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Archive for January, 2008

Right-Wing Jews and Christians “bonding”.

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on January 11, 2008


Sanhedrin to Bush: Declare That Israel Belongs to Jews
visit site
World
(tags: Israel, Bush, peace, extremism )


Zahra
StarsButterfliesGold Notes
– 2 hours ago – ynetnews.com
Right-wing rabbis pass on small letter to be delivered to US president on his upcoming visit which asks leader to free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, declare Israel belongs to Jews, urge American Jews to make aliyah…


This to me is utterly outrageous. The Jewish Right seeking out the Christian Right to bring about something that is basically in G-d’s hands. It is also utterly hypocritical.

1. No Sanhedrin exists, and has not existed since 358 and it’s last Nasi, (prince) Gamaliel VI was strripped of his rank and killed in 425 by Emperor Theodosius II, so Rabbi Steinsaltz cannot be the “president” of a Sanhedrin. I used to admire Rabbi Steinsaltz for his work translating the Talmud in to English, but I must say, that I am deeply disppointed. Rabbi Steinsaltz may be an excellent translator of Talmud, but he is no, nor will he ever be a Nasi.

2. This proposed unholy alliance, between the Christian Right, represented by one of the bloodiest Presidents in US history and the Jewish Right, represented by a bunch of Rabbis, who honestly shouldn’t be called Rabbis, is just that – UNHOLY. Words like blasphemy, heresy, apostasy and other like words pump thorough my mind right now. It will not seve the Peoples of trhe Middle East simply because it’s contrary to what G-d has promised.

3. These people are trying to bring about something that is G-d’s job, not ours. People should make Aliyah because they want to, because they have a deep desire to live as Jews in Israel to return from exile, not because an American President forces them to.

Am I so arrogant that I dare claim that I know the pshat (plain meaning) of Torah and Tanakh better that a Rabbi? Yes, I am and I do. What he is attempting is in it’s very nature a violation of Torah. The only way for the Jewish People to “re-gain” the Land Promised to Avraham Avinu is by repenting and return to Torah (note that the People has NEVER been in possession of what G-d promised then in it’s entirety). There has never been another way. It’s in the Covenant, it’s in what every Jewish male bears in his flesh. So Rabbi Steinsaltz is teaching Chilul Hashem – Shaming the Name.

I shake the dust of my feet in his face.
Dov

Posted in Adin Steinsaltz, Israel, US | Leave a Comment »

Right-Wing Jews and Christians “bonding”

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on January 11, 2008


Sanhedrin to Bush: Declare That Israel Belongs to Jews
visit site
World
(tags: Israel, Bush, peace, extremism )


Zahra
StarsButterfliesGold Notes
– 2 hours ago – ynetnews.com
Right-wing rabbis pass on small letter to be delivered to US president on his upcoming visit which asks leader to free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, declare Israel belongs to Jews, urge American Jews to make aliyah…


This to me is utterly outrageous. The Jewish Right seeking out the Christian Right to bring about something that is basically in G-d’s hands. It is also utterly hypocritical.

1. No Sanhedrin exists, and has not existed since 358 and it’s last Nasi, (prince) Gamaliel VI was strripped of his rank and killed in 425 by Emperor Theodosius II, so Rabbi Steinsaltz cannot be the “president” of a Sanhedrin. I used to admire Rabbi Steinsaltz for his work translating the Talmud in to English, but I must say, that I am deeply disppointed. Rabbi Steinsaltz may be an excellent translator of Talmud, but he is no, nor will he ever be a Nasi.

2. This proposed unholy alliance, between the Christian Right, represented by one of the bloodiest Presidents in US history and the Jewish Right, represented by a bunch of Rabbis, who honestly shouldn’t be called Rabbis, is just that – UNHOLY. Words like blasphemy, heresy, apostasy and other like words pump thorough my mind right now. It will not seve the Peoples of trhe Middle East simply because it’s contrary to what G-d has promised.

3. These people are trying to bring about something that is G-d’s job, not ours. People should make Aliyah because they want to, because they have a deep desire to live as Jews in Israel to return from exile, not because an American President forces them to.

