Gosh I loved those commercials.

XGH has been fuming and fulminating again, this time with a mock quiz designed to make the non-skeptics look foolish and hypocritical. I’ve decide to take the quiz, mainly because XGH brings up very important issues, but he pisses me off a lot too, especially with his dsimissive attitude towards issues of great complexity.

Anyway, here’s the quiz, with my answers in red:

1. If you don’t believe in God, there’s no reason he should let you into Heaven (chaim b)

(a) If God is that petty and vindictive, then he’s no god.
(b) That’s a Christian concept, not a Jewish one.
(c) You seem to be lacking in basic human empathy.
(d) You’re an idiot if you think God thinks like that.
(e) Yes! God should roast you in hell for all eternity for not believing in him
(f) Other – Nobody deserves to go to Heaven (itself a concept not entirely Jewish) on their own merits. But while a guy like Michael Steinhardt may not believe in God, I can think of millions of other reasons why God might reach out His hand and welcome that man into Heaven, or the afterlife fantasy of your choice.

2. Everyone has an innate belief in God, but Atheists davkah deny it. Also anyone can make themselves believe anything. (chaim b again)

(a) Stupid and clearly not true, except with brainwashing or with unusual individuals.
(b) When people have an innate desire for homosexuality, they are told they must crush it, so why should an ‘innate’ anything be somehow noble?
(c) So go make yourself belief in Jesus.
(d) Affirmitive. I will believe what ever you tell me to believe master.

(d), minus the snarky final sentence. While belief may not be 100% under our control, what you wind up believing is largely a function of what you expose yourself to and the company you keep. To think otherwise is the height of arrogance. Of course the term belief, especially within the context of religious expectations,is so variously defined that statements made about the term are themselves difficult to pin down.

3. I will never allow kefirah on my site because I could never allow anyone to see anything anti Torah. (Gil last week)

I am moving to a new blog with Luke Ford. Luke is a very talented person. This will be the must read blog for all contemporary Jews. I refuse to say whether Reshimu will allow skeptical posts and comments. (Gil this week)

(a) You’re full of it.
(b) You’re full of it.
(c) Did I mention that you’re full of it?
(d) Nu, it’s for parnasah. Everything is muttar for parnasah.

(e) Anything is muttar for the sake of pluralism. None of us thinks that there’s a lot of money to be made in j-blogging, whether on our own individual sites or in group blogs. By passing control to a larger umbrella, Gil can assuage his conscience that he personally is not tolerating or supporting kefira, while opening his voice and his publishing house to an audience that he might never otherwise reach. But why take him to task? Is there some other venue where Jews like Ford and Student would voluntarily congregate? This is an unworthy machloket – what is it XGH, did Reshimu not ask you to join?

4. Why do you have to spew your kefirah? Why can’t you let people be? (various)

(a) Why do you have to spew your nonsense? Many people think fundamentalist religion is far more dangerous than agnosticism. If God exists, but religion is man made, then you’re nothing special. In fact, God may be quite annoyed at your antics.
(b) You participate in a society where certain beliefs and behaviors are required. It is davkah not easy to leave this society. So who is in whose face here???
(c) Because I’m an evil nihilist who’s only goal is to destroy everybody and everything. Buwahahahaha!

(d) All of the above, and a few others. The greatest conflict between modernity and tradition is about freedom of information. Traditionalists may wish to suppress knowledge that they feel is dangerous, and to keep hidden the inconvenient, challenging, and threatening truths, but those horses have long since departed the barn. The only way forward, in my opinion, is to be aggressively honest, open, and forthright about what we think, and believe about our heritage, while at the same time being passionate and emotional about how we feel, commemorate, celebrate and practice our heritage. That’s the Ahava and Yirah for our time.