Monday, July 14, 2008

How Religion Causes Good Men to Do Evil, Part II

Abandoning Eden's parents have told her that they won't attend her wedding to a non-Jew.
I understand that you would wish for us to attend the ceremony planned for next April. However, asking us to attend puts us in a direct conflict of our values. As you must know, based upon your upbringing, education and communications we have had in the past, we are very committed to an orthodox Jewish lifestyle. I've even completed three parts of a "smicha" program, most recently receiving a rabbinical certificate this past January at the Yerushalayim Kotel concentrating on Jewish marriage laws. Unfortunately, as much as you say you love B, and I believe you do, Jewish law does not recognize a marriage between a Jewish person and a person of another faith.
Our attendance at such an event would be at the least a meaningless gesture and, at worst, might somehow convey the false impression that we recognize or sanction this arrangement.

Our hearts and home will always be open to you. You are always welcome and I hope you continue to maintain your relationship with us. If anything, we continue to hope that, as time passes, we will continue to foster an even closer relationship. We are not rejecting you as a person. However, with all due love and respect, we must decline your invitation to attend the planned April ceremony.

Abandoning Eden's parents are in a difficult position, because, as her father notes, they have a conflict between their love for their daughter and their religious values. However, to choose their religious beliefs over their child's happiness reflects a complete lack of humility about their belief system. If we could only convince them and others like them that their religious values are based on outdated myths and stories which are just not true, this sort of tragedy wouldn't happen.


(Previously: How Orthodoxy Causes Good Men to Do Evil, Intermarriage and Interdating Part I, Part II)

133 comments:

CyberKitten said...

JA said: However, to choose their religious beliefs over their child's happiness reflects a complete lack of humility about their belief system.

... to say nothing of their lack of humanity.... It would appear that making what they call a 'meaningless gesture' is simply beyond them. [shakes head sadly]

foilwoman away from home said...

Any religion that asks you to reject your child (or do anything that harms your child) makes me deeply uneasy. I cannot imagine being in a situation where I would make that response. That just gives me chills. I hope the rabbinical certificate (???) is a nice child/grandchild substitute.

jewish philosopher said...

Oh, right and atheists are so humane. Anyone heard of North Korea?

Dave said...

When did Kim Jong Il claim that the nonexistence of God made him oppress his people?

Anonymous said...

> However, to choose their religious beliefs over their child's happiness

I think you are OTT here. They are not choosing their beliefs over their child's happiness in toto. Their child can be quite happy in general, though maybe a little sad that their parents aren't at the wedding. However anyone raised in OJ must surely know what a stigma inter-marriage is, and how comitted people are to the system, so surely going into this their daughter must have realized that they probably wouldn't come. I think you are over-dramatizing the situation. A better example would be parents who cut their child off completely from any future relationship, which doesn't at all sound like the case here.
XGH

jewish philosopher said...

Had her parents been atheists, they would probably have aborted her. I guess that's better.

Dave said...

Leaving aside that Judaism doesn't forbid abortion, you really ought to be careful.

If your knee jerks at the wrong time you can smack it into something, and it'd be an awkward bruise to explain.

jewish philosopher said...

The idea that Orthodox Judaism encourages people to be bad parents is an obscene libel.

Dave said...

Just to be clear, is it your opinion that the parents should attend the wedding, welcome her fiance into their home, etc?

jewish philosopher said...

Nope.

jewish philosopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jewish philosopher said...

And my position is also that you shouldn't kill your kids before their born either.

Holy Hyrax said...

1) I don't understand how this is evil? They are not disowning her or severing any relationship. This is simply a line that they feel they cannot cross.

Jewish Atheist said...

Dave:

Just to be clear, is it your opinion that the parents should attend the wedding, welcome her fiance into their home, etc?

Yes!


HH:

1) I don't understand how this is evil? They are not disowning her or severing any relationship. This is simply a line that they feel they cannot cross.

Granted, those things would be MORE evil, but refusing on principle to attend your child's wedding because of their spouse's religion is just an awful thing to do, in my opinion. It's putting religion ahead of family.

jewish philosopher said...

You know what this post reminds me of? The Nazi ban on shechitah. The Nazi's banned Jewish slaughter because it was inhumane. That's what it's like for an atheist to tell me that I'm an evil father because I'm a Jew. What total nonsense!

Dave said...

Digging further, is it your opinion that it is Orthodox Judaism that forbids the parents from going to the wedding, or having a relationship with her fiance?

jewish philosopher said...

Well, a Jew may not enter a church. And personally I would probably disown my kids if they left Orthodoxy. Think of it as an intervention.

jewish philosopher said...

But seriously, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. How many atheists have close relationships with their kids??

Dave said...

Well, a Jew may not enter a church.

They aren't getting married in a Church. Nor would they be having family get togethers in one.

And personally I would probably disown my kids if they left Orthodoxy.

Well, we've just established that I'd consider you a bad father. Now the only question is it something that you would do, or something that you think Judaism demands.

How many atheists have close relationships with their kids??

All the ones that I know (including my in-laws). How many atheists do you actually know, anyway?

Jewish Atheist said...

dave:

Digging further, is it your opinion that it is Orthodox Judaism that forbids the parents from going to the wedding, or having a relationship with her fiance?

Are you asking me or JP? Either way, I think it goes without saying that without religion, her parents probably wouldn't feel the need to stay home from their daughter's wedding just to make some abstract point.

Dave said...

I was asking JP. Specifically, what I'm looking for is whether he thinks it is something that is required by Judaism, or something that is optional.

Since he keeps asking why people assume that being Orthodox makes him a bad father.

((I'm still not sure where all these non-sequiturs keep coming from, we started with North Korea, segued to Abortion, the Nazis, and an apparent assertion that Atheists don't love their children))

Jewish Atheist said...

Dave:

JP's a little nuts. He advocates executing homosexuals and has all sorts of idiosyncratic theories about the world that make sense to no-one but him.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"However, to choose their religious beliefs over their child's happiness reflects a complete lack of humility about their belief system. If we could only convince them and others like them that their religious values are based on outdated myths and stories which are just not true, this sort of tragedy wouldn't happen."

You lack humilty about your beliefs. And further to you holding unto certain beliefs means a lack of humility about them but that is just your subjectivity talking.

"12:16 PM, July 14, 2008
Dave said...
When did Kim Jong Il claim that the nonexistence of God made him oppress his people?"

Well lets see. He forces his communism on his subjects and oppresses them to that end. So yes he does claim that the nonexistence of God made him oppress his people but of course he doesn't call it oppression. If the later is your point it is of course nonesense and how many in any event would say they are oppressing their people?

