It’s impossible to have a rational debate with someone who invokes the ‘word of God*’. Faith and rationale are not compatible.
We know (and, by the way, I’m Jewish and I made Aliyah – moved to Israel – in 2012), we know that there are thousands of ‘settlers’ who share Rabbi Levanon’s views and millions of people who agree with such views but what’s interesting to me – and crucial for us to identify and acknowledge – is what happened to this person to alter his brain’s wiring such that he can come out with this irrational diatribe (and I assume that he believes it, that it’s not just politico-speak)?
Religion, politics, power, control, money….they are all intertwined, an explosive mix, the byproducts of which are intolerance, hatred, irrational thinking, arrogance… I know that, in ‘saying’ this, I’m leaving myself wide-open to accusations of intolerance (of people like this Rabbi) and arrogance (i.e. people on the Rabbi’s ‘side’ can say that I’m arrogant for believing that I’m right and that they are deluded). We are all entitled to our beliefs (as long as we don’t foist them on others and/or encroach on others’ human and civil rights) but the difference between my position and that of, say, Rabbi Levanon is that, I respectfully submit, I’m arguing from a rational standpoint, he is not.
People like Elyakim Levanon aren’t born with this air of superiority and intolerance, these people are created, their minds controlled and taken over by ‘elders’ (I won’t say “and betters”) and they are turned into soldiers of hate and intolerance – they just regurgitate the script, they are the religious equivalent of the ‘Stepford Wives’.
The second ‘God’ comes into the argument/debate, it turns irrational. “God gave it to us…”, “God said….”, “God ordered….”, “God instructed us to…” (or, worse, “God instructed ME to….”), “God wanted us to….” blah blah blah…one can’t have a rational debate with people, whatever their religion, who believe and say these sorts of things, it’s like talking to a brick wall – it’s as productive as talking to a brick wall. Actually, it’s better to talk to a brick wall because it won’t infuriate a rational person in the way that an irrational person will infuriate a rational person!
I often have the question put to me:
“Can you prove that there is not a god?” – No, of course I can’t but that doesn’t mean that there is a god. The rational starting point is that there is no god unless someone can prove that there is one. The starting point can’t be that there is a god unless you can prove that there isn’t one. The starting point has to be a rational starting point. If the starting point of the discussion is that there is a god, the discussion is irrational from the very start.
I support the ‘each unto his/her own’ philosophy but I draw the line at the point where it negatively affects other people – this guy has crossed the line because he stokes the fire of hatred. He, and others, on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, who think and speak the same way, they make peace for the rest of us a lot less likely. Fortunately – again, on both sides – there are rational people and, hopefully, theirs are the voices which will lead us into the future…
Just my take…religion is an anachronism and it has no place in a modern, enlightened age. It evolved in a time when there was, to all intents and purposes, no scientific understanding, a time in which superstition and a belief in the supernatural filled the knowledge void (‘the god gap’), at time when, in the absence of understanding, and in the context of “man’s” inherent need to ‘know’ and ‘understand’, he/she could be exploited – terrified – by sinister people in the interests of often horrific agendas. It might have made sense to people thousands of years ago but, today, only irrational thinking can force the square peg of religion into the round hole of belief forming.
If future talks, discussions and negotiations are between people who invoke ‘God’, people who think that they have God or, for that matter, any other supernatural being, on their side, people who think that they have a monopoly on truth, a divine monopoly on divine truth, the words of Kenneth Wolstenholme will become ever more audible:
“They think it’s all over….it is now!”
*All references to ‘God’ in this blog are to a theistic God (the ‘God’ of the monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is theistic). VERY basically, theism is the belief in a ‘God’ which created the world and everything in it and is concerned with ‘mankind’ on an ongoing basis, a belief in a ‘God’ who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, is in control of us and events and gives us instructions, punishes and forgives (I reiterate that that is theistic belief in a VERY basis sense).
There are other forms of belief in ‘god’, e.g. deistic and pantheistic but, in this blog, I’m not delving into the various interpretations, understandings and philosophies relating to the concept of ‘god’.