Debate 015: Jason and Blair debate 9/11 & Judaism

Jason is a Jew. When I first read his email I was a bit surprised. Jason is the first practicing Jew to send me a rebuttal. I’ve received emails from Jews before discussing issues with Christianity and sometimes even congratulating me on a refutation of a particular argument. I’ve even gotten a few emails from Jews thanking more for defending them in a couple of debates. This was the first time I had received a rebuttal email from a Jew. I decided to roll with it…

Jason Rebuttal #001:

I don’t mean this as a personal attack, but your page that talks about 9/11: Cannot Prove.

Really shows your naivete. If you want the best understanding of G-d (and the potential to make a truly informed decision), I suggest you seek out and speak to a Chabad/Lubavitch Rabbi. I don’t know where you are located, but there is a ‘Chabad House’ on many college campuses.

The only proof one needs of G-d is the Jew… we are from the beginning and we’ll be to the end! The same Torah way of life for 3700 years.

We’ve seen all the ‘great’ civilizations come and go: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Roman etc…

 

Response to Jason #001:

Don’t worry, I don’t take any of my emails as a personal attack – even the ones where the writer intended it.

JASON: “Really shows your naiveté.”

You failed to prove your point here. You accused me of being naive and offered nothing to back up your claim. If your only proof of a god is the fact that a group of people has lived then you are the one that is naive.

JASON: “The only proof one needs of G-d is the Jew… we are from the beginning and we’ll be to the end! The same Torah way of life for 3700 years.”

That’s it? That’s all you have to offer? Who’s naive?

JASON: “We’ve seen all the ‘great’ civilizations come and go: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Roman etc…”

Surely you’re not suggesting that Judaism is a civilization? Where is the civilization of the Jew? The Jews are a scattered people that have no civilization – only a heritage. Even that is disappearing because of secular Jewishness and reform Judaism. Even “Jews for Jesus” have a hand to play in the demise of Judaism.

Israel is not a civilization, either. It is a large refugee camp, filled to the brim with the world’s fleeing Jews. They have staked a claim of land based on a religious book and now are in the fight of their lives (again) because of religion.

Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize completely with the plight of the Jews and anti-Semitism irritates me just as much as any other racial or religious bigotry. Bottom line, however, is that if the Jews are falling for the “my god is better than your god” then they are no better than any other religion.

You’re going to have to do better than that.

 

Jason Rebuttal #002:

You are missing the point here. It was not an attack…

The view or concept of G-d that you hold is simplistic and it’s apparent in your 9/11 example, again it’s not personal. I speak from experience! I *was* an atheist and had a similar understanding… To fairly judge between the sides: G-d or Not, you need to speak to the people who can give you the proper perspective. It’s not that the ‘Jewish version’ is better, but you should hear the Chabad explanation! You must know that Jews are not into missionizing, that’s not my purpose here.

You claim to dispel misconceptions, well how about the possibility that what you have known about G-d has been a big misconception? To be intellectually honest, you should hear all sides, not only the Christian version! I’m glad that you can sympathize with what’s going on. I’m not here to talk geo-politics. The Jewish people are a nation, not a civilization. I said that we lived through the others that have come and gone… and that is the point.

There have always been Jews that have left the fold (Hellenists, Karrarites etc) up to this day. A certain number have been lost to everyone of the cultures already mentioned. The fascinating thing is that a people who have been the subject of Progroms, Crusades, Inquisitions and Holocausts and were without a land for the past 2000 years (The Romans exiled us starting in the year 70 it’s on the Arch of Titus in Rome), is still strong! There are more and more Jews finding their ‘roots’.

The number of Observant Jews is growing! By any standard we as a people/nation whatever, should have disappeared long ago! But that is simply not the case. If you see it as a historical fluke of nature, so be it. If you don’t investigate the option of the Chassidish understanding of G-d then I believe you are not covering all the bases and you are making a decision based on a misunderstanding.

 

Response to Jason #002:

JASON: “You are missing the point here. It was not an attack…”

I didn’t say it was. I said that I don’t take any emails as a personal attack, including ones that are intentionally meant as one. That was not meant to be an insinuation that yours was such, I was just making a statement.

