Salman Rushdie: Keep Your God Off My Body

Esteemed author and fatwa target Salman Rushdie writes in The Telegraph:

People have always turned to religion for the answers to the two great questions of life: Where did we come from? and how shall we live? But on the question of origins, all religions are simply wrong. The universe wasn’t created in six days by a superforce that rested on the seventh. Nor was it churned into being by a sky god with a giant churn. And on the social question, the simple truth is that, wherever religions get into society’s driving seat, tyranny results. The Inquisition results, or the taliban.
And yet religions continue to insist that they provide special access to ethical truths, and consequently deserve special treatment and protection. And they continue to emerge from the world of private life — where they belong, like so many other things that are acceptable when done in private between consenting adults but unacceptable in the town square — and to bid for power. The emergence of radical Islam needs no redescription here, but the resurgence of faith is a larger subject than that.

Read on…

40 thoughts on “Salman Rushdie: Keep Your God Off My Body

  1. ‘But on the question of origins, all religions are simply wrong. The universe wasn’t created in six days by a superforce that rested on the seventh.”
    Hey Salman…how about some source material and footnotes to go along with such bold statements. Or were they revealed to you?

  2. and do people who do believe the world was created in six days (!!!) have any source material/evidence other than religious texts?

  3. “and do people who do believe the world was created in six days (!!!) have any source material/evidence other than religious texts?”
    At least we’ve got that.
    But my point is that I’m not so convinced that the world is as it is according to Torah. I feel wonky when rabbis talk like Rushdie does. It’s the arrogance that’s annoying.

  4. I knew Rushdie only by name until now. And at the very least i can say I wholeheartedly agree with this statement of his. However, I do want to say that I am culturally and ethnically jewish, as I was born. But beleiving in invisible omniscient and omnipresent beings based upon ancient poorly translated works of fiction is for the nutcases.

  5. it’s a very thoughtful article and he makes plenty of good points, but he’s raising the ideal of “secularism” (really just code for “Westernization”; it’s surprising that as a South Asian he doesn’t see that) to that of a religion or a dogma… no different from any fundamentalist of any religion.
    it’s incredible that he is celebrating that bullshit French law about the headscarves in school, which had “widespread support” only amongst Christians and very assimilated Jews and Muslims. the French, like Americans, want immigrants to assimilate, but they’re taking it one step further by enforcing assimilation in a borderline totalitarian manner, and it’s just gonna backlash.
    by the way, I hate to insult anyone’s faith but… I’m gonna do it anyway: if you really believe literally in the Bibilical account of creation, you’re a moron. Science isn’t infallible either, but c’mon… it’s the 21st century.

  6. jordan: “Science isn’t infallible either, but c’mon… it’s the 21st century.”
    It’s only the 21st century on the Gregorian calendar.
    But seriously folks, it’s all the same tension between certainty and curiosity, or faith and inquiry, that has defined civilization for as long as the human animal has had the ability to communicate. Our generations will make history depending on how we choose between these perpetually competing intellectual attributes to guide our societies now.

  7. You guys are all wet.
    The world was created in six days and about 5700 years old.
    The 5700 number we know from history the same as you know that washington was the first president.
    Both Arbitrary and Apreche you are the ones with no basis.

  8. Since I forgot Jordan, this is for you:
    You’re the moron who just talks.
    “it’s the 21st century” -thats the type of logic of 2nd graders.

  9. I don’t want to be a hypocrite and totally invalidate my point about secularism also being a type of dogma (too late, I think), so I won’t preach the Darwinian gospel. There’s no point in arguing with those who are sure they are in possession of the truth anyway… so I’ll just stick to my 2nd-grade logic and not discuss it any further.

