The Idea of Respect: Torah vs. Science


The atheists tell us that respect for belief in G-d is undeserved because such beliefs are not the result of scientific endeavor. Dawkins, the self proclaimed spokesman for atheism, claims that theologians can no more theorize about G-d than a “fairiologist can measure the dimension of fairy wings”. However, the idea of being careful not to disparage the belief systems of others is not about deserving respect from a scientific perspective; it’s about having sensitivity. Worship is a manifestation of love and awe. People naturally get offended when you tell them that they have invested all this intense emotion for nothing. The religion of any culture is not just a belief system to be refuted at every opportunity; it governs a person’s entire life from the womb to the grave and instills a code of behavior, notwithstanding there are those who threaten to cut off the head of anyone who dares to infer that their religion is not peaceful.

On the other hand, the belief system of the so called atheists who accept as their god this disconnected, impersonal force beyond nature do not have any rules to which to conform. Consequently, those non-believers who obey the laws of their respective societies and even perform acts of kindness are unwittingly conforming to the laws handed down by the very G-d that they so eagerly deny. However, those laws make sense from the perspective of human logic, so people conclude they don’t need G-d to be good. The practical benefit of a society with laws that protect the rights of individuals is easily determinable, so most intelligent people agree with the need for law and order and basic moral guidelines.

Furthermore, scientists indicate that the scientific process is superior to the study of theology because the knowledge of the latter is given as truth as opposed to being arrived at through experimentation and or deductive logic. One major flaw in this reasoning is in making the assumption that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all the same. The fact is that they are not. Additionally, to say that the latter two arose from the first is also fallacious. For one thing, the Jews had nothing to do with the rise of Christianity or Islam. Notwithstanding that one of our guys became an object of worship, the Romans made the former into an official religion after the destruction of the Second Temple and annihilation of millions of Jews. For another, the proponents of the “new religion” added a new book to the Torah written in Greek utilizing the original format. Moreover, the followers of Mohammed incorporated both the old and new Testaments and added yet another book written in Arabic called the “Koran”. The fact remains that Jewish culture and the Torah did not evolve into anything else. They remain the same to this day unchanged and unscathed despite all the attempts over all these past centuries to wipe them from the face of the earth.

Therefore, in examining whether scientific theorem-based knowledge is deserving of more respect than the knowledge from Torah, we need to compare the two as to veracity and reliability. First, the source of all the information we have obtained to date is the same for both science and Torah. On the side of science, since no human can create something from nothing, every process in nature has to pre-exist its discovery. Therefore, that which is undiscovered is hidden and that which is known has become revealed. On the other side, the same thing happens when Talmudic scholars discover new insights; a hidden part of the Torah becomes revealed. The difference is that the scientific “revelation” is unreliable because new discoveries change the way we look at things, whereas the body of Torah knowledge has never changed and its scholars look at the world and its contents exactly the same way today as their predecessors did thousands of years ago. So, which is the more reliable?

For example, most people believed that the world was flat until Copernicus made public his astrological findings. Then the atom was the smallest particle of matter until the discoveries of the electron in 1896, the proton in 1919 and the neutron in 1932. Somewhere in the middle, there was the founding of quantum electrodynamics in 1928 followed soon after by quantum mechanics. Then in 1929, Hubble introduced the theory of the expanding universe. However, the two main physics theories that emerged from the early twentieth century, quantum mechanics and relativity, proposed radically different descriptions of the universe. In more recent years, physicists like Stephen Hawkings have proposed “the theory of everything” (TOE), which is a hypothetical theory of physics that is meant to fully explain and link together all known physical phenomena. Some scientists even believe that a comprehensive TOE, which is near at hand, will, out of necessity, include information on how the “primary creative force and the ongoing creative process relate to the universe and its contents.”

Ironically, this profound conglomeration of scientific thought called “the TOE” sounds very much like the future age of redemption (AOR) foretold in the Torah, during which all physical phenomena will be revealed and understood under the leadership of the Meshiach. Moreover, if any of the scientists want to find out “how the primary creative force and the ongoing creative process relate to the universe and its contents”, they need only to open The Tanya, the previously mentioned work of Kabbalah compiled by Rabbi Schneur Zalman (of blessed memory) and published more than two hundred years ago in 1799. There you will find “The Theory of Everything” explained in clear, concise and lucid detail.

For example, Rabbi Zalman, in chapter 3 of The Tanya wrote, “. . . the element of fire is in the heart, while the source of water and moisture is in the brain. . .” He was alluding to the fact that intellect manifests in the brain which regulates the flow of fluid and energy and emotion is revealed in the heart which responds to a fiery stimulus in its operation. This knowledge of the human body had always been embedded in the Torah and was revealed to common knowledge among the Jews more than one hundred fifty years before science “discovered” that there is an endocrine system by which the brain regulates all bodily flows and functions and a series of nodes in the heart that fire off electrical shocks to stimulate each heartbeat. 

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