Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Atheism & Utopianism: A Failed Social Experiment

I was engaged in a recent conversation with a gentleman who insisted that atheism was the answer to the woes of the world and the elimination of religion will bear the fruit of a more tolerant and peaceful society for all. I had to disagree and I asserted that atheism and its ideal of utopianism is a failed social experiment which slaughtered more innocent people in the 20th century than did all of the combined religious democide during that same time period. My atheist friend couldn't believe such a seemingly absurd notion and challenged me to prove my claim. I compiled the information and I present it in part to the readers of my blog.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Answering a Challenge to Biblical Morality

Recently I was challenged to respond to some accusations made by a lady who apparently believes that the Hebrew Bible is an immoral and despicable document.  I answered her challenge in my typical manner of exegesis which is to consider cultural context and linguistic possibilities latent within the texts in question. I decided I would share this with the readers of this blog as it represents a unique way of reading the Torah’s narrative and a more enlightened exegesis.

CHALLENGE-  Tell me this, what was Abraham taking up the mountain to sacrifice, a weasel? Did Samson not sacrifice himself to bring the temple down on the heads of the Philistines? Isn't that "Pinchas": something the Israelis are particularly extremist about? And did Lot not shag his own daughters.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

Karaites & Kabbalah

Several years ago a friend once remarked that he considered himself to be a Karaite Kabbalist. At the time my reaction was to scoff at this claim because the two terms seemed an oxymoron. Karaite and Kabbalah don't go together I said. Today, many assert the same view point including modern Karaites. Over the years I have come across many interesting examples from history which demonstrates that this perceived contradiction of terms is in actuality not a reality. Karaites have historically studied the Rabbinic texts and asserted that it was necessary to do so as Rabbinic Judaism was the eldest brother. In other words, Karaites didn't throw thousands of years of Jewish wisdom in the trash in order to develop their own uniquely deficient Judaism. Throughout the manuscripts and seforim of medieval Karaite literature there is a consistent turning to Talmudic and other Rabbinical texts for insight. Karaites also turned to the Kabbalah for spiritual answers and inspiration. Here are a few of the more noteworthy examples:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Did the Jews Kill the Prophets?

Recently I was approached by a Christian gentleman who wanted to warn me of the signs of the times and to express that his eschatological perspective required me to embrace Jesus before he descends from the eastern sky with great wrath. He explained to me his ideas concerning current world events and how they allegedly fit in with end-time prophecy. At a point in the conversation I began to explain why I do not give credence to newspaper prophesy and why I do not accept Jesus as being anything of notable consequence. Predictably the man’s response was to resort to a tired old cliché:
Jews killed all the prophets that were sent by God! You are deaf and blind to the truth!”

Friday, December 5, 2014

2014 Hanukkah Spirit

The holiday season is upon us and for Jews this means that the festival of Hanukkah will begin on the eve of December 16th. Hanukkah is an oft misunderstood holiday outside of the Jewish community. Christians in the community usually mistake the holiday for the Jewish equivalent of Christmas. These two holidays do indeed fall within close proximity to one another and there are superficial similarities such as decorations of a festival nature. These similarities are as far as these two holidays come to being parallel. Unlike Christmas, which is a significant holiday to Christians, Hanukkah is a minor and insignificant holiday for Jews. The theme of the holiday is not so much supernatural as it is based upon the ancient battle against oppression and persecution that was fought against the Assyrian Greeks by the Jewish Maccabees.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Bible as Allegory

The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.” –Joseph Campbell

Diagnosing Apocalypse Fever

Throughout the world there is a cry for redemption. This cry is expressed in a variety of ways. For Jews it is the coming of the Mashiach, for Christians it is the return of a Savior and for Shi’ite Muslims it is the 12 Imam who is known as the Mahdi.