Monday, August 03, 2009

Homosexuality and Orthodoxy

Chana writes a story about an Orthodox Jew with a secret:

“During my year in Israel, I hated myself.”

The words hung in the air, sharp as knives. She saw them before her, printed black on white, strung together on a silver shred of barbed wire. “Why?” she questioned softly, tentatively, tucking her legs up underneath her.

“Because I’m gay.”

The words shocked her. They ripped through her body, confusing her; it was almost as though she had not heard correctly. It was totally impossible. He was involved in so many committees, had so many friends; he had dated her friends, for God’s sake! And he wanted to become a Rabbi! How could he be gay? And how could she, Lisa, know someone who was gay? “Oh, Jason,” she mustered, her eyes clouding over in confusion and pain.

“And I hated myself for it. I hated myself like you wouldn’t believe, Lisa. I literally wanted to rip it out of me, kill it. See, there’s a certain eroticism you feel at any naked body, but when I look at a woman, it’s just- I don’t want that. That’s not what I want. But a man- a man gets me excited. I want men.” His voice was thick with hatred and disgust. “And I didn’t want to want them. But you have no idea the images that swam through my mind, the things I thought, and here I was, in high school- because yes, it started before Israel, but it was when I was finally away from home that I could really think it through-and there were guys that I had crushes on. I mean, I tried to wipe that off as no big deal and no big thing; I had one friend and I finally told him and he broke my heart.”

The words were said in a rush, as though he was struggling to get them off his chest. “I just told him I was gay and he was my roommate and he was completely freaked out. I had thought we were best friends; our friendship would withstand anything. I was wrong.”

“But Jason,” Lisa whispered, her voice very low, “are you absolutely…sure?”

“Sure?” He laughed. “You have no idea. I went to JONAH and those therapists who are supposed to turn you straight. I wanted to be straight, Lisa; I wanted to be! And I would do all those things, even put rubber bands on my wrists that I would flick every time I thought of a guy that way, to try to remind myself. I wanted to control my mind. And I even watched porn, of girls, to try to get myself excited. And obviously I dated girls and I just- I just don’t like them like that. I can’t get aroused for them, because of them. And can you imagine what that would be like, marrying a woman and wanting to love her and just not being able to get it up for her? Only able to do it if I think about men?” He shook his head; his expression was filled with self-loathing.

“What are you going to do?” she asked. Confusion whipped through her, feelings that she was unsure of; she didn’t know what to say or what to do, how to help. What could she do? The law existed apart from them both and the law was greater than them both. The law took precedence over them and their lives; God had stated that a man could not lie with a man as he did with a woman. And yet, and yet- this was Jason she was speaking to, her Jason, the man she loved like a brother.


Chana is sensitive and intelligent. And yet she's part of the source of Jason's suffering. All the Orthodox are.

Here was my response:

My heart goes out to people like Jason. And I feel anger for those who support the religion that does this to them. I mean, I understand. I know they mean no harm. (At least some of them don't, anyway. I mean "Jason" himself believes.)

But it's so unnecessary. There's nothing wrong with being gay. You know that intuitively, Chana. Jason knows it too, I hope.

Thousands of gay people form happy gay relationships and families and it's just not that big a deal.

I've known a few Jewish-but-not-Orthodox gay men who simply realize that they're gay sometime in their childhood or teens and then it's just not that big a deal. Their families support them unconditionally, they are completely open about their orientation, and they find nice guys to settle down with.

No drama, no tears, no anguished struggle, no hating friends, no rabbis who try to "help" with ridiculous "cures," no shunning from parents or community. Just normal. Just like you and me when we find somebody we like. People are just happy.

That's how it can be. That's how it should be. God didn't write the Torah, people did. You gasp, that's kefirah, but it's the clear and obvious truth to anybody who didn't grow up Orthodox or otherwise fundamentalist.

"18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination... For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people."

Those are not the words of the creator of the universe. Those are the words of some guy living in ancient Israel, or perhaps they are borrowed from someone living earlier than that. They weren't written by God, and everybody outside the Orthodox (and other fundamentalist) circles knows it. The non-fundamentalist scholars know it and the laypeople know it.

All you Orthodox people who think you don't have to read about the Documentary Hypothesis or even seriously think about whether what you believe is actually true because you're happy with your religion -- you share some blame for these tragedies that go on every day in America and throughout the world.

If you've honestly investigated the truth and continue to believe that Orthodox Judaism is correct, okay, you've got to stand up for what you believe in. I get that. But if you're one of the majority who just loves being Orthodox or is too scared to look, you bear responsibility.

Don't just shake your heads at the tough position people like Jason are in. You're part of the problem. Do your research, honestly, and if you find out what the rest of the intellectual world already knows, have the courage to say so.


Previously:

A Gay, Closeted YU Student Speaks Out (Anonymously)
Who Wrote the Bible?
Great Example of Intellectual Honesty
How Orthodoxy Causes Good Men To Do Evil

79 comments:

Foilwoman said...

It's funny, my nephew came out as a gay man after several years of telling his parents about people who had come out and were then disowned by their families and communities. My sister was smart enough to realize he was telling her more than the stories and started prepping her more conservative husband. Fortunately, my nephew didn't get cast out, and lives in a state where he will actually be able to marry if he finds someone he wants to marry. I hope that this attitude becomes more widespread.

jewish philosopher said...

JA, I want to know why your heart doesn't go out to the families of the 25 million people who have died of AIDS

http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm

a disease created by gay liberation in the US.

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

JA, I want to know why your heart doesn't go out to the families of the 25 million people who have died of AIDS

It does. Now please don't derail this thread.

Everybody else, don't feed the troll.

bankman said...

I heard one tzad that maybe the Torah is talking to "Straight" people when issuing that decree of not laying with a man as you would a woman.

But to someone that lays with men, a gay man, its obviously OK for him to lay with a man - becasue thats how he was created.

It's a s'vara.

Abandoning Eden said...

my theory is that it was written by a person trying to argue against greek culture, and one of the ways they did that was by banning homosexuality- which was common in greek culture.

jewish philosopher said...

I am promoting truth and real happiness; fighting lies and harmful addictions.

The Torah prohibits male to male anal intercourse because of God's profound understanding of what is beneficial to mankind.

So as far as atheists are concerned, all the tens of millions of death caused at least indirectly by homosexuality are just collateral damage. Very humane.

jewish philosopher said...

And how about pedophiles? Why are they persecuted?

http://www.nambla.org/

Heshy Fried said...

This is slightly off topic but I was wondering if I could be put in touch with the person who went to Jonah - I really want to interview someone who went through the program.

Fawzia said...

I know gay Muslims men whose families got them married off, hoping their wife would "cure" them, the poor girl ended up with the stigma of a divorce(divorce is stigmatized in many Muslim societies) & lesbian Muslim women whose parents got them married off, claiming it doesn't matter what a woman's sexual orientation is.

I wonder if this happens in Orthodox Jewish communities as well, I guess not.

Fettered Wolf said...

Fawzia,

I know personally people who were married off irregardless of their sexual orientation, both men and women in Orthodox Jewish communities.
And I know many young people who left their homes and religions to avoid such a fate.

FrumCurious said...

JA:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my blog, I like reading yours!

I don't live around/have never lived around orthodox jews and have not talked to many of them until the last year or so - but I've come to realize that it's not only in orthodox communities that this happens. I live in a town with a teensy-tiny jewish community, and the rest are mostly christians. When you meet any gay/lesbians in my town it's not like it's a big deal in person when they are around straight people. Behind closed doors or at places where you think there are no gay people, you hear idiots that say things like, "Yeah I'm cool with gays as long as they don't try to fuck me!" - it's usually some slack-jawed yokle with missing teeth and a fake southern accent, whom I decide not to tell I am jewish. Confederate flags are abundant, as are "good ol' boys" kinds of areas, so I'm sure it might be just as hard living in more 'liberal' communities.

My uncle died from AIDS complications in 1987, two months before I was born. He was gay, and contracted it from a blood transfusion.

Moshe said...

JA,

"Those are not the words of the creator of the universe. Those are the words of some guy living in ancient Israel, or perhaps they are borrowed from someone living earlier than that. They weren't written by God, and everybody outside the Orthodox (and other fundamentalist) circles knows it. The non-fundamentalist scholars know it and the laypeople know it."

This is simply not correct. Secular scholars make the a priori assumption that the Torah is a man-made document and analyze it according. Frummies generally assume as an article of faith that the Torah was revealed by God, to Moshe. Some frummies (based on the Talmud and some Rishonim)will acknowledge that parts may be non-Mosaic, but still hold that they were divinely revealed. Either way, divine revelation is not something that can be proved or disproved conclusively. It is an article of faith. So you cannot rightfully assert that everyone just "knows" that its not divine.

A better argument on your part would be something to the effect of how could a benign God prohibit someone's natural involuntary inclination. Prima facie, it seems quite cruel. My answer would be that, if you think about it, both the the Torah and secular law prohibit people from acting on their natural inclinations every day, and society is generally better for it. We do not permit those with anger management problems to murder, or permit those who are incapable of telling the truth to commit perjury, or permit men who have an irresistible urge to have sex with 12 year old boys to do so [notwithstanding that the latter practice was viewed as salutary in ancient Greece.] The same Bible that first proclaimed all men to be children of the same God, and created in his image, and that taught us that our first concern must be to do justice, love kindness and walk modestly with God, contains the prohibition you write of, and those of us who have faith in the Torah do not simply pick and choose the parts we find easier to understand.

