Just Be Nice
Moshe Ben-Chaim
You hear it all the time, " I am not religious, ...I feel that God just wants us to be nice to others,...as long as you are a good person, that's all that God wants."
One who makes such a statement has evidently not come aware of the Torah, and seems to be justifying their life choices. Where did God say "All I want is for man to be good?" God didn't say this. They are making up this statement. Why did God command 613 commands if simply being good is "all He wants"?
One is seeking a simplified life, where their laziness has taken hold of them. Exertion, change, abandoning wrong philosophies are what these individuals fear. Therefore, they hide behind this statement which on the surface seems admirable, but in reality is a justification for their weakness to investigate and accept the provable conclusion that God really wants one to fulfill the Torah, be engaged in study, and in performance of His commands. They are also in an inherent contradiction, as they say "God only wants,...", meaning, they accept God, but they don't accept His 613 commands.
Other problems with such a statement is that they hold of the opinion that God wants you to live for others, not for yourself. Not so. One is to be living for themselves. Also, if God wants us to simply be good, what is the need for our intelligence?
Very problematic is how do we know what "good" is, or what being "nice" means? Where is the objectivity if 10 people have 10 definitions of what good is? Just as people cannot define what life is and when it begins, meaning, is it 2 days after conception, or weeks? When does the egg and sperm take on spiritual existence? Only God knows this, and only God knows how to define what being good is. It cannot be left up to man's subjectivity. God created good, so only He can define it properly. Once he does, then man can adhere to that action which is defined Divinely as good. Yes, we can perceive what "good" is, but we cannot come up with a true definition without God's definition. Therefore, one cannot "just be good and nice to others" if he or she has not learned what God means by the term "good".
Truthfully, once one indulges in learning, and takes a chance to see what enjoyment there is in the discovery of ideas, they will not have the laziness, but will enjoy study as an activity which surpasses all others, and they will be filled with energy to pursue further.

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