Why religious institutions fail

The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av coincides this year with sundown on July 19th and recalls the … Continued

The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av coincides this year with sundown on July 19th and recalls the collapse of ancient Judaism’ central religious institution — the Jerusalem Temple. The First Temple, built by King Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians, was, according to the Talmud, destroyed because the Israelites practiced idolatry, rape/incest, and murder. The Second Temple, destroyed by Rome, was destroyed, according to the same source, because of casual hatred between people.

In each case, the rabbis taught, a religious institution failed because of the failing of those who worshiped there. In that approach lies an important lesson for all people who look to those outside their own religious community to understand why the institution they love may not be doing as well as they would like.

Rather that cast blame at the feet of others, the sages of the Talmud remind their followers that even for a relatively poor and powerless people, both the roots of past failures and the keys to future success, are usually found closer to home than the faithful often imagine. This is not about blaming the victim as much as it is about empowering the victim to take responsibility for their past and reminding them of their capacity to build a better future.

Whether a sufficient explanation or not, the rabbis’ approach is worthy of attention. Both of their answers point us toward what is essentially the same problem, one which is painfully present in virtually every religious community functioning today: the privileging of doctrine over people.

The sin cycle of idolatry/improper sex/murder, sometimes called Judaism’s ‘Big Three,’ is defined by the three acts for which one must give up their life if asked to commit. In Jewish law, all other transgressions are insignificant compared to saving a life, but not these three. Why? Because in the case of the ‘Big Three’, the transgressor imagines that nothing in the world is more important than themselves and what they want to do – God is made small and people lose significance altogether.

According to the Sages, the First Temple collapsed because it was supported by people who had life backwards – they put themselves before others, with no limitations. The God which they worshiped was simply a reflection of themselves, never offering corrective exhortation or even an alternative view of reality, and this justified their doing to others whatever they felt like doing, including raping and murdering them. Any temple which was central to that kind of culture should have collapsed.

When the temples in our life provide nothing but excuses for that which we already want to do, and when they fail to sensitize us to those beyond the temple’s walls, as was apparently the case in ancient Israel, the collapse of those temples is a reasonable, if tragic, result. And the same can be said for the loss of the Second Temple.

The Talmud teaches that casual hatred caused the collapse of the Second Temple and tells stories to illustrate what that means. The stories all boil down to the same issue: People, intoxicated with their own interpretation of events, are prepared to hurt and shame other human beings who happen not to share the same understanding of reality. I know that sounds, tragically, like an all-too-contemporary story.

As in the events which lead to collapse number one, collapse number two was also a function of people putting themselves and their particular ideas ahead of any basic respect for the needs and feelings of others. In that sense, the Talmud’s two explanations for the destructions of the temples are really one explanation framed two ways. How Talmudic!

Either way, what was true two millennia ago, remains true today: the integrity of our temples is guaranteed not by their walls, the armies that guard them, or the rituals performed within. The integrity of our temples is assured, if at all, by the way in which we treat both those who worship in them and also those who don’t.

When our temples, be they religious, political, cultural, or otherwise, serve people more than people serve them, then those temple deserve to survive. When it’s the other way around, not so much.

Find me on Twitter @bradhirschfield

About

Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • WmarkW

    The Temple remains destroyed because the Jews realized moral values didn’t require burning sheep.They don’t require prayers, worship services or fiction tales masquerading as history, either.Most people know what goodness is. Just do it.

  • Sajanas

    The temples were destroyed because of Babylonians and Romans, not because of some loss of faith by the Jews. The kingdom of Jerusalem was really not a terribly big place, and the empires that existed at the time were pretty vast and ruthless. If anything, I would say that the fall of the Second Temple was caused by being too zealous. The Jews refused to be ruled by another power, which being Polythiest, did not really understand why the Jews did not accept at least a few of their gods. The Romans saw that the Temple was a powerful symbol to the Jews destroyed it utterly. I can understand the ancient Jews treasuring their traditions, but I think that their faith in god really blinded them to the slim odds of their success in having their own independent kingdom.

  • mono1

    nothing fail nations like intoxication of human interpretation.jews said,christians said ,what is the common denimoniation between the above 2 sects?sect one degrade almighty god to human need sect two degrade almighty god to human needin other words both sect put their interpreated god in the temple/church box and practiced secular humanity,they visit the shrine sat and sun where the rest of the week they practice their humanity.you know why they fail?