Jewish Atheist said...

RG:

The difference is, I would never refuse to come to my child's (or anybody's) wedding due to my atheism. If my child married a Mormon or Orthodox Jew or Muslim or whatever, I would come.

Dave said...

Well lets see. He forces his communism on his subjects and oppresses them to that end. So yes he does claim that the nonexistence of God made him oppress his people but of course he doesn't call it oppression. If the later is your point it is of course nonesense and how many in any event would say they are oppressing their people?

You could make an argument that Communism causes him to oppress his people (although I'd frankly be inclined to chalk it up to the usual problems of absolute rulers).

But that isn't the same thing as saying that Atheism causes him to oppress his people.

jewish philosopher said...

The worst parents in the world are atheists, if they have children at all. Two of the " Four Horsemen" are childless. Stalin let his son die in German captivity.

And how many kids does JA have or has he called Abortion Man?

And as far as tolerance goes, atheists are famous for that. Try opening a yeshiva in North Korea.

If there is somewhere a blogger load of crap hall of fame, I nominate this post.

Holy Hyrax said...

>The difference is, I would never refuse to come to my child's (or anybody's) wedding due to my atheism. If my child married a Mormon or Orthodox Jew or Muslim or whatever, I would come.

Well the difference clearly IS the active belief aspect. When one has a belief, it means there are certain boundaries, and you are only fooling yourself if you don't keep to those boundaries, EVEN when it is most painful. So for example, would I go to my childs wedding if the ceremony consisted of rituals towards idols or stuff like that? Most likely not. Now, a non religious wedding is not the same as idols, but the idea of inter-marriage is something incredibly serious.

jewish philosopher said...

JA and Dave, would you go to your son's wedding if he was marrying a 7 year old girl? Well, if not, then you're not good fathers. Just because it's against your beliefs, how can you hurt your son's feelings.

Jewish Atheist said...

Well the difference clearly IS the active belief aspect.

I have plenty of active beliefs. I actively believe God does not exist, for example. It's just that my beliefs don't require me to do ridiculous things if other people don't agree with me.

I don't know, maybe we atheists would be more successful if we told our kids we wouldn't come to their weddings if they married secular people. It just doesn't seem right.

but the idea of inter-marriage is something incredibly serious.

More serious than the bond between parent and child?

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

As long as you consistently ignore the difference between human-human morality (e.g. no pedophilia) and human-god morality (shabbos, intermarriage) talking morality is worthless.

Dave said...

Everything is choices.

Not going is a statement that your religious restrictions are more important to you than your child.

That may well be true.

But if it is, the results of that choice can be be fairly stark on both sides.

Mind you, I don't consider the parents actions beyond the pale in not attending the wedding. I think it's hurtful, but that it is a fundamental enough conflict that there isn't a good answer.

And if they said, "we can't come to the wedding, but we want both of you to be part of our lives", then I think that would be a reasonable outcome.

But, from the sounds of things, they want nothing to do with him at all. And as far as I'm concerned, that means they have decided they want nothing to do with her.

Jewish Atheist said...

Would YOU attend? After all, if it was good enough for Isaac..

Jewish Atheist said...

...if we told our kids we wouldn't come to their weddings if they married secular people.

Oops, I mean if they married religious people.

jewish philosopher said...

JA, for an atheist, nothing is immoral or unethical. There is no reason whatsoever for you to distinguish between sex with a seven year old, sex with a goat, sex with someone else's wife, sex with your wife, killing a chimp, killing a chicken, killing a fetus, killing your children, etc.

Whatever feels good, do it, so long as you won't go to jail. That's atheism. That's the whole point of atheism.

Dave said...

I think that straw bale is looking a bit flat JP.

jewish philosopher said...

That bale is pure dynamite baby.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"but the idea of inter-marriage is something incredibly serious.

More serious than the bond between parent and child?"

Yes. Jewish Atheist you are so pompous in your beliefs but the fact is that everyone has a wedding that they would consider too much to go to. Tell me Jewish Atheist where do ethics come from for you? Survival of the fittest?

Holy Hyrax said...

No, you missed the point. You don't have an ACTIVE belief that requires you to do XYZ. That is the difference.

>More serious than the bond between parent and child?

Didn't you read my example? It's not about the bond of the child. There still is a bond and love its about personal boundaries.

Jewish Atheist said...

RG:

Yes. Jewish Atheist you are so pompous in your beliefs but the fact is that everyone has a wedding that they would consider too much to go to. Tell me Jewish Atheist where do ethics come from for you? Survival of the fittest?

From my FAQ, The Source of My Morality


HH:

No, you missed the point. You don't have an ACTIVE belief that requires you to do XYZ. That is the difference.

I have some. For example, I have an ACTIVE belief that requires me to save a child (an actual child, JP, not a fetus) that is about to be murdered, all things being equal. I don't have any active beliefs that require me to hurt people because they violate my belief system though.

Didn't you read my example? It's not about the bond of the child. There still is a bond and love its about personal boundaries.

Your example is even worse! Why would you put your son's choice to worship idols ahead of your parental responsibility to attend his wedding?

jewish philosopher said...

How about empathy for chimps? Dolphins? Chickens? Goldfish? Fetuses? Old people in comas? People who are not empathetic enough?

Jewish Atheist said...

I'm all for it.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Your example is even worse! Why would you put your son's choice to worship idols ahead of your parental responsibility to attend his wedding?

I know its worse, and I don't know why you are having such a difficult time with this. I realize its my sons choice to worship idols, but to Judaism, this is just about crossing the worst of all boundaries and is a basic crime to the Jewish faith. Hence, yes I do have parental responsbilities, but its not the ONLY responsiblities. And me going to a place where my faith deems as a "crime scene" (kivyachol) would be going beyond what I would be willing to accept.

jewish philosopher said...

Ultimately, JA, your morality is also simply based on whatever feels good to you, which will probably change over time as your personality and situation change.

Holy Hyrax said...

>parental responsibility to attend his wedding?

BTW, my "parental" responsiblity is to feed, clothe, educate and put a roof over my kids head. A man cannot bend over backwards to everything his child wants.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

So you're basically admitting that Judaism is more important to you than your son is. I'm just saying I think that's crazy, and evil. And it's doubly tragic, because OJ isn't even true.

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

Ultimately, JA, your morality is also simply based on whatever feels good to you, which will probably change over time as your personality and situation change.

Probably true. Or maybe I'll just pick some arbitrary book like the Book of Mormon or Mao's book to replace my cognitive abilities.


HH:

A man cannot bend over backwards to everything his child wants.

