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Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

BenS's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by BenS

G-d forbid anyone should gas anyone for anything, especially innocent individuals who just happen to belong to some "group."

He might forbid it but doesn't do anything about it, does he? I didn't see any god fighting to prevent the massacre of the Jews.

The Nazis defined "Jew" differently than does Halacha. If I remember correctly, they went after anyone with at least 2 Jewish grandparents. It didn't matter to them if that person was atheistic, or if the person professed belief in Christianity; once they marked a so-called "Jew" for death, that was it.

You don't see it, do you? You really can't see it. You cannot see the harm in assigning labels to people who don't want them and they don't apply to DESPITE this clear example. I'm not sure how simpler I can make it. You can obviously see all the pieces because you're saying here yourself that it didn't matter if a person was an atheist, if the Nazi's decided they were a Jew, they were a Jew. And yet you can't see the harm in slapping labels on people yourself? You don't seem stupid so I can only assume you're being absolutely dishonest.

I didn't invent Halacha; I simply referenced it. It was around long before you or I were, and it may very well survive any one of us for a long time. I could reference Catholic Canon Law, and get a different result. Like it or not, Halacha is the reason there are still Jews today, including the individuals who have labeled themselves both atheistic and Jewish when posting here. Any people that severely dispersed without such a system of law would otherwise have become just a memory in history books (e.g. Hittites).

It doesn't matter who invented it, or who references it. My point is you cannot apply it to me because I don't subscribe to it. How simple do you want it?

There are laws which empower, and there are laws which harm. If by "standing" you mean that there's a force in place with police, judges, etc. which can physically and financially punish, does that somehow make it more legitimate than a legal system which doesn't? Do I subscribe to any stupid law passed by the U.S. Congress just because of where I live? Just as you might protest that nobody asked you if you wanted to be categorized as Gentile or Jewish, I might protest that nobody asked me if I consented to be jailed for smoking weed. Thankfully, at this point in history, nobody is fixing to jail me if I put cheese on a chicken sandwich. Sadly, weed is a different story.

False equivalence. YES, you do subscribe to the laws in your land by the very act of living in that land. You can always leave. You can even stand for office or lobby to get those laws changed. You can even, if you chose, foment revolution and overhaul the entire government. YES, you do subscribe to those laws by staying there. You are telling me that there exists a bunch of laws that can potentially define me as a Jew and there is FUCK ALL I can do about it. I can't leave them, I can't repeal them, I can't contest them, I can't overthrow them. I cannot believe you don't see this point despite me explaining it time and time again, so, again, I'm going to assume you're just throwing up smoke screens, comparing disalike things and invoking special pleading because you're just being dishonest.

You say I haven't answered you. I've told you everything I know.

Because you haven't answered me and what you know is insufficient. I asked two (2) yes/no questions that you haven't answered. I say you haven't answered them because you haven't answered them.

Traditionally speaking, a Jew is someone whose mom is Jewish. That's the short, simple answer. If you want more detail, Amos has cited a Wiki article about it.

I read through it. It's a load of shit. Even Jews can't agree on what it means to be a Jew and yet you're here defending the right of laws I don't subscribe to to label me as such. The whole article about who is a Jew is further proof that not all Jews are united with Torah and Mitzvoth. Otherwise the article would be a lot shorter. Interesting point - the article defining what a woman is, is one third the size of that defining a Jew.

There's tons of literature out there about it. There are synogogues and yeshivas around the world filled with rabbis and students who would be more than happy to answer your questions and debate with you about it.

There's also tons of literature out there about who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman and plenty of people willing to debate me on it. So what?

Also, you came here. Arguing your own points yourself instead of trying to get me to go to a synogogue or argue with everyone else on the internet or simply admit that you don't personally understand what you're trying to propose and defend.

If you would rather do other things with your life then that, I defend your right as a sovereign individual to make your own choices which don't harm anyone. Peace.

This is a lie. You defend my right to make my own choices? Ok, how about my choice as to whether I'm a Jew or not? Apparently, you defend my right to make this choice - except you state, quite baldly, that I do not have this right. If you say I'm a Jew, then I'm a Jew and that's that. How, exactly, are you defending my right? You're not, you're lying.

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 07:50:39 UTC | #951154

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

BenS's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by BenS

Comment 53 by Ignorant Amos :

Now call me old fashioned, but Bob Marley was anything but a Jew, cultural or otherwise.

Well, now, that's very interesting - but was his mother a Jew? The funny thing is here, because (I believe) she wasn't, Rob will claim that Marley was not a Jew. If she was a Jew, he's then in the rather odd position of having to claim Marley was actually a Jew and therefore united with all the other Jews by Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra, or whatever.

I would pay good money for a photograph of a bunch of rabbis all sitting in a circle trying to convince themselves that Bob Marley was actually a Jew.

