| Monday, June 30, 2008

There has been some renewed discussion, primarily on Hirhurim and the blog of XGH, about the documentary hypothesis. A lot of gibberish about bias in academia and religious folk being forced beyond their better interest into believing the nonsense its religion spews. So let us cut to the quick and bring some of the arguments in favor of the Documentary Hypothesis. I’m not a biblical scholar so I probably won’t be able to help much past this summary of arguments that I put together based on Friedman’s book “The Bible with Sources Revealed.” Littlefoxling has done a lot more work on this so see his blog for more info. Also there is a post by Bruce at threejews.net using the Bayes Theorem arguing in favor of the Documentary Hypothesis here and here. Apparently the Great and mysterious, Mis-Nagid had done a lot of work with the Documentary Hypothesis but his blog is defunct. So without further ado…

  1. Linguistics- The language of the Torah is varied. Certain sections can be dated by styles of language that were used at different times. This can help to divide the Torah into sections by the style of the language that they use. The dates of these styles of linguistics are confirmed by texts other then the Torah such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and other documents discovered by archeology.
  2. Terminology- Specific words and phrases are used disproportionately in certain sections of text. See here and here for examples. There are many others. These words and phrases help us to divide the text into separate documents.
  3. Consistent Content-
    1. Revelation of the name YHWH- The name YHWH was used earlier in the text and then suddenly revealed to Moshe in Exodus 6:2,3. Also certain names of God are used almost exclusively in certain sections of the Torah. These sections can be divided into separate sources.
    2. Sacred Objects- The Mishkan is dealt with far more in certain sections and never in others. In some sections it is the staff of Moshe Rabeynu that performs miracles but in other's it is Aaron's. There are more examples.
    3. Priestly Leadership- The Priests are the leaders of the people in certain sections. Prophets are the main men in other sections. In certain sections only descendants of Aaron are considered priests but in others all Levites are considered priests.
    4. Numbers- Certain sections of the Torah are more concerned with numbers (age, then others.
  4. Narrative flow- The Torah is very choppy and it repeats and contradicts itself. When divided into separate texts, each text has a better flow then when they remain as they are found in current text.
  5. Connections to other parts of the Bible- Certain parts of the Torah seem to match the worldview and message of certain prophets as well as usage of terminologies and linguistics. Certain parts line up with the book of Yirmeyahu, others line up with Yehezqel, Hoshea and the "Court History" sections of the neviim rishonim (early prophets), especially Shmuel Bais, respectively.
  6. Relationship to other sections and history- There are many, many examples of this. Certain sections of the Torah refer to geographical areas that were of particular interest to the south (Yehuda) and other sections speak about those of particular interest to the north (Yisrael.) Certain sections are of interest to the time of Hezkiyahu especially in regards to the division between Kohanim and Leviim, that according to Divrei HaYamim 31:2, were instituted by Hezkiyahu, and the centralization of the avodah at Har HaBayis. Other sections of the Torah seem to be connected to the glorious, revolutionary reign of Yoshiyahu. Certain sections of the Torah follow another group of passages, in sequence and differences are significant and point to a message with which certain sections of the Torah are concerned.
  7. Convergence- A threefold strand is not quickly broken (Kohelet 4:12) and one with hundreds of connections all the more so. There are many doublets and hundreds of apparent contradictions, that different Rishonim have picked up on and answered according to the best of their knowledge and based on the assumptions that they bring to their commentary on the Torah. But when you divide the text into these separate sections not only do they have a better narrative flow, but their world view and message are coherent, there are almost no contradictions and all the rest of the arguments listed above fit together snugly when the Torah is divided into certain sections.

For more information, you’re going to have to actually study the stuff yourself. Now go learn!


I need a new name for my online self. FedUp has become a self fulfilling prophecy for me, so I'm working on a new name. FedUp is making me stay a grumpy old man. I might even change the url. We shall see.

I've been having quite a few of those Eureka Moments. More to come.