I don't think attending his child's wedding falls into that category.

Holy Hyrax said...

>So you're basically admitting that Judaism is more important to you than your son is.

I am saying, is that life is a balancing act. Everyone has certain boundaries in their life and set principles. If its not a wedding, than its something else. And obviously, religion excpects more from a person. I go to family get together where pork and lobster is served. Clearly that is against Judaism, but I still go and show my love, but given my example...how can I go? It is something totally abhorant to the Jewish faith, beyond almost anything else.

>I'm just saying I think that's crazy, and evil.

Oh cut the crap. There is nothing EVIL about it. You even agreed to that above. No EVIL has been spread. Life is not lost. Pestilence is not spreading.

>And it's doubly tragic, because OJ isn't even true.

Irelevant to this discussion.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I don't think attending his child's wedding falls into that catagory.

Obviously you don't. Maintaining the Jewish identity along with its faith is not a value of yours.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
HH:

So you're basically admitting that Judaism is more important to you than your son is."

If you believe in a value system so yes it is more important even if to us a particular value is not shared. Jewish Atheist you are so dogmatic. If someone someone doesn't attend a wedding let's say bercause they are opposed to meat being served, it would be their reason too. I don't have to agree with it.

Jewish Atheist said...

I am saying, is that life is a balancing act. Everyone has certain boundaries in their life and set principles.

And you're saying that religion comes ahead of family. I'm disagreeing.

If its not a wedding, than its something else. And obviously, religion excpects more from a person. I go to family get together where pork and lobster is served. Clearly that is against Judaism, but I still go and show my love, but given my example...how can I go? It is something totally abhorant to the Jewish faith, beyond almost anything else.

Your son has a different faith. Why should you punish him for not believing what you believe?

Oh cut the crap. There is nothing EVIL about it. You even agreed to that above. No EVIL has been spread. Life is not lost. Pestilence is not spreading.

As I said, it's not as evil as some other things, but it's a pretty crappy thing to do. It's turning what should be one of the happiest days of her life into something sadder and more frustrating.

Irelevant to this discussion.

Sort of. If it were actually true that God wanted you to refuse to attend your daughter's wedding to a non-Jew, than I could still argue that this God fellow is an evil dude, but at least you'd have an argument.

Obviously you don't. Maintaining the Jewish identity along with its faith is not a value of yours.

No, it's not. But values must be weighed against each other, and it doesn't seem like the parents are sufficiently valuing their daughter's happiness.

Factualbasis said...

think what you will about what they are doing (and honestly i'm on the fence...they really should go, but i hear where they are coming from)
but its not EVIL. if they were KILLING her future husband THAT would be evil. Not attending? Heartless but not Evil

jewish philosopher said...

JA, I think you're missing my point a little.

Let's say you enjoy helping little old ladies across the street, you're into empathy. Let's say your next door neighbor enjoys running over little ladies, he's into sadism. Morally, you are both exactly the same, from an atheistic point of view. You are both doing what you enjoy.

Which makes this whole post a little silly - "how religion makes good men do evil". I'm doing what I enjoy; so what's wrong with that?

Jewish Atheist said...

If you believe in a value system so yes it is more important even if to us a particular value is not shared. Jewish Atheist you are so dogmatic. If someone someone doesn't attend a wedding let's say bercause they are opposed to meat being served, it would be their reason too. I don't have to agree with it.

I don't understand what you're saying here. I'd oppose a vegetarian refusing to attend a son's wedding as well, although they can at least point to some tangible harm that the son is doing to the cows.

Jewish Atheist said...

factualbasis:

but its not EVIL. if they were KILLING her future husband THAT would be evil. Not attending? Heartless but not Evil

I'm treating "evil" as a matter of degrees. Murder is VERY evil. Being rude to another person for no reason is a tiny bit evil. Refusing to attend your daughter's wedding because she's marrying a non-Jew is somewhere in between.


JP:

Let's say you enjoy helping little old ladies across the street, you're into empathy. Let's say your next door neighbor enjoys running over little ladies, he's into sadism. Morally, you are both exactly the same, from an atheistic point of view. You are both doing what you enjoy.

From my perspective, he's doing something wrong. From his, maybe I'm doing something wrong. What's your point?

factualbasis said...

so would tearing your parent's hearts out by doing exactly the opposite of how you were raised be a little evil too by your standard (personally i disagree that being rude to another person is even a little evil, so i'm not saying she is. But by your standards she must be)

Holy Hyrax said...

>Your son has a different faith. Why should you punish him for not believing what you believe?

How am I punishing him? You're spinning things here to try to help your cause of making the other person look like a brute!

>As I said, it's not as evil as some other things, but it's a pretty crappy thing to do. It's turning what should be one of the happiest days of her life into something sadder and more frustrating.

Its a crappy feeling for everyone involved sure. But since this particular action is abhorant in their eyes, how do you expect them to go? I think before you continue you should just focus on that. Regardless of the merits of true or false, do you believe reason dictates that if something is abhorant in someone's eyes, they should attend that function where that action is taking place?

>Sort of. If it were actually true that God wanted you to refuse to attend your daughter's wedding to a non-Jew, than I could still argue that this God fellow is an evil dude, but at least you'd have an argument.

No, it isn't relevant. Because in their eyes, God did say this. So, then go ahead, say God is an evil dude.

>No, it's not. But values must be weighed against each other, and it doesn't seem like the parents are sufficiently valuing their daughter's happiness.

I see, so should I value if my child wants to commit statutory rape? Makes 'em happy.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I'm treating "evil" as a matter of degrees. Murder is VERY evil. Being rude to another person for no reason is a tiny bit evil. Refusing to attend your daughter's wedding because she's marrying a non-Jew is somewhere in between.

No its not. Evil has a certain definition to it. Its in our lexicon for a reason and you non chalontly deciding to use it wherever you want. Hell, I could call someone that refused to recycle his bear can evil as well.

Holy Hyrax said...

(beer) can

jewish philosopher said...

"From my perspective, he's doing something wrong. From his, maybe I'm doing something wrong. What's your point?"

Without God, everything is permitted.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheists should congratulate killers.

And then I’m bad father. Crazy.

Jewish Atheist said...

factualbasis:

so would tearing your parent's hearts out by doing exactly the opposite of how you were raised be a little evil too by your standard (personally i disagree that being rude to another person is even a little evil, so i'm not saying she is. But by your standards she must be)

Whoohoo, looks like I'm consistent! ;-) I specifically decided to date only Jews for that exact reason. I wrote about it in my first post on intermarriage.


HH:

How am I punishing him? You're spinning things here to try to help your cause of making the other person look like a brute!