  • Secular

    Mr. Hirschfiled’s and the old Talmudic explanations for the destruction of the two temples are just simply silly. The notion that their Dog punished them in the first case due to their idolatry, is plain simple asinine. Are we to believe that their dog punished them by helping the Babylonians (idolaters)to destroy the temple that was built to extol him? Are we to really believe that Babylonian’s prayers to their dogs had nothing to do with their success? Come on Brad can’t you admit this one time that the Babylonian dog were more powerful than your yweh? I just want to understand in your view (for that matter any yweh fans) how would a victories by Babylonians would be different if their dogs were more powerful than yweh? The so called talmudic analysis is downright silly, laughable. Do you theists understand why we find these kind of homilies worth nothing but derision. Quit this silliness and join us the rationalists. I guarantee you your life would be less stressful, and you will on the overall a better person.

  • Iconoblaster

    The Talmudic “explanation” for the destruction of the Temples is consistent with the approach and apparent intentions of the Talmudic authors to everything else.”Everything bad that happens to you occurs because you didn’t behave as we told you to.”This is an attempt by leaders to evade their own responsibility for calamity, and salvage their power over the people, after their leadership has brought the people to ruin.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,You state: “The notion that their God punished them in the first case due to their idolatry, is plain simple asinine. Are we to believe that their God punished them by helping the Babylonians (idolaters)to destroy the temple that was built to extol him?”Anyone even vaguely familiar with the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah (decades prior to the fall of Jerusalem) knows that this is precisely what God did. It was His judgment against Judah for the sins of idolatry, sexual immorality, and infanticide.You state: “Do you theists understand why we find these kind of homilies worth nothing but derision?”Do you atheists not understand that your senseless diatribes against the God who created you are evidence of a reprobate mind?

  • Secular

    RCofield, what do you have to say for the god’s connivance in mass murder by Jacob and his sons to avenge the promiscuous Dinah knowing Schehm the Hivite, despite teh fact that Schehm married and even circumsized himself and the all of his tribe. This is the same god who condones and abets in the crime after the fact, is the one sitting in judgment against his so called chosen people for idolatry and helps idolaters? Why can’t you countenance, while we are in this make believe world of gods and warlocks, that the Bablonians gods were more powerful than Yweh.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,You state: “RCofield, what do you have to say for the god’s connivance in mass murder by Jacob and his sons to avenge the promiscuous Dinah knowing Schehm the Hivite, despite teh fact that Schehm married and even circumsized himself and the all of his tribe.”Please submit the biblical passages that you think support your contention that God “condoned” this behavior, along with an exegetical explanation of said passages that supports your contention.You rhetorically question: “This is the same god who condones and abets in the crime after the fact, is the one sitting in judgment against his so called chosen people for idolatry and helps idolaters?”This rhetorical question is without weight unless you can give accurate exegetical support for your first statement. You ask: “Why can’t you countenance, while we are in this make believe world of gods and warlocks, that the Bablonians gods were more powerful than Yweh.”Again, anyone even vaguely familiar with Old Testament prophecy would be aware that the rise and fall of the Babylonian Empire (and even the means of their fall–the Persian Empire) was by the decree of God, and was foretold hundreds of years before the actual events. They were but an instrument in the hands of God to accomplish His purposes, and when they had done so, He destroyed them.Daniel 4:34-35–”for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation;

  • Secular

    Rcofeild,Go read you book of genesis chapter 34 and chapter 35 verses 1 – 5. It is all there. the trouble with you theist you don’t ebven know your own scripture that you are always ready to defend. You need to read it cover to cover to realize how much filth is in it and how repugnant the texts are.As to your claim about prediction of Isaiah and Jeremiah and the other bigots in bible is not sufficient as most of those texts were written post fact, Which to me tell nothing.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,I am quite familiar with Genesis 34 & 35. You made a claim, supposedly derived from scripture, that God “condoned” the “mass murder by Jacob and his sons…” I called you on it. State your scriptural proof and give exegetical support for said proof. Integrity requires that you either do so or retract your statement….that is, if you are at all interested in integrity.You state: “As to your claim about prediction of Isaiah and Jeremiah and the other bigots in bible is not sufficient as most of those texts were written post fact, Which to me tell nothing”So…lets see your evidence that these prophetic texts were written “post fact.”

