As one of the rabbis on Aish.com’s Ask the Rabbi service, I find that many people are bothered by the following theological question. [ugh, such a perfectly good waste of a colon : - JA] If God really loves us and wants what’s best for us, why didn’t He just put us straight in Heaven? Let us enjoy a relationship with Him right away! Why did God create such a dark and distant physical world, insisting that we first observe His mitzvot and overcome challenges, only afterwards rewarding us with the World to Come – if we pass our tests? Why expose us to so much evil, pain and temptation beforehand?
#Jewish #Carpenter #Jesus #Today
Not today, but when I need to remodel my bathroom, send me his business card ;P
gracefullygordon asked: When you left Judaism, why for atheism instead of another religion?
Bc as I came to question Judaism more, I started to inspect the claims about god itself. I realized they really didn’t make sense and I so started to disbelieve in god altogether, so choosing another religion wouldn’t have made sense for me. I just don’t believe in god.
Anonymous asked: I really like winnie the pooh, Can you draw winnie the pooh pleaseeeeee
Met a really stupid person today. This person is considering converting to orthodoxy. I asked why. The response, “it’s just a feeling I have.” I tried to elicit a more precise explanation (what kind of feeling? about what aspect/s of judaism? etc.) to no avail. Oh, this same person reacted to my atheism as such: “Oh, that’s terrible. Atheism is bad, it’s just bad.” I laughed.
Oh, this person also doesn’t believe in evolution bc “why didn’t the other apes turn into people too.”
Can people really still be this dumb?
wakemewmut asked: I have enjoyed your writings for a long time without ever thanking you for taking the time to put your thoughts together for others to digest. That was a bit wordy, but thank you. I appreciate your perspective on life and faith. I find it pretty baffling and nonsensical myself (the faith bit), and I recognize a bit of the kindred spirit in you.
This is definitely one of the most moving messages I’ve gotten here. Thanks so much! Not to sound needy, but it’s nice to know that people appreciate the time that goes into my blog, bc, yeah, it’s a decent amount of time! But honestly, totally worth it if people are finding anything useful or informative or just thought provoking in what I write. ok, enough babbling out of me… thanks so much again!
Wow, will you look at this shit? It’s just so much blather about nothing!
I can’t believe I used to think there was something so great about articles on Aish. Feh.
Hey blue, thanks for the submission. You’re totally right (and I completely empathize): what a load of crap. But, as always, I’m gonna break it down:
If God loves us, why did He place us in such a dark and evil world?
By Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld
I want to reiterate those last two sentences: god (allegedly) has us here despite the many pains and vexations we endure, to earn heaven. And we might not even earn it! (I’m actually rather curious as to what percentage of people do rabbis think make it to heaven.)
Perhaps one would answer that we are not ready for a relationship with God in our current state. We are too coarse and physical today to connect with the infinite. We must first improve and develop ourselves, making us more spiritual and able to enjoy a relationship with the Divine. But if so, why did God have to make us so physical in the first place? Why couldn’t He have created us as angel-like beings, ready to enjoy the ultimate pleasure of closeness to God from the start? Can’t God do anything?
I like that the rabbi is on a fairly intellectually honest start, asking the right and obvious questions, like “why didn’t god just make us differently? He can do anything!” Let’s see how long this lasts.
I would like to discuss three approaches to this issue. But in truth they are all the same answer – three angles to the same fundamental truth. Each point of response will introduce us to yet a deeper and more profound understanding. Let us get started.
Reward or Humiliation?
On the simplest level, if a person receives reward for that which he did not do, it would not be reward. It would be embarrassment. If God would “reward” us by giving us the World to Come for free, we would not enjoy it. We would feel the same shame and humiliation a person experiences in this world living off of charity and handouts. It shames a person to admit his dependence on others – that he could not support himself through his own efforts but must subsist through the beneficence of others. In the spiritual world that feeling is no less – in fact it is infinitely more intense.
"But why didn’t god just make us feel differently? Can’t he do anything?" Yeah, that absolutely legitimate line of questioning lasted around 30 seconds before the rabbi lost it.
Secondly, I think there are lots of people who really don’t mind living off of others. So, yeah, the premise of your argument seems invalid to me even without an omnipotent god who could do anything.
Thirdly, I think it’s weird to compare our experience in this world with a situation where an infinite being would provide everything we need (or want?). That’s very different from a world where most people have to struggle to survive. I might feel spoiled if I have rich parents, but I probably wouldn’t mind if EVERYBODY had rich parents - or all the same “parent” (ie god). The comparison is just unsound. I mean, for instance, if the gov’t gave everyone $500 to boost the economy, no-one is going to feel ashamed. Everyone would be thrilled (assuming everyone thought it was a good idea, bc they might be concerned about the gov’t running out of money - a concern which, again, doesn’t apply to god). ok, lets move on…
31:4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.31:5 So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
31:8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
31:12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
31:15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
But remember, it’s impossible to be moral without religion. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
hmm rather profound
Frank Sinatra on Religion (like a boss)
- Playboy: From what you’ve said, it seems that we’ll have to learn something of what makes you tick as a man in order to understand what motivates you as an entertainer. Would it be all right with you if we attempt to do just that—by exploring a few of the fundamental beliefs which move and shape your life?
- Sinatra: Look, pal, is this going to be an ocean cruise or a quick sail around the harbor? Like you, I think, I feel, I wonder. I know some things, I believe in a thousand things, and I’m curious about a million more. Be more specific.
- Playboy: All right, let’s start with the most basic question there is: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God?
- Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life—in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.
- Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?
- Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants.
- Playboy: Hasn’t religious faith just as often served as a civilizing influence?
- Sinatra: Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they—or most of them—devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct—including racial prejudice—are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of commercialized superstition. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m for decency—period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday—cash me out.
- Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine?
- Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but you’ll notice that it also carries the articles and advertisements of astrology and hokey Elmer Gantry revivalists. We in America pride ourselves on freedom of the press, but every day I see, and so do you, this kind of dishonesty and distortion not only in this area but in reporting—about guys like me, for instance, which is of minor importance except to me; but also in reporting world news. How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we’re in trouble.
- Playboy: Are you saying that…
- Sinatra: No, wait, let me finish. Have you thought of the chance I’m taking by speaking out this way? Can you imagine the deluge of crank letters, curses, threats and obscenities I’ll receive after these remarks gain general circulation? Worse, the boycott of my records, my films, maybe a picket line at my opening at the Sands. Why? Because I’ve dared to say that love and decency are not necessarily concomitants of religious fervor.
- Playboy: If you think you’re stepping over the line, offending your public or perhaps risking economic suicide, shall we cut this off now, erase the tape and start over along more antiseptic lines?
- Sinatra: No, let’s let it run. I’ve thought this way for years, ached to say these things. Whom have I harmed by what I’ve said? What moral defection have I suggested? No, I don’t want to chicken out now. Come on, pal, the clock’s running.
- Fuck yeah, like a boss. Damn, my respect for Sinatra just increased exponentially.