By refusing to attend his wedding.

Its a crappy feeling for everyone involved sure. But since this particular action is abhorant in their eyes, how do you expect them to go? I think before you continue you should just focus on that. Regardless of the merits of true or false, do you believe reason dictates that if something is abhorant in someone's eyes, they should attend that function where that action is taking place?

Yes, probably. That's why I said ORTHODOXY (or more generally, religion) causes GOOD men to do evil. The parents are doing what they think is right... it's just that what they think is right is corrupted by their religious beliefs.

No, it isn't relevant. Because in their eyes, God did say this. So, then go ahead, say God is an evil dude.

The God of the OT is an evil dude, in my opinion. But you already knew that.

I see, so should I value if my child wants to commit statutory rape? Makes 'em happy.

No, because the child's happiness is not as important as the minor's right to not be raped.

No its not. Evil has a certain definition to it. Its in our lexicon for a reason and you non chalontly deciding to use it wherever you want. Hell, I could call someone that refused to recycle his bear can evil as well.

Which lexicon are you referring to? I've never seen it limited to only extreme versions.

(beer) can

At least that's a lot less metal than a bear can!

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

Without God, everything is permitted.

With God, everything is permitted.

Holy Hyrax said...

Psht.

I actually READ the post. The parents still love her, STILL want to have a relationship with her and even want to get CLOSER.

Yes JA, they are REALLY EVIL.

factualbasis said...

didn't read your first post, but i will now. Fact is although i may disagree with you(completely), at least you're consistent and admit that she is at least a little evil by your standards. As the great George Carlin would say "At least he's honest!"

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

You may have read her post, but you clearly didn't even read my title. ;-) I'm not saying her parents are evil. In fact, I specifically implied that they are GOOD people. That's the whole purpose of this post! It's their action that's evil, and it's solely due to religion.

Dave said...

I actually READ the post. The parents still love her, STILL want to have a relationship with her and even want to get CLOSER.

But not her fiance.

They want to see her, not him.

They want her in their home, not him.

They want her in their lives, not him.

I don't know about you, but from where I sit, someone who tells me that I'm welcome in their home but that my wife isn't is really telling me that I'm not welcome.

Holy Hyrax said...

>By refusing to attend his wedding.

Still don't understand how this is a punishment. If it makes you feel better about YOUR values to think that, than carry on.

>Yes, probably. That's why I said ORTHODOXY (or more generally, religion) causes GOOD men to do evil. The parents are doing what they think is right... it's just that what they think is right is corrupted by their religious beliefs.

Well, I'm CERTAINLY glad that nobody here is being awfully subjective here.

>No, because the child's happiness is not as important as the minor's right to not be raped.

Bravo, which is what I was expecting you to say. Which means, a child's happiness is not always the most important factor. Its all about values. And since AE is an adult, she is mature to realize HER course of actions have also led to this. It's not like her parents ALL OF A SUDDEN decided to change those values in spite of her.

>Which lexicon are you referring to? I've never seen it limited to only extreme versions.

Certainly NEVER used to connection to a parent not going to their childrens wedding.

Holy Hyrax said...

>It's their action that's evil, and it's solely due to religion.

I see, so hitler was not evil, his actions were evil

Holy Hyrax said...

>I don't know about you, but from where I sit, someone who tells me that I'm welcome in their home but that my wife isn't is really telling me that I'm not welcome.

I think you have to give them some slack here. This is obviously hard on them as well. From my wifes experience with HER own family, things change. I am sure the husband will be welcome as well.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

Still don't understand how this is a punishment. If it makes you feel better about YOUR values to think that, than carry on.

Okay, perhaps "punishment" isn't the best word.

Well, I'm CERTAINLY glad that nobody here is being awfully subjective here.

Huh?

Bravo, which is what I was expecting you to say. Which means, a child's happiness is not always the most important factor. Its all about values. And since AE is an adult, she is mature to realize HER course of actions have also led to this. It's not like her parents ALL OF A SUDDEN decided to change those values in spite of her.

I've been up front from the beginning that there have to be tradeoffs when values collide. I'm just saying I wish her parents weren't putting their religion ahead of their daughter.

I see, so hitler was not evil, his actions were evil

I never said that nobody was evil. It's just that this post is about GOOD people who do evil things because they think those things are good.

It's like Steven Weinberg said:

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

(Of course there are things besides religion that do it as well.)

Holy Hyrax said...

>Huh?

Your comment about the religion corrupting people. I just think thats totally subjective of you. (not that you dont know that)

>I'm just saying I wish her parents weren't putting their religion ahead of their daughter.

religion is just another word for values. So yes, the daughter chose to do something VERY much against those values that has been helping in extinguishing of the Jewish people. So its not just religion, its our future.

>(Of course there are things besides religion that do it as well.)

Like power, money, sex, drugs etc?

jewish philosopher said...

No, no, JA, you cannot get off so easily. Fact: Every famous atheist has been a scumbag. Fact: Every atheistic government has been very inhumane. Fact: there is no reason for atheists not to do whatever they feel like doing, while a believing Jew is restricted by the Torah. We can't just make up new rules every day.

If all mankind would become atheists today, most likely half of the people would kill the other half, the survivors would have no kids and that would end the human race.

Thank God for God.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

religion is just another word for values.

No it's not. Religion (at least OJ) is another word for believing in an all-powerful, all-knowing being who tells you what's good and what's bad. That's qualitatively different from "values."

o yes, the daughter chose to do something VERY much against those values that has been helping in extinguishing of the Jewish people. So its not just religion, its our future.

Why can't our future include non-Jews? Will her children not be her parents' grandchildren?

And right after you complain about me using the word "evil" here, you'll use "extinguish" in a context that makes it sound like intermarriage is akin to genocide?

Like power, money, sex, drugs etc?

Exactly.


JP:

Even if you're right that every famous atheist has been a scumbag -- even if every atheist period is a scumbag -- that doesn't make OJ any more true. There's a difference between what you want to be true and what is true.

If all mankind would become atheists today, most likely half of the people would kill the other half, the survivors would have no kids and that would end the human race.

I doubt that's true, but there is a reason religion evolved of course. It must be beneficial (from an evolutionary standpint) in someway, if only it's increased birthrate.

jewish philosopher said...

"I doubt that's true"

Look at Russia today - a country based on "science" and "reason" for 90 years. Who wants to live there? Bangladesh probably has a larger population.

Atheists are not nicer people than Orthodox Jews, atheists are not happier than Orthodox Jews and atheism does not make more sense than Orthodox Judaism. Atheism has one thing and one thing only going for it - sex.