That said, it is important to note that the prohibition in question is in terrorem only, and under Jewish law is not something that could ever be enforced by a court( given the evidential requirements for conviction). Furthermore, the Torah does not even purport to prohibit a homosexual orientation. The orientation may be involuntary, the act prohibited is not. And of course the prohibition does not in any way justify any hateful or disrespectful conduct (or even feelings) toward anyone who has the particular problem, God Forbid. We are all sinners, in one way or another.

Off the Derech said...

Moshe is Garnel.

Fawzia said...

Fettered Wolf,

Thanks!

I guess the only think Orthodox Jews absolutely don't do which Muslims do is honor killings!

Jewish Atheist said...

Moshe:

Secular scholars make the a priori assumption that the Torah is a man-made document and analyze it according.

Perhaps "secular" scholars do, but many many Jewish and Christian scholars make no a priori assumptions but still recognize that the Torah is a man-made document. I know an Episcopal priest for example who tells me that in seminary he learned all about the DH. It's really only Orthodox Jews and Christian fundamentalists who believe in the word of God thing.

Frummies generally assume as an article of faith that the Torah was revealed by God, to Moshe.

Assuming anything, "as an article of faith" or not, is a very bad way to get to the truth. And I'm arguing that it's basically immoral when your assumptions lead directly to the problems faced by "Jason" and many, many others.

Either way, divine revelation is not something that can be proved or disproved conclusively. It is an article of faith. So you cannot rightfully assert that everyone just "knows" that its not divine.

That's an absurd standard of proof, though. I can't disprove that the show 24 isn't "divinely inspired," but you'd laugh at me if I insisted it was. "It's an article of faith" cannot be a get-out-of-logic-free card. You still have to make sense. And Mosaic authorship (even mostly Mosaic authorship) simply does not make sense.

A better argument on your part would be something to the effect of how could a benign God prohibit someone's natural involuntary inclination.

I have made that argument, but religious people just turn it into a logic game. "Oooh, I know the conclusion I want, let's see how I can get there!" I know, because I used to play that game when I was frum.

We do not permit those with anger management problems to murder, or permit those who are incapable of telling the truth to commit perjury, or permit men who have an irresistible urge to have sex with 12 year old boys to do so

Every one of those examples has a VICTIM. Gay sex between consenting adults does not (assuming it's safe sex or monogamous, etc.)

those of us who have faith in the Torah do not simply pick and choose the parts we find easier to understand.

"Easier to understand" is a dodge. I'm talking flatly and obviously immoral. Chana recognizes it -- she said if not for the Torah, she'd be out at LGBT rallies arguing for them. Don't give me this "oh, it's difficult" business. It's not difficult, it's wrong.

That said, it is important to note that the prohibition in question is in terrorem only, and under Jewish law is not something that could ever be enforced by a court( given the evidential requirements for conviction).

I recognize that. My post isn't about Orthodox Jews executing gays though, it's about putting them through the misery that Jason is going through. And it should be noted that too many gay teens brought up in anti-gay households end up killing themselves or engaging in risky behaviors.

Furthermore, the Torah does not even purport to prohibit a homosexual orientation. The orientation may be involuntary, the act prohibited is not.

That's nice in theory (maybe) but in practice, it doesn't seem to make much difference.

And of course the prohibition does not in any way justify any hateful or disrespectful conduct (or even feelings) toward anyone who has the particular problem, God Forbid. We are all sinners, in one way or another.

I just wish religious Jews would be more vocally critical of their fellows who ARE hateful and disrespectful than they are of gay people. I've heard a lot more rabbis railing against homosexuality than passionately defending gay people from the abuse of their colleagues and followers.

And it's only a "problem" because religious people make it a problem.

jewish philosopher said...

"it's only a "problem" because religious people make it a problem"

Plus millions who have died from AIDS might be called a problem.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/11/anti-gay-pride.html

Moshe said...

JA,
"Assuming anything, "as an article of faith" or not, is a very bad way to get to the truth."

Can you "prove", for example, that I and everyone else you know actually exist, and are not part of a dream that you are having from which you will sometime wake up? If not, sounds like an article of faith to me.

""It's an article of faith" cannot be a get-out-of-logic-free card. You still have to make sense. And Mosaic authorship (even mostly Mosaic authorship) simply does not make sense."


1. Has a text of P J, E, or D been found? Where is the hard evidence? Why can't all the critics agree as to who wrote what exactly? Plausible conjecture does not a proven conclusion make. Some hard evidence: According to the DH proponents, an Aaronide priesthood is a much later invention then the second millenium BCE.Yet genetic testing has shown the the common anscestor to today's cohanim dates from just such period.

2. Even if you could prove that the DH is true, which you can't, the key thing is not the role of Moses, but the role of God. As stated in the Talmud, if the Torah had not been given to Moses, Ezra would have been worthy of receiving it. And as Moses himself is reputed to have said in a midrash, Rabbi Akiva would have been worthy of receiving it too.

"Every one of those examples has a VICTIM. Gay sex between consenting adults does not (assuming it's safe sex or monogamous, etc.)"

1. Let's assume your assertion is correct. That would be a good reason why secular law should not be involved. But the divine law goes beyond interpersonal relations, and aims to make us holy.

2. But note, perhaps one example I gave was not victimless: The Greeks would have told you that the 12 year old was consenting, and that his older lover was performing a valuable service, not just sexually, but in educating the boy about the ways of the world.

3. And perhaps even the prohibition in question can be said to have victims:Every child not born because his potential father chose to engage in homosexual relations, not heterosexual ones, could be said to be a victim. [It being my understanding, admittedly based solely on what I have read in the newspapers, that while most people have a predominant orientation, they still have some capacity for sexuality towards the gender to which they are not generally oriented. Witness what otherwise exclusively heterosexual men do in prison. ]

4. You even seem to concede that unsafe sex is not victimless. There apparently is a lot of that going on among homosexuals, even in the face of the obvious medical dangers. Who pays for the medical care? Not just those who engage in the behavior, but society at large. Ergo victims, de facto.

"I'm talking flatly and obviously immoral. "

From where to you derive this morality? Can you prove to me rationally that the morality you would impose is valid, and that the rational man should always abide by it, even when it is against his own self interest?

bankman said...

JP,

you obviously feel that gays and others are being punished by God with AIDS due to their bad behavior.

Can you point to any other bad behavior in the torah which has similar results? Or is engaging in male gay sex the worst thing one can do? Are there any other specific "chiyuv misa" aveiros which God has decided to attach a physical ailment with? (I know there are MANY MANY acts which are equal to gay male sex in terms of their punishment)

BTW, in case you havent seen, there is a great refutation to your recent post about atheism here...http://notjewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/08/jpism-worlds-most-ridiculous-religion.html

enjoy!

Moshe said...

Correction to my 10:15:

"2. But note, perhaps one example I gave was not victimless:"

Should have read

"2. But note, perhaps one example I gave WAS victimless"

Sorry about that.

Jewish Atheist said...

Moshe:

Can you "prove", for example, that I and everyone else you know actually exist, and are not part of a dream that you are having from which you will sometime wake up? If not, sounds like an article of faith to me.

There is a HUGE gap between not being able to PROVE something and taking it as an article of faith. I can't prove that you and I exist, but that doesn't mean that the hypothesis that we exist is no more likely to be true than the hypothesis that Scientology is a load of crap is.

1. Has a text of P J, E, or D been found? Where is the hard evidence? Why can't all the critics agree as to who wrote what exactly? Plausible conjecture does not a proven conclusion make.

Ah, but I'm not trying to prove the DH correct. Have you noticed the "HYPOTHESIS" in the Documentary Hypothesis? :-) I think it's quite clear, however, that the Torah was not written all at the same time and that at least significant parts were written much later than the time Moses would have been alive, assuming he existed.

Some hard evidence: According to the DH proponents, an Aaronide priesthood is a much later invention then the second millenium BCE.Yet genetic testing has shown the the common anscestor to today's cohanim dates from just such period.

I'm not knowledgeable about either of these claims, so I can't really address them. If you have good citations, I'll be happy to take a look.

Even if you could prove that the DH is true, which you can't, the key thing is not the role of Moses, but the role of God.

I agree. Demonstrating that the DH (or something like it) is true does not by itself disprove the idea that God inspired the Torah. It should, however, make you think about whether verses like the ones in Leviticus truly reflect God's beliefs (if he exists) or if they merely reflect the prejudices of the human authors. Many, many Jewish and Christian intellectuals believe in both the DH and divine inspiration. They do tend to discount the prohibitions against homosexuality etc. as being of that era and not from God Himself.

As stated in the Talmud, if the Torah had not been given to Moses, Ezra would have been worthy of receiving it.

I quote that Talmud in my post on Who Wrote the Bible supporting the hypothesis that Ezra himself was the Redactor. There is a link to that post at the bottom of this post.

1. Let's assume your assertion is correct. That would be a good reason why secular law should not be involved. But the divine law goes beyond interpersonal relations, and aims to make us holy.

Ok, that's fine. But let's just recognize the difference between ben-adam-lmakom and ben-adam-lchaveiro.

