Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Comments on a comment
It seems that my thread on being a Jewish atheist is one of my more popular. I recently got a comment on A Jewish atheist…How Queer that read:

You say, "usually I do good". How do you know this? If you get your notion of good and bad from the Torah, then you believe what it says about good and bad. If you belive what it says about good and bad, why don't you believe what it says about G-d? Vernon Singleton


First off, just because one person gets their notions of good and bad from Torah does not mean that I do. I learn, whether that is from torah or a child or by making a mistake or reading the Los Angeles Times. I believe that infringement on another person’s autonomy is wrong – when I am fighting for social justice, it is to ensure that each person in this world is able to live in freedom because I have autonomy (for the most part) and I know I like it. That concept seems to have been backed up by freedom fighters for millenia, long before Torah. I have infringed on others’ freedom and mine has been trampled. I don’t like the way this feels and so I try never to do it again.


Second, the argument is completely faulty. Mr. Singleton’s argument is, "because I believe one thing, I should believe another."


I don’t believe what torah has to say about loads of things. Does that mean that I can’t believe anything it says? No. It means I take a book, written by men quite a long time ago and take lessons from it. Just as I read countless other books, fiction and non-fiction, and glean from them ideas and opinions.


I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in any divine presence. I live today, I plan for tomorrow, I remember yesterday. That is all that is necessary. In my mind, there is no immortality, there is only the gifts each person gives or takes from this world.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Sara said...

You know, sometimes, I read a post you've written like this, and I'm so glad you're my friend!

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

I totally agree with you and Sara. I'm a recovering catholic, and while I try to instill a knowledge of right/wrong and good/bad in the wee Monkeygurl, I make sure she knows to do the right thing b/c of its inherent value and the power within herself, rather than fear of retribution from some power outside herself.

Sometimes I get so friggin metaphysical I scare myself.

Blogger Vernon Singleton said...

Faith says, "I believe that infringement on another person’s autonomy is wrong – when I am fighting for social justice, it is to ensure that each person in this world is able to live in freedom because I have autonomy (for the most part) and I know I like it. That concept seems to have been backed up by freedom fighters for millenia, long before Torah. I have infringed on others’ freedom and mine has been trampled. I don’t like the way this feels and so I try never to do it again. ..."

So what magical list of freedoms do you believe in?

Autonomy is such an overused word. Let's get down to specifics.
Freedom to hire children?
Freedom to be queer? Freedom to steal?
Freedom to lie?
Freedom to kill?

When exactly have you infringed on someone?

Blogger Faith said...

I'm not in the habit of arguing with believers. I respect that you have your beliefs, I just don't share them. I will address your questions, though I do wish they were somewhat less sarcastic.

1) There is no "magical" list of freedoms.

2) As for specifics, hiring children, lying, stealing and killing is, in fact, infringing on another person's autonomy.

3) When have I infringed on another person's autonomy? I believe we all have. Personally, any time I have lied, I have limited other people's choices by not giving them all of the information that they deserve.

I don't need anyone else to justify their beliefs and I'm not in the market for being a baal t'shuva.

Personally I've been curious, and you seem levelheaded so I'll ask. Isn't atheism a leap of faith? I could understand being agnostic. So My question is what makes be;ievers different from non-believers if both require a leap of faith?

By the way I'm just asking and I'm not looking to harass you or anything, I came across your blog incidentally and you seem like a reasonable person who will not take a query as an attack. In essence my question is how do you see it as a difference and it is out of sheer curiosity. I do happen to be a "believer" but like you I don't believe in coercion or as you call it infringment on autonomy. I know how I understand it and I'm curious if there are parallels.

Thanks.

Blogger Vernon Singleton said...

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Blogger Vernon Singleton said...

Worshipers of autonomy never prescribe any real action if someone does infringe on their peaceful little world of freedom.

They are just all talk.

But, if you've ever seen one of them get smacked in the face or worse, you see how long they continue with "I don't need anyone else to justify their beliefs", because they feel the shame they are so proud to hate.

And if you point it out when it happens, it'll change their life. It did mine. I used to love freedom, but now I see that social freedoms need limits with consequences for me to have the best kind of freedom. Before I was a slave to freedom, especially the freedom to gossip and complain. Then I got smacked in the face ... and worse.

Who gives you your freedom? Jesus gave me mine.

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