Holy Hyrax said...

>No it's not. Religion (at least OJ) is another word for believing in an all-powerful, all-knowing being who tells you what's good and what's bad. That's qualitatively different from "values."

But for all practical purposes, its still a set of values. Whether you got from God, or from somewhere else, its values.

>Why can't our future include non-Jews? Will her children not be her parents' grandchildren?

I think you know the answer to this one. You are just playing devils advocate.

>And right after you complain about me using the word "evil" here, you'll use "extinguish" in a context that makes it sound like intermarriage is akin to genocide?

God forbid. I don't mean that at all. Simply meaning that intermarriage is not a very good thing for jewish continuity. No need for a pyshics degree for to realize that.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

But for all practical purposes, its still a set of values. Whether you got from God, or from somewhere else, its values.

When people think they get their values from God, it's a lot harder to reason with them... for example to point out that not going to their child's wedding might be a worse thing than making going.

I think you know the answer to this one. You are just playing devils advocate.

I know the answer, but I'm jabbing at something that really troubles me -- the attitude that non-Jewish descendants of Jews are somehow not ours, that they're not our future, that they might as well not even exist.

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

Atheism has one thing and one thing only going for it - sex.

Well, that and the fact that we don't have to be dicks to our children if they don't do everything exactly as we want them to.

jewish philosopher said...

Right, you just don't have them, abandon them or kill them before birth.

As I've mentioned, Stalin was a loving father.

Does anyone know what kind of relationship Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens have with their children, if any?

Holy Hyrax said...

>for example to point out that not going to their child's wedding might be a worse thing than making going

She's a big girl. She chose a life and clearly she accepted certain consequences for it. Nobody is going to be traumatized by this. In the end, the families will get together.

>I know the answer, but I'm jabbing at something that really troubles me -- the attitude that non-Jewish descendants of Jews are somehow not ours, that they're not our future.

They are future for humanity but for Judaism, BECAUSE, shockingly, you need to be a Jew for that. Kind of like continuing the any group on earth (even non religion ones) require you to be one of them.

>that they might as well not even exist.

You should be on soap operas.

Holy Hyrax said...

>They are future for humanity but for Judaism

Should have read:but 'NOT' for judaism

Dave said...

Should have read:but 'NOT' for judaism

Or more accurately, "not for some sects of Judaism".

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

She's a big girl. She chose a life and clearly she accepted certain consequences for it. Nobody is going to be traumatized by this. In the end, the families will get together.

Maybe they will, maybe they won't. It sounds like they don't even want to meet her fiance, let alone be part of his/their life.

They are future for humanity but for Judaism, BECAUSE, shockingly, you need to be a Jew for that. Kind of like continuing the any group on earth (even non religion ones) require you to be one of them.

Yes, but non-religious groups don't tend to stress about keeping their "identities" or whatever -- and if they do, they're generally considered racists or something. You don't see atheists tearing their hair out about "atheist survival" or something. If my kids turn out religious, I'm not going to have my heart broken or anything.

Dave said...

It occurs to me, if her parents were actually concerned with her children having a Jewish identity, they have a remarkably foolish means of showing it.

Her children will, according to Orthodox Judaism, be Jewish.

Their parents are both atheists.

The grandparents they will have contact with are Catholic.

In short, her parents have chosen to remove any Jewish influence from their grandchildrens lives.

This is hardly the act of people whose overriding concern is Jewish continuity from generation to generation.

Holy Hyrax said...

>You don't see atheists tearing their hair out about "atheist survival" or something. If my kids turn out religious, I'm not going to have my heart broken or anything.

First of all, I would say many disagree with you. There are many atheists out there that wouldn't tear their hairs out, but WOULD think their kids would be pushing mankind backwards to the stoneage instead of bringing humanity forwards. I am not sure I agree with looking at it like that. I don't think atheism is a particular identity. Its not a group with an "active" belief in XYZ or to do XYZ.

Holy Hyrax said...

>This is hardly the act of people whose overriding concern is Jewish continuity from generation to generation.

You don't know what is going to happen in the future with the grandkids. Nothing in the post says they want nothing to do with the grandkids.

Dave said...

You don't know what is going to happen in the future with the grandkids. Nothing in the post says they want nothing to do with the grandkids.

Not having a relationship with the parents is not the way to have a relationship with the children.

Holy Hyrax said...

I am only speculating, but I think she will have a relationship with them (even though in her last post, she is seriously upset and doesn't want one). I think as a bit of time goes by, they will make up and somehow find in their hearts to accept her husband. Like I said, this happened to my wife uncle who became a christian.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"However, to choose their religious beliefs over their child's happiness reflects a complete lack of humility about their belief system."

As if she hasn't chosen her (lack of) religious beliefs over her parents' happiness? Being an atheist doesn't mean she couldn't have found a person willing to nominally convert or even a Jewish atheist with a ceremony which would be some compromise between her and her parents.

Not that I'm one to judge and it really isn't my place to say, but she was brought up within Orthodoxy and knew very well the hardship and the heartache she would bring on her family by following her course of action. She saw it miles away and still did what she did, likely because of the poor way her parents responded early in her process of deconversion.

And, to frankly discuss intermarriage generally, she's effectively doing her damnedest to divorce herself from her people. Are her children going to be Jewish in any meaningful sense? Already too much is intermarriage acceptable within the liberal strains of Judaism and the Jewish people are fraying at the edges. To acknowledge such a marriage as valid is to sanction it.

True to her namesake, AE abandoned her people and now for some reason she expects them to follow her?

Jewish Atheist said...

ortho:

She didn't abandon her people; she abandoned her religion. There's a big difference. Her people are abandoning her.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

Come on. We both know that if you marry out, you're not just marrying out of a religion.

Jewish Atheist said...

ortho:

I think that's disgusting. It's just not true at all. So I guess we don't "both know" that.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"You don't see atheists tearing their hair out about "atheist survival" or something. If my kids turn out religious, I'm not going to have my heart broken or anything."

You do have atheists tearing out their hair. Dawkins would have a heart attack.

"Jewish Atheist said...
RG:

The difference is, I would never refuse to come to my child's (or anybody's) wedding due to my atheism. If my child married a Mormon or Orthodox Jew or Muslim or whatever, I would come."

How about if it was to some cult member? Perhaps you would but some would not.

"It's like Steven Weinberg said:

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

(Of course there are things besides religion that do it as well.)"
Ok so you disagree with Steven Weinberg then. He was being an idiot anyhow. It only shows one can be a great scientist and still make a fool of himself.