Jewish Atheist said...

(cont.)


2. But note, perhaps one example I gave was not victimless: The Greeks would have told you that the 12 year old was consenting, and that his older lover was performing a valuable service, not just sexually, but in educating the boy about the ways of the world.

I would disagree with the Greeks. However, it should be noted that your beloved Torah is fine with 13 year old boys marrying 30 year old women and 12 year old girls being married to old men. So I'm not sure you have the moral high ground here, exactly.

3. And perhaps even the prohibition in question can be said to have victims:Every child not born because his potential father chose to engage in homosexual relations, not heterosexual ones, could be said to be a victim.

I have trouble seeing people who don't exist as victims, but by that logic, every child who is not born between the time a potential parents reaches puberty until they reach infertility is a victim. We must marry at 12 and pump them out until we're too old!!

4. You even seem to concede that unsafe sex is not victimless. There apparently is a lot of that going on among homosexuals, even in the face of the obvious medical dangers. Who pays for the medical care? Not just those who engage in the behavior, but society at large. Ergo victims, de facto.

I would agree that unsafe sex is generally immoral.

From where to you derive this morality? Can you prove to me rationally that the morality you would impose is valid, and that the rational man should always abide by it, even when it is against his own self interest?

I have no proof or philosophy behind it, just my own human empathy. I find it wrong to raise children believing they are inherently evil or that their natural inclinations are evil because my heart goes out to them. I find it wrong to prevent two men or two women who love each other from marrying for the same reason.

See my post This Atheist's Moral Grounding, or Why I'm a Liberal.

jewish philosopher said...

"Can you point to any other bad behavior in the torah which has similar results?"

Sure. All sins are punished. Especially heresy.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/06/jewish-heretics.html

Bankman, maybe you should be "barbecue man" because you'll be roasting in hell forever.

By the way, I totally debunked DH.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html

Tigerboy said...

I just saw a wonderful documentary film about Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality. It's called:

"Trembling Before G-d"

I would recommend it to anyone interested in these issues.

Rabbi Steve Greenberg

Moshe said...

JA,

"I can't prove that you and I exist, but that doesn't mean that the hypothesis that we exist is no more likely to be true than the hypothesis that Scientology is a load of crap is."

Agreed. You have to look at indicia of reliability. In that respect, I feel that one indicia of the reliability of Judaism is that the very concern you express for individual justice and compassion you express stems from Judaism itself.

"I'm not knowledgeable about either of these claims, so I can't really address them. If you have good citations, I'll be happy to take a look."

This is the Jewish blogosphere. Since when do you have to know anything about something to express an opinion? :)

Take a look here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/familycohanim.html

"But let's just recognize the difference between ben-adam-lmakom and ben-adam-lchaveiro."

Agree completely. That is why I believe , for example, that the Rabbis recently arrested for financial improprieties should be publicly condemned and ostracized if the charges should be proved,
and why I would not chase someone like Jason out of my shul even if he could not resist his urges and acted upon them. But I could not condone such behavior either.

"I would disagree with the Greeks. However, it should be noted that your beloved Torah is fine with 13 year old boys marrying 30 year old women and 12 year old girls being married to old men. So I'm not sure you have the moral high ground here, exactly."

As a practical matter, this does not happen, so there was no need to legislate against it. If it ever became common, I would think that appropriate takkanot would be created.

"I have no proof or philosophy behind it, just my own human empathy. "

Nu, you have your empathy, I have my empathy, Stalin had his empathy. Take away the possibility of a divine morality, and they're all equally valid. We're all just the result of a chemical accident.

To believe in God may be said to be, first and foremost, to believe that there is in fact a moral order to the universe. All the rest, to paraphrase Hillel, is commentary.

bankman said...

I'll try this again.

Are there any other specific "chiyuv misa" aveiros which God has decided to attach a physical ailment with? Or is engaging in male gay sex the worst thing one can do?

I am so glad that "hell" does not exist - cuz i would hate to burn forever!

LOL

Jewish Atheist said...

Moshe:

Agreed. You have to look at indicia of reliability. In that respect, I feel that one indicia of the reliability of Judaism is that the very concern you express for individual justice and compassion you express stems from Judaism itself.

Obviously I have some Jewish influence because of my upbringing, but Judaism neither invented nor popularized the concept of individual justice and compassion. And even if it did, it wouldn't indicate that Judaism was reliably TRUE, just that it was of some use to the world.

Take a look here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/familycohanim.html

If true, this would indicate taht some sort of kohanic family/clan existed since time X, it's true. However, I don't see why such a tribe couldn't have been just another semitic tribe rather than literally stemming from the brother of Moses.

Agree completely. That is why I believe , for example, that the Rabbis recently arrested for financial improprieties should be publicly condemned and ostracized if the charges should be proved,
and why I would not chase someone like Jason out of my shul even if he could not resist his urges and acted upon them. But I could not condone such behavior either.


You're better than a lot of Orthodox Jews, then, because as far as I can tell, the rabbis care a lot more about homosexuality than they care about stealing, etc.

As a practical matter, this does not happen, so there was no need to legislate against it. If it ever became common, I would think that appropriate takkanot would be created.

It doesn't happen NOW, because Western morality moved forward, but it almost definitely happened then, when the Torah was written.

Nu, you have your empathy, I have my empathy, Stalin had his empathy. Take away the possibility of a divine morality, and they're all equally valid. We're all just the result of a chemical accident.

I don't think Stalin had as much empathy as a normal human being. I disagree with that idea. And being the result of chemical accident doesn't mean it's "equally valid" to slaughter millions of people or not... or to make the lives of gay people difficult or not.

To believe in God may be said to be, first and foremost, to believe that there is in fact a moral order to the universe. All the rest, to paraphrase Hillel, is commentary.

The belief in a moral order to the universe has caused a lot of harm in this world. Me, if I want to kill people I need to come up with some rationalization. Osama bin Ladin (or Moses, lhavdil, I guess) just needs to think God wants him to.

Moshe said...

"And even if it did, it wouldn't indicate that Judaism was reliably TRUE, just that it was of some use to the world."

Say you believe X to be true.
Stipulate that X is a concept that originated in Judaism.
Wouldn't that fact thus tend to support the veracity of Judaism, even if it does not absolutely prove it. Please be honest, not polemical.


"If true, this would indicate taht some sort of kohanic family/clan existed since time X, it's true. However, I don't see why such a tribe couldn't have been just another semitic tribe rather than literally stemming from the brother of Moses."

Aren't you just doing a mental somersault here to square your views with the evidence with which you've been presented? Isn't that exactly what you accuse the frummies of doing respecting the DH and other things? Again, please be honest, not polemical.

Moreover, this discovery, it it holds up, demonstrates even further the unreliability of the speculations of the DH proponents who derided the possibility of an Aaronide priesthood, and in some cases derided the very possibility that the people of Israel could have even existed in the period in question. If the critics are wrong here, where else are they wrong? Skepticism should be an equal opportunity employer.


"but it almost definitely happened then, when the Torah was written."

Evidence?

"And being the result of chemical accident doesn't mean it's "equally valid" to slaughter millions of people or not... or to make the lives of gay people difficult or not."

Why not? Says who?

"The belief in a moral order to the universe has caused a lot of harm in this world. Me, if I want to kill people I need to come up with some rationalization. Osama bin Ladin (or Moses, lhavdil, I guess) just needs to think God wants him to."

If you want to use that line of reasoning, you are , I think , advancing my position. Atheist fanatics (Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao)have murdered more people than all the theist fanatics in history, certainly recently.

Note also that any objective morality must be counterbalanced by a healthy skepticism respecting human fallibility in interpreting the divine mandate. This is one area, where Judaism, in its proper form, succeeds [witness its attitude toward the death penalty], and where the religions that cause the harm you allude to fail [including, I must sadly admit, those who today practice what they call "orthodox" Judaism in a way that perverts everything good and holy that Judaism actually stands for].

Off the Derech said...

I'm willing to put down a million dollars that Moshe is Garnel. One can smell his bullshit a mile away. "Be honest, not polemical." LMFAO!!

Jewish Atheist said...

Say you believe X to be true.

Considering the X in question is a moral preference, it can be neither true nor false.

Aren't you just doing a mental somersault here to square your views with the evidence with which you've been presented?

What views? *I've* never believed that the kohen clan/tribe didn't exist 3000 years ago. (I didn't believe they did either; I had no belief on the matter.) By all accounts, they existed at least 2500 years ago, so I don't see what the big deal is. I also don't see much connection to the DH.

Moreover, this discovery, it it holds up, demonstrates even further the unreliability of the speculations of the DH proponents who derided the possibility of an Aaronide priesthood, and in some cases derided the very possibility that the people of Israel could have even existed in the period in question. If the critics are wrong here, where else are they wrong? Skepticism should be an equal opportunity employer.

No. See genuine scholars believe what the evidence shows. When new evidence arises, they change their minds. That's the difference between genuine scholars and religious scholars.

When it turned out that scholars were wrong about Troy being a fictional place, did that suddenly mean that they were wrong about Achilles not actually being a demigod?

Evidence?

Evidence that 12- and 13-year olds used to be married regularly? Don't know. I thought that was commonly accepted. Maybe I'm wrong.

