I posted this blog a while ago and even though I am a more precise writer now I liked this one and wanted to put it up on this site.
I ran into an old classmate I had not seen in almost thirteen years. The last time we knew each other we were both near the end of the long road towards ordination within the orthodox rabbinate. I left the program he stayed on. He was shocked that any of his peer group, we who had been intimate with god, that one of us could become secular.
He wanted to know why. Maybe he cared about my well-being or maybe he wanted to feel superior. He wanted to know why I don't spend my days shooting up or getting hookers or robbing people, "after all," he said, "if there is no god then you can do anything you want. There is no morality, no right and wrong, no one to say no."
"Isn't it possible that morality, right and wrong, healthy and unhealthy, isn't it probable that these values are instinctive. For example, imagine you're wandering around the desert, your family in a large tribe with other families and its 2000bc. A day off, a sabbath day for rest and family is an important and needed value.
In today's world we have language. We can quote studies and statistics and cite case law and medical records all to explain what we instinctivly know, that a day off for rest and family is an important and needed value. But 4000 years ago they didn't have the language we have since developed. So, isn't it possible that god was brought in to cement those realizations; that we needed to insert god to validate our instinct."
"you can interpet the bible anthropologically, but that's just your point of view, that doesn't disprove anything," he said.
"Disprove? Shouldn't it be like science, here you are stating a theory, your theory is that there is a god, not only is there a god but it is this god and that this god wants a-b-c from us. You should have to prove that theory before I have to disprove it. You cannot disprove and unevidenced theory. Where is your proof?""
My proof is the world, our world, the daily miricales, all the really smart people who have believed, morality and faith. Faith is not needing proof."
"Well look," I said. "Let's ignore the faith issue because on that one we are speaking two diffrent languages. Our existence alone proves nothing. The evidence all reputable scientists agree certainly points towards some form of evolutionary path. But even if there are things we can't explain or can't understand,all that means is we don't have an answer yet. Just like we didn't always have antibiotics. But not having an answer doesn't mean that the default answer is god. And pleanty of smart people have believed in pleanty of dumb things, like slavery and jew killing, so what smart people do only shows that people can believe and do anything. The only point left is morality.
So let me understand. You believe that without god man would have no senseof morality of right and wrong?"
"And you believe that because there is a god man knows right from wrong, which choices lead to fufillment and which do not, healthy behaviors from unhealthy behaviors?"
"So you want to sleep with your sister and the only reason you don't is because god tells you not to?