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← Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

Rob W.'s Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Rob W.

Dear Ignorant Amos, regarding your Comment # 52:

You don't take it seriously, or so you say

Sometimes yes; sometimes no. I am a lazy, undisciplined, hedonistic Jew / person. I have discovered great value in taking on some mitzvoth which I didn't used to do, but I'm not consistent. I would like to think that I am not so superstitious as I might seem, and that's why this discussion got started. Torah & Mitzvoth are about values more than they are about ghosts. Prayer is practical when it's about working on yourself -- when it's about meditating on good values and behaviors. Unfortunately, too many people around the world make the mistake of thinking that prayer is about trying to get work done (e.g. increasing the chance of rain, shrinking a tumor) by talking at the sky. So I often do see eye-to-eye with my Atheist neighbors when it comes to identifying problems with relgion.

Do you not think there is anything wrong with using guilt to achieve an aim regardless of who it is doing it?

That depends on what is the dasterdly deed. In my opinion, a kid-raper should feel guiltiy -- very, very much so. In cases such as that, the perp should be jailed, fined, etc. whether he / she feels guilt or not.

Do you believe that women in menstruation should feel guilty?

I am not a rabbi, and therefore not an expert in this area. Off the top of my head, Halacha might prescribe stricter purification rules for Jewish women than for Gentile women. However, to the best of my knowledge, this has nothing to do with guilt. Menstruation is not a sin; it is a normal part of life. Halacha instructs a Jewish woman to take a ritual bath at the end of the cycle before mating with her husband.

Good point on the "moratorium" bit. Stoning, gassing, oy vey, G-d forbid! As for circumcision, I don't think it's as terrible as you (and Hitch, r.i.p.) make it sound. It became so ubiquitous, at least in places like U.S.A., that it became commonplace amongst the Gentiles as well. The disasterous cases of circumcisions gone wrong are so rare that I don't think they form a very strong case to entirely ban the practice. Before you jump on my case for mixing up apples with oranges, keep in mind that I'm making an analogy to illustrate a principle here. In rare cases, immunizations have gone wrong and done more harm than good, but that doesn't make a strong case for banning vaccines. Anyway, circumcised males are at slightly lower risk of certain types of cancer. What's more, circumcised penises are significantly statistically less likely to transmit some diseases. When considering that and what's going on with the rampant spread of HIV in parts of Africa, it's a good idea for Gentiles to employ it, too. Should it be postponed until the male is older? I don't know. Baby boys seem to bounce back from it so quickly, I wouldn't be surprised if it might be tougher in some ways on an older boy / man. Female genital mutilation is a whole different story. Employing the English word "circumcision" for both practices is like calling the practice of scalping a "haircut."

You have brought up many points, and it's not that I wouldn't want to address more of them, but I fear this comment is getting quite long. I'll just say a little more for now.

For centuries, even after Mosaic Torah got written down, Israel had Oral Torah as well. Details of due process in court cases were already in place long before they got written down in the Mishnah and debated in Gemara. If you want to criticize and ridicule Judaism, fine, but you would do well to get a little more educated on the matter. To be fair and truthful, though, so would I. There's so much more to it than most people realize. I think the only people who have a clue how vast it is are the yeshiva rabbis and their students.

I didn't avoid your question about the Holocaust. Maybe I don't understand what you're asking me or what it is at which you are driving. Feel free to enlighten me.

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 08:35:49 UTC | #951155