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Home Questions in Judaism Faith and Trust WHAT`S WRONG WITH BLIND FAITH?
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Question - - 02/28/2013
Does Judaism require that I accept its teachings on blind faith?
Answer by Arachim
Definitely not. The tenets of Judaism can be verified by any individual willing to honestly examine the facts and draw logical conclusions from what he finds, regardless of the consequences.
Let me explain what I mean.
The Torah (Bible) itself throws out a challenge to blind faith, and asks that we investigate historical facts, and use our minds to come to logical conclusions:
32 - For ask now of the days past, which were before you, since the day that G-d created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other: has there ever been any such thing as this great thing, or has it like ever been heard of?
33 - Did ever a people hear the voice of G-d speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?
34 - Or did G-d ever try to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the L-rd your G-d did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
35 - It has been demonstrated to you, that you might know that the L-rd, He is G-d; there is none else beside Him.
Deuteronomy 4:32-35
The Torah itself asks us to review the history of our nation. Does any other nation, of over a million souls, claim to have experienced together, as a nation a historical event of the proportions of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai?
Is it feasible that such a historical record be a hoax? On the other hand, if the Torah and the Jewish religion are valid, why are so few people convinced of the fact?
It is not so easy to arrive at the truth. Man is beset by a multitude of obstacles, not the least of which are the inclinations of his own heart.
In order to arrive at the truth, a person must be willing to accept the consequences of his findings, whatever they are. If he starts out with a pre-conceived goal, and merely hunts for ways to arrive there, logically, he is not looking for the truth, but for a rationale for the behavior he wishes to pursue.
There is no lack of people, some of them highly intelligent, and very gifted, who follow this path. The well-known writer, Aldous Huxley, admitted openly that many of the opinions he espoused were no more than rationales to allow him to cast off what he viewed as the fetters of morality.
"I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently, (I) assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption For myself, as no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneous liberation from a certain political and economic system, and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality, because it interfered with our freedom."
From Confessions of a Professed Atheist, Aldous Huxley
Faith and religious belief can definitely be proven, but not while standing on one foot.
There are many proofs that the world was created. Some of them are hundreds of years old. This is a topic that has been investigated for centuries. One of the classic texts, The Kuzari, was written 800 years ago, by the famous Rabbi Yehudah Halevi, who lived during the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry.
Similarly, proofs are cited for the divine origin of the Torah, and for the other basic postulate of Judaism. Obviously, they cannot all be dealt with "while standing on one foot." However, anyone who is sincerely interested in investigating their validity is invited to examine the sources cited here, and to evaluate them honestly.
Not only does Judaism not insist on blind faith, but it encourages man to utilize the mental facilities with which Heaven has blessed him in order to investigate the world around him, to arrive at the truth, and to live according to the dictates of that Truth.
However, the task is not always an easy one. It is not always clear what motivates our thoughts and reactions. Nor are all the sources at our fingertips.
We at Arachim are to lay ideas and information on the table, for you to help yourselves. We try to provide materials, sources, and a framework for an exchange of ideas and information for your consideration. We invite you, the viewer, to examine these web pages, and to join in the live discussion groups (see "Upcoming Events" on our home page). We're here to answer questions, discuss your ideas with you and others, but we don't dictate solutions and conclusions; these are up to you.
However, we do stress our opinion that each individual owes it to himself to get the facts and devote time to weighing them. We plan our careers, our vacations, and our retirement plans; don't we owe it to ourselves to plan where we are headed spiritually?
For thousands of years, Jews found guidelines for their lives in the Heritage. Don't we owe it to ourselves to gain a basic knowledge of that Heritage, and to make an intelligent, informed decision as to what it can offer our generation?
We at Arachim are here to help you. We welcome your comments, questions, and reactions, and will be happy to provide answers and further references to your inquiries. Whatever you decide, your life will be that much richer because you gave time and effort to search for the truth.
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