not the torah is the most moral set of rules possible, we cant do that without first having a meaning for the term "moral" which is exclusive of the torah. i offered 2. you have offered none and yet wish to claim the torah fits . fits with what? define morality without using the word 'god' or 'torah'.

And you seem to be changing the definition of treating people the way you want to be treated to treating people the way they want to be treated. According to your definition, would it be okay to kill a suicidal person?

youre having trouble grasping. i'll try to be more clear. i'm NOT saying that if i want pizza every meal it must be moral to force everyone else to eat pizza. because i dont want to be FORCED to eat anything. secondly, while pizza might be my preference, then giving others pizza who cant stand it would be a violation of "dont do unto others..."
if YOU wish to have a choice as to your living arrangements, it is IMMORAL to REMOVE that choice from another. regarding euthanasia, i find it to be highly moral provided the 'suicidal' person is of sound mind. and its kind of ironic that this troubles you and is an example of fault in my moral outlook while you have no problem with a book that calls for putting someone to death for believing in the wrong god or daring to squeeze a garment on a day called saturday.
such fragmented thinking devoid of all logic and reason is common amongst fundies who have accepted apriori that their book is perfect by definition. but that doesnt work in an discussion intent on determining whether the torah is moral.

If 51% oercent of the people made slavers out of 49% the...

you didnt read my second offering well. i said if ALL in a society...
and if ALL in a society were subject to becoming slaves at any point, the overall happiness of that society would drop substantially versus when NOBODY in that society had to worry about losing their freedom.
so please try another example under which my definition would fail. and please dont suggest theres no such thing as happiness or satisfaction with life because i'm not going to entertain a solipsistic argument.

And what if prayer and spirituality makes people happier?

to begin with, prayer and sp. have no effect on other living beings so they have no place in a discussion of morality. but as far as society goes, if having the RIGHT to pray and believe as one sees fit brings about a higher QOL-AND I AGREE THAT IT DOES- then it is moral to permit people to make their own choices. i'm sure you dont believe theres any effect when zulus do a rain dance, despite that it brings them happiness. by my definition, permitting ALL beliefs is moral and correct. the torah has quite a different stance.
so again, if you wish to evaluate a books morality, you must first define it exclusive of that book. i'm looking forward to your definition.

jewish philosopher said...

Many Africans actually envy African Americans and can't understand why they are visiting Africa.

http://youtu.be/4jFviE37E2Y

24816 said...

I would hope that there are better ways to enlighten primitive people, but to play devil advocate, please note that Russian words for a “child” and “slave” have the same root, so there must be some truth to upbringing while teaching trade, at least in the past. Also, there were no prisons, and slavery was used to pay reimbursement for the theft even among Jews. It is harder to speculate if slavery was more humane than killing prisoners of wars. It depends.

natschuster said...

A-pee-ko-rus:

I'm still unclear as to what your definition is. It seems to be that everyone should have choices because I have choices? Let everyone do what they want? My statement might sound illogical because I haven't seen any logical reason from you about why your morality is better. The Torah defines morality as doing what the Torah says.

And if religion makes people happier, then promoting religion, encouraging others to be religious is a moral endeavor. And, to the best of my knowledge, there is no way in a society that something can be a benefit for everyone. There are always trade offs. That definition is immpratical.

Anyway, I still don't see any logical reason why your morality is better than Hitler's Darwinian racist theories. I agree that yours is better, but that is just my opinion, not logic.

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jewish philosopher said...

This post is simply an attempt to reconcile two Biblical verses: Leviticus 25:44 and Proverbs 3:17. What has it got to do with race?

ah-pee-chorus said...

I'm still unclear as to what your definition is

Thats pretty obvious. or rather you have no interest in logic or reason, in addition to your lack of ability to think clearly and speak honestly.

Youve shown once again why arguing with a fundie is pointless, other than for the amusement factor, and to expose their lack of intellectual honesty.
As i correctly predicted you offered no definition of morality. And as i knew you would, you claim the torahs ways are by definition "moral".
Why would you insert yourself into a discussion of the torahs morality when by your apriori 'knowledge' the torah IS and must be the epitome of morality?
To expose the utter inanity of your position i'll use the same excuse for logic and reason to show that the torah is the MOST immoral way of life possible.
I believe the torah was written by satan. my definition of satan is that he is the most immoral being that ever could be. therefore, the torah is by definition the most immoral of all.
You cant find me a single example in history of anything less moral. because if you do, i'll just say that by my belief system in which satan wrote it and is the ultimate immorality, your example cant be considered and isnt relevant.
The ironic part is that you wont even admit that this is an argument equal to yours.
why are all fundies so predictably foolish and dishonest?

natschuster said...