  • Secular

    Rcofeild, here si the text of 35-5 “35:5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,Oh man! Don’t I look silly. I had no idea that verse was in Genesis 35….:)This is your idea of exegetical support?…You know, considering word meanings…canonical-contextual considerations….historical setting…storyline…cross-references, etc. You know…as opposed to just picking out a passage and climbing up on a stump to declare in all the glory of your ignorance what you personally think the passage means.Did it ever occur to you that God may have been preserving Jacob and His sons to accomplish his own purposes despite their wickedness (which becomes self-evident if you actually read the whole OT narrative and think about it for, say, more than 5 seconds)? You know, kinda like how he gives you life and sustinance….even a computer…and protects you from terrorists while you deny His existence with all the vitriol your mind can muster…and all the while he is using you to accomplish precisely what He has ordained.

  • Secular

    Continued from below:You then further elaborated, “Did it ever occur to you that God may have been preserving Jacob and His sons to accomplish his own purposes despite their wickedness (which becomes self-evident if you actually read the whole OT narrative and think about it for, say, more than 5 seconds)?”. This defense again is so full of nonsense I just do not know where to start. Lets see, the implications of the above sttaement:1) So per your god, end justify means. This is the morality bible preaches. We have made lot more strides in ethics and morality to continue with utter SCAT.2) Why is that your god chooses such wicked people to do his work? He starts with Abraham that great pimp, who pimps his wife not once but twice to save his neck. Then he is too willing to sacrifice his own child out of faith in god or the voice he hears. I wonder what happened to that faith when he was pimping his wife? He was so sure that his god would somehow save his dear Isaac, but not him.3) Now we come to the other great pimp of bible Mr. Lot, who was ready to give up his two daughters to the mob. This pond-scum was worthy of saving when he was destroying those cities. Of course he really does not elaborate the offenses of the citizens of those cities, except they were bad. i wonder how many juries will convict on prosecutors word that accused is bad. By the way what great purposes did he (your god) accomplish through Lot and his daughters? yeah that’s right, he turned him into a drunk. The pond-scum in the absence of anyone to pimp his daughters to in the caves, fornicates with them himself. giving rise to Moab, & Benami. The world really could not do without them, right? Both of them were so indispensable to god’s purposes that they just do not called rest of the bible. Is their context and storyline is to be gathered from some other exegetical or canonical and contextual texts? Pray tell us where do we find them? Another pile of cans of worms you are opening.4) Lets see what greater good did your god have in his mind, when he sacrificed Jethpah’s daughter. That must have been really some great good he was trying to accomplish that he even forgot Jephthah’s daughter or cared enough to mention it in the good book.I think this is enough for now.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,Impressive diatribe. Only problem is, anyone even vaguely familiar with interpretive method knows immediately you have no idea what you are talking about.One would even have to wonder if you understand basic grammar.

  • Secular

    MR. Rcofeild, you go take shelter under interpretations and contexts etc. It is plainly written.1) Jacob’s daughter from his concubine couldn’t wait to get laidBut you say that it is OK, because god has plan with this pond scum family for the greater good. Was this the family the best that dog could find to execute the greater good plan of his?Am I missing something? Speak to the issue I raised man than hurling insults at me.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,Part 1 of 2You write: “Am I missing something? Speak to the issue I raised man than hurling insults at me.”Yes, you are “missing” a great deal, though you can’t understand that due to the obvious reprobation of your mind. Consider these passages from Romans, which describe you with amazing precision:Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, ….28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.Your obvious hatred of God and scripture is clear evidence of a mind darkened (made unable to see) and debased (literally turned upside down). And to complain of “insults” after using the kind of language you consistently use in your posts calls to mind the old adage that those who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.1. Word meaning: The term interpreted “took” in 34:2 (Hebrew “laqach”—Qal stem) which is certain usages, means to take by force. This is consistent with other uses of the term (see Ge. 8:20, 14:11, 34:28). Merely understanding the word used here demonstrates that Dinah was raped. That is a far cry from your vulgar and repulsively vitriolic accusation of promiscuity.TBC

