Monday, July 13, 2009

Anatomy of a JP post

I thought it would be interesting to analyze a typical JP post to show how false his arguments are. Fortunately, he has given us today another gem, so here it goes:

People sometimes ask how Judaism is different from any other religion. Many religions claim to represent the true will of God. Why do Jews believe that they are right and others are wrong?I think that this can be answered very simply.

Here of course he ignores the basic reality that every religion thinks it is right and others are wrong. Why? Because that's the nature of the psychology of religion. You adopt a world view, and other people are wrong.

Now he goes on the make an argument by analogy, which is the weakest form of argument:

Imagine that a UFO supposedly landed in a farmer’s field in Nebraska one day for ten minutes. One person claims to have witnessed it.Alternatively, imagine that a UFO supposedly landed in Central Park in New York City and remained there for two weeks. Millions of people claim to have witnessed it.Obviously the second UFO sighting would be far more credible than the first.

Presumably, in this scenario either these million witnesses are alive, or their direct descendents are alive who heard it directly from their parents. In this case the testimony would be seriously credible. But suppose we had this testimony from 1000 years ago, but without any independently verifiable source. Then this testimony would be highly suspect.

How do we know that there was a civil war? How many people alive have a personal family tradition of having participated in this war? Very few, but we have independently verifiable sources.

Similarly, the Torah was revealed by God in front of millions of witnesses (see Exodus 20).

First of all the Torah's text here is very confusing and it is hard to know what exactly they heard, the commandments, or just the other sound effects. Certainly the Torah doesn't claim that the remaining torah itself was transmitted directly to the people. Secondly, it is the Bible (and talmudic interpreters) itself making the claim, not the witnesses. Nobody has a personal family tradition of being there, other than being taught that from the book. Yet clearly the people are capable of believing such a claim, which in itself disproves the Kuzari "proof" that people would not believe a story for which they have no tradition. Furthermore, thousands of people convert every year to and from different faiths, without having any personal evidence of the truth of the claims. They simply choose to accept without proof, because other people believe it.

The New Testament and the Koran however were revealed only to an individual.

First of all Christians don't believe that the New Testament was revealed to an individual. Secondly, as Naftali Zeligman points out in his excellent essay (http://www.talkreason.org/articles/letter1.cfm#15) that Catholics also have examples of publicly witnessed miracles. Jesus' miracles were witnessed by many. (see http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/miracles.htm) As far as the Koran, you can use a "kal v'chomer" to show how gullible people are. If after 20 years of Mohammad's private revelation, millions of the Arab world came to believe and accept Islam, how much easier would it be to convince early Hebrews that they were descendents of an ancient people who witnessed a miracle 1000 years before. Look at what the Mormons and Scientologists have done.

One may ask that considering this, why are Islam and Christianity more popular than Judaism?The answer is simple: Most people prefer to lead an easy life and Judaism is perhaps the most burdensome of all religions.

With this breathtakingly ignorant answer JP dismisses thousands of years of history, demographics, and archeology. Its like answering why are there only 60 million Italians vs a billion Chinese by answering, "its easier to be Chinese". Besides, I think that its harder these days to be a Muslim than a Jew.

Therefore it is the least popular. One may ask, doesn’t the Torah contain clear factual errors which disqualify it from being the true word of God, for example doesn’t the Genesis creation story contradict paleontology? I have explained elsewhere that this is not the case.

As usual he links to his own posts which contain the usual nonsense.

Another argument sometimes advanced is that the account of the revelation at Mount Sinai is an ancient story and people in ancient times were extremely gullible. Therefore ancient stories lack any credibility. The problem with this assertion is that first of all it seems to be baseless.

Suddenly something is true until proven otherwise! JP is a very trusting person. I suppose he would consider skepticism about the truth of ancient Greek myths as "baseless".

Second of all, if this were the case, then we would assume that many other ancient religious leaders would have convinced their incredibly gullible followers that they had all heard God affirm the truth of their religion. Of course, that is the not the case.
no
Bad assumption. All the leaders have to claim is that he spoke to God and worked miracles. If he tells them that their ancestors spoke to God, it makes no difference. Why would they want to mimic our claims?