I am so grateful to humanity and it's awesome endeavors in science and reason, to the Universe and it's laws that have brought me into existence at this time, the greatest time in history to be alive. It has placed my lot in an affluent country in the 21st Century, where free inquiry has allowed me to find truth in places that were previously locked away by religious censorship. It has allowed me to rise early and stay up late, the freedom to educate myself and better my character. It has given us the technology and free market that give us modern housing and electricity, a free press, free public libraries, and plenty of free time to pursue the finer things in life. Gone are the days when we were forced to live in fear of wrathful invisible deities and their demands on humanity. Gone are the days when we must accept that evil is the will of the Master of the Universe. Gone are the days that we delude ourselves to think that our deities will save us from ourselves.

All we have is ourselves. We must fight for freedom, for justice, for peace. You and I are our only hope.

This post was inspired by the Jewish prayer upon leaving the house of study.

| Thursday, June 26, 2008


What is wrong with people? Am I crazy or is it the world?

Gil Student
deleted my comments on his blog again today! And this time I was just asking questions, the type of questions that every yeshiva bochur should ask. They were VERY polite.

Why do people like to believe in lies? If OJ's claims about God and the Torah aren't true, wouldn't you want to know about it? Why do people want to believe in lies so badly that they refuse to even allow questions in regards to that subject?

Avrum68... Quite the character. What can I say about the man? He rants and raves about skeptic bloggers being anonymous, yet who is this anonymous Avrum? I'd be afraid if he should ever find me. From the tone of his comments, I think this man hates me with a passion. And all I do is ask questions and comment on blogs! I do NOT threaten. I ask questions. I do NOT obligate people. I offer critical thought. And for this I get hate?!

Daganev... I can't understand the guy. I try and I try, really I do. But then he starts saying stuff like "Quite the fundamentalist you are," and "Your comments really make me laugh and writhe in pain." Daganev is the type that doesn't agree with anyone, and whenever I tell him that, he starts saying I have a "digital childish mind." How do you have a conversation with someone that you can't make sense of and that insults you if you try?

Rabban Gamiel... I really feel bad about ignoring him but I can't understand what he says either!

Jacob Stein... OY! He's got perhaps the SICKEST view of the world I've ever heard of. He suggests cannibalism and supports genocide... Need I say more?

Yus, aka whatever name he feels like using at that time... Probably the meanest believer that I've ever come in contact with. This man hurls more insults faster then Baal could zap you with thunder bolts and with greater agility then Hermes. Ever confident that he's argued his side beyond refute, this man thinks that loyalty to ideas that probably aren't true is somehow something. But don't say that he said anything because you are definitely misrepresenting him and if not... well I better not say.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof... I think much more highly of him now that I've tried asking questions of other blogger Rabbis. Though I don't know how he could possibly make the claims that he does, he has my respect. He hasn't deleted my comments, even though I asked much more pungent questions to him then I did to Rabbi Gil. Three Cheers for RJM!

Anyhow... I think I'll let off the bans for this post. This post was an emotional reaction to feelings of frustration that I've had recently. Please, don't take anything said here personally.

| Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Religion is made of up Theology, Mythology, and Virtue.

Tip o' the Hat to Michael Fridman for having an awesome blog with copious amounts of awesome links.

Note: This analogy is made with tongue firmly inserted into cheek.


Earlier I posted Obama's now two year old speech about religion and politics. I was very impressed. You can read it here.

Recently James Dobson, big mucky muck in the Christian Right, has attacked Obama as "deliberately distorting the Bible," "dragging biblical understanding through the gutter," "willfully trying to confuse people," and having a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution." Read about that here.

But now, another Christian named Jim Wallis, a left wing Evangelical leader, is shooting back at Dobson as being un-Christian. That you can read here.

All this sniping is entertaining but the moral of the story is, if Obama can bring his liberal Christianity to this country, we'll be taking a huge leap in the right direction. Tolerance, open mindedness, religion that translates itself to a language that everyone can speak. Change, in which we can believe. Yes. We. Can.

| Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nowadays, when someone says that they believe in God you have no idea what the heck they are talking about. Do they mean a higher self, like the New Agers? Do they mean the sky God waiting to zap you, like the Catholics? Do they mean the God that cares if you have ice cream after your burger, like the Orthodox Jews? Or do they mean the It that set off the big bang, never to be heard from again, like Thomas Paine? Or do they mean the laws of the Universe, like Stephen Hawking?