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,Part 2 of 22. Historical consideration: Jacob and his family were dwelling among the ancient Canaanites who practiced every form of sexual deviancy, such as incest, bestiality, sodomy….and rape. This further supports point #1. 3. Contextual consideration: The broader context of Ge. 34 further supports this by recording the vengeful actions of Dinah’s brothers, which actions would be consistent with the fact that their sister was raped. This is consistent with points #1 & 2. Additional contextual consideration would be that your conclusion contradicts untold numbers of passages found throughout the canon of the entire bible.4. Plain-old-common-sense-interpretive method: The fact that God protected His own no more means that he “condoned” their behavior than you protecting your child from dangerous circumstances when they have done something wrong means that you “condone” their behavior. Your blind hatred inexorably forces you to a conclusion that is self-evidently nonsensical.In the end, I could ignore interpretive principles and take any one of your posts and twist and mangle it until did not even resemble what you were actually saying, just as you are doing with scripture. You are either ignorant of interpretive principles and are being presumptive with the texts you are dealing with, or you are aware of interpretive principles and choose to ignore them because your mind is debased. Either way, your posts lack integrity. And no thinking person would fail to see that.

  • Secular

    Continued from below:Even if we grant you your assertion that she was raped mercilessly, it does not buy you much. As in that case why did Jacob agree to the matrimony of his daughter? Not only that why does he demand and gets them to convert to Judaism on false pretenses, as it turns out?Your claim that they were in some kind of danger after the wedding holds absolutely no water as there never was any threat from Hivites, as it turns out the poor credulous Hivites were in real danger. Apparently they had not heard of the checquered history of their daughter-in-law’s father, grand-father great-grandfather & the great-uncle Lot.Now coming to the assertion that god was only protecting and not condoning them is also specious. It is no different when a father plants false evidence to cast away the blame from thieving son, is not considered protecting the no good scoundrel but is considered enabling the pond scum, to continue his ways. That is precisely what is documented in OT that is for four generations their god had been condoning their atrocities and they just keep growing in magnitude until it ends up with mass murder. Avram’s & Isaac’s pimping, Jacob’s cheating and finally massacre.Again even granting that Dinah was raped, so the punishment for that is complete annihilation of Schechem extended family. What role do you think Schechm’s young cousin or grand-ma play to have been meted out death as their punishment for Schehem’s indiscretion? Then why did you venerable heroes steal the Hivites belongings?

  • Secular

    Continued from below:It is not me that is blinded, it is you who is so credulous that you are able to rationalize all these atrocities. This same story if were played out even as fiction with only one character changed from god to DON Corleone you would be horrified. Just imagine DON had the undertaker’s daughter’s rapist killed along with his family and stole their belongings and gave it to the undertaker you would have been horrified and rightly so. Thank goodness Mario Puzo had good sense not to write it that way. It shows that Don Corleone had a far far greater sense of justice that your god. Do you really think those stone age tomes of fables have any thing to offer us 21st century folks in terms of justice, ethics or morality. I say none whatsoever. from 21st century perspective those books are nothing but vile filth. It is always a great effort to keep my lunch in when I read any passage from those books of fables.You also wrote “ancient Canaanites who practiced every form of sexual deviancy, such as incest, bestiality, sodomy….and rape”. What is your source for this accusation are you making this based on some contemporaneous texts or are you relying on OT, if so that does not hold much water, sorry. Even if this is true, what are we comparing it against the great Abrhamic pedigree? 1) The great progenitor, has an incestuous marriage to his half sister, then pimps her out twice. Then lays his slave girl Hagar and then abandons her and her young child to the four winds, an admirable example of love for his mate and his own child born off his loins. The fellow who is willing to sacrifice yet another child because he heard voices?2) His son following in the footsteps of his illustrious father and pimps out his wife only once.3) Now comes Mr. Jacob, who knows no bounds with two concubines and two wives. And of course cheating his own brother out of his birthright and blessing.Are you comparing the morals of Hivites against your heroes. There is no doubt anyone will pick the Hivites when presented without the religious trappings.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,You need to get some sleep, man. You are trying to “make a case” against God from scripture that cannot be made.Simple question: If God “condones” immoral behavior, why did he bother to give the nation of Israel an elaborate code of morality (the law, which was then condensed into the 10 commandments), promising them blessing if they obeyed, threatening judgment if they disobeyed…and then cast HIS OWN PEOPLE out of the land of Canaan when they unconscionably violated it?When you take the whole of scripture into consideration, you cannot find a single instance where someone behaved immorally without consequence. Your current example of Jacob and his family is one of the many classic cases in scripture. His/their wicked behavior resulted in them suffering constant derision, running for their lives, broken homes, scandal, famine, sorrow, heart-break, you name it. Theirs was a sad, miserable existence by any measure.Ga. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

