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Why not accept God?

Posted By Obadiah Shoher On March 30, 2012 @ 9:33 am In Jewish matters | 5 Comments

Refusal to believe in God has a curious similarity to anti-Semitism. Hardcore atheists have faith in a myriad of subjects: they believe in communism or democracy, the wisdom of their Central Bank’s policy, and security of their pension savings. Some of the propositions they accept on faith are verifiably wrong, as related to the government policy. Some are inherently unprovable, such as the Big Bang. But everyone goes berserk when asked to believe in God. Why the difference?

I submit that people loathe accepting beings higher than themselves. Even the highest politician is still a human like you in the same sense that a top model is very much like your girl-next-door. A counter-example is obvious: people willingly denigrate themselves for their leaders and sacrifice their lives for the likes of Stalin. The apparent self-abasement of this is, however, misunderstood. The people actually elate themselves by uniting in militant masses; they deify the leader, but then attach themselves to him. In a sense, the same is possible with God: deeply religious people abrogate their free will and identify themselves as his instruments, which is a supposedly prestigious position. The bridge from atheism to deep religiosity is the most dangerous ground: proselytes accept their insignificance compared to God but are not yet ready to merge into him. That precarious position takes many aspirants aback: they don’t want to feel themselves inherently lower than someone else. This is also the attitude behind anti-Semitism: naturally, everyone hates the Jewish status of chosen people.

Going through the inconvenience of developing faith in God is practically worthwhile. Instead of fencing with Israel’s detractors over the technicalities of the British Mandate or historical rights, how much easier it is to state that the land is ours in its entirety because God gave it to us. How much more pleasant it is to fight “for the cities of our God” rather than the whims of yet another corrupt Israeli government. The enforcement of basic commandments in Israel would solve many problems: enforcement of Shabbat and prohibition of extra-Temple sacrifices and non-Orthodox worship would make the country off-limits to Arabs. How incorrect is that? There is no foreign worship in Saudi Arabia or the Vatican, why should be there in Israel? We might not construct the Temple, but preparing for it would allow us to raze Al Aqsa—and what Western Christian government can argue with religious Jews who simply go according to the book? We might not execute for homosexuality, but banning it in accordance with the Torah puts a firm lid on libertarianism and its destructive ideology.

And besides, it is so good to have Shabbat dinner with candle lights.


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