A=pee-ko-rus:

Are you trying to prove my point? I asked you to provide a logical reason why your moral system is superior to the Torah. I'm still waiting. All I see is your opinion. Your opinion is perfectly valid, but it is only an opinion, not an argument. I think that G-d's opinion as expressed in the Torah is superior to yours.

And I forgot to ask what is your basis for saying morality even exists? Moral behavior is behavior, not a moral. It no more proves morality exists than animal behavior does.

natschuster said...

You defined morality according to your opinion. So, in my opinion, the Torah defines morality. Why is my opinion worth less than yours. Why is Hitler's opinion that his Darwinian race based morality is better than your morality less valid?

ah-pee-chorus said...

I asked you to provide a logical reason why your moral system is superior to the Torah.

youre so clueless. how can any system be superior to something you define as the most superior and infallible system?

why is your opinion any more valid than my satan story which shows the torah to be the most immoral?

hint: it isnt. and if thats your opinion and you cant or wont subject it to critical thinking, then you cant be a party to a rational discussion based on reason. which i already knew.
your position is not only the ultimate of the appeal to authority logical fallacy, but it happens to also be as false claim.

if you were honestly looking to measure the relative morality of one system vs. another, you would first have to be able to define morality in terms exclusive of the system itself, which you refuse to do. we both know why you refuse. if you were to provide any objective measure of morality the torah could be subject to question and might emerge as less moral than another system. since you are a good dogmatic soldier and are prohibited from applying reason and judgement of your own, you are forced to refuse.

your "opinion" can be lampooned as follows:

you claim you are the best looking person on the planet. when youre asked to define "best-looking" you say that your definition of best is YOU, so any suggestion to evaluate your claim objectively is pointless. since nobody looks more like you than you, and your measure of ultimate beauty is you, any discussion is pointless and you'd be dismissed as a fool engaged in sophistry.

the difference between our positions and the validity of each is plain to see. yours is meaningless for the reasons i made clear. mine is objective and doesnt depend on any one persons prior definitions.
that you wont admit that slavery is immoral, as is killing another for violating your books sabbath, shows you to be a morally bankrupt clown who lacks all intellectual honesty. its telling that while i can provide numerous examples of where my definitions are far superior towards overall satisfaction of a society than the torahs, you cant come up with even one case where the torah law would yield a better result than mine.

and one more thing. hitlers plan was quite the opposite of darwinian. the selection which was taking place was the furthest thing from "natural".

natschuster said...

First of all, I asked you for your logical reason to explain why your moral are superior. I keep getting opinions, no logic. Nothing wrong with opinions, but that is all they are. I didn't say my opinions where superior to yours. I have no basis for saying that, just as you have no basis for saying your opnions or your morality are any better than the Torah's, or Hitler's.

Now, as far as benefiting society, are you sure you konw of a moral system as benefiical as the Torah? Torah communities contain so much chesed, tzedaka, etc. etc. I will apply my critical thinking skills now, and conclude that either you know of a system even more beneficial than the Torah, or you don't consider chesed and tzedeka to be a benefit for society. If its the former please let me know which community. If its the later, then be so kind as to define what you mean by benefit.

And Darwin said that there is really no difference between natural and artificial selection. He used the former as proof of the existance of the later. Read "The Origin of Species" if you don't believe me. And Hitler wrote that eAryan domination of other races was perfectly natural. What was artificial was allowing the inferior races to live as equals, or live at all. Read "Mein Kampf" if you don't believe me.

Ironmistress said...

People living in glass houses should not be throwing stones.

And I mean it too.

jewish philosopher said...

Well my house is rock solid.

ah-pee-chorus said...

natschuster-

Since youre incapable of defining the term 'morality', youre incapable of involvment in any discussion of it. Please refrain from doing so.

natschuster said...

A-pee-ko-ros

I could define morality as a set of rules for guiding human behavior. According to that definition, the Torah is morality.

ah-pee-chorus said...

natschuster-

you could also define it as ice-cream. thanks for the laughs.

ah-pee-chorus said...

natschuster said...
A-pee-ko-ros

I could define morality as a set of rules for guiding human behavior. According to that definition, the Torah is morality.


