Especially good at clarifying "How do we know Hashem exists?" to a young adult

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  • #596082
    chalilavchas
    Member

    Who in the frum community is especially good at answering young adults (with stubborn personality) with questions like “How do we know Hashem exists?” , clearly, without resorting to faith and the benefits to people of having faith, who is relatively easily available and doesnt expect specific monetary compensation? This young adult needs someone that’s not a family member or teacher who knows them and is comfortable at dealing with sharp and stubborn people.

    #778356

    Try Rabbi Brog. There are many more (whom I’m not familiar with).

    (Often it’s not faith they’re strugling with as much as pain and hurt)

    #778357
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    TBT: (Often it’s not faith they’re strugling with as much as pain and hurt)

    Popa agrees with TBT.

    #778358
    yunger mann
    Member

    Abei Rottenburg, he has a song that can convince anyone who is raelly interested in the answer

    #778359
    msseeker
    Member

    TBT: (Often it’s not faith they’re strugling with as much as pain and hurt)

    Popa agrees with TBT.

    Me too. I believe it’s a form of anxiety that the mind resorts to in order to cover up pain and hurt. Try the CD program Attacking Anxiety and Depression.

    #778360
    mw13
    Participant

    Give them an english Kuzari and/or Chovos HaLevavos. Both spend a nice amount of pages proving Hashem’s existence.

    #778361
    EzratHashem
    Member

    Could be Hashem wants us to make sure we CAN answer questions like this, to sharpen our own emunah, so He provides inquisitive and bright kids (or adults) who need deep answers. I would take his questions seriously and avoid the name-calling. To find someone who can satisfy his question, that will be difficult. For all of our patting ourselves on the back for our kiruv efforts, we don’t seem to be so good at helping people who want proof.

    #778362
    chalilavchas
    Member

    I agree with tbt and pba, definitely, life is complex, problems lead to other problems. Sometimes this happens with personality types who despise rules, they find a reason to justify not keeping rules that dont lead to immediate pleasure.

    I spent Shabbos reading some books on turning people around and seems there are people who are especially good at it.

    yunger, which song are you refering to? This young adult loves some of AR’s songs.

    #778363
    yid.period
    Member

    Lawrence Kelemen is a terrific speaker and has a terrific book entitled Permission to Believe dealing with this question and a followup about Torah M’Sinai called Permission to Receive. His shiurim are online as well.

    #778364

    i can’t believe noone mentioned rabbi mechanic! He is the best at this! I once heard him speak reguarding this topic..he is finaminal!!!9

    #778365

    rabbi mechanic

    #778366
    yunger mann
    Member

    Journeys II- Little kite

    Also good is, Journeys I- It had to be Hashem.

    There are some other grate songs on Journeys I, That sound so simple and reasonable. they can really inspire one to belive. The Koach Hanagina can hit the rite cords in a Neshama.

    #778367

    EzratHashem:

    For all of our patting ourselves on the back for our kiruv efforts, we don’t seem to be so good at helping people who want proof.

    You’re kindly invited to head on over to the cheap-shot thread. We’ll be waitin

    #778368
    chalilavchas
    Member

    To all those recommending books, this young adult isnt going to read any books on religion, and if they would they’d shoot holes through everything the book says and say the book is pointless, if there’s no one to reply with a sharp answer.

    #778369
    observanteen
    Member

    If s/he wants to know the TRUTH s/he’ll get there. Otherwise, there’s no point in arguing. S/he’ll “prove” it’s wrong over and over again. On the contrary, if s/he’s willing to listen, then try Rabbi Pinchus Jung from Monsey. He’s really great with these kids, and has great answers. (You don’t have to introduce yourself)

    #778370
    yid.period
    Member

    It usually comes with a certain level of maturity I believe, because even when someone has all the evidence laid out in front of them, they can always find some shadow of a doubt answer and carry on the same way, even if it is cognitive dissidence.

    I’m sorry to say, it may just have to wait until they are a bit older for them to appreciate the discussion and take it seriously. At least that has been my observation of many people I know who went through the same/similar situations.

    #778371
    observanteen
    Member

    I also want to add to Popa’s comment that it really is Anxiety. S/he’s probably trying to look for something to be anxious about (subconciously of course). You can try the Attacking Anxiety And Depression as msseeker mentioned. Also, Rabbi Sapierman’s CDs are great. Hatzlacha in whatever in you do!

    #778372
    working
    Member

    The question was who can help answer the question; not Why is this individual asking for proof. But thanks to all the CR psychiatrists who understand people and have all the answers.

    There was an excellent article in this weeks Mishpacha that sort of answers this question.

    #778373
    chalilavchas
    Member

    yid.period, I’m sorry to say, it may just have to wait until they are a bit older

    In the meantime, dangerous steps can be taken. No way!

    Also, if there are people who can “prove” that Hashem exists and that we are His chosen people, because we follow the Torah, and we’re not doing what we do, by rote, to satisfy our parents and follow our ancestors, and its not simply a matter of upbringing, and being inculcated since birth that the Torah way is the better way, why is it so difficult for us to come up with people who easily and happily offer to prove it? This is somehow unsettling, even to me, a frum adult.

    #778374
    yid.period
    Member

    Chalilavchas:

    I’m sorry, I did not mean for it to come out like that. I meant it by way of encouragement, that if you are disappointed with slow results currently, then be optimistic of the future because one’s receptiveness will likely improve as one gets older.

    You should be matzliach

    Sorry again for the misunderstanding.

    #778375
    yid.period
    Member

    And if there were a way to prove Hashem’s existence, it wouldnt be a nisayon.

    But in reality it is, and that also accounts for so many mitzvot surrounding the subject. However, just because one cannot prove that Hashem exists does not mean that there is not a tremendous amount of evidence that He does.