  10. Fair enough.
    You are right about “secularism” also being a form of religion. They also state things as fact with no proof as Shtriemel pointed out above. Those people also use logic such as “its the 21st century” as if they are giving some profound reasoning to back themselves up and based on that “proof” think that those who question that logic are morons.
    I won’t ignore real reasoning if somebody has it to correct me- but how can anyone expect me to toss out what my fathers told me of my past without telling me any reason whatsoever to toss it out?
    Tomorro night I’m going to be sitting at a seder and discussing and my father and others will be telling me what happened to us and our history throughout hte ages way back to when we became a people and before.
    Again I can’t imagine how anyone can expect me to assume that I am being “lied to” without telling me some damn good reason.
    Don’t you realize how unreasonable what you and others are saying sounds to a guy like me?

  11. “if you really believe literally in the Bibilical account of creation, you’re a moron. Science isn’t infallible either, but c’mon… it’s the 21st century.”
    Hey, I’m just a shrink. But I find it odd that SO many science types have found God in the very things that you suggest disprove His story. Interesting no? For ex. My girlfriends father is a math professor…brilliant, brilliant guy, he feels that it is within the complexity of math that proves God’s existence. Or how about that Charedi NASA dude (forget his name) with doctorate in astrophysics? I mean seriously now, are all these people deluded?
    It’s called faith son. Got any? Cuz if you believe in love (which is invisible, not provable and according to the divorce stats, very, very fleeting), your as foolish as those who believe in God.
    “But beleiving in invisible omniscient and omnipresent beings based upon ancient poorly translated works of fiction is for the nutcases.”
    This coming from a boy who enjoys videogames. Now little boy, why don’t you go put away those joysticks and ponder your statement for a while. For ex., have you ever studied the same texts you seem to think are fiction? How’s your Hebrew? Your Aramaic? I’m sure you can find sometime b/w programming and Pac Man to put some meat behind those words, huh?

  12. Will some of our resident religiophiles clearly explain exactly how empirical science and secular government prohibits anyone from believing and practicing their faith of choice? Thanks in advance.

  13. The question here is not whether anything is prohibited but whether it makes sense and whether I’m the fool or whether they are the fools.

  14. Fools? We’re all fools. So much of what we do/who we are revolves around this thing called “love”. It’s invisible, unprovable, we base our marriages on it (silly due to the stats), we spent time in the gym preparing for it, buy loads and loads of books,movies and music to experience it, choose careers, partly, because we think it’ll boost our stock in our search for love, yet we know…WE KNOW, that this is an invention of the human mind (romantic love). Yet we sacrafice so, SO much to acquire some of it, to taste of it’s nectar.
    So we’re all fools. Personally, I’d rather be a God fool.

  15. Schmo,
    If you’re so concerned with the appearance of wisdom over looking foolish, then why bother with faith at all?

  16. Joe Schmo,
    In other words, from the way you put it, the appearance of looking foolish would be worse than actual doubt. It’s almost as if you’re saying that the goal of faith is to present a facade of truth, as opposed to any genuine insight into truth itself.

  17. Zionista,
    It takes a highly evolved human to allow foolishness to rule over a facade of truth. Most of our heroes, be it rabbis, hollywood actors, professionals, professors, have perfected this mask.
    Here’s some wise words from Jewlicious’ Laya:
    “Pesach is the time of leaving things behind us. Leaving our own Mitzraim’s, or places or narrowness, to begin our journey to our own personal promised land.
    It’s about getting free of slave mentalities, the attitudes and perceptions that we thing protect us but actually hold us back, and taking on the burden of freedom.”

  18. Zionista I think you misunderstood me.
    What I meant was that at least in this post we weren’t discussing whether we have freedom to express ourselves (prohibited) but what is right and true. ( I used the word fool (instead of the previously used word moron) to mean who is wrong). I’m sorry for the confusion.
    Of course your’e right that its better to say “I’m in doubt” than to make as if you are sure in order to not look like a fool. Yea that’s terrible to be fake -if you’re in doubt say so of course.
    Look I was born into a religious family who was always religious as far back in generations as we know of. I have studied a lot of Torah and history not to mention a lot of secular topics. My father (and grandfather and all my uncles and great uncles) tell me that I come from Aaron the priest brother of Moses.
    I am at this point quite convinced that Judaism is correct based on what I know. I see people flippantly making fun and saying things like “its the 21st century.” So I think to myself -?what does that mean? I’m trying to be honest with myself and with others. If you want me to believe what my fathers are telling me is nonesense or even if you want to question it – ask something real. Give me a reason but to just knock it with the back of their hand – come on!