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 15:27:36 UTC | #951141

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

BenS's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by BenS

Comment 52 by Ignorant Amos :

Is there a list of silly rules and regulations there or not? Stuff the sophisticated theology nonsense, what does the man in the street know, believe and is taught. Why does a electrical appliance company spend a fortune on developing and manufacturing 'kosher' cookers for example?

When I was thinking earlier today (it does occasionally happen despite my best efforts to prevent it) I was considering Rob's point about why I don't just ignore the label that's applied to me by others if I don't want it associated with me. And, like most of my thinkerings, the answer was in the question I posed myself. I don't want the label associated with me.

Firstly, people don't want labels applied to them without their consent. Rob doesn't either. The very first thing he did when I called him a snogwart was invent a reason why he wasn't one.

Secondly, I don't want anyone to think I'm daft enough to believe in sky wizards and magic. Religious observance is, at the very least, implied by the unqualified use of the word Jew to describe someone.

Thirdly, I don't want anyone to think I'm daft enough to observe archaic and ridiculous rules - again, this is, at the very least, implied by the word Jew unless a qualification is added.

Take, for example, ah, well, the example you gave. This is where a people claim to have laws and then do their absolute level best not to abide by them in any credible way. Eruv is another example. Can you imagine the discussions?

"Shit. We've got a law that prevents us carrying objects between domains and we're supposed to execute those who do. How're we going to get around that?" "Well, why not throw some string around the entire city and claim everything within it is one domain?" "Brilliant! Another law successfully neutered."

I mean, seriously? You're going to fool an all knowing, all seeing, all powerful god with that? A five year old wouldn't be fooled by that. I'm just waiting for some bright spark to make a one metre circle and then point out that the eruv encompasses the entire globe the other way around and that the centre of the circle is actually the bit that's outside the eruv. With enough 'interpretation' of the law this, like anything else, can be justified.

Not only do I not want the idea that I follow these ridiculous laws attached to me via a label, I also don't want the fundamental dishonesty that almost always goes with them attached to me either.

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 15:17:04 UTC | #951140

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

BenS's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by BenS

Good work on mastering the comments, btw - makes it much easier to respond to. :)

This isn't the first time you've made this issue reflexive, Ben. I don't know what it's got to do with you; I said it applied to me.

You don't know what applying a label to me has got to do with me? What, really? Let me explain it to you. You're applying a label to me. That make it clear enough?

Why are you being so defensive? Is there something you're not telling us? -- not that it's any of my business.

There's lots of things I'm not telling you. None of them are relevant.

Even if it does theoretically apply to you, is anyone physically persecuting you with these laws? If you don't like them, go ahead and ignore them. I did so for years.

Not right now because I'm fortunate enough to have been born in a country where that almost never happens. Let's just stick within living memory, shall we. 1940s, say? I'm an atheist, happily minding my own business until some dickhead says "Oh, Ben, yeah, his mother was a Jew once so Ben's a Jew according to our law.". Next thing you know, I'm on the way to a gas chamber for something I don't follow and don't believe in all because someone else used laws I don't subscribe to in order to pin a label on me that I don't want and doesn't apply.

It's just theoretical now in our relatively safe havens. It hasn't always been just theoretical and in many places in the world labels get people tortured and killed. That's profoundly practical and no amount of ignoring that label will prevent you getting a burning tyre around your neck.

I'm not the moderator, and we are having a discussion. If anyone can label themselves anything for any reason, at any time, without reference to any standard criteria, then wouldn't that render the labels pretty much meaningless? Can I call myself Chinese just 'cause I feel like it, just cause I like Chinese food?

Yes, and as I said earlier it's up to them to argue their case. Arguing you're Chinese because you like Chinese food will have your claim rejected by almost everyone who hears it. But that's fine - it's your case you're putting forward and your argument to support it. What YOU are saying is that some people ARE Jews whether they agree to the label or not and there's not a damn thing they can do about it. That kind of certainty only applies to a very few labels which can be supported by rock solid scientific evidence (usually genetics). Given that you STILL haven't given a decent definition of 'Jew' besides empty claims "You are 'cos a snoggi... err, rabbi says you are." you really don't have the right to apply the term to whomsover you wish.

That's terrible of me, not letting people do what they want to with their lives. You're right. I should stop persecuting people this way. Ben, free people in free societies can do pretty much whatever the heck they want. I was just referencing a legal system. I could tell you just as well that smoking marijuana is for the most part illegal in my country. That doesn't mean that I'm out there jailing people. There are some American laws which I'd like to see changed. For the moment, however, they are what they are.

Once again, you're confusing a legal system that people subscribe to (by being residents of the country that has those laws) to a legal system they didn't. Like I said, you don't get to invent your own legal system and apply it to people without their consent any more than I get to invent a legal system for snogwarts and apply it to all the people I determine are snogwarts. Including you, remember.

Again, it's just a legal definition, even if only an accademic and theoretical one.

It's a 'legal' definition that has absolutely no standing - much like the law of the snoggle.

The point is that if the word "Jew" has any meaning, then there has to be something common to all the people with that label.