JASON: “The view or concept of G-d that you hold is simplistic…”

Actually, I hold no view of god. I guess you can call a zero view of a god “simplistic”, but that conclusion is based on a detailed search of all religions, including Judaism.

JASON: “I speak from experience! I *was* an atheist and had a similar understanding…”

I’m sorry to hear that you got suckered back into god-belief. Of course, based on the “arguments” you’ve presented so far you probably were not a very good atheist, but that’s another subject altogether. Anyway, you have my sympathies for being turned to the dark side.

JASON: “To fairly judge between the sides: G-d or Not, you need to speak to the people who can give you the proper perspective.”

Why would you assume that I haven’t? I have visited synagogues, mosques, cathedrals, churches, temples and everything in-between. I even visited Israel twice and visited all the “holy” sites, including the Wailing Wall and others. I’ve talked to several Rabbis and even had a discussion with a professor at the University of Jerusalem. You’re not telling my anything new. All I’m hearing from you are the same old tired arguments that have failed for eons except upon the weak-minded.

JASON: “It’s not that the ‘Jewish version’ is better, but you should hear the Chabad explanation!”

The “explanation” is just as hokey as the Christian one. Let’s be honest here, the Old Testament, which of course was stolen by the Christians from the Torah writings, are bizarre and corny. Anyone that takes that stuff literally has a few screws loose or is in desperate need for “fellowship”.

JASON: “You must know that Jews are not into missionizing, that’s not my purpose here.”

Your emails sound a lot like proselytizing to me – trying to prove that YOUR version of god exists and laying on the “scripture”. If your purpose is not to proselytize, then what is your purpose?

JASON: “To be intellectually honest, you should hear all sides, not only the Christian version!”

Been there, done that. The reason that Christianity is predominant on my web page is because that is what I am faced with in America. The Jewish community here is quiet except when they need to shout. I have worked closely with the local synagogue on several issues and have talked to the Rabbi a few times. We even had a Rabbi give a “sermon” on Judaism at the local Unitarian Universalist fellowship.

Judaism is not a proselytizing religion because it is mostly based on heritage and tradition. There’s no push to convert the gentile because they are not “Jewish”. This puts the Judaic community on my good side, at least in America. The pseudo-theocracy of Israel is another issue.

JASON: “I said that we lived through the others that have come and gone… and that is the point.”

If that is your only argument for the proof of the Judaic god then you’ve lost already. The Shaman religions of the African plains are the oldest religion known today, estimated at 26,000 years. Shamanism has outlived and outlasted Judaism and the Jewish people. If you base your belief in a god on the consistency of the nation and/or civilization that holds a belief in that god, then you should be worshiping the gods of the African Shamans.

JASON: “The fascinating thing is that a people who have been the subject of Progroms, Crusades, Inquisitions and Holocausts and were without a land for the past 2000 years…”

The Shaman tribes of Africa have been subjected to equally bad conditions and sometimes worse. They prevailed longer than Judaism. So again, you are stuck in a dilemma. If you base your belief on the longevity of a crowd of believers then you must choose African Shamanism as your religion. Or you must concede that Judaism is just second best in longevity.

JASON: “The number of Observant Jews is growing!”

You’ll have to provide data to back that up. All the information I’ve seen shows a slight decline in followers of traditional Judaism. Even Christianity has only grown .8% in the last 35 years. Atheism and non-religion has grown over 8% in that same period, making it the fastest growing “religion” worldwide.

JASON: “By any standard we as a people/nation whatever, should have disappeared long ago!”

Why’s that? Other civilizations have survived through just as much turmoil. I’m sorry that the Jews have been treated badly throughout history, but you’re not going to convince me to believe in your god(s) just because I sympathize. Your longevity argument, as seriously flawed as it is, stands no chance of converting me, either.

JASON: “If you see it as a historical fluke of nature, so be it.”

I see it as a testament to humanity and the individual will to survive. The Jews are a testament to biology and the want to survive and perpetuate the species. Nature had a role in the biology of the human being, but it is the humanity and will to live that has kept the Jews and other cultures going through hard times.

JASON: “If you don’t investigate the option of the Chassidish understanding of G-d…”

Like I said before, you assume too much.

Jason has not responded.

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