  • Secular

    RCOFeild, you wrote, “Simple question: If God “condones” immoral behavior, why did he bother to give the nation of Israel an elaborate code of morality (the law, which was then condensed into the 10 commandments), promising them blessing if they obeyed, threatening judgment if they disobeyed…and then cast HIS OWN PEOPLE out of the land of Canaan when they unconscionably violated it?” Are you kidding me man, you call the Decalogue some kind of profound admonishments of morality? They are one set of vile commandments. The first four could easily be written by Stalin, Saddam or POL POT. The fifth offers bribes to respect ones parents, how absurd is that? The next three are passable but nothing earth shattering in their profundity. The ninth is definite three words too long “against thy neighbor”. That takes away every thing and promotes in-group morality. This commandment actually allows you to bear false witness for the neighbor and against one who is not your neighbor/tribesman. The last one equates wife at the same level as property and barn animals. So much for the much vaunted Decalogue.Now coming to the Jacob family, you think their suffering comes anywhere close to what they meted out Shechem and his extended family?

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,As usual, your interpretive method for scripture is sadly deficient, consisting of nothing more than a regurgitation of tired secular accusations that have been dispelled for decades and a manipulation of the text that wouldn’t fly in a 6th grade English class. And in your haste to cast as much invective on the ten commandments as possible, you forgot to answer what was a fairly simple, straightforward, logical question. If I recall correctly, you once indicated to me that you were an immigrant. One of the things that has been a beacon for peoples from other nations for two centuries has been the Judeo-Christian foundation of our laws, which has allowed freedom to flourish in this nation. Much of the freedom you now enjoy is a product of the framers of our constitution using Judeo-Christian principles derived from the ten commandments (and much of its supportive moral code) and, to no small degree, the judicial principles established by the reformer John Calvin in Geneva. Even though many of our founding fathers were not themselves christians, they recognized the logic and wisdom of these principles and founded an nation upon them. The fact that you have only demonstrated blind hatred for these principles is indicative of a mindless, debased disregard for the freedoms you enjoy, and an utter ignorance of where they came from. You state: “Now coming to the Jacob family, you think their suffering comes anywhere close to what they meted out Shechem and his extended family?”That’s not the question we are discussing, is it? In point of fact, I think you may have even forgotten what we are discussing….your vile accusation that God “condones” the wicked actions of men. Your sad contortions notwithstanding, said accusation remains without evidence.

  • Secular

    Mr. Rcofield, you boasted about the ten commandments and I had to let you know what I thought of them. Also you mentioned how go had given these to his Chosen People. I am just wondering if this god of your a universal god or is he a petty parochial chieftain? To me the notion of “His People” or “Chosen People” betrays the fact that the Hebrews had authored the OT as political document to foster unit cohesion amongst themselves, so deserves no special reverence from non-hebrews.Let me correct you it is the US constitution that has been a source of inspiration to people and not the laws of US. That constitution is devoid of JC traditions is self evident.Lastly I have shown without a shadow of doubt your god has been condoning and abetting with family for over four generations, what more do you want?

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,So I will ask you again: If he is “aiding and abetting” and “condoning” wicked behavior, why did he cast the descendants of Jacob’s family out of the land of Canaan for behaving wickedly?Such a simple, direct question….but you are intentionally avoiding answering it.And if you are unaware of the Judeo-Christian influences at work in the founding of this nation….nah. Won’t go there. Some idiocy is so self-evidently preposterous it doesn’t even need to be responded to.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,Almost forgot. “is he a petty parochial chieftain?”Too much Dawkins can destroy one’s brain cells.