If you want to use that line of reasoning, you are , I think , advancing my position. Atheist fanatics (Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao)have murdered more people than all the theist fanatics in history, certainly recently.

You obviously missed my line of reasoning.

Note also that any objective morality must be counterbalanced by a healthy skepticism respecting human fallibility in interpreting the divine mandate. This is one area, where Judaism, in its proper form, succeeds [witness its attitude toward the death penalty], and where the religions that cause the harm you allude to fail [including, I must sadly admit, those who today practice what they call "orthodox" Judaism in a way that perverts everything good and holy that Judaism actually stands for].

I'm familiar with the "interpretation" of the Rabbis. Make up anything you feel like it, and then find some flimsy source to hang your hat on. "All the days of your life... well that obviously means the nights too!" Come on.

Jewish Atheist said...

OTD:

Seriously, you're sounding kind of insane with all this Garnel stuff. Like literally insane.

Moshe said...

JA,

"You obviously missed my line of reasoning."

I'm sorry if i did. What was it?

"I'm familiar with the "interpretation" of the Rabbis. Make up anything you feel like it, and then find some flimsy source to hang your hat on. "All the days of your life... well that obviously means the nights too!" Come on."

You need to distinguish between halachic exegesis, situations where the Rabbis had a tradition that they wanted to find "support" for in the Tanakh [asmakhta], and homiletics.

On another note, I presume from your blog title that you are an atheist, rather than an agnostic. I can better understand the latter position. I'm curious, what makes you *certain* that the universe is just a chemical accident, and how do you deal with the question of how matter and energy originated in the first place?

Off the Derech said...

JA: I'm willing to take that risk. I'm a person who takes his claims very seriously, and I think long and hard before accusing anyone of being Garnel. I wish I didn't have to subject people to this nonsense, but it has to be done. This online abuse and games from Garnel and others has gone on for a years with no one saying a word, and it's time it finally stopped. I'm more than willing to put my reputation on the line for this. As I pointed out here, if I don't police these rabbis, who the hell will?

Off the Derech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Way said...

"If you want to use that line of reasoning, you are , I think , advancing my position. Atheist fanatics (Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao)have murdered more people than all the theist fanatics in history, certainly recently."

NO! if you believe people when they say that they are believers (I don't but lets say one does) then those people were killed by religious people not atheists. Hitler and stalin did not go door to door killing people. Ordinary people who claimed to believe in god killed the people, hitler and stalin gave orders. But if you have an order from god and an order from man, if you believe than it is no contest. SO this proves that either people don't actually believe or that they believe and are ok with genocide as it coincides with god's will.

After all, god often commands people to commit genocide and specifically to kill women and children.

And since if you start with the premise that god exists and it is your god and your understanding of god is true, than any answer you give to any question is good because what you are really saying is that you believe and therefore any answer is just a human understanding and need not be true or right or correct, all it needs is to be an insight for limited understanding of god's unknowable existence.

That being said, I do take issue with the idea that by virtue of being orthodox one is automatically responsible for poor behavior by other orthodox people. The hallmark of modernity and humanism is that each person is responsible for their own behavior. That remains whether one is a believer or not. That many (most) orthodox treat gays poorly is not a valid reason to condemn all believers. There are many many great reasons to chink away at the acceptance of gods and the bible's, blaming people with a blanket "all orthodox people..." is not completely fair.

Jewish Atheist said...

I'm sorry if i did. What was it?

My argument was that "a belief in a moral order to the universe has caused a lot of harm in this world." Not that it was the ONLY cause of harm in this world. Also, as a side note, Hitler was a theist.

You need to distinguish between halachic exegesis, situations where the Rabbis had a tradition that they wanted to find "support" for in the Tanakh [asmakhta], and homiletics.

I haven't yet seen an area where the rabbis aren't willing to just make something up on the spot and then hang it on a random word or phrase. Rashi himself does it all the time.

On another note, I presume from your blog title that you are an atheist, rather than an agnostic. I can better understand the latter position. I'm curious, what makes you *certain* that the universe is just a chemical accident, and how do you deal with the question of how matter and energy originated in the first place?

Being an atheist just means that I don't believe in God. It doesn't mean I'm *certain.* I'm an a-werewolfist, too, but I'm not *certain.* If you show me a werewolf, I'll start believing. If you show me God, I'll become a theist.

Moshe said...

The Way,

"Ordinary people *who claimed to believe in god* killed the people"

1. I guess the Nuremberg Trials got it wrong when they sentenced to death all those Nazis who never killed anybody with their own hands. Great "morality".

2. How would you possibly know what all the actual killers claimed to believe? Fact is, in the communist regimes at least, overt believers were unlikely to be employed by the regime.

"god often commands people to commit genocide and specifically to kill women and children."

Not often. And where it occurs, it was not immoral, under the law of war of the time. BTW, we are killing women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan all the time, and we *targeted* them in WWII and Vietnam. Maybe you should petition Congress to take Roosevelt off the dime if you think that was immoral.

"Jesus told his disciples, "I am THE WAY and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). "

Are you trying to tell us something by your screen name? :)

Moshe said...

JA,

"My argument was that "a belief in a moral order to the universe has caused a lot of harm in this world." Not that it was the ONLY cause of harm in this world."

I never said you said "ONLY". I stand by my earlier response to your remark.

"Also, as a side note, Hitler was a theist."

""We do not want any other God than Germany itself." -Adolf Hitler

He did use theistic language, admittedly, at times, but he did so for opportunistic political reasons.

"I haven't yet seen an area where the rabbis aren't willing to just make something up on the spot and then hang it on a random word or phrase. Rashi himself does it all the time."

How do you know, in any given case, that they did not have a pre-existing tradition, possibly going back to Sinai itself, as opposed to just making things up? And if you're referring to midrashic homiletics , so what if they made up? Parables can teach valuable lessons, whether true or not.


"If you show me God, I'll become a theist."

Unfortunately, he is incorporeal. Just like love. And no less real. Some people, alas, never find love either.

The Way said...

Moshe,

I am not sure what a legal trial has to do with what my point was, or put it like this, did Nuremberg get and punish everyone who was involved in the holocaust? If you believe the polls that 85-90% of people believe in a god, then the people, the day to day operations of the holocaust were committed by a majoriaty of people who claimed to believe in god. The point stands regardless of who we later decide to hold accountable legally.

I did not even argue whether or not Hitler was an atheist, I was willing to accept that for the sake of the argument even though that is quite possibly an urban legend.

As for your second point, how many times does god need to command you to kill em all before it becomes often? Cannan, Jericho, Amalek. Three overt commandments to kill women and children. So when we did it it was ok, but when the Arabs do it on the word of their god it is wrong?
As for Roosevelt: I'm not that worked up about it. I am not a believer so I accept that people in power kill women and children as a irrefutable act of man's behavior, I don't try to pretend that killing kids is moral and virtuous.

And as for my screen name, you got me. I am the way. I hope you plan on sending me a donation, I take paypal. :-)

Jewish Atheist said...

He did use theistic language, admittedly, at times, but he did so for opportunistic political reasons.

So when he said something atheistic, he was speaking the truth, but when he said something theistic, he was just being opportunistic? How do you know? I think it's pretty clear that he was not an atheist.

How do you know, in any given case, that they did not have a pre-existing tradition, possibly going back to Sinai itself, as opposed to just making things up?

Well, first of all, the rabbis are constantly disagreeing with each other. So if they have a tradition, it's obviously quite an unreliable one. Second, I "know" they don't have one the same way I "know" that the Pharoah didn't really have instructions and messages from the Egyptian god.

And if you're referring to midrashic homiletics , so what if they made up? Parables can teach valuable lessons, whether true or not.

I wasn't. We were discussing the rabbis "interpreting the divine mandate."

Unfortunately, he is incorporeal. Just like love. And no less real.

Just like the invisible pink unicorn in my garage and the flying spaghetti monster!

Some people, alas, never find love either.

Ugh, I hate this nonsense. Love is an emotion. God, even if he himself is supposedly incorporeal, is still supposedly the Creator of the universe. Don't try to weasel out of that by analogizing him to love.

Moshe said...

TW,
"So when we did it it was ok, but when the Arabs do it on the word of their god it is wrong?"

When we did it , it: was in the context of a just war, was in accord with the laws of war of the particular time and place, was specifically mandated in a divinely revealed text, was limited to a few specific cases, had no applicability beyond the precise war in question, and was conditioned on the enemy rejecting an offer of peace.Their concept of jihad does not have these limitations, and is thus immoral.

"And as for my screen name, you got me. I am the way. I hope you plan on sending me a donation, I take paypal."

The only messiah that I donate to lives ( lived? will live?) in Brooklyn. :)

Moshe said...

"So when he said something atheistic, he was speaking the truth, but when he said something theistic, he was just being opportunistic? How do you know? I think it's pretty clear that he was not an atheist."

I know b/c that is what politicians do--give lip service to religion to garner popular support. In any event, certainly Hitler was not motivated by any religious duties in perpetrating his crimes.

"Well, first of all, the rabbis are constantly disagreeing with each other. So if they have a tradition, it's obviously quite an unreliable one."

Fair point. That doesn't negate ipso facto the fact of an original tradition. As I said earlier, "Note also that any objective morality must be counterbalanced by a healthy skepticism respecting human fallibility in interpreting the divine mandate."

