A blogger (who has changed his name over and over again because he keeps changing his mind about how he feels about Observant Judaism) recently wrote a post that offers two examples and asks what we (the reader) would do. Disclaimer: the examples are obviously written in such a way to beg a specific answer. When doing so he distorts things, makes things into facts that are theories, and ignores things that have been proved, as I will show. Lets just do the first one today:
Your friend tells you that a super natural being exists. You check up on that, and it turns out nobody has ever seen this being, or has any good evidence that the being exists. The whole thing seems to be entirely fantasy.
Obviously I (in this example) haven’t done a good job checking up on it. Not only is there a document that is attested to be true at the time by over 2 million people, but this book has an unbroken chain since that time with little to no questioning of differences in the existing text since (besides additions). It is little to no different from when we are told there was a civil war, or a holy roman empire or even a holocaust…eye witness testimony. Somehow the Torah is no longer an eyewitness testimony! If we find a Native American document from the exact same time talking about an event no one will question that accuracy of it.
THAT answer is just for starters…but lets more on
When you tell your friend this, he has a conniption fit, and tells you that nobody has ever proven that this being does not exist either.
That is an argument made by people who don’t really believe in G-d and merely want to believe in G-d. No rational G-d fearing Jew who is worth his weight in gold actually uses that argument.
You think your friend is nuts. But then your friend tell you that not only does this being exist, but it wrote a book, and he shows you the book. You look at the book, and it looks like a typical collection of far fetched miracle tales, and out of date laws and moral values, very similar to many other ancient books.
Except for a great number of distinctions. 1) This is the ONLY book that claims that G-d appeared to more than 1 person at a time, certainly the only one that claims a revelation to 2 million people. 2) I love how liberals all believe that moral values can be out of date. If they are moral values they should be a constant 3) This “typical collection of far fetched miracles” is only typical because all the other major western religions based their stories off of ours. Its not typical if everyone stole our version!
Certainly there’s nothing about the book which would make you think a super natural being wrote it.
This is a HUGE fight to be had but let me take a stab at one example. According to World Wildlife Fund report mentioned in Discovery magazine more than 1,068 new species have been discovered since 1997. Imagine how many have been discovered since the giving of the Torah over 2,500 years ago. Especially since at that time we had not discovered 98% of the world including entire continents.
In the Torah it specifically lists by name all the animals that have split hooves but don’t chew their cud, and chew their cud but don’t have split hooves. BY NAME. If you are a human and are writing a book you aren’t stupid enough to mention then by name! You give the rule and move on! Don’t be stupid enough, especially with 98% of the world undiscovered, to give specific names! And yet, since the giving of the Torah not one, NOT ONE animal has been discovered beyond the list given in the Torah that has one and not the other. That is way beyond coincidence or good luck. That’s divine.
In fact the book itself doesn’t even claim that.
Wrong. Just flat out wrong. Over and over it says “the rules that I have given you” the book that “I wrote”. Anyone you speak to who knows anything will tell you that it isn’t talking about Moshe (especially when it says this book that i gave to Moses.) Or maybe he had multiple personalities.
Anyways, you take the book to your local university for fact checking and it turns out half the book is completely impossible and much of it is plain wrong.
I recall when people say killing 6 million people is impossible. I remember that West Point doesn’t study any of the Israeli military victories in their military history class because its impossible to win those wars. I could go on but I wont. The very idea behind a miracle is that it’s impossible. And just plain wrong? I don’t see any sources for this..try listing one and we can go from there.
Also, linguistic scholars show you that the book was written in different dialects corresponding to different time periods, and they also point out numerous contradictions, omissions, and obvious signs of tampering.
If you are talking about Tanach then yeah of course they were written at different times! It says that! Omissions? All of a sudden there is a missing book? Like some kind of Oral Torah that would explain the omissions? Again we agree. Obvious signs of tampering? See above while I wait for a source that says there is tampering because there is no one I ever heard who says that, even the people who doubt the Torah
You tell this to your friend but he absolutely insists that a super natural being wrote almost every word of it, and anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t know what they are talking about. You think your friend is really nuts. Then he tells you that you must adhere to all the laws in the book, including some very strange ones, and if you don’t, the super natural being will punish you in some way. What do you do?
Well if someone told this to me, i would argue the same way I have, and then he would come up with some made up excuse like “that’s not good enough” and walk away. Additionally i never claim anyone who believes otherwise “doesn’t know what they are talking about”. I merely disagree with them. Can’t you live with someone else disagreeing with you?
What do I do? Look at the facts and realize that the Torah is true and anyone who has done the research would realize it too. But if he wants to live in state of denial? It’s his life.