Much to my chagrin, the Parade of Apologist Rabbis continues in the religion pages of PuffHo. Here is Rabbi Adam Jacobs of New York, with “The God test: why really everyone believes.” It really is the dumbest piece written by a rabbi that’s been HuffPo on my watch, and that’s saying something.
The good rabbi’s thesis is that if we’re really all just collections of molecules governed by the laws of physics, then nothing has any meaning: human kindness, evil, morality—the whole schmear. The underlying thesis, of course, is that all such meaning comes from Yahweh. And to the extent that we atheists have morals and perceive meaning in our lives, we’re all secret believers!
Here’s the dumbest of Jacobs’s many stupid statements.
“Often, I’ve inquired of non-believers if it at all vexes them that nothing that they have ever done or will ever do will make the slightest difference to anyone on any level? “
Do I need to refute this? How many of my readers’ lives have been saved by medical intervention? Isn’t that meaningful? I’ve turned several students toward studying evolution, and convinced many more that evolution has meaning and value in understanding the world. Doesn’t that make a difference? Any atheist could make a list of things we’ve done that have made a difference.
Jacobs then poses three questions, and if you answer these in the “right” way (i.e. you wouldn’t sell off your parents’ ashes for a bag of kibble), then you’re a believer!
Here are the three questions that we atheists have to answer, and if you say “no” to #1, “don’t smash that person’s head in!” to #2, and “yes, art is intrinsically significant,” then don your kippah take your place in the synagogue!
“1. Would you be willing to sell your parent’s remains for dog food?”
“2. You and someone you dislike are stranded on a desert island with a functioning ham radio. One day you hear that there has been a terrible earthquake that has sent a massive tsunami hurtling directly for your island and you both have only one hour to live. Does it make any difference whether you spend your last hour alive comforting and making amends with your (formerly) hated companion or smashing his head in with fallen, unripe coconuts? “
“3. Is love, art, beauty or morality intrinsically significant?”
I needn’t refute this article; it’s a waste of electrons. Poor Rabbi Jacobs.