"Jewish Atheist said...
JP:

Ultimately, JA, your morality is also simply based on whatever feels good to you, which will probably change over time as your personality and situation change.

Probably true. Or maybe I'll just pick some arbitrary book like the Book of Mormon or Mao's book to replace my cognitive abilities."

Tell me can you prove to me what is moral? Can you prove to me that I must be moral? Where does moralty exist? In what Platonic realm?

"Jewish Atheist said...
I am saying, is that life is a balancing act. Everyone has certain boundaries in their life and set principles.

And you're saying that religion comes ahead of family. I'm disagreeing."

Values are more important than even family. Religion whatever the source of the values is a value system. What is the source of your system? If someone is immoral so what?

"Dave said...
Well lets see. He forces his communism on his subjects and oppresses them to that end. So yes he does claim that the nonexistence of God made him oppress his people but of course he doesn't call it oppression. If the later is your point it is of course nonesense and how many in any event would say they are oppressing their people?

You could make an argument that Communism causes him to oppress his people (although I'd frankly be inclined to chalk it up to the usual problems of absolute rulers).

But that isn't the same thing as saying that Atheism causes him to oppress his people."

He oppreses his people on behalf of his Communism. You are splitting hairs to avoid what you don't want to believe. His version of Communism requires suppression. In his case yes Atheism causes him by his reaction to his beliefs to suppress his people. His version of Atheism does that.

"I don't know about you, but from where I sit, someone who tells me that I'm welcome in their home but that my wife isn't is really telling me that I'm not welcome."

That's not the case. If parents disaprove of a spouse that doesn't indicate that they don't want their child. There are parents who feel their child made a mistake in marriage and they still love their child.

Dave said...

He oppreses his people on behalf of his Communism. You are splitting hairs to avoid what you don't want to believe. His version of Communism requires suppression.

Yes it does. Although, again, his version of Communism seems a lot more like good old fashioned absolute monarchy with an ideological veneer than anything else. But yes, certainly, it requires him to oppress.

In his case yes Atheism causes him by his reaction to his beliefs to suppress his people. His version of Atheism does that.

Err, no. Whether he does or doesn't believe in the existence of God has nothing to do with the oppression, any more than his passion for films does. Unless you are going to claim that all film buffs are out to rule their own Stalinist enclaves.

That's not the case. If parents disaprove of a spouse that doesn't indicate that they don't want their child. There are parents who feel their child made a mistake in marriage and they still love their child.

If a parent says "your spouse is not welcome in my house", they are effectively telling the child "you are not welcome in my house". You may disapprove of your childrens choices in life, but when you try to split their family up, you have crossed a very real line.

Jewish Atheist said...

RG:

You do have atheists tearing out their hair. Dawkins would have a heart attack.

Okay fine, but Dawkins is unusual.

Tell me can you prove to me what is moral? Can you prove to me that I must be moral? Where does moralty exist? In what Platonic realm?

There are no "proofs" in morality. There is no Platonic realm. Morality exists in our heads.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"I think that's disgusting. It's just not true at all. So I guess we don't "both know" that."

If you say so. If you want your kids to have no conception of their Jewish heritage or even a Jewish identity, marrying out is pretty much the best way to get that to happen.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"Morality exists in our heads."

Which would then make morality a fantasy?

Jewish Atheist said...

If you say so. If you want your kids to have no conception of their Jewish heritage or even a Jewish identity, marrying out is pretty much the best way to get that to happen.

Whatever. They're still not leaving their people just by marrying somebody.

Which would then make morality a fantasy?

No, there are things other than fantasies in our heads.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
RG:

You do have atheists tearing out their hair. Dawkins would have a heart attack.

Okay fine, but Dawkins is unusual."

And so is Hitchens and Weinberg and any atheist who has an axe to grind he's not unusual. Not everyone has an axe to grind but enough people do.

"Which would then make morality a fantasy?

No, there are things other than fantasies in our heads."

But if it has no existence outside of our heads it is a fantasy.

Jewish Atheist said...

But if it has no existence outside of our heads it is a fantasy.

Don't be ridiculous. Math isn't a fantasy. Love isn't a fantasy. No abstract concepts have "existence outside of our heads."

Rabban Gamliel said...

You are avoiding the issue. Love is only a feeling. Math is a concept outside of ourselves. What obligates us in morality if it has no existence outside of ourselves? Love doesn't have an existence outside of ourselves. It is a feeling. Since that is what is it is true to itself. It is a feeling and so it requires no existence outside of ourselves. Morality since it claims to be binding has to be more than just a concept in our heads.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"No abstract concepts have "existence outside of our heads.""

If that is true then you're saying the universe is not real. It would only have an existence in our heads.

Jewish Atheist said...

That's why we created laws and mores and stuff. Is this idea really that foreign to you?

Rabban Gamliel said...

A law is not the same as saying something is immoral as for mores that is custom but what woulsd bind you to it?

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"Whatever. They're still not leaving their people just by marrying somebody."

Effectively they are. This isn't something new. If there was a book titled: 'How To Ensure Your Descendants Aren't Jewish" the first chapter would be about marrying out.

"Don't be ridiculous. Math isn't a fantasy. Love isn't a fantasy. No abstract concepts have "existence outside of our heads."

So math doesn't really exist?

'Love' is just describing a feeling. Morality exists like 'I like chocolate' exists? How meaningful...

Do abstract concepts like quantum physics, time and mortality have no objective reality?

Anonymous said...

This might be a double post, so please delete if it is.

To JewishPhilosopher:

I enjoy the irony of you defending Jews. As I'm sure you're aware, none of them actually consider you a real Jew. (If I'm not mistaken you're a convert.) You might be considered Jewish amongst the Reform, but even they don't consider you as Jewish as they are. According to almost all Jews, if you're not Ashkenazi or Sephardic, you don't count.

Also, your condemnation of atheism is so laughably absurd I don't think it warrants a rebuttal.

To rabban:

I am a staunch atheist and I believe that all morality is subjective. I understand what you're saying that basically my morality is what "feels good." That's not really true, but it's the basic premise of my morality that I believe it to be internal. I can't adequately support any moral statement I make because my defenses become an infinite regression. However, I defy you to think that atheists are less moral than the religious. In fact, I'd wager we're far more moral, in the generally accepted sense, than the religious (look at prison statistics for one).

To Everyone else:

I actually agree that the parents have made the right decision in not attending, GIVEN THEIR ALREADY DECIDED UPON VALUES. Now I consider their values to be stupid and stubborn and mean. But under their paradigm, I think it's a correct decision to side with God (NO HYPHENS OR SPACES JEWS!!!) over their family.

jewish philosopher said...