I could define immorality as a set of rules for guiding human behavior. According to that definition, the Torah is immorality.

you see how easy it is?

natschuster said...

A-pee-ko=rus:

Are you trying to prove my point? People above said that the Torah is immoral. I asked them to provide a basis in logic or science or anything beyond their own opinion. You seem to be agreeing with me that morality ultimately comes down to opinion, so there is no basis in logic or science or anything to say that the Torah is immoral.

ah-pee-chorus said...

ns-

youre clearly unable to engage in intelligent conversation. far from proving your point, i proved that YOU cant even define the word. even a dictionary definition would have allowed for further discussion. i showed how YOUR definition is so meaningless that it could be used just as easily to support the torah as being immoral. your definition is completely meaningless.
the torah IS highly immoral and i offered 2 definitions which back that up. you have offered no definition by which it can be defended.this is because either you dont grasp that a definition must be exclusive of the item under discussion while at the same time having some meaning of its own, OR, you know that by any legitimate definition the torah can indeed be shown to be immoral so you refuse to provide one.
either way, its pointless.

natschuster said...

A-Pee-Ko-Rus:

I still don't recall you telling me a logical reason why the Torah is immoral. I think we are confusing giving a linguistic definition with a description. You didn't define the word moral for me. You described, what in your opinion constitutes morality. I gave you a definition of the word. I do recall, saying how the Torah can be a supremely moral thing according to your description.

natschuster said...

I looked up morality in the dictionary. It says "conforming to the rules of right conduct." How is that different than mine definition? And why can't the Torah conform to that? Remember, don't confuse a definition with a description. And remember, don't confuse your opinion of what right conduct should be something derived from logic or science.

natschuster said...

I think that maybe you stopped learning Gemorah too soon. You obviously can't tell the difference between logic and opinion, and a definition and a description. See what happens when people stop going to shiur. Anyway, I don't like to get all ad hominum, but you really need to refresh your critical thinking skills. Nothing keeps the brain cells in shape like a daily dose of Daf Yomi.

ah-pee-chorus said...

You didn't define the word moral for me.

as i posted earlier....


1. Don't do unto others what you wouldn't want them to do to you.

2. Actions such that if all in a society would do them, some objective measure of quality of life would be raised. And behavior which would lower an objective measure of QOL if all would do it would be "immoral".

and you have now offered from the dictionary... looked up morality in the dictionary. It says "conforming to the rules of right conduct."

it was obvious that my rules were discussing actions which would be run through either of my morality filters to determine whether they conformed or not. if they do, they are moral i.e. fall into the category of "good behavior" and if not, then they are immoral as they are not "right conduct".

I gave you a definition of the word.

no you didnt. the closest you came was to say I could define morality as a set of rules for guiding human behavior.,
which is wholly meaningless and incorrect.

I do recall, saying how the Torah can be a supremely moral thing according to your description.

and that is a lie. because my description involved objectively measuring behavior for its inherent 'goodness' and/or refraining from actions you wouldnt want done to you. the torah includes many things which fail both tests.

since you now offered a definition which includes a concept of "right conduct", on what basis can you even make a claim that the torah includes only such required actions? the key is that you must provide some objective metric by which the torahs laws can be measured to determine whether they are in fact "good conduct".
claiming "god wrote it so it must be good" is an epic fail.
but thats all you have. you will be unwilling and unable to provide an alternative.
OTOH, i was able to provide 2 completely different guidelines for judging morality with no fear. why? because i have truth on my side. all you have is indefensible dogmatic belief.

and dont change the subject to focus on semantics. either offer a way to measure morality-as in good conduct- or slink away into your happy place of ignorance and cowardice.

natschuster said...

You didn't define the word morality, gave me your definition of what morality is.

Again, you gave me your opinion of what morality should be. There is no logic, just opinion. Why is your opinion better than Hitler's?

And if yo define as religiousity, then the Torah is moral according to your definition. If you define benefit as increasing tzedaka, chesed, than the Torah is moral. But being an atheist, you mat very well define benefit as increased drug use, To each his own.

ah-pee-chorus said...

You'll say or do anything to avoid the truth about the torah. Just like a good little fundie. you never respond to what i write, you constantly change the topic, and refuse to actually discuss anything out of fear and cowardice. i cant say i blame you since the truth staring you in the face is so painfully obvious. but i'm done with your game.

natschuster said...