Some people may say that they cannot believe in anything supernatural regardless of the evidence. This is equivalent to saying that one cannot believe in extraterrestrial life regardless of the evidence. This is known as an argument from personal incredulity .

Straw man argument.

As usual I welcome your comments!

41 comments:

G*3 said...

> How do we know that there was a civil war? How many people alive have a personal family tradition of having participated in this war? Very few, but we have independently verifiable sources.

The American Civil War is too recent to be a good example. There are too many people today who have personal family stories about relatives who fought in the war. Go back just a hundred years earlier to the American Revolution and you’ve got a great example.

> One may ask that considering this, why are Islam and Christianity more popular than Judaism?The answer is simple: Most people prefer to lead an easy life and Judaism is perhaps the most burdensome of all religions.

> With this breathtakingly ignorant answer JP dismisses thousands of years of history, demographics, and archeology.

It’s the party line.

> Second of all, if this were the case, then we would assume that many other ancient religious leaders would have convinced their incredibly gullible followers that they had all heard God affirm the truth of their religion. Of course, that is the not the case.

First of all, that’s just not true. Other faiths do have traditions of public miracles, as you pointed out. Secondly, pagan religions just don’t work that way. The gods didn’t hand down commandments. There are stories though about various gods appearing to people, sometimes large numbers of people. I don’t remember the sources well enough offhand, but I think there are Greek myths that describe the gods participating in wars, which presumably would have been seen by the armies involved in the conflict.

> Some people may say that they cannot believe in anything supernatural regardless of the evidence.

And…? So some people are stubborn and foolish. That doesn’t mean that there really is good sound evidence that they are deliberately ignoring (which is I think what he is trying to imply).

Shalmo said...

TSK!

Actually Islam very much has a mass revelation story, so the ignorance is sickening

The Quran has 144 surahs. These were revealed by God to the entire muslim population over 23 years. After every revelation, every muslim man, woman and child would have the specific surah memorized. The same goes for the non-Quranic commandments left by Mohammed, otherwise known as the Sunnah. And unlike Torah, muslims actually do have countless family traditions as well as letters, books, public endorsements (even from non-muslim sources) that corroborate each other dating from that time verifying this. Heck Mohammed is the most well-documented individual in all of human history. The entire non-muslim library of Alexandria at one point was filled to the brink with documentation on his life. One wonders why we dont have similar proof for Moshe, if Judaism was true?

Point being both the Quran and the Sunnah were revealed through mass revelation. So this argument is a bust because its not unique to Judaism

JP is a stooge!

DrJ said...

I think that religions evolved over time, both internally and externally. Each new reformation or new religion built itself on the flaws and vulnerabilities of previous ones. Monotheism replaced polytheism because of the obvious flaws of vulnerable and anthropomorphic gods. Rabbinic Judaism replaces biblical hebrew faith and was meant to deal with the realities of the loss of the temple and exile. Ditto Christianity. Islam took elements of both and built upon it to adapt it to the Arab masses, and to others later. The various denominations of Christianity similarly adapted themselves to new realities and knowledge. In this sense the "newer" religions are at an advantage in that their theology takes into account more advanced human development, and thus, paradoxically, are harder to disprove. In contrast, an ancient religion most used "forced" arguments to maintain itself.

The Eastern non-theist religions don't have this problem because theu don't anthropomorphize god at all.

DrJ said...

BrooklynWolf said:
"Nice blog, but just a quick suggestion...

Perhaps, for each post, include a link to the JP post so that people reading this three months from now (or even people who don't normally read JP's blog) will know what particuar post you are tearing apart.

Thanks.

The Wolf"

Thanks, I'll take your suggestion.

DrJ said...

G3-- good point about the civil war. The fact is that most families have no idea of their family histories beyond 1-2 generations back. Occasional you do find families who keep traditions longer or who consciously tracked their geneology. But most poeple have no idea what their ancestors were up to 100 years ago, let alone 3500.

G*3 said...

Yeah, the most people know is stories about their Great-grandparents they might have heard as little kids from their grandparents.

The Civil War in particular is a bad example because this country is a bit obsessed with it. There are people who make a hobby out of reenacting civil war battles, something you don't really find with other wars. Because of that there are people who keep their family sotires alive. It is also one of the first modern wars, one of the first wars to be photographed (the first was the Crimean War) and from which we have numerous diaries, newspaper accounts, government records, etc.