  19. I’m not going to be able to answer you or others until sometime next week. So everybody have a happy passover – and ask good questions at the seder!

  20. Listen, it is important to realize that for many Orthodox Jews, a beleif in a purely pshat(literal) interpretation of the Genesis account is not feasible. This opinion is older than Darwin, in fact, Rashi stated it in his commentary on Bereishis, making very clear that by simply reading the text one could infer it was not to be read literally because though Creation was made in 6 days, there was no sun for the first 2. Furthermore, Rashi goes on to state that G-d could not have first created the heavens and Earth because he immediately goes over the water (Which he obciously would have hhad to create first.)
    Tzvi Freeman wrote an article detailing how science and Torah are not mutually exclusive, entitled “How old is the Universe”. In it he describes how one cannot know the age of the universe because one does not know how it got here. Interesting stuff.
    Anyway, it has been a long time since Jews have invaded or slaughtered anyone for purely ideological reasons. We seemed tog et over that with the Zealots and Sicarii.

  21. I’m sorry the it has not been a long time since the Jews invaded for purely ideological reasons. Zionism is an ideology, and the desire to create a state in land that was occupied by others is a form of invasion. Yea, it looks different from an armed invasion, but I’m not sure the outcome is any different.

  22. wow, I didn’t realize that so many of us here have such an indepth knowledge of science, read the book Science of G-D, by Dr. Gerald Schroder better yet if your in Jerusalem stop by and hear him speak. You can batter him with all your questions regarding your theories of evolution, or how the bible is just a metaphor… cause you know so much about phsyics, chem, etc

  23. hey, look! i’m posting on yontif! not only that, i had a bagel with charoses on it today. deelish! wissenschaft des judenthums, baybee!

  24. Great, now laya is an authority.
    “Pesach is the time of leaving things behind us. Leaving our own Mitzraim’s, or places or narrowness, to begin our journey to our own personal promised land.
    It’s about getting free of slave mentalities, the attitudes and perceptions that we thing protect us but actually hold us back, and taking on the burden of freedom.”
    Ummn…Muffti agrees. Let’s all dump this God bullshit and free ourselves from slave metnalities that hold us back and make us do shit like eat Matzah. Feh!

  25. OK I’m back.
    Zionista or anyone Im willing to hear any type of arguments.
    Scanning the recent posts I only see BS – no arguments.
    To Yusul: Israel is the land of the Jewish People invaded and trespassed by others. It really doesn’t change matters that you repeat your BS over and over. You want to say that I and my people don’t own Israel but other latecomers the arabs do?!
    Facts don’t change. Israel is the Jewish People’s.
    To Mufti YOU are the slave.
    I know what I know from logic and history. I don’t need to waste my time talking to people without brains who can’t think straight but just do what their emotions want.
    Mufti you feel “enslaved” – thats your problem. Shtriemel can help you with your psycological issues.
    Elisha you ate a bagel on purpose on passover – you think you’re so tough and cool…
    I believe that you will have no share in the world-to-come.

  26. Joe Schmo, Muffti won’t even bother with justifiable suspicions regarding your basic competence with logic. As far as history books go, your one trusty reliable text seems to be the bible, which only the simplest of minds seem to think is a literal historical text. Shtremiel helping me with my mental problems? Perhaps…
    As for Shtremiel, your love analogy is based on a clear fallacy of reification. God is an object, love is a relational property. We have excellent evidence for the existence of love: we feel it. Since love is a feeling, feeling it seems to consitute pretty good evidence that it exists. Muffti doesn’t really understand what standard of proof Shtremiel has in mind. God however, is an object. You don’t feel objects in the way you feel feelings (it would be a virtual category mistake.) So stop bandying about this bullshit analogy! And how the hell can the complexity of math ‘prove’ God? Think about it for a second: does that line of argument even make any sense? Or does it mean much to anyone that there is some ‘NASA dude’ who feels that the stars prove to him that God exists? These people are experts on math and astronomy respectively. It doesn’t follow that we should take them seriously on matters to do with metaphysics and theology.

