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EMUNAH & BITACHON-----can we prove ideology?

FEIVEL Posted - 15 November 2000 16:01

Dear Mod.,

I just had a discussion with my mother, who loves me to bits, doesn’t let her feelings affect her letting me be religious, but seems to think that I am in a cult. She doesn’t let this affect her, and she has accepted she cannot do anything about it.

I started a two hour discussion (which remained extremely calm) do dissuade her, using every logical argument known to mankind. I say this because it is extremely important, because after about 1 and a half hours, she tells me truth and logic (not necessarily one and the same, according to her) or subjective, and ideologies don’t have to be logical per se, but that faith can supersede logic because their is no one logic.

(Which she says in subtle contradiction, that EVEN IF logic was objective and whole, then faith DOES override it). I believe that if I prove her that this is wrong, I would prove her the Torah, but as you may have guessed, my intent is not to convert anyone, but to get her to not think I am in a cult.

In your response, please refer, if possible, to undisputed and recognized references. I have to write as an addendum, that she even says that the laws of physics are only dependant on the way we think, and that like the "law" of a geocentric universe was believed, and now proven wrong, so is anything else "known" as truth.

I tried to tell her that ANYTHING a person knows is not for sure true, but only 99 percent true.

I don’t think, since she is not on my wavelength, that I can convince her logic (of ideologies) is not subjective, but rather like mathematics, IS or IS NOT.

Thank You, I would appreciate a speedy response.

MODERATOR Posted - 15 November 2000 17:51

Let me see if I understand what your mother is saying:

(1) Ideologies cannot be objectively proven.

(2) Logic cannot prove the truth

(3) Since we cannot know what the truth is anyway, faith can therefore override logic

This should not take more then a few minutes to invalidate.

For starters: Think about the statement that “logic cannot prove the truth”. She only knows this through her logic. So she can’t be sure of this statement by her own principle.

Re: Ideologies. She is correct, they cannot be proven. This is simply because ideologies mean the way things “should” be, and there is no way to prove “should” statements. Proof only works with “is” as in “5+5 is 10”. There is no way to prove what SHOULD be.

So if you are trying to argue, for instance, over whether abortion is right or wrong, there is no logical way to prove it, since the argument will be whether abortion SHOULD be done or not. And you can’t prove a “should”. You can only believe it.

But this has nothing to do with the Torah. The question with Torah is not what SHOUL be, but rather what DID G-D TELL US? That is a historical question about facts, not a “should” statement about ideals.

The question is, What IS G-d’s will? It would prove it if G-d told us. Therefore the question is did G-d tell us what he wants? And if so, what did He say?

This is not ideology.

The question therefore is NOT if the Torah’s “ideals” are what SHOULD be, but rather if the factual claims of the Torah are true.

Don’t bother trying to prove the Torah’s ideology. Prove the history. That the Torah was given to Moshe on Mt. Sinai. For this there is more than ample proof. Please see for a brief rundown. There are many good books on this topic as well.

Now as far as your mother’s statement that logic cannot prove anything anyway, and therefore faith can override it, the whole thing makes no sense.

If your mother was a member of a jury in a murder trial, with 20 witnesses that the defendant choked the victim to death in cold blood, with his fingerprints on the victim’s throat, with a video taken of the murder, and, to boot, the defendant admitted that he did it, she would surely find the defendant guilty. Especially if he previously threatened to kill the guy, had good motive (the victim killed the defendant’s mother), and he has a past record of choking people to death.

Yet that cannot be proven. Videos can be forged, witnesses can lie, and there is no scientific proof that two people cannot have the same fingerprints. It is only because there are so many possible fingerprints to have that the chances of 2 people having the same ones are astronomically small.

And confessions can be lies too.

But there is a certain level of evidence that will convince your mother to send this guy to the electric chair because she will be convinced – even without “absolute proof” – that this guy is guilty. Because of LOGIC.

Your mother would send a guy to the electric chair using her logic, the same logic that she says cannot prove anything.

She lives her whole life based on what her logic tells her. She will wait for the green light to go, will stop at a stop sign, will take the doctor’s medicine, will go through surgery, will change jobs.

All our life we make decisions weighing the evidence in our mind with our logic.

Now the question is: If logic is good enough to send someone to the electric chair, to prove a court case “beyond a reasonable doubt”, why is it not enough to make you refrain from eating a cheeseburger?

Why is logic good enough for every area of life except religion?

If logic is good enough to tell her to go for surgery when necessary, to allow some doctors to cut her open with scalpels then why isn’t it enough to become religious?

The whole idea is therefore exposed as dishonest and inconsistent.

And the idea that faith can override reason makes no sense because if faith is not logical how do you know what faith to choose? And if it doesn’t matter – if you say you can choose any faith you want – then why won’t you allow faith to override reason in other areas of your life besides religion? Why won’t you have faith and go through a red light in heavy traffic? Why won’t you have faith and jump off a roof, since faith can override the logic that says you’ll be killed?

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