An atheist and a God-fearing man pursue knowledge of the unknown and in the pursuit, material and spiritual worlds apparently opposed are unified. Juxtaposed, Science and Religion continue their respective journey's, inextricably bound by the unknown they peel away at its edge. Does it lead us to a dark abyss or the emancipating light?
Atheism and Judaism have more in common than meets the eye. The atheist, sufficiently satisfied to remove God from the known and the unknown, respectfully recognizes man's struggle and even ability to possess all that can be known. The orthodox Jew having no place for a simplistic God, the original Biblical text instead refers to the unspeakable, the unknowable, The Name that cannot be pronounced and its holy derivations.
The unknown, perhaps the unknowable, inspires man to discover knowledge that empowers civilizations' development. We delve further, deeper, higher than ever as we invent our way toward a world we think, hope and pray through our efforts will yield a better place for our future generations. The unknowable and our colorful journey of its discovery is thus man's purposeful story. Our procession, our obsession becomes our polarization when we misconstrue knowledge as purpose.
Modern technology, media and communication expose the increasingly rapid pace at which the once unknown becomes known. As the mystery unravels we are often confronted by the limitless boundary of our ever expanding knowledge horizon and at moments of introspection it is truly awesome. The unknown is revered, its reverence manifest in cultures and traditions new and old, the great neutralizer for which we alter our behavior in recognition of its pre-eminent state.
Some overtly spiritual, others more practical, we seek knowledge of the unknown in thought, prayer, science, business and in everyday life when we are competitively challenged to bring that which is unknown into the realm of the known. Whether a new experience or a breakthrough discovery, our happiness is in some way linked to a pleasant or surprising revelation of the unknown.
Our struggle with the unknown can be traced back to the beginning, Darwinic or Biblical. Applied discovery, a defining quality of man, arrives 5500-6000 years ago with language, speaking man destined to use his innate powers to discover, reveal and experience the compelling adventure, bringing the unknown into the realm of the known. In the Biblical story of Jacob, he struggles with the unknown over small sacred articles he carried on his journey of discovery.
What's the big deal if modern atheists and orthodox Jews agree the journey to discover the unknown occupies a significant part of their philosophical union, or is that too simplistic an approach? From where was George Lucas inspired when he adopted the phrase in his adventure of discovery "may the Force be with you? What is this entity, this body, this force, the unknown,
unending, infinite nothingness that atheists abhor restricting and secular Jews package using the increasingly meaningless term -- God? It's ironic, at a time in history when the world is finally waking up, when kingdoms are challenged and social justice finally has an unedited voice, that the massive body of Jewish thought, philosophy and law developed over thousands
of years, having helped so many in their struggle to approach the unknown, now finds itself confronted by a group of "non believers" who refuse to label the unknown.
Judaism has no other label for the unknown. In all of its orthodox works there are no labels for it. In fact The Name, a reference to the Ultimate Supreme Entity, is the Be-er the unified One, the universal constant, the unknowable, the Knower, always one with the Knowledge simply labeled the "No End". Isn't this what Atheists, Jews and all people seek to discover? Our philosophies and religions converge in this unified view regardless of how one approaches the unknown, it will always be so, knowing the Unknowable man's penultimate aim.
Cultures, philosophies and religions of the world that appear diametrically opposed, subjected to the unknown perhaps the true leveler of egocentricity, rendering all of us mere fragments and preventing our mass destruction. Dominating legacies an absurdity, rather each culture a cherished prize marking the continuing journey of our collective discovery. In the struggle
for dominance, silliness often relegates humanity's simple justice, the plight of the poor mere pawns of the ideological struggle and Jerusalem the center of 3 religions this microcosm's pivotal example.
Justice arguably charities paramount concept yet Jerusalem fails to deliver a justice for its 38% that live in poverty. Potential to discover the unknown in this city greater than in any other including how to care for its poor. Somehow the unifying qualities of the unknown, a yet unrealized potential gnaws at its residents whilst the world's largest religious populous watch, with a keenly focused eye, the revelations that emerge from the complexities of Jerusalem's much prophesied, yet unknown future.
Jerusalem's Zion, described as the unknown point from where reality emerges, attracts man to explore and discover its mystique to reveal the distinguishing uniqueness each of us are capable of hauling from the unknown into the known. When we achieve this enormous feat, health, happiness, fame, fortune, anything your heart desires, this adventure offers much of
life's intrigue. Approach to this unknown point, like climbing a tall mountain, stacked with risk and reward and in the right conditions the successful ascent from which the journey's prize is carried.
Temple worship, academic research, science, business or simple issues of everyday life, each a journey of discovery to the mysterious unknown and unique Jerusalem a perfect place to approach, to come back prize in hand and with it build a better world. This is Jerusalem's inherent wisdom, its white mountain, the place at which more people can discover their source of the unknown's fertile flow to grow the earth on which we all live.
The unknown's nullifying virtues enable its discovery and Jerusalem with the capacity to expand its economy and its boundaries to benefit its poverty-stricken people who cry out daily for the simple dignity of work, lays dormant, a city of ancient ruins struggling to fulfill its principle
purpose. Atheist, Jew or other, a city with the capacity to benefit people is one worth saving if for no other reason to enable its purpose, to be a place in which so many begin their journey to haul back from the unknown that which is important for all to know.
Kevin Bermeister is the founder of Brilliant Digital, which owns many global high-tech brands, including the Kazaa music service. A recognized worldwide pioneer in high-tech, he was a founding investor in Skype and contributes to philanthropies world-wide.