  27. grandmuffti (to Joe Schmo): “As far as history books go, your one trusty reliable text seems to be the bible, which only the simplest of minds seem to think is a literal historical text….”
    But it is a historical narrative nevertheless. And perhaps one the only historical records we have for much of its period of coverage. As such, it deserves at least the minimum of historiographical respect. Some parts may conflict with the archeaological record, while others may prove consistent. We won’t know it all, but isn’t it the better part of wisdom to approach it all with proper measures of curiosity and respect. This idea may serve as a response to both Joe Schmo’s biblical certainty as well as jordan’s dismissive “it’s the 21st century” remark.

  28. Zionista is right in that it is history. The Torah isn’t a book that was “found” somewhere.
    We always had it since the times of Moses and Joshua. There is no difference between events such as our sojourn in the wilderness for 40 years and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, on the one hand, and our knowledge of the minutemen who with Paul Revere warned the colonists about the British troops.
    If you can show me the difference we can talk until then I consider you the simpleminded one.

  29. Approach the OT with all the respect, reverence and curiousity that you feel is appropriate. But it’s a bit like taking Herodotus seriously: we know he’s lies/exagerates when necessary. So when he makes rather controversial, unbelievable claims, you write them off rather than take them as serious history. Similarly, when the torah goes out of its way to give you mildly conflicting stories of how the world and people were created, perhaps we shouldn’t rush to conclude that all other evidence to the contrary, the world is some 5000 years old and enjoyed a 6 day creation period. So, yeah, Muffti is pretty sure that we should be a little dismissive of creation stories that seem to be physically impossible.
    (Notice that Muffti isn’t alone in this: even great bibilical commentators were willing to sacrifice the historicity of the book for its theology and morality. Philo being the most famous, but not by any means the only, commentator to take this leap.)

  30. Sorry…Schmo posted while Muffti was writing. Let’s see. JS wrote:
    “We always had it since the times of Moses and Joshua. There is no difference between events such as our sojourn in the wilderness for 40 years…and our knowledge of the minutemen who with Paul Revere warned the colonists about the British troops.”
    Really? None? Well, let’s think a bit harder (and avoid simplemindedness). What sort of evidence to historians use? Well, in particular they tend to favour mutliple accounts of events rather than single accounts. Paul Revere’s ride is well documented, including eye witness testimony. The revelation at sinai is documented by exactly one source.
    What else do historians use? Well, the more implausible the story, the more they tend to require supporting evidence (archeological for instance). The OT’s archeological record is spotty at best, especially with regard to its more fantastical claims (the revelation at sinai, the splitting of the red sea, the story of creation, the flood…). This isn’t to say that you won’t find confirming evidence of various parts; they’re seems to be some evidence that they located Sodom for instance. In contrast, the Paul Revere story is supported by external evidence. It furthermore needs less confirmation because it doesn’t claim that the physically impossible happened. Therefore, there are fewer causes for skepticism.
    Third, historians look at whether or not the author of the account had reason to lie. Clearly, whatever else is true, the authors of the OT had some reason to fabricate where necessary. After all, the bible was the political, moral and theological book of the people. While the Revere story is likely to to not be perfect (as few historical records ever are), only autobiographies or stories written by close friends are suspect (and even they are less suspect when we compare sources for accuracy.)
    Finally, when a book contains contradictions historians tend to put less credence in its deliverances. In fact, textual analysis (as we all know) leaves somewhat credible the possiblity that the OT had up to four separate authors all with differing political interests. As such, since the Torah does seem to contain contradictions that appologists work hard to explain away, we have reason to doubt its overall accuracy as a historic record. Please try to find me the analogue for Paul Revere.
    This isn’t to say that no evidence could come along and turn over the Paul Revere story. (In fact, this makes us much more open minded about PR than about Sinai since Muffti would like to know what evidence JS would allow could overturn the Sinai tale). Muffti is pretty sure we are all open minded enough to think that no historical record is ever perfect wth resepect to all its details. We try to get a best overall picture given the evidence and the confidence levels we place in that evidence. As far as that goes, the revelation at Sinai and the Paul Revere incident are not on equal footing.
    (and, by the way, even Muffti knows from the Haftorah of the second day, there is evidence in the OT that the book of Deutoronomy actually WAS found somewhere when they started renovating the temple…)

