Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shomer Shabbos

What does shabbos mean to me? It means that I don't roll on Shabbos (wear headphones if you are at work)

Update: And also for your listening pleasure, I have a new song, Steady As She Goes by the Raconteurs.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Defining God

Before we can say anything meaningful about God we must first describe what we are talking about. So that means we must define the concept God.

Before I define it I want to lay down some ground rules. First of all any concept of God that I define must make sense. It should not break the rules of logic. Because if it doesn't make sense then we can't talk about it in a meaningful way, so what would be the point?

I would also like the definition to closely resemble the name that it has been associated with religious concept as closely as possible without breaking the first rule. In other words I don't want to define God as my toaster, and then say that because my toaster does exist, therefore God exists. This as you would agree would serve no purpose and would be just a waste of time.

Now that I have laid down the rules, let's begin. The concept of God as I understand it is thus: God is cause of all that exists. All that exists is within God. It can also be called Reality or Existence, either of these terms are fine. I do not mean to distinguish between the cause and the effect, because I view them as one and the same thing. It's therefore impossible to conceive of the individual things that exist without God.

A good analogy that helps me think about it is The Matrix. The Matrix is a complex virtual reality which is an exact replica of our Universe. If you pulled the plug on the Matrix, everything that existed in the Matrix would cease to exist, because the matrix is the cause of all the things within the Matrix. Now, the Matrix is just a virtual reality so it's not the ultimate reality, it's just a sub reality that resides within a greater reality. The ultimate reality that "holds" all other realities is what I refer to as God.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Talking About God

If you look around the Jewish blogs you'll notice something strange. You'll notice that the blogs whose main topic is religion and theology hardly mention the topic of God. They will talk about Torah and they will talk about how to interpret the Bible, but they rarely mention God. This, on face value, is peculiar. How could a religious blog not mention the most important concept in religion?

It's not just the blogs that you notice this, but the religion itself. I remember when I was orthodox, I really didn't think too much about God. Sure, we acknowledged God in theory, but when push comes to shove we loved the Torah more than anything else, and since God supposedly was the author, we loved God by extension. Now that I am no longer focused primarily on Judaism I find myself thinking about the concept of God more frequently.

The very concept of God is very fuzzy for most religious people. God is some great unknown that none can clearly define. It's hard to talk about something if you don't even know what it is. That is one reason why God isn't spoken about directly. In Christianity, Jesus is the place holder for God. That's why Christians talk more about Jesus than God himself. In Judaism, the Torah is the place holder for God.

I my coming posts I would like to talk about God directly with no intermediaries. I would like to do this because it is the most fundamental religious idea. Some believe that it is impossible to do, because God is completely unknowable. But I learned from one of the most wise Jew, Baruch Spinoza, that not only is this possible, but it is the highest good that a human mind can achieve. So, if you don't mind, let's try to discuss this most high spiritual concept together. Hopefully we can gain some real insight if we do it together.