  • Secular

    RCOfield,MY view of all scripture of all stripes are books of fables, written by stone age folks. These may well be first musings at organizing societies. They all betray norms of that early tribal society and codified them. They promote in-group morality and out-group hostility. The stories woven are to maintain unit cohesion and to control the people. In case of OT, the Hebrews created a god like every one else. To promote in-group cohesion anointed themselves as “The Chosen People”. What greater binding force can one conceive than being the chosen one. So all the content is just fiction. Albeit real grotesque and vile fiction. So none of what in those books of fables is true. The best part of those books is all that is fiction. The butchering, massacring is just unreal. In my previous posts I was pointing out was that if they were true how unjust, capricious, amoral, and unethical they would be. So these things never happened, Abraham did not exist, neither Jacob and his sons. Thankfully there was never a Shechem to fall for Dinah, nor his extended family butchered. It is very very unlikely that there is a god to castaway the non-existent Jacob and his sons from Canaan. If there were a god, the world we live in would be way different from what it is.Q.E.D

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,So I will ask you yet again: If God was “aiding and abetting” and “condoning” wicked behavior, why did he cast the descendants of Jacob’s family out of the land of Canaan for behaving wickedly?Such a simple, direct question….but you are…still…intentionally avoiding answering it. Whether you think God exists or not has nothing whatsoever to do with the question as it relates to your absurd accusation of God “condoning” their behavior.”They promote in-group morality and out-group hostility.”You mean in a way strikingly similar to the New Atheism, right? “The butchering, massacring is just unreal.”Yeah, but it does pale in comparison, doesn’t it, to the holocaust perpetrated upon the descendants of Abraham by the Third Reich, which just happened to be driven by the evolution-based theories of your beloved Darwin and Dawkins. When you live in a glass house where Evolution is your God, survival of the fittest is your religion, Darwin is your prophet, and Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, and Hitchens are your didactical apostles, you should think twice about throwing rocks at other religions.”So these things never happened, Abraham did not exist, neither Jacob and his sons.”Right. Right. And there is no ethinic group called Jews, no nation called Israel, no city in Palestine called Jerusalem, it is very “unlikely” that there is a god…and on planet “secular” the moon is made of cheese.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,By the way, you need to find another approach (other than plagarizing Dawkins’ arguments) if you are going to butt heads with me. I already know his arguments from top to bottom, so you are not fooling anyone here.

  • Secular

    RCOFEILD, you asked “So I will ask you yet again: If God was “aiding and abetting” and “condoning” wicked behavior, why did he cast the descendants of Jacob’s family out of the land of Canaan for behaving wickedly”? I figured you would have surmised from my previous post, that I cannot give reasoning for a mythical character supposed doing mythical things. The previous comments were really exposing the incongruities within the fairy tales. These are all akin to “Brother Grimm’s fairy tales”, just lots more morbid and grotesque.You went on to say “”They promote in-group morality and out-group hostility.”You mean in a way strikingly similar to the New Atheism, right”? I am really befuddled here where does Atheistic credo prescribe any kind of in-group morality. I fail to see. Atheists are not an organized bunch like various theist groups are so we can hardly promote in-group morality, we do not congregate. If two atheists were run into each other, we would hardly recognize each other as atheists. Now we do demand, some more vociferously than others, that all truth claims be validated with evidence. In doing so we may be a bit strident, that only happens, in my case, when theists deride us for lack of morals or uprightness or initially dealt with in a personally disrespectful manner. That is hardly out-group hostility.