  31. Lets go point by point mufti:
    1. “Well, in particular they tend to favour mutliple accounts of events rather than single accounts. Paul Revere’s ride is well documented, including eye witness testimony. The revelation at sinai is documented by exactly one source. “-
    You contradict yourself you say that the Torah is possibly the creation of four authors and then you say that sinai has one source. Well sinai and our story in Egypt is mentioned numourous times in the 5 books of moses. so you should have said it has FOUR sources.
    Furthermore, Joshua, Jeremiah, the twelve prophets and just about all of the books which were after moses all refer to these events. We all know that they were not one author. The book of Joshua was written in Joshua’s time, Isaiah, jeremiah, Ezekial were all written by our fathers at the end of the first temple. Is that one source?? Do you need me to quote about egypt from them for you?!
    Not only that, but you have Josephus who lived at the end of the second temple who testified regarding these things.
    So what are you talking about?!
    I have listed for you numerous sources all written throughout different generations and I also have my fathers who told me my history from today all the way back until then.
    I haven’t even started with the things not cannonized. The book of the maccabees and others many of which refer to the events of Egypt and Sinai.
    We have both many sources and eyewitnesses.
    I’d like to see if you can list more sources for Paul Revere.
    2. archeological supporting evidence- hmm Before I even go there I’d like to hear about some supporting evidence for Paul Revere.
    3. “reason to lie”- This is plain talk; you can try to discredit anything with: “maybe they had a reason…”- I don’t even know what you mean by this – but I can tell you why they might fabricate Paul Revere. Paul Revere is an account of extreme patriotism- how they defended America even in a minute’s time. Its a good lesson to teach all American’s. There is ample reason to tell a Paul Revers tall tale.
    Even so do I question Paul Revere because “maybe somebody fabricated it? No! because it is history seen by a large amount of people.
    4. “Contradictions”- Please enlighten me to any contradiction you know of. I know of NONE.
    I have answered all your points. Unfortunately you gave no specifics- possibly because you have none.

  32. Careful, Joe Schmo. The Christian gospels are pretty firm on the matter that a certain Jesus is the one-way road to heaven. If we are going to apply a set of standards to one, it’s only fair to apply it across the board.
    The Torah establishes us in so many ways as a legitimate nation within human civilization. Further, we can apply theological principles to it, and live by the moral, ethical and legal system we sustain from it, but just as it deserves respect as our seminal national narrative, we do ourselves no favors demanding historical viability where it is impossible to support it.

