H/T: My good buddy, Brian of London: “This might be the most important short essay on science and the Jewish religion (and its child Christianity) I’ve ever read.”
So it begins once more. In the synagogues this week, it’s Groundhog Day. Jews go back to the opening of the Five Books of Moses and start the narrative all over again.
The secular world looks on with indifference, bemusement or contempt. Among unbelievers, it is an article of faith that reason, science and modernity are in one box and religion, superstition and obscurantism in another.
Ah yes; the rational, factual, grounded secular world. The one that is currently disinviting speakers and violently attacking universities on the grounds of upholding freedom and equality. The one that is spewing unhinged lies and paranoid distortions at Israel and the Jewish people. The one that appears to be spinning off its axis into utter madness.
The reason for this is something the secular world cannot bring itself to grasp.
For in setting out to destroy the biblical basis of western civilization, the secular world is in the process of destroying reason itself. This is is how it works.
For the past half-century, the received wisdom among our cultural elites has been that the West is fundamentally bigoted and illegitimate and must be transformed. Accordingly, biblical codes embodying objective truth and goodness have been replaced by ideologies such as moral and cultural relativism, materialism, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, utilitarianism, feminism, multiculturalism, universalism and environmentalism.
These movements are all utopian. Each in its own way wants to create a new kind of human being and a perfect world. The greens believe they will save the planet. The multiculturalists believe they will excise bigotry from the human heart. The universalists believe they will create the brotherhood of man.
Yet every one of these ideologies is anti-reason. Because they all aim at moral perfection, their governing idea cannot be challenged. So instead of using evidence to reach a conclusion, facts are wrenched to fit their governing idea.
Since independent thought thus becomes impossible, such ideologies are inimical to reason itself.
What’s more, every one of them is anti-Judaism. Moral relativists attack the Mosaic code. Environmentalists attack the (misunderstood) assertion in Genesis that mankind has dominion over the Earth. Materialists attack the belief that there can be anything beyond the universe at all. And so on.
It is no coincidence that these ideologies are both anti-reason and anti-Jew, for Judaism and reason are not in separate boxes at all. The one in fact created the other.
The popular belief is that the roots of science lay in ancient Greece. In fact, Greek thinking was inimical to a rational view of the universe. The Greeks, whose universe was an endless cycle of progress and decay and who transformed heavenly bodies into actual gods, explained the natural world by abstract general principles.
Socrates thought empirical observation a waste of time, and Plato advised his students to “leave the starry heavens alone.”
For the development of science, monotheism was essential. As the Oxford mathematics professor John Lennox puts it: “At the heart of all science lies the conviction that the universe is orderly.”