Thursday, June 12, 2008

Have you seriously considered that you might be wrong?

Modified from a comment which may or may not be deleted at Hirhurim:

It's a dishonest waste of time to argue against points you've never seriously considered might be true. How much time have you honestly spent wondering if Orthodox Judaism is false? Before you argue that the Exodus could have happened, did you really consider the possibility that it didn't? That it's a tall tale at best? Or did you immediately start looking for reasons you could keep on believing what you have so much invested in believing?

I dare any Orthodox Jew to spend 5 minutes imagining that the Exodus never happened, or that much of the chumash wasn't written until Ezra's time. Start with that thought and see how it affects all of your other beliefs. If the Exodus never happened, what does that say about the foundation of ancient Israel? If the chumash was put together around 400 BCE, what does that say about its divinity? Don't let yourself turn away from these thoughts for at least 5 minutes.

Reading some of what passes for arguments for Orthodox Judaism makes me think that many of you haven't considered the possibility that you could be wrong. If you're too scared to do that, you might as well give up the charade that you're engaging with the other side.

16 comments:

rationalrussian said...

No! An Orthodox Jew is so involved in the minutia of the arguments that he/she cannot fathom taking a step back far enough to see the bigger picture. One cannot imagine that the Exodus never happened, because that thought cannot be entertained to begin with!

"Of course the Exodus happened -- it's in the Torah -- and my entire life (as I know it) absolutely depends on it. I cannot risk losing everything I know to be true."

The leap from OJ to atheism is a radical as a leap from atheism into Orthodoxy (of any religion, actually).

Oy.

asher said...

Great idea..but why stop there?

What if Christians seriously considered if the Gospels were written by some guys on drugs who lived 100 years after Jesus supposedly lived?

What if evolutionists seriously considered the total lack of proof of the idea of the survival of the fittest and natural selection and that perhaps the world isn't 6 zillion years old and that no matter how long they dig they are never going to find any evidence of mutating species.

What if atheists seriously considered that there is no rational explanation to the universe and all it's mysteries other than that a superior mind created the big bang and controlled the result.

What if die-hard democrats seriously considered that Barak Obama has no legitimate experience in government, that his speeches are not inspiring but seriously full of platitudes that mean nothing and his call for "change" is about as meaningful as Hillary's "politics of meaning".

What if Al Gore seriously looked back on his life, realized that he failed out of law school, dropped out of divinity school, spent 8 years as vice president and did nothing, did not, in fact, invent the internet, and has no serious knowledge regarding global warming...ooops I mean climate change.

What if Jimmy Carter realized what a jerk he's become since he left office....

Shall I continue?

Anonymous said...

I got very frustrated by that thread too!
anon

jewish philosopher said...

I dare anyone to spend 5 minutes imagining that the Apollo moon landing never happened.

G said...

I won't cotinue the "dare anyone to spend" line of thought as it has already been played out above.

"you might as well give up the charade that you're engaging with the other side."

I beg your pardon? Which side exactly do you think is driving this "engagement"?
I dare you to spend five minutes imagining what would happen if those who have problems with OJ would cease in engaging with them.
Charade you say...indeed!

Anonymous said...

well as the song says,

"if you get confused, listen to the music play...

Anonymous said...

"I dare anyone to spend 5 minutes imagining that the Apollo moon landing never happened." - Very clever, Jewish philosopher...

However, you're stealing 2-3 bases with the implicit equivocation between the evidence supporting a) the Apollo moon landing, and b)the Jewish Exodus, and I think you know this. This epistemological sleight of hand will not stand, sir.

One would think a philosopher would refrain from such sophistry.

A-Bax

Rabban Gamliel said...

It doesn't really seem you have considered the possibility you are wrong. People are not jellyfish without opinions. People deal with issues while still holding views. I can imagine all I want everything being false but I fail to believe it as anything other than nonsense revisionism. We don't dismiss other peoples' histories on the ground of saying how do we know. At worst we modify their history but hew to the basic line they present. If we don't treat our history like everyone else's at least, it means we are not doing it right. If we didn't come out of Egypt so we came out of Canaan? Are we to corrupt Canaanite history because we want to make an alternative for ourselves? If Ezra made up so much of Judaism so we have to postulate alternative Judaism's. That's arbitrary and revisionist. It's easy to destroy but since you need a replacement the replacement of simple destruction is nonsense history. You want me to believe there was no Exodus of any kind? Give me proof or else I'll demand proof of other things known only as far as we know so far from writing.

BEAJ said...

Asher, most atheists come from homes where they were brainwashed about God and the OT (even those from Christian homes). We have been forced to consider the other POV's which includes God zapping Adam and Eve into existence.
If someone born without knowledge of the Exodus or Noah's Ark (lets say no bible was invented) and was told to find the history of the people in the Israel region 4000 to 2000 years ago, they would be able to find nothing to make them think that either of these events occurred.
However, if that same person was told to find out how life progressed on this planet and how old the earth and universe is, and lets assume that he was bright enough to understand science as well, that person would have overwhelming evidence for evolution and an ancient earth.

BEAJ said...

Great timing. Potholer54 did an excellent video that pretty much backs up what I'm saying about evidence.

BEAJ said...

JA, you've been tagged. Sorry about that, but you might enjoy this one.

David said...

What does "happened" mean? (With apologies to Bill Clinton)

Frumlibertarian said...

What do you get from instigating fights with people who have a different opinion than you?

One can ask the same questions about your ideas. Have you ever seriously considered that you might be wrong? and have you spent 5 minutes imaging that Atheism wasn't the right path?

It is very inconsiderate and egocentric to critisize the very personal religious beliefs and practices of others, reguardless, of whether you come from that background or not.

Jewish Atheist said...

What do you get from instigating fights with people who have a different opinion than you?

I enjoy debate. I think it has the potential to increase correct beliefs, whether they are my own or others'.

One can ask the same questions about your ideas. Have you ever seriously considered that you might be wrong? and have you spent 5 minutes imaging that Atheism wasn't the right path?

Of course I have. Leaving Orthodoxy was agonizing.

It is very inconsiderate and egocentric to critisize the very personal religious beliefs and practices of others, reguardless, of whether you come from that background or not.

If the beliefs were "very personal" you might have a point. But they aren't. They're foisted on children and neighbors and spouses. Children who don't believe aren't tolerated. Gay children aren't tolerated. Spouses who change their beliefs later in life aren't tolerated.

BEAJ said...

From the time a child can communicate in the mother tongue, he or she is given the idea of God and assumes that God must be real.
Almost every atheist on this planet has deeply considered God being real, but inevitably we breakaway because we see that there is no evidence that a God exists.

FrumLib, should we leave fanatical Muslims who fly planes into buildings for Allah alone?

seraphya said...

I think most educated open-minded people have, and not just once. Those kind of people, I would think that Gil Student would be among them look at the other side of arguments. A lot of people might scurry away into apologetics after they realize they really don't like the other side despite some of it's compelling nature.

Personally I have contemplated that and so much more. I love to think, and play devil's advocate. It makes you a bit cynical because then you see that really no one is even near 100% right, but knowing that is useful.

People often make the mistake of assuming that if someone disagrees with them, then they they haven't really given enough thought to the topic. That is really naive, people have different ways of thinking and different starting assumptions and different (sorry for the post-modernism) narratives. It is quite possible that people have given both sides of the issue serious thought and still nonetheless disagree with you vehemently.