  33. hehehe…JS, *sigh* let’s take a look.
    1) Obviously the sources you mention don’t count as mutiple sources. it doesn’t count if the sources take there bases from the same source. The point of multiple sources is that independant sources claim it, not that later ones dependant on earlier ones do it over and over again. Obviously the macabees are neither eyewitnesses nor independant sources. Anyhow, while Muffti basically buys the four author hypothesis, its just another way in which we have reason not to take the ‘history’ very seriously, especially where there are divergences. As for Paul Revere, we have a record of of his arrest by the brits, we have eye witness report from Dawes (who got away) and Prescott. Not to mention he was charged with the duty of warning the Americans by lantern, the site of which was confirmed by eyewitnesses including Adams and Hancock.
    As for Revere, you wouldn’t expect archeological evidence would you? When a story suggests that a certain type of evidence can be left behind you search for that evidence. Where it is confirmed, great. Where not confirmed, we look for explanations as to why it wasn’t confirmed. (Muffti honestly can’t believe that he has to tell an obviously educated person this kind to thing).
    Reason to lie? Muffti gave several motives. He supposes you could always come up with a reason to fabricate. When the reason looks plausible, you balance it out against how easy it would be to lie, how much other evidence we have for the event etc. The point is that the more plausible the reason to lie (or not even lie really, just the greater the chances for error) the less inclined you ought to be to believe that the narrative is true.
    Now, you can deny any challenge to a story as just more skepticism if you like. Muffti is just telling you what the cannons of historical research seem to suggest. If you don’t like it, fine. But then don’t go on about how ‘history’ has taught you anything.
    Finally, as for contradictions, the list is long. Fortunately, someone else took the time to compile one. Muffti doesn’t endorse all of these as literal contradictions, though quite a few are. Unfortuantely, the list contrains quite a few new testament refs that you should probably ignore.
    Muffti is sure you’ll draw on appologetic sources that try to reconcile them. Good for you if it makes you feel better. In any case, Muffti’s favourites are:
    1. The creation stories don’t match.
    2. God says ‘we’ in creating man in one of them, later says that he is a unity in the shma (etc.)
    3. Famously, there are two stories that don’t match in the flood: different counts for how many animals, different accounts of where the ark lands, apparently different covenants with God.
    4. Samuel 17:50-51 says that David killed Goliath. II Samuel 21:19 says that Elhanan killed the same Goliath.
    OK, JS, go find some reasons to call these non-contraditions. Let the ad hoc reasoning begin!
    Or you could wise up and admit that the book you love is an incredible early work on theology, morality and legend and stop thinking of it as an actual attempt to give a fully realistic historical account.

  34. Mufti you are wrong.
    Joshua saw sinai himself the book of Joshua is by no means a quote from the books of Moses.
    Why do you say it “bases” on a book before? Did you just make that up?
    In fact the book of Joshua was compiled by many people in his generation many who themselves were witness to what happened.
    Why are these not independant sources?
    All the sources I gave you are independant – there are no direct quotes. The people writing during Joshua’s time saw it and those after who were in the next generations wrote the history that they heard from their fathers – they didn’t need direct quotes from the Torah.
    For Revere you say that they have a “record” of his arrest? Why is that different than the “records” that we have of Egypt in our multiple writings? – you say the Revere “site” was confirmed? What does that mean?!
    Did they see Revere do it it or not?
    -So it boils down to two people Dawes and Prescott. No more.
    And how do you know that they really saw it – are you not relying on history books to tell you that? Maybe it didn’t happen that way.
    I still fail to see a real difference. What I do see is your attempt to paint a picture as if everybody transmitting our history was just quoting from one source – but those aren’t the facts.
    If you are honest you will see that our history is as solid if not more so that Paul Revere. There are thousands of witnesses – writings written during or immediately after what happened. History agreed upon by multiple people at the time and cannonized. This is aside for many individual writings at the time that we don’t have… Solomon composed many more proverbs than we have. An example is the book of baruch ben neriah found in Qumran. Many things were brought to Rome and are probably in the Vatican now.
    Please tell me what archeological evidence do you expect? I don’t know what you are talking about. Speak clearly not in riddles.
    “Mufti gave several motives”-Mufti gave no solid reason to lie just generalities. Why would my parents tell me not to eat leaven on passover? – But for Revere I gave solid reasons for fabrication. After all to teach loyalty is important! and Americans don’t even have to do anything difficult like keeping away from leaven! Its a plausable AND easy lie. There is no reason for people to not want to believe it (like by us when people would rather not be restricted).
    “as for contradictions” -I can’t go through every nonsense in that list. I will limit myself to what you put down simply due to time restrictions – I don’t think you even begin to fathom the ignorance these contradictions show in the author of that web site. (As far as the New testament contradictions I won’t comment.)
    I can address any specific other one – just tell me which one.
    To the ones you metioned:
    1. “Don’t match”- explain yourself – they match to me.
    2. “Shma”- You could have better quoted the next verse where it uses singular “G-d created man in His image”… You don’t need to search for the Shma the whole chapter in Bereshit is singular.
    The answer is not rocket science- “We” is an expression of humility the royal we “Let us make man…”
    3. “famously…different accounts…” – enlighten me please.
    4. What actually happened was that Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath [II Chronicles 20:5]. Its not even obvious that it is the brother of the Goliath that David killed. One thing is clear – it was not Goliath himself in II Samuel.
    The problem here is a lack of learning. How could they have not quoted Chronicles? I wouldn’t rely on these “quotes” if I were you. Before you use something for your defense study it first – why take the chance of looking silly?
    To sum up I still don’t see the difference between our history and paul revere. The sources I quoted above are independant- you are trying to claim otherwise against what I understand and what seems to anybody who knows the sources. Explain how you know that!
    I don’t do ad-hoc reasoning – I have no interest in fooling myself.

