Sunday, February 04, 2007

More on science and religion

In his insightful comment to my last post, David Van Dusen <> says:

"The dogs will fight." & "There is a (divine) gradient to nature." --- Indeed! --- And a divine gradient, also, to the blood-feuds, cock-fights, and peace-by-other-means we wage over Divinity, and Nature?

Well David, a "Divine gradient" does not mean a straight line. To the contrary, it means a tendency with many irregularities and seeming inconsistencies, and even much that appears retrograde.

One example: The Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple and did their best to destroy Judaism, but what resulted was a renewed Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, with a profoundly powerful social, moral, and intellectual trajectory. That’s the Jewish view, and we’ve been saying it for 1800 years, but you would be hard-pressed to find much Christian (or Muslim) acknowledgment of that point of view until the enlightenment was well under way (1750+). In fact, in Europe (as opposed to the US, whose founders used Judaism as an important model) it only became "reasonable" to openly talk about Judaism’s historic value and validity after the military destruction of European nazism. That war, which dismantled the last vestiges of Europe’s moral and intellectual "authority," allowed a more open and honest reevaluation of Judaism and Jews. In sum, in spite of, shall we say, 95 generations of active resistence, the Divine gradient, which we Jews believe establishes Judaism’s priesthood role, persisted. Israel was restored, and Judaism’s fundamental importance to Western and Middle Eastern culture is now beginning to be acknowledged and studied by people other than Jews.