If only we had that kind of evidence for anything from the ancient world.

David said...

Ah, yes-- the Kuzari. That's one of JP's all-time favorites. The Torah must be true, because it says right there in the Torah that 3,000,000 people saw God give the Torah-- how could that be wrong? But you left out JP's favorite argument-- "all people who reject the Torah are sex perverts!"

Holy Hyrax said...

Well, its not just Talmudic disourse. Nach constantly bring back to the reader, that there was covenant sealed between god and their forefathers after He took them out of Egypt. This is really the spine of Nach. Israel sins> reminder of that covenant desert >Israel sins>reminder of that covenant in the desert.

>First of all Christians don't believe that the New Testament was revealed to an individual

Well obviously :). Christians themselves believe it was only later written as the teachings of Jesus.

E-Man said...

Shalmo, I never knew that muslims believed that they had a mass revelation. You have never mentioned this before. Could you tell me some sources that say this.

DRJ, I thought that there was an oral tradition that the Jews had a mass revelation as well as the written Torah. I mean, chazal tell us that there was, and it is talked about by the midrashim. Unless you want to claim that these are all lies. By oral, I mean a source other than the Torah.

I do want to ask you this question. Both the Christians and the Muslims believe in the revelation at Sinai, so doesn't JP have a point there? I mean, their religions do claim that G-D later came to either Jesus or Mohammad and told them, alone, you are to create a new religion. Am I wrong?

I am not saying that the whole kuzari argument is a proof for Judaism, but just that based on the fact christianity and Islam believe in it, it shows that Judaism is more likely than those religions, no? Any sources that say I am wrong with my assumptions are welcomed.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I mean, chazal tell us that there was, and it is talked about by the midrashim. Unless you want to claim that these are all lies

The argument against this E-man is that this ends up being circular:

Judaism is right, because Jews say so
Islam is right, because Muslims say so


Revelation happened because chazal said so.

G*3 said...

> there was an oral tradition that the Jews had a mass revelation as well as the written Torah. I mean, chazal tell us that there was, and it is talked about by the midrashim.

Chazal wrote some fifteen hundred years after matan torah. Plenty of time for the myth of the mass revelation to form and then be written down. That the myth continued to be orally transmitted even after there was a written version isn’t really surprising, especially in a mostly illiterate society.

> Unless you want to claim that these are all lies.

Lies implies intent. It’s entirely possible that no one set out to deceive anyone.

> but just that based on the fact christianity and Islam believe in it, it shows that Judaism is more likely than those religions, no?

Reality isn't a democracy. How many people believe something is true has nothing to do with whether it actually is.

E-Man said...

I was not making the argument that it happened based on the oral and written Torah. I was just asking a question based on an assertion DRJ made.

The other point I was making was that Islam and Christianity believe in the revelation at Sinai. Therefore, I was putting forth the question, doesn't it stand to reason that based on Islam and Christianity that Judaism is the more logical religion?

DrJ said...

"Reality isn't a democracy. How many people believe something is true has nothing to do with whether it actually is."

G3- For a philosopher that is correct. But to a politician or a rhetorician-- reality is what we make it. Ask any of the parties to the ME conflict...

Shalmo, regarding mass revelation in Islam I can't comment one way or another. I can say that "revelation" is a subjective, personal, experience that anyone can claim (as has been done by the Mormons for example) that is impossible to disprove. Only if there are claims of physical events (supernatural or otherwise), can we subject them to the scrutiny of historical inquiry.

EM-- I don't know all of the oral sources, but the Pirkei Avot narrative is one that comes to mind. There does appear to be the assumption of witnessing some miracle/revelation at Sinai, but not necessarily did the whole nation hear the Torah given. I wouldn't call them "lies", but rather "myths", traditions, which may have kernels of truth, that all religions have which form the core of their beliefs. The founder who made up a myth may be a liar, but all of the believers following him are simply believers in the myths, not liars. I refer you to comments by G3 and other in the previous posts about how religions start.