  35. This is ridiculous. Allright, one last go around. Then Muffti gives up and you can believe whatever stupid shit pleases you.
    First, Muffti’s point was the following. If there is an eyewitness who tells his kids something, his kids reporting it does not make it any more certain than the original source. In that sense, they are no independant. If Muffti tells you that he is six feet tall, and you tell someone else, it would be remarkably misleading to say that there are two sources that can confirm Muffti’s height. In that sense, any author that wasn’t at Sinai is not an independant source. As for telling me that the book of Joshua was compiled by many sources, well that tells Muffti nothing unless you can pin the sources to the event. Since that generation was supposed to die out before entering the land of Israel, Muffti finds that claim somewhat unlikely (on the OT’s own terms). But whatever, point is that sources that get their info from other sources don’t add to credibility. So, please, do yourself a favour and stop multiplying sources. There’s one book, perhaps two or three authors (since not all authors document the experience at Sinai). [Note for your education: independant sources doesn’t mean not directly quoted. That’s the stupidest thing Muffti has heard anyone in this kind of debate say.]
    Let’s go on. You say:
    “or Revere you say that they have a “record” of his arrest? Why is that different than the “records” that we have of Egypt in our multiple writings?”
    Ummn, Muffti thinks he already covered this. Your records are suspect precisely because the only confirmation seems to be a dubious set of eye witnesses, recording a dubious historical event for which we have no independant evidence. (i.e. there seems to be no record in Egypt of a band of people escaping, having the sea divide for them, plagues etc.) You’d expect this sort of evidence if these fantastical events happened. Since the evidence seems to inconveniently not exist, we have to speculate on the most plausible reasons why it doesn’t. Muffti has his best guess…
    As for your general skepticism about sources, Muffti has little to say. If you think that collecting multiple sources isn’t important, or that events that claim fantastic things are less likely to be true than one that claims plausible things (i.e. the age of the universe pegged around 5000 contradicts all the physics and physical history we know. Paul Revere’s ride contradicts nothing but British law circa later 1700s) and that we therefore tend to require more evidence before we whole heartedly believe it, great. If you really want to sift through a lot of evidence, check:
    There you will find a partial narrative with some sources. You try to tell me what parallel we have by way of credibiiity, mutliple confirming (real) independant sources and general plausibility when it comes to the OT. Have fun.
    Why don’t you beileve Jesus walked on water? We have more records of that than we do the splitting of the red sea. And the records are more recent. And the accounts of that are fairly consistent. The reason is so obvious its embarrassing: you refuse to turn your critical eye in equal ways.
    Anyways, moving along. Muffti surely does not buy your claim that it was easy to lie about Paul Revere. There is no motive to make him famous. There is no way to lie and keep it consisten with the British claims (unless you think those are fabricated too.) The reason the OT is plausibly fabricated in part is obvious: every society has creation stories. Each one is designed in part to lend legitimacy to the entity(ies) they nominate as ‘God’. They then use that to pass laws in his name, etc. Miracles are a way of providing authority. This sort of thing happened all the time: there’s a reason every nation has a cosmology involving Gods. So not ony is there plausible motive, we know that other nations make up similar stories for the expressed purpose of grounding their religions in a higher force. (Muffti will get you source later if you promise to actuallly go read them.) There is no similar temptation around the 1700s to provide for legendary rebel rides, though it wouldn’t be surprising if there were many confirmed stories since presumably more rebellions will have heroic incidences invovled.
    *sigh* OK, let’s move on. As predicted, your reached for appologetic sources. Let’s do another round.
    The book of Genesis certainly is written in the first person. So we have ONE instance of this so called Royal We. This is just an ad hoc appeal though: why should we accept this claim? Was the Royal We common back then? Obviously not since as you say, it only occurs there. (notice that the so called ‘Royal We’ is an ENGLISH construction, and a fairly late one at that.) This is classic example of ad hocery. But like Muffti said, whatever let’s you sleep at night is fine with him…
    As for Genesis, the order of creation is different. Day and night are created at different times relative to the plants. More explicitly, in chapter 1 the beasts are created first and then Man. In chapter 2, man comes first and then the beasts which he names. Finally, while this is not really contradictory, God appears to create man and woman at the same time while in the second, woman comes about after all the animals are created (actually, Muffti guesses it is contradictory.)
    Maybe that’s enough for now. Glad that you don’t want to fool yourself.

