God's Existence: Belief or Proof?
- Reader's Response -

I appreciated your approach in the aforementioned article and suggest a follow up for those of us whose knowledge and beliefs are one in the same, either by laziness, conformity, lost souls' attractions to the mystical, distorted teachings by celebrated or charismatic Rabbis and the like. Belief, in my opinion, is the single factor which will guide an individual's behavior.

It is relatively easy to take an intellectually driven individual and prove a particular fact to him. This is not the core issue which you are dealing with in my opinion. It is much harder if not impossible to take a "faith driven" person with certain beliefs and infuse them with knowledge which is contrary to what they have been spoon fed consistently, albeit emotionally reinforced throughout their life.

The questions are, how to communicate to thousands of Jews, in a non rebuking manner (as we are commanded) that there is knowledge out there that they have a responsibility to investigate. To many I would imagine, this would be sacrilege. How do we motivate such individuals to ask questions let alone learning proofs which requires suspension of beliefs until their questions are indeed answered? What about the good things that certain leaders have done for the cause of Jewry? Can we say that the "Rebbe" or the Besht were 80 or 90% correct but the individual is now required to negate such teachings and investigate honestly on his own? How do we get such people to make the first step?

One suggestion is to provide a discourse on where such teachings are completely fallacious in light of previous Gadolim's teachings which are accepted by many Chassidim, (assuming they have been taught). For the emotionally or spirtiually needy who later on in life may approach Judaism with a cult mentality after hearing a particularly charismatic speaker, offer them another point of view. You've made a good start though I sense your frustration. Keep speaking with the clear voice of those Gadolim as referenced in your article. If we do this with love rather than disdain it may be more difficult, yet the effect will be more positive and lasting. The very souls you are trying to reach have been brainwashed most effectively. They will not respond to direct affront upon their fallacious logic as a secular intellectual may. Perhaps the first step is to prove to them that they have indeed been brainwashed........after that, they may actually ask some questions and eventually learn about proofs as Rambam teaches.





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