As regards to Christianity and Islam--certainly no Christian or Moslem claims to have a family tradition of his ancestors being present at Sinai. The founders simply accepted the Jewish narrative (because that is what they were exposed to and wanted to make it acceptable), but partially. I certainly wouldn't use the Moslems as proof, since even if they believe in "revelation" they think the whole Torah is corrupt or forged.

As I said before, the new religions evolved from the old religions, they didn't begin in a vacuum.

Shalmo said...

E-Man:

"Could you tell me some sources that say this."

A common misconception that many people have is that muslims trace their revelation with an angel who spoke to a prophet. This is not true.

Now the bible implies that God gives the power of prophecy arbitrarily, or through selection by another as was with Esau and Jacob

However in Islam, the gift of prophecy is something that is earned individually through spiritual and ethical perfection. The best of the best; people who literally reach a state of sinlessness are those with whom God communicates directly; they are known as muhadith. A muhadith can then be selected to become a rasool prophet or a nabi prophet. Mohammed became a rasool prophet at age 40 because that's how long it took him to earn it. So he was already in communion with God long before revelation took place. The angel Gabriel did not reveal anything to him, he simply gave him the order to start revealing the Quran, but bare in mind that God had already taught Mohammed the Quran long before the order came.

As you know in jewish tradition Moshe wrote the Torah after the 40 day pilgrimage. I find it hard to call that mass revelation when your holy book is being written by a single individual and DrJ has already elaborated on how the Talmud really doesn't support the whole nation hearing Torah theory. Most holy books are written in this form.

With the Quran things are different. Rather than being revealed all at once, it was revealed in portions to the entire muslim population surah by surah. This is because there was a specific event that warranted each revelation.

So for example, the surah that states all of mankind is equal regardless of race, class and gender and that God made us tribes so that we may come to know and love one another was revealed during the perseution of Bilal. Bilal was chosen by God to be first to give the call to prayer. Most of arabs became furious at this, because Bilal was black (african) and he was a slave. Thus his election was a polemic against both classism and racism, since the call to prayer, particularly the very first one was a huge deal. So for upper class racist arabs this was quite a shocker.

Similarly other situations came up with which other surahs were revealed. And like I said with each revelation, each surah was memorized by the entire muslim population. After 23 years of similar revelations the entire muslim population thus had the entire Quran memorized.

When you ask a muslim how do you the Quran was preserved, they will not say it is through written word because written words can be changed. But if an entire nation has a book memorized then it becomes impossible for any one individual to change it, because everybody else knows it. Thus the Quran is preserved through national memory, as opposed to physical writing, a tradition that continues today. The number of people today who know the Quran by heart are in the millions. In fact if you go to India its very common to find hindus, sikhs, and jains who have taken on memorizing it.

This was actually one of the issues I always had with Torah. How do Jews know its reliable? After the exile for instance the Torah was taken from three copies buried in the temple court yard. the fact that they were buried there makes them at best second to third hand accounts.

Shalmo said...

E-Man:

"I do want to ask you this question. Both the Christians and the Muslims believe in the revelation at Sinai, so doesn't JP have a point there? I mean, their religions do claim that G-D later came to either Jesus or Mohammad and told them, alone, you are to create a new religion. Am I wrong?"

Muslims don't claim to follow a different religion. Remember in the Torah Abraham and his family got the blessing while Yishmael was still there and before Issac was born. Mohammed traces his ancestry to Yishmael just as Moshe did so with Issac, and both go back to Abraham.

You cannot use the Quran as proof for Sinai because Islam has a very different version on what transpired on that Mountain, and yes muslims know that the Jewish books are corrupted and unreliable, something which Israeli archaeology has done a good job of verifying.

Shalmo said...

DrJ:

"Shalmo, regarding mass revelation in Islam I can't comment one way or another. I can say that "revelation" is a subjective, personal, experience that anyone can claim (as has been done by the Mormons for example) that is impossible to disprove. Only if there are claims of physical events (supernatural or otherwise), can we subject them to the scrutiny of historical inquiry."

At a certain level you are corrent. Now about the scrutiny of historical inquiry you are talking about; what if I told you pagan sources attest to Mohammed's revelation. That is pagan who were trying to kill muslims, attesting in their accounts the quranic revelation?