"Just like the invisible pink unicorn in my garage and the flying spaghetti monster..."

Except that there is no people that has survived for 4000 years and bequeathed to the world a widely accepted moral vision based upon the unicorn or the spaghetti monster. There are no conclusive proofs for Gods existence, granted. But there are witnesses. One witness is the people of Israel, another witness is the wide acceptance of the vision of a moral God and a moral universe by the nations. "Upon the testimony of two witnesses, a matter is established."

"Ugh, I hate this nonsense. Love is an emotion. God, even if he himself is supposedly incorporeal, is still supposedly the Creator of the universe. Don't try to weasel out of that by analogizing him to love."

Love is also a state of being between two people, and is thus also real , if intangible. Not a perfect analogy, but, IMHO, a good one. Like love, you know it [Him] when you experience it [Him].

You may now ask me, but what about all the crazy people who claim to know God, have prophecies, etc. ?
Why is Judaism true, and their claims false? My answer would be, as I said on another blog: You have to look at the indicia that any claim may be valid and make your own judgment. For example, is it inherently contradictory? Has it persuaded large numbers of people over long periods of time? Does it appear to be a money making device for the one who proffers it? Does it make demonstrably false factual claims? I could come up with more. But these are only indicia of reliability. You need to make a judgment, ultimately. Similar to a judge who has to evaluate the credibility of conflicting witnesses in a court case. Sometimes the judge may have no decisive evidence before him, in which case he evaluates the testimony and makes a decision that may or may not represent absolute "truth". That's how life works, as a practical matter.

The Way said...

When we did it , it: was in the context of a just war, was in accord with the laws of war of the particular time and place, was specifically mandated in a divinely revealed text, was limited to a few specific cases, had no applicability beyond the precise war in question, and was conditioned on the enemy rejecting an offer of peace.Their concept of jihad does not have these limitations, and is thus immoral."

Right, because god promised us jericho and cannan and therefore it was just and moral to kill their babies, after all, we gave them the opportunity to leave or convert or stay as slaves.

So we killed the kids then, and we try to make it nice by saying it was a different time and place, but you wont change other laws because it is a different time and place? Oh wait, you do, such as polygamy and sacrifices and loaning money without shmitta regulations, and marrying your dead brother's wife, so why not give a little and let the gays be happy, you've already turned judaism into a high class version of paganism (without the kinky sex)

as for brooklyn, I assume you mean 777. it reminds mean of cain and lemach, always with the 7's, until we entered the modern world and realized that numerology and mysticism were how people made sense of the world before they had the language of science.

Although I am always struck by how such smart and talented humans, such as the 777 way could spend their whole life mortgaged to an unknowable desire.

Moshe said...

"So we killed the kids then, and we try to make it nice by saying it was a different time and place, but you wont change other laws because it is a different time and place? Oh wait, you do, such as polygamy and sacrifices and loaning money without shmitta regulations, and marrying your dead brother's wife, so why not give a little and let the gays be happy..."

You are entitled to your own opinions, but facts are facts. Fact is that the warfare methods you allude to were limited to particular times, places and/or peoples that no longer exist, hence they are no longer in force. Sacrifices were eliminated by duress. Polygamy and chalitzah involved limiting otherwise permitted [or required] conduct, not the violation of a negative commandment. In writing "loaning money without shmitta regulations", you are conflating two different prohibitions. In the case of usury, the Rabbis utilized a legal fiction, because had they failed to do so , the very purpose of the law [helping the poor] would have been undermined. In the case of shmitta, not everyone holds by the heter mechira. Those who do, I presume, base their position on not inflicting grave economic harm on the entire nation. This rationale is simply not present respecting mishkav zachar.

To the contrary,the Torah mandates holiness, not happiness, duty, not self indulgence. The prohibition is part of of a system designed to promote holiness--which means we all must curb our desires to some degree or another. Just because my wife is a shrew who does not satisfy me sexually does not mean that I can avail myself of my neighbor's wife. Just because I can't control my temper doesn't mean I can slug someone who offends me. Just because I can play the violin well does not allow me to perform with the symphony on Shabbat, even if I must give up the only career that I love. Just because I can cheat someone in business, become rich, and get away with it, doesn't mean that I can do it. Sometimes, es is shver zol zain a yid. But if you truly believe, it all offers the ultimate satisfaction of knowing that you are doing God's will. If you do not believe, then what does it all matter?

I do not mean to minimize the dilemma of the truly religious homosexual. Nothing in the Torah forbids that orientation per se. Only certain conduct is forbidden. The orientation does not in any way make one removed from God. If anyone drives away the divine presence, it is he that would arrogantly mock or ridicule [let alone physically harm]any human being created in God's image, for a desire that is indisputably involuntary. Such arrogance and the Divine Presence cannot abide together. I feel terrible that there are those who, because of this dilemma, will have their spirits broken. But we know that God is closest to those whose spirits are broken. Their tears are precious to him. I would hope that such fact would offer them consolation, and the strength to persevere in their faith and adherence to the Torah. As we read at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, God puts the tears of the faithful in a special urn. Someday, that urn will overflow, and we will all be redeemed.

"you've already turned judaism into a high class version of paganism (without the kinky sex)"

I thought a lot of the super-frummies were in fact very much into kinky sex! What gives? :) Actually , I'm not sure what you mean here. Please clarify. Do you mean that some frummies view mitzvot as a sort of magical way to appease the deity, similar to pagan worship, without regard for underlying ethics and morality which the mitzvot are supposed to inculcate and symbolize? If so , I couldn't agree with you more.

The Way said...

the warfare methods you allude to were limited to particular times, places and/or peoples that no longer exist, hence they are no longer in force."

that sounds an awful lot like, we were only following orders.

What you are really saying is that because god commanded our forefathers to commit genocide it was ok because that was then and this is now. Although that argument is negated by a few points. #1 - god and his laws and morality are supposed to be timeless. #2 - with Amalek the commandment is in force today, we just can't fufill the commandment because we don't know who are the amalekim. Our lack of knowledge does not remove the current commandment to kill their children.#3 - so why was it ok for us to commit genocide , even in specific times and places and against specific groups, because our god told us to and the arabs are wrong for saying the same exact thing today? Are they wrong just because 2500 yrs have passed or because they follow the wrong god so their commandment to kill or convert is wrong?
#4- you like to generalize the point saying that it was limited to times and places and peoples, but the specific truth is that it was limited to the time we were a conquering army and the place was the lands we wanted to conquer and the people were the people in our way. (excepting amalek of course, as noted above)
#5- the problem with belief is that any explanation will do.
#6- excepting amalek, the commandment to kill the people of jericho and cannan is no longer in force because as you say, the people no longer exist. But the people no longer exist because we fufilled the commandment of killing them off.

Moshe said...

TW,
"that sounds an awful lot like, we were only following orders.

What you are really saying is that because god commanded our forefathers to commit genocide it was ok because that was then and this is now."

In a world where your nation may be extinguished if you do not wage warfare in a certain way, the question, tragically, would not be whether to kill children, but , rather, would be whose children will be killed. I believe that such was the context of the command involving Amalek. Had the Torah provided otherwise, the people may have rejected it, because they would have felt that to do anything less would have been a sign of weakness and invite attacks from other neighboring peoples. They might have said, to paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice, that "the law should not be a suicide pact...

Let's hope that some day humanity will progress to such level that spelling bees will replace war. Till then, we are stuck with war. Morality is not a suicide pact. War per se, even brutal war, and even sometimes the causing of mass casualties in war, is not always immoral.

I will remind you again: Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki. And those cities were devastated even after Germany and Japan no longer even arguably posed mortal threats. Historians, hardly a bunch of religious fundamentalists, rank FDR and HST as among our greatest presidents. Curious.

The Way said...

One might be able to see a difference between accepting that there will be children killed in a war, and actively hunting down babies.

I don't quite see how not killing the babies in their crib is a suicide pact.

If we fought that way because it was the mode of warfare at the time, that is a very human reason, one which I accept. But that means the commandment came not from god, but from a man who used the term god for very human reasons. After all, jews do many things that are different from their neighbors way of doing things. Why would god command them to kill babies just because everybody else was killing babies? Everybody else worshiped idols and ate pig and He had no problem saying don't do that.

As for inviting attacks, well we killed them all and the neighbors still attacked.

As for Amelek. Regardless of why the command came about, the point on this issue remains: You are still actively commanded by your god to go hunt down Amalek and kill their kids. You can't so you don't, but the commandment hasn't changed. Just like the korban pesach, you are commanded to do it, but you can't so you don't. But the commandment remains.

So how are you ok with knowing that your god commands to you kill babies? How do you make peace with that? At least with the gay issue one can say that the punishment is up to Bet Din. But with Amalek the commandment is on all the people; and this means you.

The Way said...

"In writing "loaning money without shmitta regulations", you are conflating two different prohibitions."

I was referring to pruzabel by hillel.

"the very purpose of the law [helping the poor] would have been undermined."

I agree with you and the rabbis; why didn't god?

"If you do not believe, then what does it all matter?"