When atheists get all riled up about God, generally they are referring to personal God, one that answers prayers and writes books as a guide for humanity, the one most people believe in.

When atheists get riled up by New Agers it's usually because of their pseudo-scientific methods of healing, like crystals, reiki, and their ideas about psychic powers.

Why do we get upset by these things? Because they are demonstrably false. Prayer doesn't work, and God's books for humanity are a sham. "Alternative Medicine" is like "Intelligent Design," a nice word for a crock of crocodile crap. If it don't work, then it don't work. If it's bunk then it's bunk.

Moving onto the re-definers of the word God... why? I mean if God is energy, or nature, or the laws of the universe, then why used the word God? It's terribly misleading. When most people use the word God, they mean the type that writes books and answers prayers. It's like changing the word Bible to mean the metaphorical book of the best science, ethics, and philosophy currently known to man.

So anyhow, if you believe in a metaphorical higher self, or some ultimate being that started the big bang, or if you like to look at the laws of the Universe, Nature and Energy in a poetic sense, do humanity a favor; don't call it God. It only causes confusion.

Unless of course you can convince everyone else to refer to their gods by their first names. Jews refer to YHWH, Christians to Jesus, Muslims to Allah, and everyone else's mythical all powerful beings by their proper names.

| Monday, June 23, 2008

Q1. How would you define “atheism”?

Not believing in what you know isn't so.

Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

Yes. What a long, strange trip it's been.

Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?


Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?

Cognitive and Neuroscience, Evolutionary Psychology and any thing else to do with the mind.

Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?

I'd make it integrated into the rest of society. Atheists shouldn't think of themselves as a separate group but as a part of a larger whole of humanity.

Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?

I'm still a kid myself so I can't honestly answer that question. I'd imagine I would reach for the nearest bottle and after sobering up, try to reason with him or her.

Q7. What’s your favorite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

"I don't have enough faith to be an atheist." I usually just laugh.

Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

You know Dawkins scale of belief in God from 1-7? Well if you put Objective Morality on that scale I'd probably be at a 2 or 3. Most people I've talked to about this think I'm delusional. I think they are immoral degenerates. ;-)

Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

Dawkins, though I don't know why. Dennet's a bore, Hitchens is a pompous ass, though I stand in awe and envy of his command of the English Language. I really like Harris, his vote for against labels and his vote for meditation.

Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

Who is the most influential theist? Now or in all of history? I guess I'd pick God if he existed. Tough question... Mohammed? Jesus? Moses? The Pope? Bush? Osama? I can't answer this one.


"True morality, Gora says, is based entirely in the real world. “Because morality is a social necessity, the moment faith in god is banished, man’s gaze turns from god to man and he becomes socially conscious. Religious belief prevented the growth of a sense of realism. But atheism at once makes man realistic and alive to the needs of morality.” [55]"


This is another post in a series with the label "other bible."

As I continued in my journey through the leftover parts of the Bible, I ran into some rare sections of medrash (rabbinic mythology) that gave a novel and rather long creation myth story. I could have sworn that I had read most of this in the Meam Loez commentary on the Creation Myth of the Bible but the Meam Loez quoted some rare medrashim.

The sexism is steep in all these creation myths, but that is par for the course of ancient days. In this medrash, there is this character called Lilith that is given to Adam to wife. But Lilith is not the submissive help mate that a woman is supposed to be so she leaves and Adam is given Eve. According to the medrash, God tried to create a good, submissive wife for Adam but despite all his strivings, she still ended up being a typical woman, some of her faults only coming to fruition later on: Sarah the eavesdropper, Miriam the talebearer, Rachel the envious, and Dinah the gadabout.

