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Rabbi Samuel April Headshot

The Importance of a Reasoned Faith

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Excluding the billion and a half communists, most of the world's 6 billion plus population unabashedly declares its belief in a Supreme Being. The problem for the vast majority of those people is whether there is Divine Providence in the world. Most rational persons choose to believe in a Creator of the Universe, but they are not sure that the Power that created man and his milieu is concerned with his current welfare and ultimate fate. They have been taught to look for miracles, signs of Godly intervention to prove His existence and concern for humanity. Providence is not synonymous with intervention. Compare Chief Justice John Roberts' interpretation and rewriting of the unconstitutional mandate in the Affordable Care Act becoming a legal tax that President Obama flatly declared up to that moment was NOT a tax.

Similarly, I blame most of the preachers, rabbis, priests and ministers for teaching the wrong message to their congregants. Instead of instructing their listeners about the truth of the biblical text, they extrapolate, confound and confuse their congregations with their minority views, parables and far-fetched interpretations. I understand their efforts to be entertaining, controversial and original to impress their flocks, but at what cost? Throughout history, the Church has always condemned men of science who taught that the sun was the center of the universe and not the earth, e.g., Copernicus and Galileo. Their findings never bothered the rabbis, who properly understood the Torah and the Talmud, which speaks of many worlds that the Almighty has created. However, one contemporary commentary makes this comparison: "A Korach or a Darwin always stand in the ready to dismiss the most obvious signs of Hashem's Presence in the world; even if it means conjuring up some ridiculous assertion dressed up in sophisticated dialect" (Mishnas Chayim, Parshas Korach, June 23, 2012). To compare one who rebels against the authority of Moses because of jealousy and who wants to replace him, as opposed to Charles Darwin is nonsense. Darwin was a dropped out seminarian in England, went to the Galapagos Islands and wrote the "Origin of species," in which he submitted his theory of evolution. In no way does this contradict the Bible, except in the eyes of literalists who refuse to accept science as the means to effect the desired results. It is perfectly compatible with the account in Genesis to state that the world was created by God and life evolved in stages until He provided man with a soul. (Genesis 2:7)

We have all heard that religion is "the opiate of the masses," or that it is "a crutch" for the lame (courtesy of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud). What we do not hear as often is that for every scientist and psychotherapist who denies the existence of a Prime Cause, or a Teleological Being, there are many who affirm order in the universe. Chaos theory has no leg to stand on as contrasted to Albert Einstein and his followers who posited his eponymous dictum, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." My hypothesis is simply this! There is no conflict between science and religion if we agree that both disciplines seek to banish ignorance and superstition. Science provides the means, religion the ends.

When is a mandate a tax? When it is logical, reasonable and constitutional. When are religion and science reconcilable? When they are logical, reasonable and biblically true!