Am I so arrogant that I dare claim that I know the pshat (plain meaning) of Torah and Tanakh better that a Rabbi? Yes, I am and I do. What he is attempting is in it’s very nature a violation of Torah. The only way for the Jewish People to “re-gain” the Land Promised to Avraham Avinu is by repenting and return to Torah (note that the People has NEVER been in possession of what G-d promised then in it’s entirety). There has never been another way. It’s in the Covenant, it’s in what every Jewish male bears in his flesh. So Rabbi Steinsaltz is teaching Chilul Hashem – Shaming the Name.

I shake the dust of my feet in his face.
Dov

Posted in Israel, US | 1 Comment »

Theistic Evolution 1

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on January 6, 2008


I am a Theistic Evolutionist, a Evolutionary Creationist. This means that I make one assumption which is squarely planted in Faith as a matter that cannot be scientifically proved – G-d exists. Other than that I accept the Evolutionary Account of the Origins of the Universe and everything in it. I am not a scientist. I am theologian with an interest in science, and especially in reconciling Science with Faith, hopefully without making the mistakes I think many people of Faith have made, in such a manner that it becomes clear that there really is no conflict between Faith and Science.
I choose to do it “from Scripture to Science” i.e adapting Scripture to Science, rather than the other way around, which seems to be the manner of f.i Intelligent Designists and Literal Creationists, who invariably try and adapt Science to the Scriptural Account, and in my opinion fail horribly and only manage to perpetuate a conflict that really doesn’t exist.
In order to harmonize the Biblical Creation Account with existing Scientific Evolutionary Facts, we have to understand the Biblical TEXT and how it works. It is fine to just see the Biblical Creation Account as an allergory that gives the basic answers to the questions of Who? and Why? from a religious perspective and stop there. This assumes of course that one wants to have such answers, this is not necessary, one is perfectly fine without those answers. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to stop at a mere allergory. I think that if we look at the actual Text of Bereshit/Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, and are willing to read beyond what Tradition teaches, we will see that there is, within the very text, support for a pure scientific understanding of “How it All Came Into Being.”

“In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis/Bereshit 1:1

Apart from the fact that this verse works like a head line in a newspaper article, simply summarizing the contents of what is to follow, this verse is interesting. In English or most other languages is just says “In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth.” In Hebrew, the Original Language of Torah, there is a textual elememt that implies that the Author was aware that Creation is an on-going process, and not something that is finished. It actually says: “In the Beginning of G-d’s Creating Heavens and Earth.” Which leads to a quite startling discovery, which I will get to after this brief message:

This verse makes 2 statements.
1. It all began somewhere in Reality, timed or timeless. This has been established by Science. The Universe is not without beginning. Bereshit 1:1 concurs with Science on this point. The existence of a Universal Beginning can be Scientifically observed and verified.
2. G-d did it. This is a statement of pure Faith. This cannot be verified by Science, it can only be believed. We might be able to deduce from findings within Science, that the Idea of G-d as Creator would be viable if we put Him out-side Time and Space.

“Actually, the latest understanding of the origin of the universe indicates that prior to the Big Bang, time itself did not exist. Without the existence of space produced by the Big Bang, time had no meaning. And without time, references in space have no meaning. So in a sense, the theological idea that God as Creator exists outside space and time makes perfect sense.” (Dale Husband)

This however would be by deduction only. We cannot establish that He actually did it. For all we know, from a perspective of Science, He might as well be non-existent, at most a non-active Spectator of a Random Event that took place 13.7 billion years ago without His intervention or participation.

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis/Bereshit 1:2

This verse makes another 2 statements:

1. At one time, most likely just prior to the Random Event that took place 13.7 billion years ago, Matter/Mass had no form, it was free-floating out-side Space and Time. This can be verified by scientific observations. Bereshit/Genesis 1:2 concur with Science. Here we get to the startling discovery through the realization that the Biblical Account speaks of Creation as an on-going process. Contrary to what Popular Theology, both Xian and Jewish teaches, this verse makes very clear that G-d did not Create “ex nihilo” (out of nothing) God had access to matter/mass. Something was present from which He created.

“In 1952, George Gamow, one of the founding fathers of Big Bang cosmology, proposed that the period before the Big Bang be called the Augustinian era,[1] after the philosopher Saint Augustine, who believed time was solely a property of the God-created Universe. Even though one could philosophically argue over the meaning of the phrase “to create”, through the theory of general relativity space and time can be related to each other. The phrase “Augustinian Era” stands as a testament to the fact that the known laws of physics break down in a gravitational singularity of a geometric point at the time zero of the Big Bang and that, before then, time as we know it is meaningless.” From Wikipedia

So far our our Biblical Account confirms what Science says.