And again I will ask you how did Mohammed know which stories in the Torah and other books were plagarized from the egyptians, sumerians, hittites, canaanites, greeks, ugartic tribes and so forth, and which stories weren't. Mohammed did not have access to 21st century historical and archaeological findings, such how the sumerian myth of enmerker and the tower of arratta was discovered to be the source of the tower of babel myth. How did he know? And this is nothing compared to the detailed articles I have shared with you on Quranic accuracy vs biblical error. Mohammed did not have modern science at his lap. So how did he know the Genesis creation process of man being created before animals, plants being created before there was a Sun to provide photosynthesis , and other scientific blunders were false. And how is it that the Quran corrects this by stating that creation took place at once with the Big Bang in surah 21:30. To me the evidence points to God being his teacher.

You keep insisting I lost my skepticism when I came to this religion, but unless you give me an answer for these questions you cannot convince me I'm on the wrong side either.

Holy Hyrax said...

>As you know in jewish tradition Moshe wrote the Torah after the 40 day pilgrimage. I find it hard to call that mass revelation when your holy book is being written by a single individual and DrJ has already elaborated on how the Talmud really doesn't support the whole nation hearing Torah theory. Most holy books are written in this form.

I think we need to understand what is meant by the nation receiving a divine revelation. Nobody, from my recollection, including chazal, say their heard the entire "Torah." Moses was the one that gave them the Torah over a span of 40 years. What is meant by divine revelation was the 10 commandments. Hence, there is the argument in chazal if they heard all 10 or just the first 2.

DrJ said...

Shalmo, if another religion claimed a mass supernatural revelation such as the one you claim for Islam, it would require multiple EXTERNAL sources confirming such an event. In your case I would find it interesting that the neither the Christian nor Jewish World is aware of such a miraculous event, only the Muslims. You mentioned Pagan sources. According to who, Muslims? What sources? What is an acceptable source? This is the same problem as with Torah claims. So many people knew the Quran by heart, so what? In Talmudic and Medieval times many Jews knew the Torah by heart. In modern Pakistan they teach children to memorize it, is that supposed to prove something?

As for your other claims about the prophet's knowledge, it is off topic so I personally won't debate them here, except by saying that I am familiar with such claims in the Christian and Jewish world, this is called apologetics and these claims are all false.

Shalmo if you respond please keep your answer succinct, addressing just one or two points, I don't have the time or patience to read a whole Megilla.

DrJ said...

A very casual perusal of Islamic apostate sites
http://www.apostatesofislam.com/index.htm
and
http://www.faithfreedom.org/2009/06/17/the-journey-of-a-pakistani-from-a-muslim-to-an-ex-muslim/

reveals very similar arguments that appear on Jewish and Christian skeptics sites.

The arguments are the same, Shalmo, you simply accept faith because you choose to accept what others claim.

Shalmo said...

DrJ:

"As for your other claims about the prophet's knowledge, it is off topic so I personally won't debate them here, except by saying that I am familiar with such claims in the Christian and Jewish world, this is called apologetics and these claims are all false."

No rebuttal here. You just dismiss the argument, you don't address anything.

As for those sites you just linked, again all their arguments have been effectively rebuttled:
-www.call-to-monotheism.com
-www.answering-christianity.com
-www.islamic-awareness.com

I read sites like the ones you linked to all the time. I have yet to read something that even shakes my faith. If you find a particular argument that is worth advocating then please share it with me. I previously asked you to produce for me the verses from the Quran you felt were "violent", which you didn't do. I'm open to any argument you have DrJ, or is simply copying and pasting links from sites sponsored by christian missionary funding the best in your arsenal?

I'm not trying to change your mind DrJ; you are free to believe whatever you wish.

But I find it frustrating that you on the one hand accept people who go OTD, but then can't accept those don't became atheists, but simply find another faith. Double standards much?

But I am also not going to argue in circles with you on this. This is why I quite the conversation last time on your blog.

Shalmo said...

DrJ I just finished reading the story of Muhammed A. Khan that you linked to. So would you like me list in detail point by point the inaccuracies in this story and its blatantly obvious this story is forged? You said you don't want to deal with a whole "megilla" so I don't know if I should bother and if writing such a hassle would even be worth it.

Btw this website faith freedom is sponsored by a man named Ali Sina. He has had a few debates with clerics from Iran, and lost badly in them. Interesting how he doesn't mention them on his site. Luckily they are available online if you want to check them out.