I keep on asking you to tell me what is the basis in logic, not opinion for your claim that the Torah is immoral. I keep on not getting an answer. You tell me that it violates your concepts of morality, but they are based on opinion only. With all due respect your opinion is worth no more than mine.

And it would be nice if you would give some definition of what you consider a benefit for society as per your second definition. It seems to me that tzedaka and chesed qualify. If so, then the Torah appears to be a superb way to maximize benefits. Ergo, the Torah is moral, according to your definition (which is, of course merely an opinion.)

ah-pee-chorus said...

how could god have punished sodom and ammorah and the people of noahs generation? they lived before the torah was given. so if the torah was the source of all morality, there was no objectively good or bad behavior prior. they couldnt possibly have done anything wrong.

Dave said...

Apikores,

Great point. That's a good proof from the Torah itself that morality exists independenly of it. It seems, for example, that Cain should have known not to kill Abel, even without God telling him....or that Abraham knew of hospitality without God or the Torah commanding it...

jewish philosopher said...

Adam was given the seven Noahide commandments and Abraham was a prophet.

Dave said...

"Adam was given the seven Noahide commandments "

That of course is a Talmudic/rabbinic invention, with no reference in the text.

jewish philosopher said...

"with no reference in the text. "

And if it was, you don't accept the text anyway.

Dave said...

I am just saying that even the Torah itself does not claim, as you do, that there is no morality outside the commandments. Natshuster made a bogus argument, and we're calling him out on it.

What I accept is irrelevant.

jewish philosopher said...

"the Torah itself does not claim, as you do, that there is no morality outside the commandments"

Where does the Torah say that someone was punished although he did not transgress God's wishes?

Dave said...

God's wishes or gods commandments?
If god doesnt make them known how will people know? (except for their own moral compass, which you deny exists).

Nowhere does god command Adam not to murder. Yet Cain is held accountable. The Torah makes no mention of a prohibition on sodomy and rape, yet he punishes Sdom and Amorah. There is no mention of what constitutes sexual immorality.

Before god brings the flood, the world's population is accused of being "corrupt" without having the benefit of the Torah commandments or any other. And everybody was destroyed. Presumably their immorality was something that they should have figured out and prevented.

The story of the tower of Babel is a similar scenario. There was no commandment "don't build towers into the sky". yet they were punished.

Somehow you don't get it. The torah assumes basic "mentchlechkite" as a prerequisite for morality in human beings

One can conclude that the Torah's message is that God wanted people to be just and moral, and he mostly left it up to them to figure that out.

natschuster said...

I never said that there is noo morality outside the Torah, I said that there is no basis in logic for saying that the Torah is immoral. I believe that G-d gave everyone a moral sense. G-d gave commandments to Adam and Noah. But It can't prove this logically. I can only assert it. Same thing with the assertions that the Torah is immoral. What is the basis in logic, not opinion.

jewish philosopher said...

All the relevent commandments were revealed to Adam and Noah. God didn't just blast people away out of no where.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noahide_laws

Dave said...

" I believe that G-d gave everyone a moral sense"

Good, so we agree on that.

" What is the basis in logic, not opinion."

Since morality is based on empathy, which is emotional and not logic based, "logically" proving morality is not possible. However one could reasonably make the argument, for example, that the intrinsic worth of human life is not dependent on gender, race, religion or social status. Therefore discrimination on such as basis would be immoral. In that contexts, most (but not all) societies have ruled that forced marriage and slavery are unacceptable.

One could also rationally argue that the main purpose of morality is the minimize harm/suffering of both individuals and society, and therefore anything that causes unnecessary harm or suffering would be immoral. But that balance dependends on your political philosophy, which is a whole other discussion.


I disagree with Sam Harris' assertion that morality can be objectively determined.

jewish philosopher said...

"However one could reasonably make the argument, for example, that the intrinsic worth of human life is not dependent on gender, race, religion or social status."

According to atheism, why are humans worth more than any other plant, animal or mineral?

Dave said...

Empathy, as I already said.
I don't know about you, but I don't feel empathy for a rock.

jewish philosopher said...

No, empathy means that you feel more pity for a person than you do for a rock. It doesn't mean that a person is more valuable than a rock.

According atheism both rocks and people have the same worth.

Besides that, empathy is a very shaky foundation for morality.

