May 23, 2006

by Reb Yudel
There Must be a God: Pharyngula fisks Avi Shafran, so I don't have to!

In the category of manna-from-heaven-in-my-rss-reader, Pharyngula stumbles across an Avi Shafran column on atheism, and makes mincemeat of him. It's worth a full read, but the following creed is worth standing on its own for consideration:

I don't believe in a Mandator or a Mandate. I think we humans are truly and completely free to choose—Nature has generated us, and now we stand here, a product of our world and bound by nothing but natural law, with the capacity to shape our own lives by conscious decision. That is the highest and most awful form of morality; not mere blind obedience to authority, but taking independent responsibility here and now and seeing the consequences of our actions played out in the people around us. We have no mandate but the liberty of our conscience. Will you better the world, or will you waste your life in a vain pursuit of some non-existent post-mortem redemption?

I think it is a nobler and more enriching view of humanity to consider us free agents, able to choose our fate, than as lackeys to an imaginary being who regards our servility as our chief virtue. The higher morality is found in using our liberty well, rather than in shackling ourselves to superstition.

I'd find that compelling, even if Avi Shafran hadn't previously written of the obligation to hate apikorsim like vermin.


I don't understand how Rabbi Avi Shafran can be a public relations spokesperson when he incites such animosity. Does he have to be inflammatory? Can he disagree with other people's way of life without guns blazing?

Posted by: Jonah Halper at May 23, 2006 10:24 AM

Shafran has reason to attack atheism. His ilk have demonized for decades the modern Orthodox Jews, the Conservative Jews, the Reform Jews, the Zionist Jews, the New Age Jews, the Reconstructionist Jews and of course, all of the Goyim. So when a member of his tribe defects, likely he becomes and Atheist. Whoops. Apparently Shafran and Co. forgot to demonize those folk. Voila the new masterpiece of philosophical discourse.

Posted by: tzvee at May 23, 2006 1:44 PM

Good grief. So now the "random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal" get a rave review on this blog while the mature and eloquent writings of a traditional Jew are jeered.

Shafran, of course, makes a lot of sense. His opposition is trying to get off first base. Shafran is inciting no one and speaks very gently of atheists. His opponents are Jew haters.

The real purveyors of myths and superstitions are those whose "random ejaculations" have given "godless liberals" such a big voice in academia and in the media. Their "ejaculations" are aimed at one, prime target: the Jews. They might scream a lot about the Christians but the godless liberals would not hate the Christians if not for the Jewish influence on Christianity. The Jews are the "virus" and they have passed it on to the Christians.

This chilling attack line is a not simply a reminder of Hitler's thinking, it is Hitler's thinking reborn. The attack against the Jews from Hitler and the attack against the Jews from Phayngula is the same. Hitler believed himself a genuine pious person and he had no doubt that murdering the whole of the Jewish race was a most noble cause. Just like Larry Yudel's pals, Hitler KNEW he was doing the right thing and he mocked the Jewish God, and the development of human consciousness that the Jews brought to the earth and its "stain" on human progress. Hitler was a screaming fan of Darwinian evolution, just like the godless liberals. His plans were draped heavily in "doing the right thing" for humanity. Hitler, without moral purpose, would never written Mein Kampf and never taken the mantle of leadership. Zezik insists "Atheists do the right thing because it is the right thing to do" and Hitler agreed that this is what he was doing. Indeed, a religious Jew ALWAYS does the right thing because it is the right thing to do and not because he is just following orders.

The distinction here is that the Jew has a basis for KNOWING what is the right thing to do and standards and beliefs to back it up.

Nazis, in contradiction to the liberals lies, did what they were told to do, followed orders and believed someone else could decipher "the right thing to do." The Nazis murdered 6 million Jews (and millions of others) and never changed the laws against murder in their society. They simply changed the definition of who was human.

This blog has the gall to accuse a good Jew (David Klinghoffer)who is simply acting from his Jewish beliefs--of siding with people who the blog writer believes are unsavory (such as fine Christians or Karl Rove) and then not only sides with genuine antisemites--he celebrates their baseless and ignorant arguments (self-described as "random ejaculations").

Atheists have the luck to intuit the "right thing to do" ONLY because the Jewish people have told them what is right and what is not. If they had a shread of integrity they would jetison everything they have learned from ancient Rabbis and texts they say are "myths and superstitions" and all that the Christians have brought forward as influenced by Torah and Talmud and create a moral law based upon their own atheistic sensitivity and then explain where they came up with their ideas. They might rightly reject a nation such as America which is so heavily influenced by Jewish morality and the Bible and feel happier in a nation less Biblical in its foundations.

