Rabbi Wolpe's response to the New Atheists is a historical look at traditions of faith and the good they have done.
His examination also reflects on the difficult questions faith cannot always answer, including the many instances when religions have resorted to violence.
Rabbi Wolpe will be in conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker. This event is co-sponsored with Politics & Prose- Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent of The Atlantic. Before joining the magazine in 2007, he was Middle East correspondent and Washington correspondent for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine. He has also written for the Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post. His book Prisoners has been hailed as one of the best books of 2006. Goldberg is the recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist, an Overseas Press Club award for best human rights reporting, and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005’s Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.
Named the #1 Pulpit Rabbi in America and the second most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. He previously taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College, and he currently teaches at UCLA. In 2003 Rabbi Wolpe was named one of the hundred most influential Jews in America by Forward. He is the author of seven books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times. His new book, Why Faith Matters, is largely a response to atheist theories.
Rabbi David Wolpe percieves the arguments against religion from atheists like Christopher Hitchens as mockery, saying they hold believers in contempt. He cites harsh criticism against Sarah Palin's religious beliefs as an example.
In discussing a supposed connection between violence and religion, Rabbi David Wolpe says that while Islam has some violent elements in its scripture, it shares that trait with all religions. He points out that large Muslim nations like Indonesia are neither radical or violent.
Critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings. Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial. It is rooted in an array of philosophical systems. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Epicurus argued for it in the context of materialism. In the 18th century David Hume and Immanuel Kant, though not atheists, argued against traditional proofs for God's existence, making belief a matter of faith alone. Atheists such as Ludwig Feuerbach held that God was a projection of human ideals and that recognizing this fiction made self-realization possible. Marxism exemplified modern materialism. Beginning with Friedrich Nietzsche, existentialist atheism proclaimed the death of God and the human freedom to determine value and meaning. Logical positivism holds that propositions concerning the existence or nonexistence of God are nonsensical or meaningless.
I was going to write a more thought out response to this piece, but fundamentally, I do not think it is warranted. I’ll limit myself to two basic observations;
Firstly, the good Rabbi displays what could be interpreted as contempt for authors who hold different views than himself in a somewhat pot and kettle fashion.
Secondly, in response to Drapper25, I’ve always found it quite amusing that God does not bother to arm his Christian (or in this case Jewish) Soldiers with the weaponry they need to overcome their foes. In most of the debates I’ve seen or been involved with, the Dawkins’ and Harris’ approach in intellectual stealth bombers while their opponents counter with intellectual BB guns. There seems to me to be a certain cognitive divide between followers of faith and investigators of reason.
If God told you to do X, which you think it’s wrong, would you do it?
If you say yes, then morality doesn’t really matter to you. You’re all about being a bigot or a slave to authority.
- Sam Harris
I think this is a very important questions we should ask ourselves who are human.
Can a Rational Individual believe in God ?
In other words:
Can God be atheist, governed by scientific laws?
Because if God exists, he must work in Absolute
Reference Frame and have a set of Physical/ Mathematical
laws to create everything
And if we find this God’s Absolute House
then we can understand Cod’s Physical Laws
Has God known the formula: E=Mc^2 ?
If God has known the formula why HE / SHE /IT
didn't write it in His Bible?
The people created a God.
No one knows what the external characteristics
of this God are, a God who made himself known
with the name " I am who I am ".
Is it enough for us in the XXIc ?
Why didn’t the formula E=Mc^2 write in the Bible?
Each religion uses a system of symbols
(images, metaphors, ancient myths and legends ,
beautiful stories) to explain its truth.
But Bernard Shaw wisely remarked :
“ There is only one religion,
although there are a hundred versions of it.”
It means that the source of all religion is one.
And I try to prove this idea with the formulas and laws of
physics. I don’t invent new formulas. I use simple formulas
which ,maybe, every man knows from school.
Is it possible? Is it enough?
Yes. Because the evolution goes from simple to the complex.
So, in the beginning we can use simple formulas and laws.
For this purpose I explain what the first law of Universe is,
and second law is and ...........etc.
Step by step I create a logical system of the Universe.
============= . .
Science and Religion: Is there a conflict ?
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
/ Albert Einstein. /
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
/ Albert Einstein. /
Science and Religion: Is there any conflict?