But that was just a side note. What really stuck out to me was the character known as the serpent. This medrash says that he became an infidel because of his high intellect. Yes, you read that correctly. Smartness is bound to make you into an infidel, a heretic just like the serpent. Not only that, but after the smart serpent had seduced God's favorite creations to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (notice how knowledge is bad and prohibited yet again) when God goes to curse his creation he doesn't ask for excuses from the serpent. Before cursing Adam, he gets a chance to explain the situation and pass the blame onto his wife. Eve gets the same opportunity but according to this medrash, the smart serpent doesn't get this opportuinity. Why? Because infidels are good debaters. Yes, that's right. Infidels are smart and good debaters according to the medrash. This answers a lot of questions.

Enter the gnostics. The gnostis were a strange bunch. There were pagan, christian and jewish gnostics. They were a crazy mixture of buddhism, ancient persian religion and pagan, christian or jewish respectively.

I couldn't figure out if this was a universal gnostic myth or unique to one particular sect but the gnostics had a pantheon and the creator god Yahweh, was a loser god. Yes, he had the audacity to create a physical world. The other higher gods were disgusted by him because of his attempt to capture knowledge (gnosis) in the physical. The gnostics completely change the creation myth around. The serpent is the hero because he gets them to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So Yahweh, the almighty god in the Jewish myth is the loser in the gnostic versions. The serpent, the intelligent and good debater is evil according to this Jewish myth but the hero in the gnostic one. Maybe gnosticism isn't all that bad.

So anyhow, all you believers be forwarned. Don't get into debates with skeptics, who are the illegitamate offspring of the Evil Serpent. Just as God was unwilling to get into a debate, so too you, my faith-full friend, should be unwilling to debate. Just stick to curses.

| Friday, June 20, 2008

Americans are stupid. I’m sorry but it’s true.

Yeshiva guys are taught to “think” by learning tiny passages of Gemara for weeks and months. They ask whatever absurd questions come to mind and force interpretations based in their wild imaginations. They dissect Rashi, Tosafos, and then, with the aid of their kovetz meforshim, they dissect some more. It’s a huge mess, and the most stupid questions are thought of as the most genius. Yeshiva Bochurs are learning to think creatively, at best, insanely, at worst. Such a crying shame. I can’t tell you how many times I was told by my rebbeim, “You have to learn to think.” And of course the way to do this was by logging a 900 hours with Reb Chaim’s nonsense on the Rambam.

I remember I used to just learn Rambam straight, without even the Kesef Mishneh. People thought I was trying my hand at Brisker Chidushim but I was just learning Rambam for some relative clarity regarding halacha.

The main goal of a yeshiva guy is to think of chidushim and knock out kashes. It is constant creative\insane thinking, never coming to any conclusions, constant mental struggle with ancient texts and later interpretations that have little rhyme or reason.

What is very frustrating to me is that there are so many lies out there. You get out of religion only to find yourself surrounded by yet more lies which are in turn surrounded by more still. What is at the source of all this and how can you find the grains of truth amongst all the chaff of falsehood and deceit?

Each day, a realization is creeping over me like an oncoming storm. Every so often I feel a few scattered drops of rain and a glimpse of its truth drops like bird dung on my face.

I refuse to believe it, because I don’t want to.

Critical thinking should be a mandatory subject in every school, everywhere. It is a human being’s best protection against all the lies that are out there floating around like airborne viruses, lies, which range from harmless rumors to religious and political fraud.

But candy is good and the more you eat it the less you want real food. We are polluting our minds with ridiculous religion, political propaganda, and awful amusement. If someone suggests that you read a book, learn about science, or think critically, we are repulsed, as if there is a cultural taboo against intellectual pursuits. Scientists are Satan’s workers and academics are amoral and heartless. So how can a convincing case be made for critical thought? A dry statement of facts and statistics will not convince anyone. We are emotional animals.

Can we take critical thought and inject it with high fructose corn syrup to make it user friendly? Can we make an emotive movie that will make people want to think for themselves? Can we instill analytical lyrics into pop/rock and hip hop and rhythm and blues? How can we turn scientists and intellectuals into the celebrities of today? How can we make people care about being stupid? How can we demonize conscious ignorance and superstition? These are questions that bother me.

| Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm reading a book called "The Other Bible" that has all the stuff that for some reason didn't make it into the Bible, Christian or Jewish. I'll be bringing some interesting tidbits along the way.