It matters to a non-believer because I would prefer to live in a world that is nicer and kinder and happier and healthier and more fulfilled; as do you, I'm sure. We just disagree on how to get there. You believe that the way is through god (or possibly his messenger in brooklyn who lived/lives) and I suppose that Belief in god is a stumbling block holding back man's evolution from a tribal mystical based understanding of the world.
I may be wrong and you may be right, but so far I haven't seen any compelling reason to imagine that a god who commands you to kill babies is going to lead you to a healthier lifestyle than following the hot yoga instructor.

Moshe said...

TW,

"You are still actively commanded by your god to go hunt down Amalek and kill their kids. You can't so you don't, but the commandment hasn't changed.."

1. Never was a command to hunt.
2.Had to offer them a peace treaty before fighting them.
3. The same God that gave the command a a concession to human nature knew the Amalekites would become extinct, and thus that the commandment would be of limited duration. The commandment no longer exists, as a practical matter.
4. Perhaps next time you can discuss the present relevance of the command to eat from the tree of knowledge.

"I would prefer to live in a world that is nicer and kinder and happier and healthier and more fulfilled;"

Why is "nicer and kinder and happier and healthier" better. Why not substitute "that is rid of all the people that I don't like, like religious Jews". Prove to me that the latter is immoral, objectively.

"Why would god command them to kill babies just because everybody else was killing babies? Everybody else worshiped idols and ate pig and He had no problem saying don't do that."

Not eating pig/worshipping idols doesn't get you killed by your neighbors.

"I suppose that Belief in god is a stumbling block holding back man's evolution from a tribal mystical based understanding of the world."

Such belief would have stopped Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao, all good atheists. [No I don't agree with your theory that dictators don't kill, only the religious people that work for them do]. It would also have stopped the Eugenics movement of the last century, which was also founded by atheists. Without God, all is possible. Judaism is not a stumbling block , it is a fence containing man's barbarism.

According to you, why should I act justly, if I can get away with the alternative? Your very invocation above of a moral problem involved in killing babies is based on Jewish ethics. For the atheist, all "morality" is but relative. Babies, like everything else, are just part of a large chemical accident. If my society abhors killing them, that doesn't make it objectively wrong for another society to take the opposite position--for nothing is objectively right or wrong.
I'll take Judaism, pardon me.

Off the Derech said...

Garnel/Moshe:

Stop lying for your God already. Your desperate apologetics are looking more pathetic by the comment.

>Never was a command to hunt.

Riiight. What does "timche es zecher amalek" again mean? What happened to Saul again for letting ONE person live? Seems someone has VERY selective memory when it comes to their beautiful holy books.

>Had to offer them a peace treaty before fighting them.

I'd LOOOOVE to see the source for that.

Fundamentalists like you are the greatest threat facing mankind. You really think without your particular holy book, the sky would fall down, and the world as we know it would cease to exist. When will you acknowledge the reality we all know and that is staring you in the face, and you'll just *eventually* have to face? Your religion is NOT TRUE. It's time to move on. You're just desperately hanging on to your security blanket, but it's frankly very juvenile, and destructive to yourself and anyone who has the misfortune of crossing your path (as have I). Get some help. Take a big deep breath and let it go. You have the whole rest of your life ahead of you. Don't sell yourself short, and stop living in denial already. There are some wonderful detox places (I hope) and it's time for you to face facts and be honest with yourself. Finally.

The Way said...

1. ok, kill them without hunting them.
2. as off said, source?
3.even you have to add the qualifier, "as a practical matter." because as a commandment it does exist as does korban pesach. But to say that god commanded us to kill babies as a concession to human nature, wouldn't there be healthier desires that he could have relented? I really really want to wear wool with linen and I can't do that, apparently god wont let me fulfill that desire, but killing babies? go right ahead.
4. eating from the tree of knowledge was not a commandment to a nation of people? but if you want to discuss commandments that don't apply in todays world that only reenforces the argument that god and his laws were functions of humans and not the wisdom of a being of infinite timelessness.

"Why is "nicer and kinder and happier and healthier" better. Why not substitute "that is rid of all the people that I don't like, like religious Jews". Prove to me that the latter is immoral, objectively."

I like everybody, I like all groups. I recognize that everybody does what they think is right. I don't want to get rid of religious jews so why would I substitute that? Let someone who feels that way make that argument.

"Not eating pig/worshipping idols doesn't get you killed by your neighbors."
Yes it did. that is why you can't bow to idols even for pikuach nefesh.

"[No I don't agree with your theory that dictators don't kill, only the religious people that work for them do]"

Good because that is not my theory. My theory is that you should not forget about all the people who carried out the wishes of the dictators, all the people who relished stuffing our people into cattle cars and ovens and camps. And it so happens that the vast majority of those people were religious.

"Without God, all is possible. Judaism is not a stumbling block , it is a fence containing man's barbarism"

maybe that was true, just like unions were hugely important and necessary in the development of our society. And if you believe that you are closer to caveman than enlightened man, if you believe that you can't handle the sight of a immodest women or hear a woman sing live or what, you will rape her? than maybe you do still need god telling you not to rape. Oh wait, that isn't one of the commandments. It does fall in as a property crime but if thats what it takes to keep you on the straight path, who am I to argue, I have a daughter, if the only thing keeping you from acting barbaric to her is your god, than please stay a believer.

"According to you, why should I act justly, if I can get away with the alternative? Your very invocation above of a moral problem involved in killing babies is based on Jewish ethics."

well, because [at least in my belief] the book records man's inherent code, the book does not create the code. Do you need god to tell you not to kill? not to sleep with your mom? or sister? or daughter? these were laws and moralities that developed by man and recorded by the book, not created by the book. So too with genocide. Man, at the time, thought genocide was all right. The book recorded man's deeds, it did not create them.

shabat shalom

Holy Hyrax said...

>And it so happens that the vast majority of those people were religious.

I wouldn't mind reading up on some of this. Do you have a link to some book on Amazon?

Holy Hyrax said...

BTW

Following orders, is not inherently immoral. You simply have to deal with each case and whether those orders were immoral.

The Way said...

Holy, I have not yet published a book with what I clearly labelled, my theory.

But I will recap my theory here for you: If 80-90% of people called themselves believers (and you can easily verify those numbers without spending $$ at amazon) then it stands to reason that if x number of people were involved in committing genocide then 80-90% of them most likely claimed to be believers. I don't think that is a terribly radical theory.

The Way said...

"Following orders, is not inherently immoral. You simply have to deal with each case and whether those orders were immoral"

I agree with your statement 100%. What is your point?

Tigerboy said...

All of this seems to have little relevance to the OP, but as long as it has become the topic . . .

Atheists and the pious argue endlessly about whether or not Hitler was a Christian. His speeches are littered with references to Jesus Christ, but he also says a lot of negative things about religion. Neither side seems to tire of assigning Adolph to the opposite camp. It's really tedious.

But there is no question that the society that allowed him to come to power, the society that allowed him to remain in power, the throngs of people to whom those speeches were given, were overwhelmingly Christian. The society that allowed the genocide of six million Jews was overwhelmingly Christian.

Hardly an example of atheism run amok. Hardly an example of atheism at all. The situation is rife with religious hatred.

Despots do not operate in a vacuum. They come to power, they remain in power, because their societies allow it.

Stalin, too, was speaking to a society that had been trained for generations that the tsar was a supernatural power. He exploited that society's willingness to believe that he was the new supernatural power, he was the new god on Earth. Religion trains people to accept foolish things on faith.

Kim Jong Il is not, technically, the head of the state of North Korea. His dead father is. As Christopher Hitchens points out, "It's just one short of a trinity." And a trinity it will become, when Kim's son takes over.

These are examples of despots assuming power by assigning divinity to themselves. These are not societies that suffer from too much skepticism, too much logical reason, too much scientific inquiry, or too strong a separation of church from state. These are example of societies where the state becomes the church. All praise to the divine leader.

Hitchens.

Moshe said...

OTD,

"Had to offer them a peace treaty before fighting them.

I'd LOOOOVE to see the source for that."

Rambam, Hilchos Melakhim 6:1-4

Sincerely,


Garn.....er...Moshe

Moshe said...

TW,

"I like everybody, I like all groups. I recognize that everybody does what they think is right. I don't want to get rid of religious jews so why would I substitute that? Let someone who feels that way make that argument. ""

You're ducking my question.

"Do you need god to tell you not to kill? not to sleep with your mom? or sister? or daughter? "

1. Egyptian pharaohs, for example, did marry their sisters. So there are those who do need the book even in that respect.And as for murder, well, read the papers.

2. You're still ducking.

"And if you believe that you are closer to caveman than enlightened man... if the only thing keeping you from acting barbaric ...is your god, than please stay a believer."

Duck, duck, duck, duck duck. The issue is not me, the issue is how can you and your fellow travelers justify morality as anything other than a personal preference. For the believer, morality is more than a flavor of ice cream.

"But I will recap my theory here for you: If 80-90% of people called themselves believers (and you can easily verify those numbers without spending $$ at amazon) then it stands to reason that if x number of people were involved in committing genocide then 80-90% of them most likely claimed to be believers. I don't think that is a terribly radical theory."

I don't about radical, but your theory simply doesn't reflect reality. By your logic, if 5% of the German population were Jews, then 5% of the killers must have been Jews. You ignore the obvious fact that dictators do not stand for real elections, and their appointees reflect the dictator's ideology, not that of the populace in general. And, as said earlier, in atheistic communist regimes, such as those of Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao, a believer would not have been hired to work for the state apparatus.