  • Secular

    Yo continued on to write “Yeah, but it does pale in comparison, doesn’t it, to the holocaust perpetrated upon the descendants of Abraham by the Third Reich, which just happened to be driven by the evolution-based theories of your beloved Darwin and Dawkins”. First of all regime of third Reich was driven by the both Catholic & Lutheran inspirations and they were really following the nearly 2000 year history of the christian churches’ anti-semitism. Please there is no need to bring Darwin into play, here. Darwin was a biologist not a philosopher or proponent of any dogma. Much like Newton explained the gravitational theory etc, Darwin explained the process for the seen diversity of life on earth. He is no more to be blamed for someones inspiration from explanation of natural phenomenon, than Newton is to be blamed for development of better catapults based on his laws of motion.BTW atheists do not profess to any god, if one does then (s)he is called a theist. Evolution is a branch of science that explains history of life on earth. We seek morality from it as much as we seek it from Maxwell’s equations or Thermodynamics or Quantum Mechanics. Those are all your straw man constructs.Finally you also wrote, “Right. Right. And there is no ethinic group called Jews, no nation called Israel, no city in Palestine called Jerusalem, it is very “unlikely” that there is a god…and on planet “secular” the moon is made of cheese”. I never claimed Jews do not exist, much the same a muslim, or hindus. they have their fairy tale fables, just like the other two. Just because I do not find convincing evidence for their fairy tales, does not imply that they do not exist.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,”I figured you would have surmised from my previous post, that I cannot give reasoning for a mythical character supposed doing mythical things.”And I have already pointed out that whether you think God exists or not has nothing whatsoever to do with the question as it relates to your absurd accusation of God “condoning” their behavior…and you still have not answered the question. “Please there is no need to bring Darwin into play, here. Darwin was a biologist not a philosopher or proponent of any dogma.”Go read Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and come back to this post and try to tell me that his political ideology was not driven by Darwinian Evolutionary Theory. You have no idea how badly you can be whipped with your own stick on this one.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,A BTW to you: That the Jews descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is very possibly the most thoroughly documented ethnic history ever recorded.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,You write: “I hope we are done with this.”Ah, yes. I wilt before your iron-clad, scintillating argumentation.There was never a man named Abraham who had a grandson named Jacob whose sons became the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel (the Talmud, Torah, Mishnah, Gemara, Tanakh, Midrash, and Old Testament were carefully written to formulate a non-contradictory, mythological ethnic heritage). Said tribes were never enslaved in Egypt, never inhabited the land of Palestine (all those archeological finds were a hoax designed to perpetrate the “myth”), never had a capital city named Jerusalem, were never conquered by the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Medo-Persian empires, never returned and rebuilt Jerusalem which was never sacked by Titus in 70 AD, Hitler’s mass murder of the Jews had nothing to do with his contention that nature demands that the strong dominate the weak (survival of the fittest), Darwin proved his hypothesis about natural selection beyond any doubt (although he himself was quite aware that he had not done so)….and the moon on planet SECULAR is made of cheese…and you still never answered a rather simple question.All hail SECULAR the unparalleled Apologist!

  • Secular

    Rcofeild, you wrote “the Talmud, Torah, Mishnah, Gemara, Tanakh, Midrash, and Old Testament were carefully written to formulate a non-contradictory, mythological ethnic heritage”. Aren’t Talmud, Torah, Mishnah, Gemara, Tanakh, Midrash all some kind of commentaries on OT, aren’t they. They are not independent sources. If someone is commenting about OT, then that cannot be considered as proof of the first. The remaining stuff you are talking about some of it has been independently referred too, so those are probably true. There is a point in time once the Hebrews conquered the Palestinian land and driven away the native populations, the have ruled those land under the pretext of god gave it to us.Again, please see my previous comment regarding the Darwin and Hitler.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR,Lol! “Aren’t Talmud, Torah, Mishnah, Gemara, Tanakh, Midrash all some kind of commentaries on OT, aren’t they. They are not independent sources. If someone is commenting about OT, then that cannot be considered as proof of the first.”You don’t know what they are but you’re sure they are not independent sources because they are “commenting about OT.” That’s almost as comical as your contention that the Lutheran and Catholic Churches are “almost” 2000 years old. You know, if you are going to spend as much time as you do trying to castigate the OT, don’t you think integrity would require that you know at least SOMETHING about its origin? As you seem quick to defend Darwin, I have another rather simple, reasonable question for you. Did Darwin contend that he had sufficiently proven his hypothesis of natural selection as the impetus behind evolution?……..and still….my question in rebuttal to your claim of God “condoning” wicked behavior goes unanswered………Come back and see me after you have done a little home work. And, is it just asking TOO much to expect you to answer a simple, straightforward question? Here, I’ll post it for you again.Speaking from the standpoint of the OT (for that is where you draw your argument): If God was “aiding and abetting” and “condoning” wicked behavior, why did he cast the descendants of Jacob’s family out of the land of Canaan for behaving wickedly?

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