thread: 2011-07-11 : Hooray for Religion
On 2011-07-12, David Berg wrote:
I’m sure we can reduce all “religious” actions to primal urges and needs if we want to, but I think it’s much more interesting to include the whole tapestry of culture, practice, experience, and yes, belief. Different beliefs provide reward experiences for different actions, leading to different motivations and further actions.
To remove belief is a handy simplification, but is less interesting to me. If we’re exclusively talking about what people do, “these people use giant leaves as rain shelters” is more interesting to me than “these people bow to the sun twice a day, who cares what they say about why”.
That’s opinion. Here’s a fact:
My orthodox Jewish friend strictly observes the sabbath, not using elevators, light switches, etc. I asked her, “In the Torah, God never says a word about elevators. Some rabbi came up with that. He probably found some phrase that, if you take it overly literally, can be applied against elevators, but that seems like traditionalist garbage and neophobia to me. Can’t you just take your understanding of God’s point and then act accordingly?”
She said, “God’s mind and will is unknowable to us. We shouldn’t try to deduce what He wants, we should follow what He literally told us to do as closely as we can manage. My ancestors made a contract with God and I’m honoring that contract.”
I asked, “But isn’t the Torah written by humans? It’s already interpretation!”
She said, “No, it’s the actual words of God as spoken in Hebrew, which is one of the 4 true realities that transcends the limited world of our experience. God gave us every letter, all we humans did was put them on paper.”
Back to my opinions:
If you’re alone in your building on the sabbath and no one’s around and you don’t believe that using the elevator violates your contract with God… you use the elevator, right?