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Article: Numbers vs. Truth

April 13, 2015

worshipping-jcBy Moshe Ben-Chaim

In the world of philosophy, the truth is eternal: what was true, will always be true. This is because reality is determined by G-d, Who knows all events that have happened, and will come to be. G-d’s truth is not subject to variation. No “new “ considerations come before G-d, the Knower of all times. Even as our times change, G-d’s knowledge has already seen the end of time, and nonetheless, He formulated a Torah with precise rules and laws. Hence, there can be only one truth that G-d possesses, and one truth, which He handed to mankind. We have discussed this many times: Revelation at Sinai was the only event in all of history where masses witnessed G-d’s revelation. No other religion makes this claim, and just the opposite is true: other religions incorporate our Torah – a testament to our Torah’s absolute truth. (But we do not depend on their confirmation to validate Torah.)

When sharing this position, people will often jump to the defense of Christians, and others, accusing Judaism of boasting a haughty tone, sort of an “I’m right and they’re wrong” attitude. They feel Judaism is out to attack all other peoples. However, nothing can be further from the truth. G-d’s concern is that all people recognize Him, and His singular, Torah system. We recite these very words three times daily in the “Alaynu” prayer. The Jew is G-d’s emissary to the other nations – we are to teach all others. This is why we are “chosen”, not for ourselves, but to be a light unto the nations. Jews, who do not care for all other people, violate G-d’s will.

When Judaism, or any of the Sages or Rabbis discuss, and expose falsehoods in alien religions and cultures, what they accuse is the “false notions”, not the followers. People come and go, while false ideas continue through the generations. Therefore, a wise man knows that dealing with a transient individual, who lives and dies, does not successfully expose an idea as false. Religious fallacy exists in the “idea”.  Arguments exposing falsehoods must be verbalized, and written down, so others may not fall prey to what is appealing on the surface, but deadly underneath. ‘Deadly’, because one’s soul is at stake. One must always address the idea, not the person following the idea.

It must be clear: G-d does not approve of any deviation from what is absolute truth. Two of His 613 commands are not to add or to subtract from His Torah. This is so obviously right and true. But unfortunately, man possesses emotions that severely compromise his clear perception of truth. We must constantly detect, with our utmost honesty, when and how we veer from clear thought.

For example, tell any person that only one religion can be G-d’s truly given law, and they will probably think a second, and nod with some casual affirmation. It makes no sense that G-d gave two, opposing laws. That would mean G-d contradicts himself. But this same person, witnessing a world populated with billions, many of whom follow various philosophies, will feel intimidated by such grandiose numbers. There are false ideas he would normally disagree with when espoused by a single individual. But when held by millions, he will suddenly agree with masses, and not his original rationale. When faced with such “odds”, he suddenly lacks the backbone to stand by his own view when it flies in the face of popular opinion.

We must ask ourselves why, when confronted with the reality of disagreeing with so many others, do we feel the need to change our views. It is apparent: such an individual bases his or her reality on what the masses do and say. This is the error, and many people succumb. Yes, it is difficult to admit that a majority of the world’s population possess false ideas. But if you search for truth, then only “reason” must guide your search. No other consideration may enter your thinking if you are to arrive at a perception of what is absolute truth – what is G-d’s will.

The need to be accepted by others is such a powerful and predominant emotion, that so many people forfeit their allegiance to truth, in favor of gaining the friendship of others. Perhaps by isolating some key points, we may help address this problem:

