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response to L Wagner and Dhimmi NM

Reader comment on item: How Fares Western Civ?
in response to reader comment: Liz Wagner: The Western Mind and Skepticism

Submitted by JoeRu (United States), Jul 27, 2020 at 16:25

Ms. Wagner: If you know Stark, his thrust, as a Christian, is to point out the Christian influences in the world. If some of them come originally from Judaism, he may or may not point them out - this is not an argument against that. One can make the (Jewish) argument that "permission" to be scientific may ultimately be Jewish, as in Rabbi Lord Sacks' comments, but the impetus to actually create a scientific infrastructure was Christian (ie due to the Greek and other European influences overlaid on the Jewish world).

Dhimmi: allowing for your general counter-Muslim rhetoric, I won't argue too strongly. It makes sense to say that to an ancient person, being a monotheist allowed for a more scientific worldview (the Creator set up a world that makes sense) than being a polytheist (each god could make a capricious decision every minute, with some going against whims of another god).

Don't bring the "why do bad things happen to good people" argument (your argument about Daesh raping women being a reason that this world is not sensical). To a religious person, God made the universe in a way that makes scientific and psychological sense - allowing for independence, development, etc. Evil performed in the world by MAN is not the responsibility of God.

You ask why should the revelation of the Oneness of God belong to one small tribe and not to the whole world - well, that was an issue the Jews actually dealt with. The whole flow of the early Bible explains that everyone ORIGINALLY DID know God, but as humanity spread out, they forgot, and only Abraham relearned about Him. Then there is the whole thought experiment in the book "If You Were God" by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplen (I think) which points out (based on ideas in Exodus and Deuteronomy and Isaiah) that the Jews are yes, a small tribe, positioned to be representatives of God in the wider world. And given that 3000 years ago, the only monotheists were a small tribe in a small land, and today monotheism is the dominant belief on the planet, roughly there has been large success.

As far as the LAW stuff goes, sure, ancient Hebrew law is in large part related to Egyptian and Mesopotamian legal precedent. (I'm not sure why you spend so much energy on the root word for "din" but whatever.) But it's not the framework that is revolutionary, but rather the content. Read Hertz on this in his Chumash: the Bible gets rid of the Hammurabi idea that if someone kills a man's daughter, then his own daughter gets killed - rather, the girl is rendered a person, and the killer himself is liable. It takes the idea of slavery and regulates it, removing the ability of a master to exert capital punishment on his slave. Debtor's wage slavery is permitted, but limits were built into the system. Rape in battle was understood but regulated. So sure, you can believe anything you want -that a God wrote these laws or a man, but it was a fairly enlightened man for that era!!

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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