Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart
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Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Consequences of Atheism

Here's what you stand for if you're an atheist:
You think you're smarter than some of the greatest minds in history like Rav Joseph B Soloveitchik, the Chafetz Chayim, the Vilna Gaon and countless other great rabbonim whose knowledge, logical abilities and intellect are without peer. Because they believed in God and you thinks that's stupid. That makes you arrogant.
You think you don't have to be grateful for anything you have because no God handed it to you. You don't have to wake up and start your day with Modeh Ani because everything is yours by right. There is no Benefactor in your lives. That makes you selfish.
For those of you who used to be frum and then think you "smartened up", you believe your families and friends are stupid idiots. Well, you'd never come out and say it. You might even want to remain on good terms with them but face it: you think being frum is stupid and that people who believe in God are, chas v'shalom, idiots. Your mothers, your fathers, your siblings, all morons. These people raised you, gave up the best years of their lives to change your diapers, feed you when you couldn't feed yourself, impart eternal and holy values and you essentially spit on it all. What does that say about you?
You think that every Jew who has ever died as a kiddush HaShem, died for nothing because since there's no God they died for nothing. Their beliefs, their passions, their hopes, all wrong according to you. Every Jew, every one of Hitler's victims, every one who disappeared into the Gulag, who burned at the Crusader's stakes, who were tortured and murdered by all the oppressors of our people over the last centuries, you think they died for nothing. Meaningless. They were stupid to have insisted on dying as Jews. What idiots they were, according to you. That, well that makes you something I can't even begin to describe.
Happy Chanukah.

11 comments:

Samuel Skinner said...

"You think you're smarter than some of the greatest minds in history like Rav Joseph B Soloveitchik, the Chafetz Chayim, the Vilna Gaon and countless other great rabbonim whose knowledge, logical abilities and intellect are without peer. Because they believed in God and you thinks that's stupid. That makes you arrogant."

Ptolemy was smarter than me- he came up with a complex system that matched observational data over a period of centuries WITHOUT calculus. However, he believed in geocentism and I don't.

Does it make me arrogant to insist he was wrong?

"You think you don't have to be grateful for anything you have because no God handed it to you. You don't have to wake up and start your day with Modeh Ani because everything is yours by right. There is no Benefactor in your lives. That makes you selfish."

I thank my parents, my friends, my society and my government. For without others, I am nothing.

"For those of you who used to be frum and then think you "smartened up", you believe your families and friends are stupid idiots. Well, you'd never come out and say it. You might even want to remain on good terms with them but face it: you think being frum is stupid and that people who believe in God are, chas v'shalom, idiots. Your mothers, your fathers, your siblings, all morons. These people raised you, gave up the best years of their lives to change your diapers, feed you when you couldn't feed yourself, impart eternal and holy values and you essentially spit on it all. What does that say about you?"

My grandparents were communists. I am not. Obviously I believed they were idiots for holding such beliefs, right?

"You think that every Jew who has ever died as a kiddush HaShem, died for nothing because since there's no God they died for nothing. Their beliefs, their passions, their hopes, all wrong according to you. Every Jew, every one of Hitler's victims, every one who disappeared into the Gulag, who burned at the Crusader's stakes, who were tortured and murdered by all the oppressors of our people over the last centuries, you think they died for nothing. Meaningless. They were stupid to have insisted on dying as Jews. What idiots they were, according to you. That, well that makes you something I can't even begin to describe."

And you think that about every Sikh that died for his people, every Muslim who died for their faith, every Christian who was maytared, every Shinto who made the ultimate sacrifice. That makes you a hypocrite.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

Your argument suffers from some weakness by association. What do you do with the many great minds who are atheists such as Freud or who have a non-Torah view of God such as Aristotle or Einstein? What about all the members of other religions who died because of their beliefs? People have to make decisions and, when they do, they are necessarily disagreeing with people who make opposite decisions. You can't argue a concept by simply projecting who you are disagreeing with. That is not to say that this should not be a factor. The kep point, though, is that people should understand the seriousness of their decisions and not take them lightly. They should also understand their consequences. That should make us more thoughtful in the decisions that we do make and, most importantly, less arrogant. The statement you make in your first paragraph is really still the most powerful one. If you don't respect the minds with whom you disagree, that is simply arrogance. That is a lesson for all of us, though, atheists and theists. The only thing, though, is that it does seem to be a more of a problem with atheists because without a belief in God, there is no reason for them to respect the tzelem Elokim, the image of God, in another human being -- and it is thus easier for them to mock their fellow -- and that is arrogance.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

David said...