I've literally just shown how this isn't the case and you've completely ignored it; that doesn't earn much respect from me. Is the guy in the example given a Jew and is he united with all the other Jews with Torah and Mitzvoth? The answer to both those questions cannot be yes without some incredible mental gymnastics, flawed logic or outright lies.

So, answer me.

Is the guy in the example above a Jew? Is the guy in the example above united with all the other Jews via Torah and Mitzvoth?

Go and ask a sn... I mean rabbi if you're not sure.

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 07:32:24 UTC | #951132

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

BenS's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by BenS

It is widely known that while Jews cannot opt out of being Jewish, blue-eyed Snogwarts can opt out of the Snogwart Nation.

This is special pleading. It is rejected. You are a snogwart.

But, hey, that's what rabbis do; they analyze this sort of stuff. So you see, I didn't say it's cause the Rob said so; I said that the rabbis say so.

Again, this doesn't work. Just because a rabbi claims it is so, does not make it so. Otherwise, if that's the case, you have to accept that you're a snogwart because a snoggi (me) says so.

A note on Law: Even a nomadic people can have a system of law. Prior to the modern State of Israel, there were settled Israelite kingdoms in the past. However, the fact that the Jewish people continued to be a people in any meaningful sense for so many centuries without having a geographically stable nation state is because they had a system of law -- Torah & Mitzvoth.

I'm well aware of this. I could invent my own laws right now. What I can't do, and what YOU (and any other Jew) CAN'T do is insist that laws you (or your rabbis) invented apply to me.

Even when more and more Jews went secular, Jew-haters hated them anyway. Why is a mystery to me. Haven't you noticed, though, that there are people posting here who call themselves both Jewish and secular, or both Jewish and atheistic? They aren't calling themselves ex-Jews; they aren't calling themselves non-Jews.

They can call themselves what they wish and then argue their case for it if required. YOU don't get to decide what they are and then say that's not open for discussion.

If they have that matrilieal heritage, then the Orthodox rabbis will call them Jews regardless of their personal beliefs or their level of observance.

This sounds to me, then, that the phrase 'orthodox rabbi' is synonymous with 'a dick'. If someone insisted I was a Jew, despite not following Jewish customs or Jewish religion in any way, shape or form, I would call them a dick.

At least some non-orthodox rabbis (e.g. Reconstructionist) will say that someone can claim to be Jewish based on either side -- matrilineal or patrilineal.

There's a difference between someone claiming to be Jewish and telling someone they are Jewish and that's that.

Just because my local rabbis don't physically arrest me, jail me, fine me, or stone me when I make a phone call on Sabbath doesn't mean they don't have a system of law. Instead of enforcing it physically, they just use guilt. They say things like, "Rob, you shouldn't do that. Wait till Shabbos is over."

What people do when they voluntarily subscribe to a set of rules is largely up to them. If, say, I had a Jewish mother but did not follow any of those archaic customs and rules and someone said to me "Ben, you're a Jew, you shouldn't be using the 'phone on Sabbath!" I would tell them to fuck off and mind their own business.

Of course I value the individual, and I understand an individual's need to define him/herself.

You value the individual, you understand an individual's need to define him/herself but you still don't let them do it? Jewish mother therefore person is a Jew; fuck their own definition of what they are, they're a Jew. Sounds to me like you're saying the words 'I value the individual' but you don't really mean it.

That's why I argued for a while, like you are now, that Halacha didn't apply to me if I didn't subscribe to it. After all, it's under American Law that I can actually be arrested, jailed, and fined. While I have been a wimp many times in my life about many things in many situations, it wasn't wimpiness that made me accept that I was Jewish. The annecdote I related only paints only part of the picture.

So, you're not giving the full story and you wonder why I don't understand or accept it?

The case I made to that Jewish lady about (the heritage of) Torah & Mitzvoth uniting all the Jews globally was not actually a tautology. I asked her to tell me what cultural thing(s) all the Jews had in common, and she couldn't come up with a better answer. I did run into her the other day, though, and she said she still thinks there's something else. She was driving in the opposite direction, however, and didn't have time to tell me what it was. One of the last things I had a chance to say was that I'm looking forward to her answer next time I see her.

You're just moving the goal posts on the definition of Jew. I can give you a single, simple example of how Torah and Mitzvoth do not unite all the Jews. A man who has no idea his mother was Jewish when she was a girl but was brought up atheist (or in a non-Jewish religion) and is totally ignorant of Judaism. According to you, he's a Jew. There is no way Torah and Mitzvoth can unite him with the other Jews because he's never heard of them. You either admit he's not a Jew or admit Torah and Mitzvoth don't unite all the Jews.

If you're going to claim that he's a Jew because he's defined as such by Torah and Mitzvoth and therefore Torah and Mitzvoth unite him with other Jews then it's circular reasoning, a tautology and a load of bollocks.

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 13:54:19 UTC | #951112

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