First off, though there are already 2 creation myths in Genesis, Creation myths were like the science fiction novels of ancient times, everyone that could write wrote one. II Enoch, The book of Jubilees, a bunch of gnostic texts and a whole pile more.

Secondly, angels are common characters. I can't keep track of them. They are on almost every page.

According to the book of Jubilees, Eve wasn't created till a week after Adam. The Jubilees adds that this is the reason for the length of a woman's tumah after giving birth. A week for a boy and two weeks for a girl. Also Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden for 7 years, contrary to the Rabbinic version which had 'em kicked out in no time. Also the animals could talk the whole time they were in the Garden which alleviates the problem of only the snake talking in the Genesis report.

More to come!


It's a biological fact. Humans have altruistic tendencies. They also tend to be selfish but we've learned to be selfish in altruistic ways, for the most part anyhow. We are better off if we let the goose lay the golden eggs. A dead goose doesn't do much good.

We seem to be attracted and addicted to pain. Whenever we see pain we feel this need to go do something about it, even though the short term logical thing to do would be to run the other way. I've noticed that the most narcissistic blogs, the most negative blogs and this includes dark sarcasm and satire, get the most hits. FailedMessiah, XGH, sixmonthmalkie, and more. These blogs get crazy amounts of comments and hits. Yesterday I had a post with the title Blogging Blues and I got the most hits I ever did.

I'm tempted to start a new blog, in which I stage to be a yeshiva guy going off the derekh, sort of relive those days but pretend its happening now. Maybe I'll get more hits.

Nah, that won't do.

I used to be sarcastic and satirical in a funny sort of way before I got all depressed about religion being bogus. Then I vowed to be a bull headed skeptic for the rest of my days, never to be fooled by delusions again. But it seems that there is a superstition gene in people. Every so often I get soft about moderate religion or new age. Not for myself of course, but maybe it ain't all that bad for other people. Then I catch myself and I renew my skeptical fervor for reason and science. I'm starting to sound bi-polar.

Hmm... I'm trying to work out some ideas for original material.

| Monday, June 16, 2008

I’ve only been following the Jblogs for about a year, and only started seriously commenting for the past three months. Already, I’m realizing that bloggers, including myself, are helplessly biased.

Most of my comments have been on XGH’s blog, because I thought, without critical analysis, that he is looking for an objective discussion of Judaism. He is not. And he’s said it himself, countless times, that he is helplessly biased towards Orthodox Judaism. His latest post “My New Theology” has finally gotten the point through to me. He is Modern Orthodox, just a little more intellectually honest then most.

I’ve finally come to realize that I do not want anything to do with Judaism, the religion. I don’t care to redefine God, Torah, etc in an attempt to make Orthodox Judaism, or any other religion, intellectually defensible. Jewish Culture, on the other hand, I find to be worthwhile, and doesn’t need to be intellectually defensible. It’s just how Jews express themselves socially. We have our holidays, music, jokes, art, humanitarian concerns etc. and these things are by definition subjective and based in our ancient mythology. Each culture has something to bring to the table and the Jewish one is by no means anything to scoff at.

However, this doesn’t mean that Jewish culture is the end all, be all. Many cultures have attributed greatly to society. The Greeks, Eastern cultures, Arab cultures, Christian Cultures and more have made this world a better place to live.

I’m seriously considering signing off, until I can find something original to add to the blog world. Being yet another skeptic blog that has two readers isn’t worth my time.


First it was XGH, deleting my comments on humanitarianism. Now, Gil Student who I had so much hope for has deleted my comment that made a plea for reason. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trusting Gil that he wouldn't delete my comment, because it was very polite and unassuming, even congratulatory, so I can't show you exactly what I wrote. Oh well, so much for my hopes.

I guess believers, even moderate ones like Gil, still have something to be afraid of. It's a shame that people are so afraid of critical analysis and free inquiry. We are all slaves to some extent. I am a slave to freedom and truth. Other's are slaves to OJ's claims and an ancient text written by nobody knows who. All I'm saying is, choose your masters wisely. Life is short.

| Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gil Student is reviewing the book Bondage of the Mind and is allowing discussions to take place in the comment thread, though Jewish Atheist didn't get much thread time. All in all, I think that he's doing better then most OJ Rabbis in allowing semi- open discussion. He even let me join in the fun!