Empathy is an emotion which varies from one person to another and from one moment to another. I may feel no empathy for you because you don't have a certain type of document in your wallet or because the level of pigment in your skin is different than mine is. I may feel no empathy for you because you stole my parking space or you're dating my ex-girlfriend.

Furthermore, I may empathize with you however I am going to ignore my empathy because you've got $50,000 in your pocket and I'm going to kill you and take it. Or because I'm living in place where the government has ordered me to kill you and if I don't I and my family will be killed.

Dave said...

Worth of anything is what we assign to it.

And your morality is no less subjective, in that you decided that it makes sense to you, compared to any other moral system.

jewish philosopher said...

"Worth of anything is what we assign to it."

Which in the case of many famous atheists (Stalin, Mao, Jeff Dahmer, Jim Jones of the Jonestown massacre, etc) is zero.

Dave said...

As is the case of many theists including Bin Laden, Khomeini, the Grand inquisitor, and the lord your god.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm not promoting here any religion other than Orthodox Judaism, which is non-violent, and we also have answers regarding the suffering of the apparently innocent.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/08/kindness-of-suffering.html

In the meantime atheism is clearly unscientific and irrational

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/11/science-versus-atheism.html

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/02/not-by-chance.html

It's merely an excuse for narcissism and hedonism.

Tigerboy said...

The best example of how religion causes people to stop processing new information through their own natural filter for right and wrong, and blindly accept dogma, is the post itself.

This fundamentalist has lost all ability to differentiate between right and wrong. He's gotta go check the dusty book! He is so in love with his adopted dogma that he defends human slavery. That's about the simplest morality question there is!

Is it right to enslave human beings? To whip them? To beat them? To treat humans as property? No, it is not! Easy one! Simple pimple! But, the fundamentalist's favorite book supports slavery, so, he ignores the almost universally accepted moral position, the obvious, innate understanding of right and wrong, and comes up with a ludicrous defense of human slavery! Priceless.

jewish philosopher said...

"he ignores the almost universally accepted moral position, the obvious, innate understanding of right and wrong"

Slavery was universal until recent generations and in fact is more popular today than ever.

http://www.freedomcenter.org/slavery-today/

Are you saying slavery is wrong because it is wrong to force an innocent person to do something he doesn't want to do? In that case, how is it right to force citizens to pay taxes or to draft people into the military?

And I don't see how atheism has produced a higher morality. Note the fact that in the most atheistic society in the world today, North Korea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_North_Korea#History_of_Anti-Religious_Campaign

about 200,000 people of all ages and both genders, about 1% of the population, are locked up in death camps

http://www.economist.com/node/21553090

Gabriel Wainwright said...

The Torath Moshe and it's accompanying oral mesorah is most definitely a legal code of divine origin. It is important to keep in mind that the understanding and context of slavery in the Torah is completely different than that of Transatlantic slavery.

That being said, however, the statement that Africans Americans should be grateful that they were enslaved and taken to America clearly indicates insensitivity and ignorance. I am aware that this is not your intention.

It would be wise for you to take a scholarly and undogmatic (a very hard thing for most of us to do) look at re-segregation and neo-colonialism before making such a irresponsible statement.

I say this as both a Jew and African American.

b'shalom achi.....

Gabriel Wainwright said...

Also take a look at the article "Modern Sephardim and Blacks: contact and conflict among two minorities" by Jonathan Schorcsh. This article shows that even Jews are not exempt from treating others unjustly. Unjust behavior is an inherent part of the human psyche.

Don't forget to carefully examine re -segregation and neoliberalism.... if you truly care about being informed.

Again this is all said in peace my brother.

Shalom.

Gabriel Wainwright said...

Also take a look at the article "Modern Sephardim and Blacks: contact and conflict among two minorities" by Jonathan Schorcsh. This article shows that even Jews are not exempt from treating others unjustly. Unjust behavior is an inherent part of the human psyche.

Don't forget to carefully examine re -segregation and neoliberalism.... if you truly care about being informed.

Again this is all said in peace my brother.

Shalom.

jewish philosopher said...

"the statement that Africans Americans should be grateful that they were enslaved and taken to America clearly indicates insensitivity and ignorance"

Were enslaved Africans in America actually worse off than free Africans in Africa? Are their descendants worse off than their cousins in Africa? I think the idea of African slaves in America as miserable victims is a little bit of a modern liberal myth. And this myth is then taken a step further to discredit Judaism which condones, within limits, slavery.