E-Man said...

Shalmo-

I asked for sources. You might say "facts" according to you. However, I can say "facts" according to me. That does not make me in any way accept them. I would like to see where your sources are from. Obviously, you read them somewhere, but what compels you to believe them? I have not seen a competent argument from you on why Islam is correct, just Islamic sourcesthat were told to me by you without an actual source being quoted.

The common answer people give to me when I try to defend Judaism is that there is not enough physical proof. There is no physical proof for these revelations. Why should we believe your Islamic revelations? Also, how do you know Sinai in the Bible and koran are different? All I saw in the Koran was mentions of the Jews seeing G-D at Sinai, that was it.

Please, again, quote sources, not your own explanations. Or just forget it.

E-Man said...

HH-

I was saying that there is an oral tradition as well as a written tradition. Not that Judaism is right because they say so.

E-Man said...

I found a great book that is a worthwhile read if you are into archeology and the bible. It was written in 1916, but surprisingly, it has most of what we know today and well organized. http://books.google.com/books?id=qq4MXoGoBsAC&dq=George+Aaron+Barton&printsec=frontcover&source=an&hl=en&ei=lg9dSt6gMMWgmAfqtcFt&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

G*3 said...

> Therefore, I was putting forth the question, doesn't it stand to reason that based on Islam and Christianity that Judaism is the more logical religion?

That is of course the Kuzari’s clinching argument. The Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agree that the Jews have a claim, while of the three clerics discussing the issue with the king only the Christian priest believes in Christianity and only the Muslim imam believes in Islam.

But again, reality isn’t a democracy.

> For a philosopher that is correct. But to a politician or a rhetorician-- reality is what we make it.

Reality is what it is, regardless of what we think. Politics IS a democracy, at least in this country, and even then votes only dictate political reality, something very different than physical reality. Even if the American public voted in a congress to pass a resolution stating the sky is green, the sky would stay blue.

Shalmo said...

E-Man unless you can can read urdu, arabic or farsi there is no point in asking me for sources.

But more importantly what in the world do you mean I have not given you any competent argument on why Islamic revelations are true? I have never even discussed the matter on why I believe my religion is right. And why should I?

Do you think I am proselytizing, or trying to convert Jews? No I am not. I don't believe in going to random people and forcing my religion down their throats.

As to the reasons why Islam is true, well we can spend hours and hours and hours discussing each of the proof arguments. Of course this depends on whether you have the time for that, and on whether I think you even worth the effort.

If you have email then we can discuss it on hotmail or msn, but certainly not on this blog as DrJ is already pissed at me for taking his threads off topic.

Also the reason you are confused about the Sinai matter in the Quran is because reading an english translation is useless. There is a reason it takes 20 years of learning koranic sciences for anyone to be able to decipher the Quran. Its a very esoteric book.

As for bible and archaeology, I have already shown you a fair number of books that deal with how Israeli archaeology has demolished Judaism:

T.W. Davis, “Shifting Sands: The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology”, Oxford 2004
I. Finkelstein, “The Bible Unearthed”, Free Press 2001
A.D. Marcus, “The View from Nebo”, Little, Brown & Co 2000
M. Sturgis, “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, Headline 2001
T.L. Thompson, “The Mythic Past”, Basic Books 1999
T.L. Thompson, “The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives”, Trinity 2002

Shalmo said...

The BBC journalist Matthew Sturgis account in his book It Ain't Necessarily So (2001) summarizes the current situation nicely:

A new generation of archaeologists has emerged...they are challenging the intellectual assumptions of their predecessors...During the years since World War II it has become harder and harder to escape this sense of doubt. The expected discoveries of specific biblical artifacts and buildings were simply not being made...Discrepancies between the biblical account and the ever increasing archaeological record become more noticeable and harder to ignore...Rather than using the Old Testament as a field guide, the current crop of archaeologists is increasingly putting the Bible aside...The very term biblical archaeology has become tainted, and is now rejected by many academics...The old quest to confirm the historical truths of the events in the Bible has been replaced by a new agenda: to build a full and detailed picture of life in the ancient Near East. If the Bible is consulted at all, it is approached with varying degrees of skepticism. The onus of proof has shifted: the text [of the Bible] is now considered historically unreliable until proven otherwise.

