A Rabbi who quotes Spinoza, an educated man, someone who thinks the Gedolim are simpletons who don't understand peshat in Breishis! Sounds like my kind of guy!
Ultimately though, he failed to deliver the goods. He made a reasonable stab at the Kuzari argument, not bad at all (all things considered). I then countered with a reasonable counter argument, see the post below entitled "Lame Fundamentalist Arguments". I expected some kind of counter to my counter. But what did I get? Absolutely nothing!
There are 250 comments on that post, and not one of them addresses my counter argument! Instead RJM attacks my methodology, my bias, my lack of seriousness, my lack of learning, anything and everything, but nowhere does he address the actual content of the post, except to say it's silly, and he leaves it at that. Not very convincing I'm afraid. And the only thing all this has achieved is to make me realize yet again how absolutely incapable fundamentalists are in admitting to reality.
Millions of people believe passionately in their different (and usually contradictory) religions. True, many of these people never think about their religion very seriously, even the highly intelligent people. But certainly some do. And, given the millions upon millions of religious people in the world, that still leaves you with a very significant number of intelligent people who have questioned their faith very seriously indeed.
Now, we know many of these people have become secular Christians, Moslems and Jews. And no doubt there is quite a large percentage who decided to stick with their faith, for all the usual reasons. However there is a tiny percentage who switched faiths. How many Christian converts to Judaism do you know? A handful? And vice versa? And to Islam? And vice versa? It hardly ever happens. Why is this? Of course there are social issues involved, but for a true truth seeker, they wouldn't matter as much.
Do you honestly think that if you had been brought up religious Christian that you would now be a Rabbi? Or vice versa? Fact is, the statistics plainly show that the vast majority of people brought up in a strong faith remain that way. And of those that don't, the vast majority give up all faith. Clearly, the vast majority of people convinced by religious arguments are the people who believed in it in the first place.
Go to any bookstore. You will find volumes and volumes of Christian apologetics, written by educated and intelligent people, all apparently containing 'convincing' proof that Jesus just must be the Messiah. But RJM dismisses all of these as nonsense! (And he's right of course). But does RJM really think that all these people are fools, and only he has the convincing arguments? Which is more likely, he has a solid argument for religion, or he is yet another fundamentalist convinced by arguments that no rational objective person would ever be convinced by?
We know for a FACT that millions upon millions of otherwise highly intelligent and educated people believe in the biggest nonsense - when it comes to religion. We KNOW this! Every fundamentalist agrees to this! RJM himself holds that 99% of all religions, and consequently 99% of all religious believers, believe in nonsense. We have clear evidence that when it comes to religion, people believe what they want to believe. Its irrefutable! Even the fundamentalists agree! Yet RJM has the hubris to think that he is objective and non biased about his own religion? Unbelievable!
The effects of religious indoctrination are obvious. They're everywhere. From the Muslim suicide bombers, to the devout evangelicals, to Orthodox Jews. All of them, even the highly intelligent ones, are absolutely convinced of the veracity of their own arguments, and absolutely convinced of how nonsensical their opponent's arguments are.
'God couldn't possibly manifest Himself as a man!' exclaims Y Aharon. Does he not realize how ironically non self aware this comment is? Thousands of years of Christian apologetics, written by the most educated, intelligent and spiritual people, yet Y Aharon dismisses it all in an instant. The stupidity of Christianity is readily apparent to him, and to all Orthodox fundamentalists (and to all skeptics of course), but the stupidity of his own beliefs, in mythical floods and genetically altered men? No! Not stupid at all. The hubris is mind boggling.
Of course Y Aharon and RJM will respond as they usually do. Their arguments are convincing, and the only people not convinced are led by their yetzer horah, or are not serious, or are not honest, or some other insult. Their lack of self awareness is quite incredible. Boruch Hashem my own Rabbeim are more intellectually honest (but that doesn't help much either).
I don't attack the fundamentalists for holding the beliefs they hold. I can understand why someone would want to hold onto their beliefs, it's natural. But for intelligent people to think they have convincing arguments for their fundamentalist faith is laughable. Absolutely laughable.
And I have nothing against any of these people personally. Y AHaron I know for a fact is a fine fellow with a choshuv family. I don't know RJM that well, but clearly he is a respected Rabbi and also a fine fellow. Even ed is a good guy! But all these people are so incredibly biased and brainwashed, they can't think straight. Could God possibly want things to be this way? I find it hard to believe He does. Assuming He exists. Which is yet another thing that nobody seems to know for sure. Amazing really. We don't know for sure whether God exists, but we do know for sure that He wrote the Torah. And how does that work exactly? Of course it doesn't. Just like every other argument I have heard.
But what do I know? I'm just dishonest, not open to the truth, guided by my yetzer horah, unscrupulous, not serious, biased towards the skeptics, not spiritual enough, not philosophical enough, not rational enough, not learned enough, too stubborn, too fallacious, too intellectually dishonest and an all round failure at finding the truth. Oh well, I tried.