Rabbi Shafran is a leader and treads very gently on atheist sensitivities. I am less of a leader and less polite and I tolerate liars and antisemites a bit less.

Posted by: David N. Friedman at June 5, 2006 9:52 PM

Thanks for proving Godwin's Law once again.

Your charge that Pharyngula is anti-semitic is a severe one, and I would demand proof. Has he, for instance, said that Jews with which he disagrees should be hated "like the storekeeper hates the vermin"?

Posted by: Reb Yudel at June 5, 2006 11:05 PM

Are you joking?

You sent me to this hater who wants to leap at the chance to defend Hitler from the accusation that he was an atheist! This man is as crude as they come.

Care to actually respond to my posting instead of inverting the reality? Your Hitler-loving friend is no friend of mine.

Marx and Hitler said very similar things as your pal.

I am not prone to call people antisemites. He is proud to call himself one. That website is as vile as I have seen and it is beyond shocking that you judge this guy to win a debate over a committed Jew.

The man's "random ejaculations" are not so random bits of hate speech.

Consider my points and respond if you wish.

Posted by: David N. Friedman at June 6, 2006 11:35 PM

The accusation that Judaism is "irrational" and loaded with "myth and superstition" is a clear insult. Why do you accept it, Larry?

Posted by: David N. Friedman at June 8, 2006 11:14 PM

It's by no means as clear an insult as, say, "Hitler-lover," a term you used, or "vermin," the term famously used by Shafran about certain Jews.

In fact, it seems a rather objective claim. I think the burden is on you to prove that Judaism is not irrational, and that it is free of myth and superstition.

Posted by: Reb Yudel at June 9, 2006 2:47 AM

The proof is the Jewish people through our history. We have stubbornly held on to a doctrine and a view of reality that has made some startling predictions.

On might imagine some 19th C philosopher king dismissing the Jewish version of reality, namely , that all matter is the creative act of one omniscient being that was created in an instant, originally employing matter smaller than a "mustard seed"--as some kind of primitive foolishness.

Now that science has upheld the Jewish story that destroyed the atheists story of an eternal universe, it is striking that it is the atheist of today that has the temerity to claim that the Jews need more an more proofs.

Our tradition has always insisted that the proofs are there without the insecurity that comes from seeking and asking others for approval. Jewish reality is imbedded in our conscious and sub-consciousness and we don't have a place for myth and superstition.

Now, it is true that some Jews have held superstitions, such as the "evil eye"--some of this is based in kaballah but is not a kosher tenet.

Further, traditional Jews are far less likely to fall for the real myths and superstitions held by the atheists, such as Darwinian evolution, global warming, the morality of euthenasia and abortion and a host of mythical political beliefs that are superstitions such as the belief that the war on terror promotes terror and that recycling newspaper will "save the planet"--I can write an extended essay on the modern myths that plague the secular/atheist mind.

These myths grossly harm our country and our culture. By exposing their myths, I wish no harm to the atheist. In fact, I am often gratified that they say what they do openly since it is a good advertisement for thinking people against such an irrational faith.

By contrast, the accusations leveled by the immoral atheists against the Jewish people are aimed at harming the Jewish people. They wish that we were not Jews, they claim we are "irrational" they say we are "fools" and their desire to employ rhetoric very similar to Hitler's in reference to the Jews gives me a very real sense that they follow Hitler. Indeed, the Klan uses very similar language.

The point is clear. Let's say the atheist is correct and we are fools. Why does it matter? Why does he work so hard to silence us? A small group of people who want people to be close to God and elevate all of us cannot create harm to the planet--only "false hope."

By contrast, the secular myths are harming all of us greatly. Their gods and false ideologies degrade us all. Their implicit goal is degradation and their culture of death aims to promote a belief system that is pessimistic and destructive.

This is why they now want to insult our intelligence by making the really dumb claim that atheism is superior morality.

And with all of this you still want ME to defend Judaism against their accusations? It seems to me that any ideology so bold and so seemingly wondrous would have some severe burden of proof. The trouble is that they can't even get out of the starting gate. They couldn't get close to seeing Rabbi Shafran's toes. Which is why they attack and run.

A familiar pattern.

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