Wishing Gil all the best and hoping he will be as honest as possible, and maybe even become a skeptic himself!

Gil Student deleted my polite and unassuming comment on his latest post, Part III. Ouch! See my next post.


Here's a fun movie.


| Sunday, June 8, 2008

I have to be honest. I'm a new kofer, though I seemed to have been designed for it. I started reading XGH and Dovbear about a year ago and within a few months I was ignostic and then a few months later I became an atheist. And I was in yeshiva for most of the time???

I've read a bunch of archives, mostly from godolhador and the frum skeptics group. WOW! Mis-nagid was da man! But apparently he gives thanks to Hasidic Rebel as the real father of Jewish Skepticism on the web.

So anyhow, I realized that we are running out of believers to debate. Apparently, there were those back in the day that tried to follow the command in Avot that said, "Da mah lehashiv l'apikorus" (Know how to answer a heretic.) But now who is out there that can really answer the skeptics? Harry Maryles doesn't allow kefira on his blog. Gil admitted that OJ is based on faith and tradition and RJM is way too busy even though he says he has the answer.

Is it safe to say that the OJ should recognize the kofrim as a legitimate group? Do you think that OJ will ever allow free inquiry? Are there OJ Rabbis out there that actually addressing issues brought from critical thinking and skepticism?

Anyhow, I have a renewed interest in locking down my critical thinking skills. What I always wondered was, how are you supposed to know how to answer a heretic if you're not allowed to think about heresy? Hmmmmm...... maybe that's why most believers are so bad at defending their religion.

In other news... Though I will try my utmost to answer all comments, my posts will be sparing over the near future. I'm getting bored with this blog and I am too young and stupid to have anything to write about.

| Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gotta love the separation of church and state of our politicians. I'm glad to know that McCain will uphold the separation of church and state. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ok, are you still willing to throw away your vote over the supposed superiority of McCain's support for Israel and experience, despite his theocratic views?

Hat tip to the Atheist Media Blog

| Monday, June 2, 2008

Things are picking up at work recently and I'll be putting more hours in at the office. I've also been trying to put in more time with experts by reading books then with the bloggers. All this means less time to blog.The interest is still there but the passion is already waning. I'm over the initial shock by now. My evangelical urges are pretty much under control. Though the real threat to society is Islam, I find that there are plenty of books and blogs raising our conscious about that. The Orthodox Jewish community was a concern of mine but there are plenty of Centrist Orthodox sites like RJM's David Guttman's and Harry Maryles's. Though they still have some dangerous hashkofos, since it is highly doubtful that Orthodox Jewry will ever control political policies in Israel or elsewhere, there's really nothing to worry about. The divides and schisms in Orthodoxy will continue to grow. I see the Hareidim becoming more insular, more backwards and unfortunately the Jews are developing their own version of the Amish. Hopefully they will become less violent and destructive like the Amish. Then there are the settlers that are causing more harm and danger to innocents, both Jewish and Palestinian, then they could ever imagine. No, I'm NOT putting all the blame on the Jews for the complications in the Middle East.

I'm going to take some advice that evanstonjew gave to Harry Maryles and apply it to myself. Those that are interested to know the falsehoods and wickedness that are found in religion, particularly fundamentalist religion, the links are on the side. There are blogs, websites, and books a plenty that are bashing, trashing, and other wise taking apart religious belief and fundamentalism. I'd like to put the focus of my blog on happiness, ethics, meaning, mysticism, scientific advance, and overall well being and progress for the universe, our planet and in particular the human race, all without the supernatural or beliefs in the supernatural, using science and by that I mean "the entire enterprise of secular reason and knowledge, including history and philosophy."

In short, I want to focus on the good life for those with a naturalistic worldview. I have interests in Taoist thought and biases towards my people, the Jews. Oh, and every now and again I'll put up something promoting Obama.

Onward, toward a good life.