Atheists & Killer Docs
Atheism appeals to logic only if you posit that the whole Universe “just happened.” T.H Huxley, father of Aldous H., came up with term agnosticism, in the late 19th Century. It involves supposed open-mindedness about the existence or non-existence of God, or gods.
Besides providing no guidance, answers nor comfort. agnostics’ customary reaction to overwhelming evidence of God’s hand in the world – the scientifically incredible miracles of existence, say; the spectacularly uplifting, spectacularly exceptional qualities of the Torah and its statutes, laws and ordinances; the existence of the Jewish People as a continuing force in history; and all the realized ancient Torah prophesies – rings false.
There is, in fact, a golden tradition in human affairs that illuminates human history like an ever-burning flame. Agnostics' customarily react to it with an oddly incurious obliviousness which minimizes all such things, often even writing them off as meaningless. The weight of the evidence somehow doesn't register, in this field, which writes off Judaism as just another religion. It's unfair. It's dishonest. It's illogical. IIt’s a cop-out.
No religious faith or philosophy makes more sense than this one: our First Covenant-Hebrew Covenant school of unalienable truths and ultimately self-evident principles.
History clearly indicates that the Teachings of this school eventually do come to be accepted, as universal moral principles and fundamental ethics. As for the spiritual Teachings of Sinai, including the Name of God (His personal characteristics, His Identity, the perceptible threads running through His works), the vast majority of humankind still rejects them. They have their convictions. They're not particularly friendly towards nor respectful of the allegedly elevated spiritual Teachings of Israel - of Torah.
Nowadays, largely thanks to the Hebrews, peoples often speak of One God. While regarding the Jews as probably the last people from whom they'd choose to learn from.
It's a pity. The Tradition that we're speaking of here - the ancient Tradition, from Shem to Abraham through Moses, Samuel, David, and the other great prophets and teachers of Israel - runs all through human history. While its great spiritual, ethical, philosophical Teachings - of self-respect, probity, modesty, respect for history, and for the God Who acts in history, and the Torah of God - remains, after all these centuries, radically unlike all the man-made religions.
We're speaking, of course, of faith in and the worship of the One God of Sinai. It’s not just a little different from every other spiritual tradition, the religions of the nations. It’s spectacularly different. Yet, as always, it's a light that shines like a beacon to all the adults in the human family who are willing just to think about it.
Professor Richard Dawkins
We’d have liked to see a religious conversion after the world’s foremost atheist, Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Richard Dawkins, encountered some new data points. He spoke of his surprise upon learning of the “colossal,” “puzzling,” “astonishing” number of Jewish Nobel Prize-winners. With total numbers somewhat less than 0.2 percent of the world’s population, more than 20% of Nobel prizes – mostly in science, medicine, and economics - have gone to Jewish people.
They asked him, what could account for it? Is the Torah somehow more elevating than the Koran? “I doubt it,” he declared.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks first introduced him to these numbers fairly recently, he said. After strenuously, energetically advocating total godlessness for more than half his life, he encountered this as fresh data. “I thought it was astonishing. It’s colossal,” he said. “I’m puzzled by it. I don’t have the answer to it. I haven’t thought it through.”
That was in the Fall of 2013. Alas, according to reports, he still hasn’t "thought it through."
So far, five states – Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and Colorado – have enacted “death with dignity,” “right to die,” or “physician-assisted suicide” laws. A sixth, New Mexico, has passed a bill to that effect but it’s still in litigation. Meanwhile, several countries have enacted such laws, including Canada, Holland, Columbia, and New Zealand.
Taking into account the fine feelings espoused by proponents of these laws – that they’ll prevent unbearable suffering; that the state has no business interfering with the automony of its citizens, by keeping people from terminating their lives according to their own wishes – they couldn’t horrify us more.
Particularly, after years of watching different families grappling with end of life issues, trying to preserve an estate or distribute family wealth, we regard these laws as atrociously wrong-headed. Vivid pictures pop into mind of beloved sons and daughters counseling their infirm parents: “Ma/Pa, you know, if you stay alive much longer I’ll get sick or lose my mind/I'll die myself, caring for you/The insurance will run out/The estate will be depleted/We could really use this nice big bedroom for your granddaughter….
Every human life, including the life of someone who is terminally ill, is sacred. Every person has the right not to be hustled off in any way before their time, to not be killed, or pressed to kill themselves.
Turning a physician, a healer, into a killer, a murderer… Turning one’s beloved friends and family into accessories to murder… putting down a human being like an animal.... These are the sorts of laws that muddy the God-made distinction between animal and human, that re-grade human down to animal.
Human beings who choose death suffer, invariably, from some kind, or kinds, of excruciating pain. We can and should administer drugs and other powerful therapies to deal with even the most intractable pain.
Human beings may take animal life, in the exercise of human dominion, but our dominion doesn’t extend to our fellow men and women. Only God may take a human life. And our deaths have unfathomable value. To die in His time and at His command brings one blessing – that is, atonement, at oneness, with God.
Physicians have a special duty to try to save the sick. But when the time to die has arrived, a patient may refuse, and the physician may withold, more treatment. There is an ubridgeable gap between that and suicide and murder.
By Michael Dallen
See the whole interview with Richard Dawkins here
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