2. G-d was present prior to a Random Event that took place 13.7 billion years ago. This cannot be verified scientifically, therefore must remain a matter of Faith.

This far I am startled by one single seeming fact: How Faith and Fact seem to be proposed by the Biblical account through its statements of description that can be verified by Science and its statements about a Creator, which can only be “verified” through Faith. It is as if the Biblical Account wants us to accept both in conjunction. I just marvel at those who refuse to realize that if one accepts through Faith that G-d exists, one must also accept that Faith is meaningless without sound Reason/Science. Faith cannot be proved. By the same token Reason cannot be believed. There is a “No-mans-land” between Faith and Reason that we have to cross, and interestingly enough it can only be traversed through a leap of Faith, in both directions, and the border crossing is guarded by Logic.

I’ll stop here for now. Next will be the actual Big Bang…

Posted in Creationism, Torah | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Philosophical Dilemma of ‘Creationism’

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on January 5, 2008


I am a Creationist. I strongly believe that what I choose to call G-d is the Creator of the entire Universe and Everything in It, including Platypuses and Pterodactyls (they are my favorite kinds of animals).

I can see how, the hair on Dale’s head is standing on end, and smoke is coming out of his ears… Has Silly Old Bear, one of his most staunchly religious members gone completely mad? No.

I am just tired of religious mad-men/women laying claim to a name, and dragging it through the mud of intellectual dishonesty, making it impossible for me to call myself a creationist, though that is rightly what I am and be proud of it. So now I am re-claiming it. Live with it. I hope Dale understands.

The proponents of Intelligent Design (and other forms of ‘Literal Creationism’) make some rather glaring mistakes that are not related to the scientific process of ‘Creation’. Their first mistake is to is to assume the existence of G-d as a FACT. They cannot prove G-d’s existence. It doesn’t matter how many more or less incredible theories (such as “irreducible complexity”) they come up with to insert G-d as a fact, His existence cannot be proven.

They, in various ways, claim that the reason they are ‘Creationists’ is what is written in Genesis/Bereshit chapters 1 and 2 and the claim that this is the Absolute Word of G-d. That is their second mistake, especially on the part of the ID believers. There is not one word in Genesis/Bereshit about any of the ideas expressed by their theories. Not one. In order to arrive at their conclusions they have to go beyond Genesis/Bereshit, and that places them squarely out-side the realm of the Biblical account. I.e they are Intelligent Designists, not Creationists. To be a Creationist, you have to accept the Biblical Account as is without any additions to the basic Text. Intelligent Design removes an element from the Biblical Account that not only needs to be in there, but which is imperative to the entire Text – the element of Faith, of Awe, of Humility, Understanding one’s place in the Universe and The Who Behind it all.

“Creationists sometimes argue that the idea of evolution must remain hypothetical because “no one has ever seen evolution occur.”
This statement, quoted in the book “Science, Evolution, and Creationism”, is ludicrous. By their own admission then, the idea of Creation must remain hypothetical because no one has ever seen creation occur. One have to wonder why they work so hard at claiming the truth of something when it, by their own logic, must remain hypothetical anyway?! That is their third mistake, and in my opinion, the most grievous, INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY. You simply cannot make statements like “evolution must remain hypothetical because ‘no one has ever seen evolution occur.'” and at the same time claim that ID is factual and scientific and expect people to accept this, not unless you are 4.5 billion years old!

The Biblical Account of how Everything Came Into Being doesn’t say one single word about HOW. It only says “Everything Came Into Being and G-d did it”. Period. No additions, no “intelligent theories”. The fourth mistake ID Believers make is to assume that the Biblical Account needs to be “harmonized” with Science to be considered ‘True’. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Millions of G-dly, honest and ethical people from all over the Earth have absolutely no trouble considering the Biblical Account True without the “help of Intelligent Design”. In fact, we’d rather that Intelligent Design went away and stopped embarrasing decent, G-dfearing folk! The simple fact of the matter is that we have no need for Intelligent Design. The Theory of Evolution and the Biblical Account already provide us with a viable Theory of Intelligent Design, and one that is far better at harmonizing the Idea of G-d as the Creator with Scientific Evidence and Method.

Silly Old Bear

Posted in Creationism, Evolution, Evolution Theory | 2 Comments »

 
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