Shavua Tov.

Off the Derech said...

>Rambam, Hilchos Melakhim 6:1-4

That's one obscure daas yochid. It's highly disingenuous of you to pretend that they had to offer them a peace treaty when just one controversial rabbi claims they did. There's a reason they burned the Rambam's books.

Let's see you duck this question: Why don't you cheat on your taxes? "Don't steal" of Ten Commandments fame refers to kidnapping a Jew. "Don't steal" elsewhere refers to stealing from Jews. Even if you weren't allowed to steal from gentiles (and it's far from clear), it would only be a rabbinic prohibition. So much for your wonderful, iron-clad, bulletproof morality. It's a joke. It's a stupid book written by morons a few thousand years ago, and you know it.

It's hilarious when you try to hijack Western morality and claim that not only religion, but YOUR religion, deserves the credit for it. Like your religion abolished slavery and gave women rights and gay people rights and all that. Riiiight.

Western morality had to fight tooth and nail against your Bronze Age barbaric myths, and not only do you ignore that, you have the chutzpa to claim that your Bronze Age myths are what spawned Western morality. You belong in an institution.

Moshe said...

Tigerboy,

Christianity and its history of persecuting the Jews may have provided a reason why the Jews were the easiest group to scapegoat, but it does not explain the attempt to *annihilate* all the Jews. Christians, including the kings who wielded absolute power among them, had two millennium to try that, and never did. Indeed, theologically, it was important for Christians that Jews exist, to bear witness in their degradation to what happens to the enemies of christ.

No, it was the removal of the restraints, however minimal, of Christianity that allowed the final solution to go forward. Similarly, it was the atheist materialist ideology that caused millions to die at the hands of communist despots. If you believe that humans are souless, just random parts of the same cosmic accident as cockroaches, then it follows that you can treat them just like cockroaches when they get in your way.

Off the Derech said...

>If you believe that humans are souless, just random parts of the same cosmic accident as cockroaches, then it follows that you can treat them just like cockroaches when they get in your way.

What a horrific comment, as usual.

If you believe that God exists, and he gave over specific instruction to His Chosen People (TM), then it follows that you'll blindly listen to whatever his claimed representaives say (be they Scientologists, Mormons, Hindus, Moslems, Christians, Jews, Jehova's Witnesses, Moonies; you get the picture). So if they tell you to lie, cheat and steal (for the good of the cult), guess what you're going to do? In theory, if a God existed, and gave personal moral instructions to everyone on the world, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, the whole concept of God is one big myth, and his "moral teaschings" are pure fabrications by very human, very fallible, highly imperfect con artists and charlatans such as yourself, who claim to know it all. The problem is theism. Atheism is just the removal of the problem.

Tigerboy said...

Moshe:

"No, it was the removal of the restraints, however minimal, of Christianity that allowed the final solution to go forward."

Really. That's so interesting, because both the German society, and the dictator himself, remained Christian throughout the war. Hitler clearly maintained a close relationship with the Vatican throughout the war. The Vatican played a major role in relocating Hitler's henchmen to Latin and South America, after.

Francisco Franco, after Hitler's death, said the following:

"Adolf Hitler, son of the Catholic Church, died while defending Christianity. Over his mortal remains stands his victorious moral figure. With the palm of the martyr, God gives Hitler the laurels of Victory."

Hitler himself stated, "I learned much from the Order of the Jesuits. Until now, there has never been anything more grandiose, on the Earth, than the hierarchical organization of the Catholic church. I transferred much of this organization into my own party."

Walter Schellenberg, former chief of Nazi counter-espionage made this statement: "The S.S. organization had been constituted by Himmler according to the principles of the Jesuit Order. Their regulations and the Spiritual Exercises prescribed by Ignatius of Loyola were the model Himmler tried to copy exactly. Himmler's title as supreme chief of the S.S. was to be the equivalent of the Jesuits' 'General' and the whole structure was a close imitation of the Catholic Church's hierarchical order."

Franz von Papen, another powerful Nazi, who was instrumental in setting up the concordat between Germany and the Vatican had this to say: "The Third Reich is the first world power which not only acknowledges but also puts into practice the high principles of the papacy."

Hitler continually mentioned Christ in his speeches.

The German people were unquestionably Christian.

Their leader, undeniably, maintained close ties to the Catholic power structure.

When, exactly, were these Christian "restraints" lifted?

Moshe said...

Tigerboy:
"Really. That's so interesting, because both the German society, and the dictator himself, remained Christian throughout the war...."

I am not here to defend the generally abysmal conduct of Christians during the holocaust. Not is that the point of the present discussion. If one reads your quotations closely, one sees that they fall into two categories--an opportunistic invocation of religion for political purposes [Franco, Hitler mentioning Christ], or an expression of admiration for the *structure* of the church, as opposed to its theology. I could give you many anti-Christian quotations from the Nazis too, which , as discussed earlier in this threat, reflect Hitler's true beliefs. The fact remains that Hitler went well beyond the admittedly immoral persecutions previously perpetrated by Christians. It was his essential atheism that made it possible.

And what of Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao? Do you also lay their crimes upon Christianity?

Rather, the common link between the greatest mass murderers in history is ATHEISM. Maybe that should give you some pause.

OTD,

"That's one obscure daas yochid"

Rambam is hardly "obscure".

"There's a reason they burned the Rambam's books."

Yes, and his view of Amalek was not the reason.

"Why don't you cheat on your taxes? "

1. Dina d'malchuta dina
2. V'asita et hayashar v'tov [I may not have the exact language of the posuk correct here]
3.Hakarat hatov limalchut shel chesed.
4. "k'doshiom t'hiyu [I may not have the exact language of the posuk correct here either ]
5. Avoiding chillul Hashem

""Don't steal" elsewhere refers to stealing from Jews. "

So you are now an atheist. Must you also repeat the canards of anti-semites?

Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) Choshen Mishpat 348:2:

Anyone who steals even a minor amount violates the prohibition of [Leviticus 19:11] "You shall not steal" and is required to repay [the amount stolen] whether one steals from a Jew or a gentile.



Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 359:1:

It is forbidden to rob or to cheat even a minor amount from either a Jew or a gentile.

R. Shlomo Gantzfried, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Abridged Code of Jewish Law), 182:1:

It is forbidden to rob or to steal even a minor amount from either a Jew or a gentile.

Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Gezeilah 1:2:

And it is biblically forbidden to steal even a minor amount; even a gentile - it is forbidden to steal from him or to cheat him. And if you stole from him or cheated him you must return the stolen money or object.

Sefer HaChinuch, 259:

Maimonides of blessed memory wrote that if one lies in his measures and thereby overcharges even to an idolatrous gentile one violates a negative commandment and must return the money. Similarly, it is forbidden to mislead the gentiles in calculating prices as it says [Leviticus 25:50] "he shall make a reckoning with his purchaser" [see below] even if he is subjugated to your authority; even more so if the gentile is not subjugated to your authority and it says [Deuteronomy 25:16] "For an abomination to the Lord, you G-d, are all who do this."

"You belong in an institution."

When you talk like this, you really prove my points about atheism much more eloquently than I ever could.

Holy Hyrax said...

>But I will recap my theory here for you: If 80-90% of people called themselves believers

You said religious people before.
Now believers.

You can be a believer without being religious

>There's a reason they burned the Rambam's books.

The burning was due to his philosophy books.


Regarding the whole Christianity/Hitler debate, there is certainly a lot of material to cover about how MUCH he did because of christianity vs how much he was simply trying to get their support. I remember watching a documentary on Joseph Goebbels where he said in his diaries that they need to rid themselves of Christianity, but learn from Christianity certain basic rituals as to keep Nazism relevant to the general populace.

Off the Derech said...

>So you are now an atheist.

So are you. HITLER.

I merely admit it, while you will spend the rest of your life pretending you're a theist. Fucking asshole.

Off the Derech said...

If you think Christianity is bad, Judaism is a lot worse. Though BOTH of them had little to do with modern morality. There was such a thing as the Enlightenment, you know.

Off the Derech said...

As I said, stealing from Gentiles is a rabbinic prohibition.

Off the Derech said...

Enjoy your two thousand year old morality. The Bronze Age geniuses who made it up REALLY knew what they were doing.

Off the Derech said...

Hey, I have a brilliant idea. They say Hitler had some Jewish blood. That *must* be it! Only a Jew could have masterminded such horrific atrocities. Of course! you know what they say about a goyishe kop...

Garnel: You're barking mad.

Off the Derech said...

Go kill a few heretics. Then steal some kidneys.

Asshole.

Tigerboy said...

Moshe:

"It was his essential atheism that made it possible."

Really?

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord . . ." - from Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter."

"As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... "

"In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross."
--All three quotes taken from Adolf Hitler's speech made in Munich, 12 April 1922

"Just as the Jew could once incite the mob of Jerusalem against Christ, so today he must succeed in inciting folk who have been duped into madness to attack those who, God's truth! seek to deal with this people in utter honesty and sincerity."
-Adolf Hitler, in Munich, 28 July 1922

Hardly an atheist.

The Third Reich's propaganda, uniforms, and military medals are full of Christian symbology.

Your claim that "it was the removal of the restraints, however minimal, of Christianity that allowed the final solution to go forward" is absurd.