  36. I’ll answer very simple.
    Both Sinai/Egypt and Paul Revere are solid history. Simply because at the time they were witnessed by multitudes as is any history.
    The claim that Jesus walked on water was done privately in front of just a few-therefore it is easy to lie. There is no religion that claims national revelation – because such a claim is impossible IF it never happened. It would be shot down by critics immediately as history revision.
    The reason I accept Revere is because it is impossible to lie about that-if it didn’t happen would American’s who lived then accept it?! You never have history that is claimed to be done publicly in front of hundreds of thousands faked- that is impossible.
    Records from a book can never prove anything – not in the case of the Torah and not in the case of Revere-because we can always question: who wrote it?
    The reason we accept history is that there were eyewitnesses at the time who testified about it. If there are only a few witnesses we are skeptical. If there are more we are less skeptical. History in general has thousands and thousands of witnesses. There is a reason that there were only 12 witnesses to Jeus and 2 or 3 for the mormon’s claims; the same for mohammed…a bigger claim was impossible.
    My point is simple. There is no difference between our history or Revere except for the amount of time.
    AXIOM: Given any claim that relies on the claim of a nation of witnesses (in fact millions) to events; IF that claim is accepted and endures past the generation where the claim is made –> then that claim must be true.
    Reason: Such a claim cannot be falsified. It would never had held water or have been accepted by that first generation. This is the definition of History.
    I take this to be simple and self-evident.
    I invite anyone to who has an opinion on this axiom to chime in.

  37. That is the single stupidest thing anyone has ever said to me in arguing for theism. You are an idiot of the first rank.
    Oops…did Muffti write that? Sorry…he meant ‘good point! Your reasoning has finally out done him. You are pretty clever JS. Muffti swears never to argue with you ever again.’

  38. Thank G-d.
    You are the stupid one. This argument is THE argument. I will absolutely not expect an answer to it from you.
    Any thinking person without an agenda will see it, historian or otherwise.

  39. in case anyone is still reading, just thought I’d share that I’m reading a wonderful book called The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (yid? not sure)
    Anyway, let’s put it this way… the experimental evidence backing up advanced notions of theoretical physics is mounting at a rapid pace. The universe is by definition not 5700 years old– we have carefully measured light from the stars that is only reaching our eyes after journeys across spacetime lasting hundreds of thousands of years, millions or more… There’s clearly something more to it.
    One theory (inflationary big bang theory) posits that a most tiny universe weighing about 20lbs was able to expand at an incredibly rapid pace for an incredibly brief period of time, subsequently slowing it’s expansion (and then speeding up again 7 billion years later). Anyway, if you want to think about divinity, think about how that tiny universe got there. Or that we have the distinct honor of life on earth despite our physical insignificance (cosmically speaking).
    Besides, what is a day anyway? sun set-sundown? on what point of the earth? or is the earth flat? Shabbat around the globe lasts 49 hours, doesn’t it?

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