  1.  Numbers vs Truth: G-d does not approve of masses in place of truth, as witnessed by His several acts of annihilation, such as the Flood in Noah’s times, and the destruction of Sodom and Amora in Abraham’s times. G-d was not impressed with what the entire world held as just and true. He spared only Noah and seven others. Masses never determine what is right and true. G-d teaches us to follow this same path.
  2. Approval: Seeking the approval of someone who follows fallacy is foolish. Be it one person, or a million followers of another religion: what is false, is false. Don’t delude yourself with arguments such as, “It’s impossible that so many people follow this religion, and they are all wrong.” Our previous statement teaches you that G-d Himself desires that we follow truth, and those masses – even a world population – can be absolutely wrong.
  3. “Acceptance”: Some people uphold an opinion that we must be “accepting” of others, and our position of absolute truth is contrary to “acceptance”. They feel we are to be condemned for such non-acceptance. Our answer again must be what G-d teaches: those who violate G-d’s words are wrong. G-d does not desire that innocent people be mislead, so there are severe penalties for false prophets, such as Jesus. G-d does not support the movement of “Acceptance”, where we must accept all religions.
  4. Family: We are in conflict when we must (if only in our thoughts) condemn friends or relatives. We may have family members with us, or who have passed, who were such loving people. We miss them greatly. We continue to learn G-d’s Torah, and are then confronted with His laws that condemn some of the values held by our dear relatives. We are struck with tremendous guilt: do we accept G-d and condemn what our loved ones did? Or, do we favor the fond memories of our grandparents or parents, while denying G-d’s words? Again, truth is not determined by how it affects our memories, or current relationships. Agreeing with truths, at times, will place our loved ones in a poor light. Love for others does not condone their error.  Honesty, and attachment to G-d must be our reality, and our relationship with G-d, more essential than our relationships with man.
  5. Many Paths to G-d?: There is a popular opinion – even among so called “orthodox” Jews – that there are many paths to G-d. Again we must follow reason, not reputation. This view of “many paths” means there is some good in all religions. But I ask, “Is it correct for a Christian to follow the Christian religion? Is it correct for a Muslim that he follows the Muslim religion? This would also mean that it is not correct for a Christian to follow the Muslim religion. (A problem for a person who converts.) Let us make our words clear: What makes a person a “Christian” or a “Muslim”? Being born to parents who follow the Christian religion does not make a person Christian. Because, if the child learns of another religion and then chooses to convert, he will not be Christian. Another religion will openly accept him. Being born into his religion can be changed. All religions besides Judaism, say how you are born, is not what makes you that religion. We have proved that a person is not born as a “Christian” or as a “Muslim”, but he is born as a man or woman. Religion comes later. How a person chooses to live is what makes him, either Christian, Muslim, or another religion. To say, “Who is born Christian should follow Christianity” is not a correct statement. All religions agree that theirs is correct, and all the others are incorrect. Therefore, the inventors of the religions themselves deny the “all paths to G-d” theory. This theory is yet another, ignorant position, conjured up to satisfy one’s insecurity to be accepted. But our proof whether or not there are many paths to G-d is not dependent on world opinion, but on truth. One must see clearly that Revelation at Sinai was the only event – ever – where G-d gave man a religion. There is only one G-d given religion, and such a statement is not intended to be boastful, but to be instructive. G-d Himself commanded not to alter the Torah. His giving of a single system testifies to His commitment to a single, never changing law.

There will be times when admitting truth will cause friction with others. But we must be steadfast; separating uncomfortable emotions from what our minds tell us is real. All the people in the world will never convince us that 2+2=5, even if many are our own dear friends or relatives, threatening to disown us. Our minds know that this equation is false. Numbers cannot change what our minds see as reality. With similar honesty, we will admit G-d’s principles, and His warnings against following false ideas and religious beliefs. We must keep our desire for truth as our central focus. If we see we deviate from this objective, we must immediately stop, and examine what is pulling us away from our desire for truth. By such regular introspection, we can align ourselves with the singular path G-d desires we follow, a path where “all her ways are pleasant, and all her paths are peace.” These are King Solomon’s words in Proverbs, 3:17.  Do not compromise truth for any consideration. Do not desire friendship and the love of others, or fond memories if this distorts of G-d’s words. Do not create new notions, like “all religions have some good”, if this is not what G-d said. Do not try to salvage your own subjective feelings of comfort, retaining a familiar lifestyle. Rather, change yourself to be aligned with truth.

Perfecting our thoughts and actions is our goal. There is nothing that outshines our one-time, G-d given opportunity.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2015 2:08 am

    Let’s say one holds that the ‘truth’ (a word used many times in the above article) is that the Garden, the Flood, the Tower, the Walls of Jericho fallin’ from walkin’ ’round them, etc. have been shown– according to our best history/science– that they couldn’t have happened?

    Do you hold that these incidents are literally true? If you say no, then isn’t one slippery slope as good as another. In other words, what’s the difference between the stories in one scripture/religion being not literally true and another?

    I personally am not bothered by this, but since the author of the above article (which I assume you agree with) uses the word truth, it seems like you may hold that these incidents are true, and hence would be bothered if they are not literally true.

    I remember my only visit to an Orthodox house on Shabbos, and the only thing the men were discussing around the table (the women were in the kitchen and with the babies) was the ‘proofs’ for the giving of the Tora at Sinai, which the article mentions above (first paragraph) as follows:

    “Hence, there can be only one truth that G-d possesses, and one truth, which He handed to mankind. We have discussed this many times: Revelation at Sinai was the only event in all of history where masses witnessed G-d’s revelation. No other religion makes this claim, and just the opposite is true: other religions incorporate our Torah – a testament to our Torah’s absolute truth. (But we do not depend on their confirmation to validate Torah.)”

  2. April 14, 2015 9:06 am

    ” it seems like you may hold that these incidents are true, and hence would be bothered if they are not literally true.”

    Yes, were it proven with absolute certainty that the important events in the Torah never happened or happened in a very different way, I would jettison Judaism as a bunch of lies. So far, all of the “proofs” I’ve seen were quite pathetic and rely heavily on the interpretation of the person making the contrary claim. Also, many previous claims made by critics (such as king David never existed as the real king of Israel) were proven to be false with relatively recent findings (e.g. Tel Dan Stele discovered in 1993).

  3. April 16, 2015 5:05 am

    Reblogged this on Menashe's Blog and commented:
    Something to mull over!!

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