Garnel:

That was absolutely worthy of Jacob Stein.

"You think you're smarter than some of the greatest minds in history like Rav Joseph B Soloveitchik, the Chafetz Chayim, the Vilna Gaon and countless other great rabbonim whose knowledge, logical abilities and intellect are without peer."

I seriously doubt that those men were among the greatest minds in history. And, if they were, it doesn't mean they were right about everything. If I could prove that Leonardo da Vinci was smarter than the Vilna Gaon (and I'd bet he was), would that mean I should be a Catholic? Or move to Florence? Come on, this argument doesn't pass the laugh test.


"You think you don't have to be grateful for anything you have because no God handed it to you."

Or maybe I think I should be all the more grateful to my parents. Or to my teachers. Or to my friends. Or the kindness of random strangers. Maybe religious people like you are the true ingrates-- every time someone does something kind for you, you attribute it to your personal God. I feed you dinner and you thank God for the food. I save your life and you bentsch gomel.

"You don't have to wake up and start your day with Modeh Ani because everything is yours by right."

Huh? What I worked for isn't mine by right?

"There is no Benefactor in your lives. That makes you selfish."

Au contraire. There are many. You acknowledge only one, and then use your personal relationship with that one to denigrate everybody and everything else.

"For those of you who used to be frum and then think you "smartened up", you believe your families and friends are stupid idiots."

Projection, Garnel. People can be wrong without being idiots.


"Your mothers, your fathers, your siblings, all morons. These people raised you, gave up the best years of their lives to change your diapers, feed you when you couldn't feed yourself, impart eternal and holy values and you essentially spit on it all. What does that say about you?"

I assume you're speaking here about BT's who refuse to eat in their parents' homes. Ungrateful scum that they are.


"You think that every Jew who has ever died as a kiddush HaShem, [blah, blah, blah] Gulag, [blah, blah] Crusader's stakes, who [blah, blah, blah] stupid to have insisted on dying as Jews. What idiots they were, according to you. That, well that makes you something I can't even begin to describe."

Uh, huh. And you believe that all those Christians who were thrown to lions for not renouncing Jesus died for nothing. You look down on the sacrifice of the Buddhist martyrs who immolated themselves for their faith. You despise the Russian Old Believer sect, who locked themselves, with their entire communities, in their churches and burned themselves, rather than submit to the reforms of the Patriarch Nikon. You even have the temerity to disregard the holy example of Guru Arjan Dev's slow and painful martyrdom for his refusal to accept Islam.

Goodness, isn't the suffering of all these people sufficient proof of the truth of everything they believed? And you still cling to your foolish denials! That, well that makes you something I can't even begin to describe.

Izgad said...

You are setting yourself up for PZ Myers' courtier's reply.

http://izgad.blogspot.com/2008/05/emperors-new-cloths-atheist-version.html

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Thanks for the link. However, the PZ Myers thing falls apart easily enough.

It could be physically proven that the emperor was naked. You cannot prove God does not exist. Dawkins, by going beyond shouting about his right not to believe, takes a further philosophical step and declares lack of God's existence, chas v'shalom, as something definite. Once he does that, his entire thesis loses credibility.

Jewish Atheist said...

You're the exact same way about Christianity. You think you're smarter than the best minds ever. You think your little group of a few hundred thousand Orthodox Jews is smarter than millions of Christians. And billions of others. You think the whole world is nuts. Etc.

I'm not usually this blunt, but this post is dumb.

Izgad said...

Garnel

You seem to miss the point of the entire story. Your really need to reread your fairy tales. You cannot prove that the emperor was naked. Maybe the emperor was wearing "spiritual" clothing and only highly "spiritual" people are capable of seeing it. You cannot blame the emperor for being such a gross materialist and for your own lack of belief. The fact that you see him as naked only says something about you.
As rational people our solution to this is Ockham's razor; the simplest solution is usually correct. We do not add in causes unless we have to. We only bring in causes to line up with an effect. There is a situation in which we, as rational people, would have to reject theism; if bringing in God as a cause does not help us understand a single effect that would refute God. Remember I do not believe in dragons and unicorns even though I cannot prove they do not exist. I have Ockham's razor to take care of them.

Bet Shemesh Board Gaming Club said...

This post = Fail.

Off the Derech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaim Gravitzer said...

Yeah, that post might make some people feel guilty, but it is completely illogical. Haha! When former frummies make fun of family and friend's attempt to keep them in the fold, they're referring to non-logical guilt trips like this.

Chaim Gravitzer said...

subscribing (you can reject this comment)