The truth of the matter, regarding Abandoning Eden and her marriage to a gentile, I believe is that her parents’ reaction has been too little too late.

I believe that as soon as their daughter expressed doubts and skepticism about Orthodox Judaism, her parents should have recognized this as a clear sign of sexual addiction. This is a true crisis, based on a chemical, testosterone, and is in principal no different than alcoholism or heroin addiction.

To deal with this crisis, her parents should have arranged an intervention. There, all of her relatives and friends would have explained to her how much they love her, how much she has changed and how they are prepared to fight to get her back. They could have explained that they will no longer be codependents that will enable her addiction. Rather she must accept treatment today by entering a treatment facility and committing herself to an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle. If she refuses, they will sever all connection with her. (I think this would be consistent with the old Jewish practice of sitting shiva for a meshumad.)

Of course, like any intervention, there is no guarantee that it would have worked, however I think it would have been the best option.

G said...

So basically we have come to this:

--religion is just another word for values. vs. --No it's not. Religion (at least OJ) is another word for believing in an all-powerful, all-knowing being who tells you what's good and what's bad. That's qualitatively different from "values."

and

--True to her namesake, AE abandoned her people and now for some reason she expects them to follow her? vs. --She didn't abandon her people; she abandoned her religion. There's a big difference. Her people are abandoning her.

It is very hard to argue a point when you cannot even agree on the issues involved.

Jewish Atheist said...

RG:

If that is true then you're saying the universe is not real. It would only have an existence in our heads.

The universe is not an abstract concept. It existed before humans did. Morality did not.

A law is not the same as saying something is immoral as for mores that is custom but what woulsd bind you to it?

Nothing binds us to it. That's why people are in jail.


Orthoprax:

Effectively they are. This isn't something new. If there was a book titled: 'How To Ensure Your Descendants Aren't Jewish" the first chapter would be about marrying out.

But why is their religion synonymous with their people? If I had a bunch of grandchildren and some were Mormons and others were Jews, they could still all be part of the JA clan. They'd still be "my people."

So math doesn't really exist?

It exists as a concept that corresponds somewhat to reality. Obviously, perfect circles (for example) don't exist in reality.

'Love' is just describing a feeling. Morality exists like 'I like chocolate' exists? How meaningful...

Hey, I didn't invent the universe. I'm just telling what it is, not what it should be.

Do abstract concepts like quantum physics, time and mortality have no objective reality?

How are those abstract? Rule of thumb: If something exists in the absence of humans, it's probably not abstract. Of those, maybe QP doesn't qualify.


G:

It is very hard to argue a point when you cannot even agree on the issues involved.

Very true! So much of this comes down to fundamental philosophical differences.

Holy Hyrax said...

>They'd still be "my people."

Yes, they are your grandkids, but it would not be part of the Jewish nation. Why are you having such a hard time with this unless you are purposely being difficult.

Jewish Atheist said...

So who cares? What's more important? That they're my people or that they belong to a certain religion?

Rabban Gamliel said...

Being a part of a people by itself isn't important.

Holy Hyrax said...

>That they're my people or that they belong to a certain religion?

Im not sure how to respond to this, but I think this is basic and you know it. And many you even answered it yourself.

IF one cares about the continuity of the Jewish people, (which non jews are NOT, even if they ARE your grandkids), then you don't marry out. Simple. Lets not complicate this.

Rabban Gamliel said...

Anonymous:To rabban:

I am a staunch atheist and I believe that all morality is subjective. I understand what you're saying that basically my morality is what "feels good." That's not really true, but it's the basic premise of my morality that I believe it to be internal. I can't adequately support any moral statement I make because my defenses become an infinite regression. However, I defy you to think that atheists are less moral than the religious. In fact, I'd wager we're far more moral, in the generally accepted sense, than the religious (look at prison statistics for one)."

That's silly as an argument. Atheists are only a minority of people. They are represented at least proportionatley in prison. How religious are most people in who are in prison? Just because they are not atheists makes them religious? By contrast people who do find religion tend to stay out of prison.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
RG:

If that is true then you're saying the universe is not real. It would only have an existence in our heads.

The universe is not an abstract concept. It existed before humans did. Morality did not."

True enough.

"A law is not the same as saying something is immoral as for mores that is custom but what woulsd bind you to it?

Nothing binds us to it. That's why people are in jail."

Ok so if someone is acting as they please they aren't viloting anything objective. I happen to think that is true from a secular standpoint.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

IF one cares about the continuity of the Jewish people, (which non jews are NOT, even if they ARE your grandkids), then you don't marry out. Simple. Lets not complicate this.

If one cares about the continuity of the Jewish people as Jewish people, then yes. If one care about the continuity of our people period, then no.


RG:

Atheists are only a minority of people. They are represented at least proportionatley in prison.

That's simply false. Do some research.

By contrast people who do find religion tend to stay out of prison.

Cite?

Check out the stats of Southern Baptists vs. atheists.

Ok so if someone is acting as they please they aren't viloting anything objective. I happen to think that is true from a secular standpoint.

Okay, so we agree.

Rabban Gamliel said...

By the way you were inconsistent in your statement on the universe. Math you said exists only in our head. If that's true what stops us from making any old math and if it is that not just any math will do doesn't that indicate there is more to math than a subjective existence?

Jewish Atheist said...

Math is certainly based in reality.

Holy Hyrax said...

>If one care about the continuity of our people period, then no.

There is no "our people" if its not Jewish. Just like there is no "our boy scouts" if they are not "boy scouts." I think this is just an uncomfortable realization for you and so you are fighting (and loosing).

Jewish Atheist said...

Well, I think it's really shitty to put "the Jewish people" ahead of "our family's people."

Rabban Gamliel said...

http://www.holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm
"Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%
---------------------------- --------
Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)"

No population is going to have anything more than a minority of its members in prison but as you can see atheists are close to scientologists in the chart and above several other groups. As for people who find religion I am referring to those who become real frum in their faith. Being an atheist doesn't obligate you one way or the other.

To say as the website does that 10-16% of Americans are atheists is excessive.

The below would be more accurate:http://www.adherents.com/misc/adh_prison.html#dichotomy
"The actual proportion of atheists in the United States is about 0.5% (half of one percent)."

Viewed that way atheists are reprensented in prison by about half their numbers. That requires no explanation as that is what we would get from randomness.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
Well, I think it's really shitty to put "the Jewish people" ahead of "our family's people.""

We are not talking people simply for the sake of a people. Converts are not physically a part of the Jewish people. We are taliking about the Jewish religion. The Jewish value system.

Jewish Atheist said...

