Proof & Morality: Judaism vs Christianity
Reader: I would like to respond to Rabbi Ben Chaim’s article of the falsehood of Christianity. Although I agree with him that Christianity is false and that Jesus was certainly not G-d nor His son nor anything of the sort, some of the Rabbi’s arguments were faulty.
The Rabbi writes that the revelation at Sinai is a historically proven event and one witnessed by 2.5 million people. This is a matter of faith not history. There is simply not enough proof for the exodus from Egypt, and even biblical scholars who accept that an exodus did happen totally reject the number of Israelites leaving Egypt being in the millions. This can be seen in the other books of the Tanakh. Canaan itself did not have a population of 2.5 million, so if the Jews had those numbers, conquest of Israel should have been easy- but even as the Tanakh demonstrates, conquest was not easy and even in David’s time, the Jews were still fighting for control of the country! Anyway, to say that the revelation at Sinai is a proven historical event is simply not true. Furthermore, Muslims believe that during one important battle waged by Muhammad, a mountain moved by G-d’s will. This event was witnessed by thousands of people- do you as a Jew believe it simply because the event had a large number of witnesses?
Secondly, Rabbi Ben Chaim says that Christianity is actually a religion of hate. Certainly horrific things were done by Christians in the name of Jesus, but the Israelites slaughtered Canaanite men, women and children; was that any less hateful? The Gospel says to love thy neighbor as thyself and to do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. I am sorry, but I do not see how this makes Christianity a religion of hatred.
Furthermore, to claim that Christianity promotes blind faith whereas Judaism requires reason and intelligence is nonsense. Christianity has produced thousands of thoughtful philosophers and theologians; it is not a religion of idiots. For us Jews to believe (according to Genesis) that plants were created before the sun- how does that demonstrate reasoning and critical thinking? I want to stress again, I am not a Christian, but when my fellow Jews make stupid and even offensive arguments against Christianity, it does us all a disservice.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: You claim there is insufficient evidence for the numbers of Jews being 2.5 million at Sinai. You make at least two careless and inexcusable errors: 1) you speak before reviewing all the facts, as you will see that not only does the Torah record 600,000 men over 20 (excluding women and children of both sexes), but the book of Samuel 400 years later addresses our numbers as 3 million; 2) you do not follow reason as you readily accept that a mountain moved for Mohammed, based on and “undefined” number of witnesses, but when much larger numbers recorded in detail are found leaving Egypt and at Sinai, you dismiss it, accepting the few over the many.
In the book of Samuel II, Chap. 24:9, we read: “Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king (King David); in Israel there were 800,000 men of war, and the men of Judah, 500,000 men.” These were men above 20 years of age, and this number excluded all women. If we conservatively add to these 1.3 million men above 20, the number of 200,000 men below 20, and again conservatively assume the women equaled the number of men, they too being a total of 1.5 million, we arrive at 3 million Jews. Now, King David lived 400 years after Revelation at Sinai, where the Rabbis claimed there were 2.5 million Jews. As generations reproduce exponentially, these 2.5 million Jews at Sinai have no problem growing to 3 million in 400 years.
Now, suggesting thousands of people witnessed something, does not compare to hearing the testimony “from the witnesses themselves” which did not happen in your case of Mohammed. These supposed witnesses never passed on this event to others, regarding a mountain moving. Islam merely reproduced a story including that number and event, seeking credibility. Be clear on this distinction: anyone can write an account that there were 5000 who Jesus fed, or 200,000 who saw Virgin Mary on a roof in the late 1960’s. But history is not proved based on the story alone, for anyone can write a story and include numbers. Mass acceptance of Jesus’ miracles proves that stories will be believed without proof. The question here is what is conclusive proof.
Proof requires the “testimony” of those many people, if they truly existed. This is absent in your story of Mohammed, in accounts of Jesus’ miracles, in connection with Mary on the roof, and in connection with all other man made religions. In contrast, the event at Sinai was passed down by those attendees, and even accepted by other religions, including Islam and Christianity. Even more, the people at Sinai testified that their own eyes saw the miracles. This constitutes part of the transmission, and this element would not be transmitted if those there saw nothing. Parenthetically, Islam is so corrupt, it even claims responsibility for giving Moses to the Jews, and Jesus to the Christians. It is quite amusing.
Your second argument is that Judaism also killed many people, and should equally be referred to as a “religion of hate”, as I labeled Christianity. Your mistake here is that when the Jews killed in the examples you gave, they did so at God’s command. As such, they did not act from their own “viciousness” as did the Christian Crusades, but they followed the words of the one God who alone defines morality. If God says in certain cases man must kill others, then such actions are not acts of baseless hatred, but they are acts of following God. God too exterminated the world with a Flood. Do you take issue with His rights as Creator in this case? If not, then you cannot take issue when He gives His word to man to kill.
Your last argument is that Christianity is based on reason, as they too have thoughtful theologians in their midst. It appears your definition of “thoughtful” differs from mine. One example suffices to dispute your claim that Christianity follows reason, but I will offer a few: Christian theologians readily embrace the concept that God is one and three simultaneously. Such acceptance is a clear demonstration that one may truly be a theologian while abandoning any semblance of reason. It is akin to suggesting that something is fully black, and it is fully white at the same moment. This also contradicts God’s words, “Hear Israel, God is our God, God is one.” (Deut. 6:4) Add to this the four contradictory Gospels; the twisting of Biblical verses to force Jesus into the Old Testament; and Jesus’ supposed birth with no father yet claiming the necessary patrilineal descent to the Davidic dynasty to crown him Messiah. Christianity defends impossible notions, contradicts God, and is therefore not a reasonable system. Its theologians by definition share the same fault.
While it is true that plants were created before the sun, it is also true that they were created after the “light”, although not emanating yet from the sun. You incorrectly assume that how the Earth operates now, must have been how it operated in its formation; that plants at that moment of creation possessed all their fixed laws of growth, as we witness today, and required sunlight. Maimonides dedicates an entire chapter to this error, made by others: one cannot view the current state of any object, assuming it always functioned this way, certainly not at its formation. “Formation” means as something is yet incomplete…hence, all the laws we see today could not have been possessed by anything during its formation.
We have successful proved from Scriptures you carelessly omit that, 1) 2.5 million Jews is a tenable number of Sinai attendees; 2) through reason we proved that Christianity defends numerous, irrational positions and that its “thoughtful” theologians cannot remove its flaws; and 3) that God’s act of creation is not subject to your critique based on your analysis of current natural law, as taught by Maimonides.
To conclude, I will quote Maimonides, addressing your last error. I urge your reading of the entire chapter, this is but the first paragraph: (Guide for the Perplexed, Book II, Chap. XVII): “EVERYTHING produced comes into existence from non-existence; even when the substance of a thing has been inexistence, and has only changed its form, the thing itself, which has gone through the process of genesis and development, and has arrived at its final state, has now different properties from those which it possessed at the commencement of the transition from potentiality to reality, or before that time. Take, e.g., the human ovum as contained in the female’s blood when still included in its vessels: its nature is different from what it was in the moment of conception, when it is met by the semen of the male and begins to develop: the properties of the semen in that moment are different from the properties of the living being after its birth when fully developed. It is therefore quite impossible to infer from the nature which a thing possesses after having passed through all stages of its development, what the condition of the thing has been in the moment when this process commenced: nor does the condition ofa thing in this moment show what its previous condition has been. If you make this mistake, and attempt to prove the nature of a thing in potential existence by its properties when actually existing, you will fall into great confusion: you win reject evident truths and admit false opinions.”