Dictator, henchmen, German society . . . ALL overwhelmingly Christian.

Close communication with the Vatican was maintained throughout.

I will be happy to discuss Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, but let's stick with one freak at a time, shall we? This one is clearly Christian.

Moshe said...

Tigerboy,

I do not deny that ostensibly pro-Christian Hitler and Nazi quotations exist. Do you really think that Hitler and the Nazis were above saying something that the didn't really in order to score political points?
Consider the following, from a Wikipedia article:

"In 1998 documents were released by Cornell University from the Nuremberg Trials ["Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection"], that revealed Nazi plans to exterminate Christianity at the end of World War II. The documents cover the Nuremberg trials of leading Nazis and demonstrate the deliberate genocide of Jews during the Holocaust, in which some six million Jews were killed. One senior member of the U.S. prosecution team, General William Donovan, as part of his work on documenting Nazi war crimes, compiled large amounts of documentation that the Nazis also planned to systematically destroy Christianity.

Donovan's documents include almost 150 bound volumes currently stored at Cornell University after his death in 1959; these documents state

"Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked to meet this situation [church influence] by complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion," said an OSS report in July 1945. "The best evidence now available as to the existence of an anti-Church plan is to be found in the systematic nature of the persecution itself.

They also show the different steps involved in the persecution, including the campaign to suppress denominational and youth organizations, denominational schools, and the use of defamation against the clergy, orchestrated to started on the same day over the Reich and supported by the press, Nazi Party meetings and by traveling party speakers.The documents show that the Nazis early on wanted the churches neutralized because they feared that the Churches would oppose Nazi plans based on racism and aggressive wars. The Nazis planned to infiltrate churches and use defamation, arrest, assault and/or kill pastors, and "re-educate" church congregations. They also suppressed denominational schools and Christian youth organizations."

Doesn't sound Christian to me.

Let us also not forget the association of Nazi racial theory with the atheist based Eugenics movement, and the conception of "survival of the fittest", emanating from Darwin. Hardly theist stuff.

In sum, historic Christian anti-semitism may have set the table for the conditions that enabled the shoah, I do not deny that. I am defending Judaism, not Christianity. But the "meal" of total extermination, so to speak, could only be served once the Nazis had embraced theories of so called "scientific racism" and severed themselves entirely from the Christian moral restraints, however inadequate, that had put limits on the extent of historic Christian persecutions.


Finally, if we stipulate that there is no God, please prove to me objectively that Hitler's policies of extermination were morally wrong. Maybe they were correct, only the Nazis lost the war. A lot of people seemed to like his policies at the time. So many people seemed to hate the Jews, and to at least acquiesce in their murder, including portions of the US government. Who are you to say they were wrong?

Tigerboy said...

Moshe:

I am able to say that they were wrong, because I am a human being. I, like the vast majority of other human beings, do not enjoy genocide. I, like the vast majority of other human beings, do not wish to raise my children in a world where 6 million human beings are eliminated due to racial and religious hatred.

Human beings do not require fables about talking snakes in order to know that murder is wrong.

An overwhelming majority of human beings will (eventually) do some version of the right thing. Why? Because they wish to be able to look their children and grandchildren in the eye. They wish for their families to be proud of them.

Human beings must put food on the table. They must have basic human rights. Some voice in how their leaders come to power is nice, too.

Once the people's basic needs are met, they start making decisions that build a better life for their children.

Societies that slaughter their neighbors do not prevail.

You have done nothing to demonstrate that Hitler supported secularism, that he wished for a society based on principles of Jeffersonian democracy and skeptical, scientific inquiry into the nature of the universe.

That Hitler wanted to rise, in power, above the Vatican, that he expected greater and greater power and control for himself is hardly a surprise.

Again, Nazi Germany is not even close to an example of atheism run amok. There is no such example. The closest we can come to an example of Jeffersonian principles of democracy, paired with a society founded on a separation of church from state, is the United States. (Rather successful.)

www.thewaytonothing.blogspot.com said...

Moshe,

You have it a bit backwards.

Your god commanded/commands genocide multiple times.

If you are okay with those acts of genocide than you must accept that others will commit genocide with the same self-rightiousness and moral justifications from their gods. Much like those who hate jews and Israel today they fight under the banner of their god.

However, I as an atheist can look at the bible and see humans acting in an all too typical human manner. I get to reject those behaviors in the attempt to grow and evolve. Which means I get to reject hitler's genocide and arab attempts at genocide as unhealthy.

Moshe said...

TB,

"I am able to say that they were wrong, because I am a human being. I, like the vast majority of other human beings, do not enjoy genocide. I, like the vast majority of other human beings, do not wish to raise my children in a world where 6 million human beings are eliminated due to racial and religious hatred.
"
So morality is just what the majority enjoy and wish for? A popularity contest? Hitler was duly elected, you should note. BTW, plenty of people out there hate Jews and think they got what they deserved. In some countries, such people may well constitute the majority. Does that make their views moral? Fact is, the US, the great Jeffersonian democracy, could have saved hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions of Jews during WWII, but failed to do so. Until recently, racial and religious discrimination was the norm here. Athens, the great democracy of antiquity, was based upon slave labor, had no problem with exposing unwanted babies, and executed Socrates.

According to you, if the majority of people vote to, say, criminalize homosexuality, would that make such criminalization moral? If not, you need to keep searching for a rational basis for your "morality", or just simply admit that there is none, that it is just a question of personal preference, and of how many people you can persuade to agree with you.

Moreover, your version of "morality" has no response to the the argument that an *individual person* should do anything he feels like, up to and including murder, as long as there is no chance that he could be apprehended and punished. Or put differently, that he should refrain from acting immorally, even if he will be certainly punished by an immoral government for so failing to act.

"Again, Nazi Germany is not even close to an example of atheism run amok. There is no such example."

Says you. I think you are incorrect, for the reasons stated. Now please tell us about Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin, leaders of OFFICIALLY atheistic nations. Were they also good Christians, like the apparently deeply pious Adolf?

Moshe said...

"www.thewaytonothing.blogspot.com "

Are you the same person as "The Way"? If so, you are still ducking my questions.

"Your god commanded/commands genocide multiple times."

Not true, no matter how many times its repeated. I answered this above at length.

"I get to reject ... hitler's genocide as unhealthy."

Unhealthy? Unhealthy?? Eating too much saturated fat, going outside in winter without a coat, and not washing your hands after you use the restroom are "unhealthy". Hitler's genocide was IMMORAL. Of course, you must believe that an objective morality actually exists to say that.

The Way said...

Moshe,

Yes I am the same, was on a different computer and the login was different. I'm not a tekkie.

I do not believe in objective morality. I do not believe morality. I try not to believe anything. I do however think that humans are hired wired with an innate sense of healthy and unhealthy which we simply describe as right and wrong or moral and immoral.

So I am not ducking your question at all. Although you have only responded to my questions with more questions.

As I asked previously, why would genocide bother you if your rules of morality accepts genocide as a moral practice? it bothers me because I see genocide as isolated events within history where man's sense of health was overwhelmed by the circumstances. For you though, genocide must be moral. Then it is only a question of whose god and whose genocide is right.

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

I'm not Moshe.

Moshe said...

TW,

"I do not believe morality. I try not to believe anything. "

Thank you for your candor.

"you have only responded to my questions with more questions"

Nu, Ikh been a yid. But, seriously, I think I have responded. You many not like my answers, and that is your right.

"why would genocide bother you if your rules of morality accepts genocide as a moral practice?"

I cannot accept the premise of your question. Permit me to rephrase it a bit, in a way to which I can better respond:

Why would genocide bother you if the Torah contains certain commands that apparently de facto resulted in genocide?

To which my response would be

Because the Torah also tells me not to murder an innocent person.

So how can this paradox be resolved?

1. The genocide never happened. The subject events related in the Tanakh are not historical. If you accept the positions of the more radical biblical critics, then this assertion would be well founded. Trouble is, I don't accept their position, so I can't avail myself of this answer.

2.The command was meant to be an allegory, proscribing evil. It does not reflect actual historic events. One can be a good frummie and accept this answer. However, I personally find it to be in opposition to the peshat of the relevant verses, and thus I do not accept it. We are told, for example, not only about the Amalekites in the time of Moshe,; we are also told about them in the time of Saul, and how he lost his kingdom because he failed to fulfill the command. [I have no problem in saying that this is the deeper meaning of the command; but that does not negate the original historic context.]

3. The command was a concession to the law of war, and the popular will, at the time, as I explained above. The Torah was given to men, not angels. Other things in it were not necessarily an ideal, but were a refinement of an existing practice. E.g., pagan sacrificial worship was refined into the sacrificial system of the beis hamikdash, wherein the idea that the deity derives actual nourishment was cast aside. Slavery was permitted, but severely restricted. Ditto for the Goel Hadam". And the brutal method of warfare in vogue was restricted by A. requiring an offer of peace to be issued first, B. limiting it only to those nations who were so morally depraved that they could be said to have forfeited their right to exist [think of a retaliatory nuclear strike as a similar concept], and C. limiting it severely in terms of the number of potential targets, D. and in such a way as to all but guarantee that it would someday be utterly inapplicable, as it is inapplicable at present. This is the way I resolve the issue.

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