Thursday, June 11, 2015

And God Spoke

A story told by a certain Pietist rabbi reports he called his congregation together in the middle of a working day for an important announcement. He sent the children out to announce to everyone in the community that they should come immediately to the synagogue. The children did as instructed. They called every housewife from her housework, every clerk from his counter, and every workingman from his labors, as well as every businessman from his office.

Everyone came, crowding into the sanctuary to hear the rabbi’s important announcement. When everyone had gathered in, the rabbi arose with great dignity and declared, “I have an important, a very, very important announcement to make. Listen carefully that you may all hear it. There is a God in the world.” That being said, he adjourned the meeting.

Our modern world  does not fully understand the rabbi’s announcement, nor has it figured out how to control God. Consequently, it shoves him aside, and obscures him with relativism. Meanwhile, modern man continues to seek morality within man’s own nature.

A glance at this “naturalistic explanation of human ethics sounds very persuasive” (Kahn/The Ten Commandments for Today/12). A second glance sounds less persuasive when we recall that Darwin proved our zoological relationship with the animal world. This suggests that human morality derives from the animal world, BUT: what kind of animal is man? Are we competitive predators or are we cooperative herd-members?

It has also been observed that Freudian psychology. as understood by some and misunderstood by others, would “seem to rob man of his moral freedom” and thereby make anything like absolute truth  “totally meaningless. Victor Frankl gave us this word from Freud: “Try and subject a number of very strongly differentiated human beings to the same amount of starvation. With the increase of the imperative need for food, all individual differences will be blotted out, and in their place we shall see the uniform expression of the one unsatisfied instinct” Frankl later revised Freud’s conclusion after he found himself in the concentration camp and “we saw how, faced with the identical situation, one man became a swine while the other attained almost saintly status” (Kahn/9).

Others have insisted that Karl Marx was right to insist “that morality was simply the expression of class interest, that in the service of a good cause there are no bad acts.”

It seems that the laboratory of life tests all moral theories, as Rabbi Kahn suggests in his book I referenced earlier. Either there is a God in our world, or Adolph Hitler, the Fuehrer with the broken cross (swastika) was right when he justified his attempts to flush the Jews from Germany’s blood by declaring that  ”the curse of Mt. Sinai must be gotten out of our blood. It is a poison which has spoiled and soiled the free instincts of man.”                                     

Kahn, a respected Houston rabbi at the time; wrote his book, The Ten Commandments for Today as a challenge to the twentieth century (Doubleday 1964). “The underpinning of humanist ethics,” he concluded,  “is the familiar phrase, the dignity of man. But this is not a natural concept; it does not grow out of biology. Biologically, man has no dignity at all, any more than a vulture or a cockroach. Man‘s dignity, the dignity that makes it ethically wrong to murder him, the dignity that makes it wrong to deprive him of his property, or his family, is not by virtue of his being a child of nature, but by virtue of his being a child of God, And this is why the ten words [commandments] begin and must begin with the greatest of all the words, ‘I am the Lord your God” (italics by this writer).                                                   

Without further investigation of such classic writings as the ten words or commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, or the Bible, I note that our twenty-first century culture is still adulterating (diluting) the truth of God  with relativism. Judaio-Christianity stands firm in the ultimate truth that we live in a moral universe guaranteed by a living God who has worked in history—“who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage … You shall … You shall not…” (Exodus 20:1-3 NKJV).

From Warner’s World,
I share this conclusion from Rabbi Kahn’s book, which I am re-reading:
“There is a priority system in life, and first things must be put first” (25).

When we focus our major attention on secondary causes, we almost always end up with a mess on our hands! Ignoring priorities can only guarantee failure ... walkingwithwarner.blogspot. 

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