Tuesday, April 03, 2012

God's Infinite Wisdom



I recently watched a movie called Limitless, which basically is about a fictional pill which temporarily endows anyone who takes it with virtually limitless mental abilities. At the end of the movie (1:35 point), a powerful CEO offers the chemically enhanced hero a job as his assistant. He answers "I see everything. I'm fifty moves ahead of you and everybody else. If I would work for you, you would end up as my b----."

It occurred to me that this may give us a glimpse into how ridiculous it is for mere mortals to attempt to understand God's motives - why did He design the world or the Torah this way and not that way and so on. It makes the well known quote of Richard Dawkins even more humorous: "The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, an ethnic cleanser urging his people on to acts of genocide." God is not fifty moves ahead us, He is millions of moves ahead. How can any human, with the brain of an over-sized hamster, claim to even begin to understand, let alone critique, the wisdom of God which is obviously Limitless?

16 comments:

ah-pee-chorus said...

Luckily, I follow the invisible black unicorn who is 658 billion moves ahead of all other deities. He told me that the god of the bible is a fraud and should be ignored.

jewish philosopher said...

I think all those unicorn things and "there is just no reason to believe in God" arguments are written, at least originally, by atheists with a Christian background. For example the British atheists - Russel, Htichens, Dawkins, etc. That doesn't work too well with Judaism because we began with a mass revelation, so there is a reason to believe in Torah.

You have to keep straight which argument applies to what.

By the same token "why doesn't God answer prayers" works for Christianity since I think Jesus said somewhere that prayers must be answered.

Ironmistress said...

Mass psychoses do occur. Whether a religion begins as a mass revelation or in a mind of one single person - or rather his followers - really does not matter.

The older the stuff in the Bible, the less reliable. The Kings and Chronicles are pretty reliable as they can be cross-checked, but the early books such as Torah and Judges are more likely to be confabulation than real history.

Ironmistress said...

Christopher Hitchens had Jewish background. As did Stephen Jay Gould and Sam Harris.

Ironmistress said...

Give the most unpleasant character in all fiction - jealous and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, an ethnic cleanser urging his people on to acts of genocide - an infinite kind of wisdom, and you are likely to attain Devil.

Not God.

Have you ever thought of the possibility that there is no God, but Devil does exist?

jewish philosopher said...

"The older the stuff in the Bible, the less reliable."

I don't see why it's less reliable than anything else in ancient history.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html

"Christopher Hitchens had Jewish background."

Hitchens was raised nominally Christian, and went to Christian boarding schools but from an early age declined to participate in communal prayers. Later in life, Hitchens discovered that he was of partially Jewish ancestry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens#Views_on_religion

"As did Stephen Jay Gould and Sam Harris."

American atheists seem to be disproportionately of Jewish ancestry.

Atheism is entrenched in American Judaism. In researching their book American Grace, authors Robert Putnam and David Campbell found that half of all American Jews doubt God's existence. In other groups, that number is between 10 and 15 percent.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-09-26/jew-atheist-god/50553958/1

That's why I focus a lot on atheism in this blog; it's Judaism's main competitor.

"Have you ever thought of the possibility that there is no God, but Devil does exist?"

Judaism considers God to benevolent.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/12/higher-power-as-i-understand-him.html

Satan is an accusing or tempting angel, not an independent force of evil.

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

ah-pee-chorus said...

" we began with a mass revelation, so there is a reason to believe in Torah."

no, judaism began with the introduction of portions of a book in kings 2 perek 22 and nehemiah 8. and the book that was introduced doesnt even describe a mass revelation. mephorshim say that the supposed mass of people at sinai not only didnt see god but didnt even hear anything beyond noises.
We now know that this event couldnt have taken place. there couldnt have been 2-3 million jews in egypt, let alone the medrash which claims 15 million. there werent millions who lived in the desert for 40 years. there werent millions who entered and lived in cannan.
and if mass hysterical revelations are your thing then you should be REALLY impressed by those at zeitoun, egypt of the virgin mary a mere 50 years ago seen by millions .

oh well...

jewish philosopher said...

"judaism began with the introduction of portions of a book in kings 2 perek 22 and nehemiah 8"

Can you explain why the Samaritans accept the Torah if it was authored by Josiah and Ezra, whom they don't even recognize as legitimate leaders?

"there couldnt have been 2-3 million jews in egypt"

Says who?

"then you should be REALLY impressed by those at zeitoun, egypt of the virgin mary a mere 50 years ago seen by millions ."

Whatever happened there apparently made almost no impression on anyone, proving that the Sinai revelation must have been infinitely more impressive.

Ironmistress said...

JP, you might just as well call God as Devil if you apply him the attributes mentioned on my last message.

I mean, where do you need devil anymore if God is the source of all evil?

You might propose God to be benevolent, but it is no avail if all the evidence appears to be contrary.

jewish philosopher said...

God is good and kind, however He is not an enabler. Doesn't even a good father make rules and impose consequences?

Ironmistress said...

I've read somewhere that some 70% of American Jews are Atheists or otherwise irreligious and completely secularized.

Number must be even higher in Europe. In Finland, some 90% of Jewish marriages are inter-faith. Our Speaker of Parliament, Ben Zyskowicz, is married to a Muslim, Rahime Husnetdin. That is multiculturalism for beginners :-)

Ironmistress said...

A good father does not punish with eternal torture from temporal transgressions.

jewish philosopher said...

"I've read somewhere that some 70% of American Jews are Atheists or otherwise irreligious and completely secularized."

It's possible. That's why this blog is focusing so much on critiquing atheism.

In an earlier era, I might have been writing against Christianity

http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Conversion#id0ezjai

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

or Hellenism

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

"A good father does not punish with eternal torture from temporal transgressions."

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1055.htm#8

jewish philosopher said...

Frankly, I think a lot of atheism today is just immaturity. We believe in an eternal infancy without responsibility. People remain students until well into adulthood. Even after that, many continue living in Hotel Mom for years. A large and growing percent never marry, don't want children and in essence never accept adult responsibilities. Drinking, drugging and fornicating through life, they eventually end up dependent on an overburdened public health system.

In a culture like this, the idea that our Creator actually makes rules and imposes consequences is an unspeakable cruelty which must be completely denied in spite of any or all evidence.

Anonymous said...

Kugel thinks that maybe, just maybe, mass revelation became the order of the day under King David, who unified the tribes. Kugel thinks that King David may have taken a story of one tribe, and applied it to all of the tribes (or maybe just the story of a small group, and applied it to everyone.) Since King David had a direct connection to the divine, who could rightly argue his account? His memory was “better” and his authority greater than everyone else’s, and he just “reminded” all of the tribes of what was always “true:” that they had all experienced mass revelation.

Kugel likens it to the idea in the US, taught widely in grade school and high school, that one of the reasons the colonists came to America was for religious freedom, or to escape religious persecution. Turns out for some colonists, yes, this was true. But if you mentioned this to southern colonists they would have said “huh?” Now it is taught to all kids everywhere as a big reason for “the colonists” coming to America. But at the time, for most colonists, that would have been quite a surprising idea.


tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

If so, then why doesn't any Jewish text mention David's revelation or discovery? The four authors of the Gospels are well known and respected by Christians. 

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

The same is true in Islam regarding the authors of the Hadith.

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