E-Man said...

I can also just go to this website http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/bibleanalysis.html and copy and paste Everything that you have just copied and pasted. Do you research this stuff or just copy and paste from other people?

Anyway, lets stop discussing it. Clearly pointless.

DrJ said...

Shalmo,

This is a skeptic blog. People argue back and forth the claims of faith, particularly fundamentalist Jewish claims. Its purpose is not to delegitimize Judaism or Jews or deny Jewish history. If that is your agenda here, you will continue to be very frustrated. You think that you can prove Islam here. Nobody here buys faith based claims for which there is no objective evidence, let alone whacky theologies of God making Muslims poor so they can spread their faith. Any claim I make about Islam, you will come up with an excuse, just like JP does. If I show you contradiction, you will say you have to learn the Quran for 20 years than you will understand. If I show you a violent passage you will say that's not what it means. If I show you a unscientific passage you will say that it means something else. That is EXACTLY what Christian and Jewish apologetics does.

As far as I am concerned, all religions, including Islam, are invented phony claims intended to control people. If any one religion was actually correct, it would have become universal, like scientific knowledge.

E-Man said...

DRJ, I was wonder, are you a strong atheist or a week atheist. Strong meaning you can prove no G-D, weak meaning you are unconvinced that He exists.

E-Man said...

G*3, I am not saying that reality is a democracy, all I was saying was if you believe in Christianity or Islam, doesn't Judaism make more sense. I am not saying Judaism is an objective truth. However, once you believe in the revelation at Sinai, why believe in Christianity or Islam?

DrJ said...

eman

I don't believe in the god of the bible, but I don't rule
out that some superior force might exist. I'm just not
convinced. I suppose might call that a weak atheist.

Holy Hyrax said...

DrJ

Maybe you should change your profile from "modern orthodox" to "modern orthoprax"

Your profile gave me the impression you at least believe in something.

G*3 said...

> all I was saying was if you believe in Christianity or Islam, doesn't Judaism make more sense. I am not saying Judaism is an objective truth.

Ah, I see.

> However, once you believe in the revelation at Sinai, why believe in Christianity or Islam?

How does a belief in God reveling Himself at Sinai contradict a belief in God dying for the sins of humanity?

DrJ said...

HH, my views have shifted. And I have my uncertainties. After all, we know that one cannot disprove God. But I still actively participate in the orthodox community. And I know many people who views are similar to my own, but don't make a point of changing their identity to "orthoprax".
But, technically, you are right.

EM-- I agree with G3. The Christians have an answer to that theological question. The old testament expired, and the new one takes hold. After all, at the end of the second temple period, it appeared that God had abandoned the Jews.
And they have pesukim to "prove" it.

E-Man said...

G*3 and DRJ-
When you have a mass revelation to a nation and tell them that I am G-D and you are my people how can you then tell one guy that I am G-D and I am changing the religion without telling anyone else? That is like the CEO of Toyota telling his company that they are going to make a prius and then a mechanic comes and tells everyone that they should make a car similar to a Hummer. Why would anyone believe that mechanic?

If G-D really wanted to make a new religion that religion would have to be as provable as the first religion no? Meaning just like G-D told everyone that Judaism is correct listen to Moshe, He would have to tell everyone that Jesus or Mohammad is correct so listen to them.

Even if G-D really did speak to Jesus or Mohammad why would the jewish people have an obligation to follow them? The only reason they have an obligation to listen to Moshe is because G-D told them to directly.

E-Man said...

Of course everything I am saying only applies to people who believe in the revelation at Sinai.

Holy Hyrax said...

>The old testament expired, and the new one takes hold. After all, at the end of the second temple period, it appeared that God had abandoned the Jews.

I never understood the whole "expired" belief. From what I understand, Jesus never meant to change any of the laws of Moses.

Holy Hyrax said...

Actually, IIRC, now that I think about it, I believe there is a pasuk in NACH somewhere about a "new law" that will come later.

onionsoupmix said...

I don't even understand his posts anymore. Does he really think that most scientists believe in aliens? If not, what is his last post about?

E-Man said...

HH- the torah talks about a renewed covenant