Or maybe there isn’t any conflict.
Religion or Physics ? Faith or Knowledge ?
Or maybe our stupidity asks these questions.
If I were God, I would give chance to Human
to understand who I am by analyzing the physical
formulas, equations and laws. Because to create Everything
I need them. So, logically, catching the thread of the physics
Human can understand Me and My Work.
Israel Sadovnik Socratus
Q1: In his answer, he says people like Rick Warren can believe that they are being told what to do by God, that they are on a God-given mission in life. Wolpe seems to think that if we are able to take these self-justified fantasies and twist them into arguments that have a semblance of reality, we should be allowed to believe and influence what we want. The failure here is that you're supporting circular thinking so someone can devote all their energy to spreading Christianity or their Christian-oriented goals, and not have to expend energy on aligning their sights, their premises, in accordance with reality.
Q3: Then he tells another diversion story about seeing from another's cultural view. Umbrella bullying...makes sense after you see it from the bully's eyes? This is exactly the kind of danger about religiosity that his opponents like Harris and Hitchens are on about. People are walking around with their views that umbrellas are dumb because "I don't mind the rain, so I'm going to make sure everybody gets wet." Atheists at least think they are ones trying to take a step back and say "Hey, whatever your beliefs are, they inform your actions, and it seems like your approach to life is based on spreading a viewpoint that was created on soft ground."
All of the debates, especially with John Lennox, that go on in this subject seem to be limited by the confines of what religious people can fathom. It's a constant barrage of "well, you have faith too!" Secular humanism is a worldview that appeals to the religious sense of community and moral support, but it does so without having to claim anything divinely revealed. We all want to survive and be happy. We are all evolved, flawed, but ready to make the best of this existence we are so lucky to have. Anyone who would do evil because of humanism would be forgetting the fact that they are human themselves, and much of morality comes out of placing ourselves in the "shoes" of another subjective being like ourselves.
Stop defending religion for the things that secular humanism provides. Those, who oppose Western religions, like myself, do so, I think, because when you boil down the "truths" every religion teaches, it ultimately comes down to common sense wisdom about how to live well and get along with others. There were five centuries of Buddhism and Greek philosophy before Christ. Do we need to follow Christ, or refer to him as just one role model among others? Do we need to placate a God who has revealed himself in a very small locality with certain interpretations, or do we need to take full intellectual responsibility for our beliefs and the trajectory it takes us and our work?
This mans misconceptions of agnosticism and atheism are absurd
''I don't believe its healthy for humans to think they're the best thing going''
This is the very opposite of what non-believing is. And not to mention it is in fact religion that places humans in an extra special light, not atheism. Religion is what places mankind in a position of some sort of absurd cosmic importance. This man should hope he never ends up debating the likes of Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens, he wouldn't stand a chance.
''they hold you in contempt'' ???
I am a non believer, I do not hold believers in contempt. The only thing that would bother me is if people of a strong faith start forcing the rules of their faith upon me, then you will face my contempt. I truly feel this applies to most non believers. Does anyone agree with this?
I have not read the book and probably will not.
David Wolpe uses weak and futile arguments. Unconvincing platitudes.
What he is arguing for (at least here in this program), is why faith matters to him. This, however, is irrelevant to the debate with the atheist intellectuals.
...cats and dogs - the agents of the dark side? How enlightened!
I find it curious why people do not get his point.
From a logical point of view, if you want to see what effect something has, you run tests... one with the thing and several without. That's pretty clear.
So you look at the world without religion as the dominant role... and you get great violence and great ideology.
With religion, you get smaller violence.
The reasoning... people are inherently tribal. So without religion as our sense of belonging, we latch onto nationalism, tribalism, political ideologies (communism, capitalism, socialism...)
It just so happens that when we latch onto things like political ideologies instead of religion, we end up committing even greater acts of violence and exclusion than religion.
Can we live in a world without ideology? I doubt it as history and the modern day is a great guide. In the absence of religion, people make up stuff to believe in.
Judging from history, I think you can rationally conclude that religion is the least harmful ideology of belonging. Better religion than nationalism or communism...
Wolpe does not represent Judaism, but himself. For any Jew to state, "the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all" is utter heresy. Such a man can never be called a Rabbi.