RG:

There's no way atheists make up only .5% of Americans. And if you include agnostics and the "non-religious" the number goes way up. By any reasonable standard, there are fewer atheists in prison, as a percentage, than Christians, Muslims, or Jews. This makes perfect sense when you realize that atheism in America is strongly correlated with education and income. (And by the way, atheists are way overrepresented among ethnic Jews.)

We are not talking people simply for the sake of a people. Converts are not physically a part of the Jewish people. We are taliking about the Jewish religion. The Jewish value system.

In other words, you're talking about the religion, not the people.

Dave said...

According to the Pew report:

Orthodox Jews: < 0.3%
Atheist: 1.6%
Agnostic: 2.4%
"Nothing in Particular": 12.1%

(Oh, and just for fun, the various neopagan and new age groups clock in at 0.4%)

http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations

Jewish Atheist said...

It also occurs to me that atheists are disproportionately male (as are, of course, criminals) so we'd have to correct for that fact, too.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
RG:

There's no way atheists make up only .5% of Americans. And if you include agnostics and the "non-religious" the number goes way up."

So does the representation in prison then. As for .5% of the population that sounds very reasonable as estimate. There are so many religous members in the U.S. of whatever levels of faith. As a result .5% does not seem incredible.

"By any reasonable standard, there are fewer atheists in prison, as a percentage, than Christians, Muslims, or Jews. Well sure because they are a smaller minority. I guarantee you the number of atheists arrested in Russia and China for crimes that they would be arrested for in the U.S. is higher by far.

"We are not talking people simply for the sake of a people. Converts are not physically a part of the Jewish people. We are taliking about the Jewish religion. The Jewish value system.

In other words, you're talking about the religion, not the people."

No I'm talkking about the religion not a people.

Rabban Gamliel said...

PM, July 15, 2008"Dave said...
According to the Pew report:

Orthodox Jews: < 0.3%
Atheist: 1.6%"

Well then Pew has my statistic off by only a few times. 1.6 versus mine of .5. Now if Jewish Atheist is correct that moost atheists have a higher education and income so it would lower the amount you would expect of the 1.6 to go to prison. The statirtics still don't apppear to be unusual then. Atheism doesn't reduce crime.

Jewish Atheist said...

Atheism doesn't reduce crime.

Oh, I agree with that. I thought you were arguing that religion does. I just don't think that's the case.

Anonymous said...

@ JewishPhilosopher:

I'll post this again because maybe you missed it:


To JewishPhilosopher:

I enjoy the irony of you defending Jews. As I'm sure you're aware, none of them actually consider you a real Jew. (If I'm not mistaken you're a convert.) You might be considered Jewish amongst the Reform, but even they don't consider you as Jewish as they are. According to almost all Jews, if you're not Ashkenazi or Sephardic, you don't count.

Also, your idea that atheism is equivalent to a sexual addiction is possibly one of the funniest things I've ever read on the internet! You make Pat Robertson look sane.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Anonymous said:
I enjoy the irony of you defending Jews. As I'm sure you're aware, none of them actually consider you a real Jew."

That's false. He was converted and under Rav Moshe Feinstein. Are Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews guaranteed no Gentile ancestry? On the contrary Jewish Law says JP is a real Jew. It is ethnic categories that deny him Jewishness.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"But why is their religion synonymous with their people?"

It isn't, but if her identity isn't religiously-based then what does being Jewish mean to her? Clearly not much since she doesn't seem to care all that much about the fate of her children.

"If I had a bunch of grandchildren and some were Mormons and others were Jews, they could still all be part of the JA clan. They'd still be "my people.""

Um, what? If they're not Jewish then they're not Jewish. Again, only if the identity means nothing to you can you blithely go about equivocating with it.

"It exists as a concept that corresponds somewhat to reality. Obviously, perfect circles (for example) don't exist in reality."

Don't they? Maybe you can't point to one because of the limits of the material, but a basis of our reality may very well be mathematical in nature. The concept could very well be something we discovered rather than invented.

"Hey, I didn't invent the universe. I'm just telling what it is, not what it should be."

Oh, I understand that very well. But then I don't understand why you think the term 'morality' means anything significant at all. Nothing is "evil" - there are just some actions that you don't like - just like there are some pizza toppings that I don't care for. Whoopedy do.

Your moral positions have the same amount of force behind them as the guy who lambasts the inferiority of vanilla ice cream.

"How are those abstract?"

Can you point to mortality? Can you look at time as an object? No, these are abstract concepts that are grasped by us through our clever reasoning skills.

"Rule of thumb: If something exists in the absence of humans, it's probably not abstract."

It sounds like you're misusing the term 'abstract' and turning it into something like 'make believe.' Obviously an 'abstraction' is only something used to describe human conceptions, so without humans there can be no abstract human conceptions. But those abstract human conceptions may still be perfectly valid in the absence of humans.

In all likelihood, time would march on even if no being was sophisticated enough to appreciate its passing. Nevertheless, we do not appreciate time as a concrete entity, but as an abstraction.

Rabban Gamliel said...

"Jewish Atheist said...
Atheism doesn't reduce crime.

Oh, I agree with that. I thought you were arguing that religion does. I just don't think that's the case."

It depends upon the faith and on the level of what is the commitment to the faith of the individual. But yes it does all things being equal reduce crime. People find religion and devote their whole self to it and yes it does have an affect. Of course if your faith involves blowing up the West you will find yourself likely in violation of Western law if you try it. You mentioned also education and income reducing crime. It does because someone has interests and goals that distract and discourage being involved in crime. It is the same with religion. It gives people things to be invested in other than crime.

Fern Chasida said...

As a modern orthodox jew I am not sure what I would do if my daughter were marrying a non-jew. As parents we can hate the actions or choices our children make and continue to love them. I think I too would be unable to attend the wedding but would want to have a relationship with my daughter and her spouse afterward, if they would be open to that. All this talk about the religious, atheists, abortion, etc - people are people, we all have our red lines and we all make good and bad decisions every day. Families are torn apart over much less every day.

Anonymous said...

Morality based on religion is not the same as based on compasion or love. A religious morality may require sacrifice to the god, as with Aztecs, Moloch, or Jehova, which are really atrocities but do not seem as such to those who are doing them. The Aztecs believed that without human sacrifice, it would not rain, hence crops would fail and famine would result; so they would rather sacrifice some to save the rest- they viewed their acts as GOOD overall even if some EVIL was mixed in.
A morality based on non-religion, such as compassion, where acts of kindness, non-violence, and love would possibly be less succeptable to this kind of error, though not immune, as the error is of IGNORANCE.