Sunday, January 23, 2005

But why?

People might ask, "Why don't you believe in Judaism?" That's the obvious question for the uninitiated. The answer is really simple. Lack of supporting evidence and inconsistencies internal and with the world as we know it.

The obvious examples for this are the stories from the well known book of Genesis. There is very strong and conclusive evidence that shows the world is far older than 6000 years old. People don't live hundreds of years. Animals don't talk. Animals evolved. The whole thing stinks of myth.

There are also numerous timing discrepancies. One of my favorites has to do with Ur, Land of the Chaldeans:

Abraham, according to tradition, lived from 1948 since Creation (1812 BCE) until 2123 (1637 BCE).
Moses, according to tradition, the writer of the Torah, lived from 2368 since Creation (1392 BCE) until 2488 (1272 BCE).
The Chaldeans, a semi-nomadic people are first mentioned in history in the documents of Assyrian kings dated to 884-859 BCE.In 721 BCE, Chaldeans conquered the Assyrian Empire and held a greater one in it’s place until 539 BCE.
In Genesis 11:31 it says that Abraham "went out from the Ur of the Chaldeans [Ur Kasdim]."A generous estimate for the time that the Chaldeans could have first been established in Ur would be around the year 1000 BCE. Yet Moses died over two hundred years before this time and Abraham more than six hundred years. How then could Abraham have left "Ur of the Chaldeans" if simple chronology is to be accepted?


But these examples are of small consequence given the question of faith. What is faith? Faith is the believing something to be true without evidence or despite evidence to the contrary. How is this a good thing? People can believe the Earth is flat, that the Sun orbits the Earth, that tomatoes are poisonous or that when you die you'll go to heaven and have 72 virgins to do your bidding. People have the capacity to believe just about anything. So how is faith a virtue? Without evidence, what you believe could be dead wrong and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. And what is consistently found in all supernatural religions? Faith. That leap of faith, be it surge over a chasm or a hop over a crack, is always present.

Is there a better way to finding out what is true about the world? Evidence. Evidence is what counts. The best and most productive method for finding evidence and using it to understand the world is, you guessed it, the scientific method. Granted, science can, does and will make mistakes. But even errors made in the process are fixed later on. Mistakes made by one scientist are often soon brought to light by peer review and subsequent criticisms of his or her fellow scientists. Science is self-correcting in this way. Science is not perfect. As there are only humans doing the work and humans have many frailties and shortcomings, there is no doubt that science is an imperfect system. But it is still our best one.

Comparing faith and science demonstrates this point. If you were feeling sick and went to the doctor, would you prefer that he hand you some pills without even seeing you and tell you to take them on faith or would you like it if he did several tests by which he could rule out all the diseases except for the one you have and give you the medicine that he knows you need. I think most people would rather the tests be done - even if they aren't always perfect. Because you never know what you're going to get from Dr. Faith and his bag of tricks.

It is only through science that we have taken rockets to the moon, that we have antibiotics to cure disease, that we can fertilize crops to feed a world, that we even have this internet by which you are seeing these words. Faith never did anything like this. Faith cannot do anything like this.
As far as I can see, faith is a bankrupt method of gaining knowledge of the world and must therefore be dismissed and I cannot find myself believing things based on it. That's why I don't believe in Judaism.

4 comments:

mnuez said...
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mnuez said...

Hey ~ Mazal Tov on your new blog! Your comments on snag are fun to read (as well as enlightening) and I'm sure this blog will bne the talk of the city soon enough. (but in the future ya might want wanna choose a better "favorite" than ur, or at least leave moshe and anno mundi out of your point as throwing in a whole bunch of extra dates aint KISSing)

and again ~ welcome! I look forward to reading more.

Orthoprax said...

Mnuez,

Thanks for your support. I wasn't really writing specifically for readers yet, though. So far I've just been setting a foundation from which other posts can build from. I guess it's not very interesting yet but if people are seeing this type of thing for the first time (and I'm the one lucky enough for them to see so early in the game) then I'd like to give them a good feel from where I'm coming from.

-Daniel

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