Do People Who Believe in God Know How To Think?

Human beings should be incapable of believing in God. They should be, but they are not.

This is as well true for the belief in anything that exists beyond what the human senses can readily and easily perceive and integrate into their everyday world. Yet, the very ability to believe in God implies an awareness of things that cannot be observed. The very fact that virtually all human beings are capable of such a belief indicates the existence of a "tool" capable of measuring spiritual activity. That tool, of course, is the human soul and the "object" of observation is God Himself.

Contrary to some opinions, it is not the human intellect that makes it impossible to believe in God (although that is what some people want you to believe), because there are many, many intelligent people in the world who subscribe to the belief in God. This in-and-of-itself of course does not mean that God exists, rather it challenges the assumption that if only people were analytical and exercised rational thought that they would become atheists. It only means that it is possible to be a human being with an active intellect who believes in the existence of God. If a person is genuinely analytical and still believes that God exists, it is a false assumption that intelligence leads to atheism. Atheists do not have a monopoly on intellect -- nobody does. All one can have is a right to intellect, and that right is granted to those who exercise it, whether believers or atheists.

In short, atheists need to stop acting as if knowledge of the mechanisms that govern our physical world disqualifies the possibility of God's existence. For every apparent coincidence of unfathomably low probability exists an equal and opposite miraculous and otherwise unexplainable phenomenon, become unexciting due to its frequency and perpetuity. Is it not then a choice, rather than a compulsion, to interpret the "facts on the ground" as either pointing to or away from God, bereft of any natural way of verifying one's decision?

And let us not forget that with most atheistic conceptualities of religion in general come many fallacies. Many atheists seem to think that religion is a primitive form of the human attempt to apply meaning to natural disasters and other scientifically-explainable phenomenon. Religious beliefs about sin and punishment in this world stem from scientific ignorance basic to Bronze Age peasants and shepherds. This is a rather ignorant belief. Speaking more for Judaism, but perhaps for the other monotheistic religions as well, the attempt to attribute scientifically-explainable phenomenon to the Will of God is almost completely unfounded. In the Torah, for example, there is very little reference to natural disasters in general, much less to in terms of worldly punishment for sin. It is true that the Torah sets forth worldly punishment for sin, but the punishments detailed in the Torah are hardly what one would consider to be natural phenomenon.

For example, chapters 13 and 14 of Leviticus describe something in Hebrew known as tzara'at. While tzara'at is often translated into English as "leprosy," it is actually a form of skin lesion that appears somewhere on the body. Here's the kicker: the Torah's purported cause for this skin lesion is derogatory speech, or lashon hara (literally evil tongue) in Hebrew and Jewish parlance. There is no obvious scientific connection between gossip and other forms of disparaging speech and skin blemishes. Why would the Torah care to make such a connection given the dubious relationship between gossip and bad skin (although the life of most teenagers would seem to support this connection)?

Here's where the critic might say, "This Bible-thumping Jew made a mistake." Skin lesions are by all means natural phenomenon, so there is no reason to assume that they were caused by lashon hara. If so, then consider Leviticus 13:13, which says, "...then the Priest shall look [at it, the lesion]. And, behold! the tzara'ath has covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce [the person with] the lesion clean. He has turned completely white; he is clean (uninfected)." If tzara'at is a natural skin condition caused by bacteria, virus, or some other quantifiable natural entity, the verse I just quoted is completely irrational. If the skin condition has covered "all of his flesh" the afflicted should be anything but clean, yet that is what the verse states! The answer is that tzara'at is a spiritual affliction rather than a physical one, which is why although in parts of Leviticus 13 and 14 it seems to function according to physical rules, ultimately it does not.

Let us also consider verses 10 and 11 for good measure:

The Priest shall look [at it]. And, behold! there is a white se'eith (different form or lesion on the skin), and either it has turned the hair white, or there is healthy, live flesh in the se'eith, it is old tzara'ath on the skin of his flesh, and the Priest shall pronounce him unclean; he need not quarantine him because he is unclean (infected).

There are two problems with the above verses. The first is that verse 10 mentions that if there is any "healthy, live flesh in the se'eith... he need not quarantine him because he is unclean." One would normally think that the emergence of "healthy, life flesh" indicates that the healing process has begun, but the Torah tells us that, to the contrary that it signals his being unclean. The second is that if he unclean, why does the Torah say "he need not quarantine him because he is unclean." Would that not be a very good reason to quarantine him?! The answer to both questions is that tzara'at, as mentioned before, is not a physical affliction, but a spiritual one. Likewise, it does not function according to physical laws, which is why it seems so bizarre.

To summarize, while religion may contain reference to physical phenomenon, its point is not to provide explanations for as-of-yet undiscovered scientific anomalies. The explicit purpose of religion, and absolutely of the Torah, is to establish a connection between (im)moral behavior and spiritual consequence. If any of these punishments bleed over into the physical realm it is because (again, according to Judaism), the spiritual and physical world are intimately interlocked.

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