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Archive for April 20th, 2009

Joshua Berman just published a new essay on his site in which he more or less summarizes his book “Created Equal” and then proposes a “watchmaker argument” for the existence of God that firstly the intellectual quantum leap to come up with Jewish theology in the ancient world was just too big, secondly the theology serves no interest group, so who would have promoted it and thirdly that whoever wrote the Torah didn’t sign on it or leave any evidence of his existence which is unlike what people tend to do.

Personally I don’t like this kind of argument. What is obvious to one person is not obvious to another and presenting the case for the existence of God or a god as a probability exercise, I think rather misses the point.

God’s existence cannot be proven or disproven. In fact should he exist, then his existence would not be what we call an existence. A transcendental omnipotent everlasting will/intellect/conscience that is everywhere yet nowhere both within and without of the dimensions of space and time – and even there I haven’t even touched on what he really is. Any concept you have of him is pitifully partial and a metaphor. Proving God’s existence is unhelpful religiously, pointless scientifically and in my opinion unnecessary to the man of faith who integrates God’s messages to his life. If I was waiting for divine retribution or reward I would have given up doing mitzvot long ago.

Reading Berman’s book I came to a different conclusion. To me it seemed all of a sudden more understandable where the Torah was coming from and why it is the way it is. It is the state political manifesto of a nomadic people who believe in independence and dignity and reject hierarchical tyranny. An antithesis of all political thought before it.

The Torah is truly a remarkable document way ahead of its time and revolutionary to this day. The interest group that it served were the non stratified nomad clans that comprised the Hebrew public and were determined not to create another Egypt. The fact that “authors” of the Torah remain anonymous is just witness to the greatness of the vision of a divinely ordained code of equality for a divinely freed nation servant to no other than their God and to which no human can sign his name.

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