    In a kuzari class I attended in Yeshiva, the Rebbe explained that it is a “modern” philosophical concept that everything must be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt (Renee De’Carte “I think therefore I am”) and that lehavdil even in the American Judicial System our goal is only “Beyond a reasonable doubt” and if I could underline reasonable I would… and that is what begins the process of opening one’s mind to Hashem. Eventually you hope they reach the point once they become open minded that they no longer need proof because they’ve experienced it already.

    I would start going through the evidence but like I said, there are books out there that say it much more eloquently than I am capable of.

    #778376
    chalilavchas
    Member

    Again, sharp young adults need human beings, with the human touch, who work one-on-one, to counter what they ask, with potent back and forth questions and answers. Books dont accomplish that.

    #778377
    ima1997
    Member

    Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein and Rabbi Mordechai Becher are both very good. Good luck!

    #778378
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The question was who can help answer the question; not Why is this individual asking for proof.

    Why people ask this question directly correlates to how the question should be answered.

    I happen to agree with TBT (and those who agreed with TBT).

    That having been said, the professionals who deal with this (I’m sorry I have no specific recommendations) deal with it, as chalilavchas said, “with the human touch”.

    But thanks to all the CR psychiatrists who understand people and have all the answers.

    The Torah commands even a simple 13 year old boy or 12 year old girl to believe in Hashem. It is therefore obvious that anyone who lacks faith is missing something outside of the realm of intellectual proof. See R’ Elchonon Wasserman’s Kovetz Ma’amarim (I think it’s the first one) for a deeper explanation. (There other approaches which differ from R’ Elchonon’s, but my statement is true according to them as well.)

    #778379
    tro11
    Member

    I also agree with TBT and popa and msseeker and chalilavchas and observanteen.

    But some people are just more skeptical by nature and need more reassurance.

    #778380
    chalilavchas
    Member

    Unfortunately, too much of today’s youth would rather not follow rules and prefer moving towards immediate pleasure and far away from pain (hardship and responsibility). Unless they clearly see that Judaism makes sense, and is valid, with no doubts, its a lost cause. Unless we are armed with solutions, we have little or no chance that they’ll stay observant, once they’re independent adults.

    #778381

    #778382
    chalilavchas
    Member

    DYThe Torah commands even a simple 13 year old boy or 12 year old girl to believe in Hashem. It is therefore obvious that anyone who lacks faith is missing something outside of the realm of intellectual proof.

    The Torah has hundreds of commandments which many among us are unable to keep, unfortunately. The fact that the Torah commands them, doesnt neccessarily mean everyone is willing or able to. Its the ideal when one can and does keep the Mitzvos.

    Arent there many “Im from Misouri” types, who will absolutely not believe anything unless it’s proven, beyon doubt? Why is there the need in many of us, to point to “something else” when lack of faith is discussed? Isnt that shirking the responsibility and focus off ourselves and irrelevant? Even if there are many reasons that anyone has religious doubts, why, if we have the ability to prove otherwise, is that relevant? I can see why it’s helpful to outsiders’ consciences though. It’s someone else’s fault. Ok, so what? Do we no longer have the repsonsibility to repair the problem?

    Leaky faucet? You turned the faucet lever too hard. Your fault! Tough!

    #778383
    MindOverChatter
    Participant

    chalilavchas, this is not blaming. If someone sincerely believes he is a god and we diagnose him with schizophrenia, we don’t “blame” him; we’re saying that it’s NOT avodah zorah or kefirah but a mental illness. (If they knew what we know now in Shabsai tzvi’s times, they’d hospitalize him and medicate him. He clearly had Manic Depressive or schizo.) I’m saying your relative’s problem is not a weak emunah; it’s Anxiety, a mild, treatable emotional disorder. How is this blaming? It’s not his fault he has anxiety; it will be his fault if instead of taking care of his anxiety he ch”v uses it as an excuse to go OTD. Shabsai tzvi’s sin was not his hallucinations; it was his gaavah, his audacity to change the torah, his lack of humility when all gedolim said he was wrong. If your guy thinks he’s smarter than rambam, rashi, r’ Yonoson Eibeshutz, the Vilna Gaon and innumerous other incredibly smart people, he has a lack of midos. He should be able to realize that if he thinks differently than so many of those who are older and smarter than him, it’s probably (at least possibly) his problem and he has to look for a solution, or cure. In my experience, chances are his problem is anxiety.

    #778384
    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Its interesting to see how people view those young teens with honest questions.

    What I find a little more disturbing is the attitude of if they don’t want to believe, they’ll find ways to refute your proof. If you can’t give them a good solid proof (even if its not absolutely fool proof), why would they believe? Do you think Judaism encourages mindlessness?

    #778385
    chalilavchas
    Member

    MOC, If your guy thinks he’s smarter than rambam, rashi, r’ Yonoson Eibeshutz, the Vilna Gaon and innumerous other incredibly smart people, he has a lack of midos. He should be able to realize that if he thinks differently than so many of those who are older and smarter than him, it’s probably (at least possibly) his problem and he has to look for a solution, or cure. In my experience, chances are his problem is anxiety.

    Gimme a break. You think the Pope and most leaders of different faiths, or atheists, or agnostics, are slow or idiots, suffering from anxiety or have bad “Midos”? LOL

    Can we agree that if those you mentioned above had grown up in non-Jewish homes, most would have kept the religion practiced in their home? There are Gerim, but there are equal amounts of those who choose to leave Orthodox Judaism, or dont actively practice it, and are by no means slow or suffering from anxiety, etc.

    #778386
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    If your guy thinks he’s smarter than rambam, rashi, r’ Yonoson Eibeshutz, the Vilna Gaon and innumerous other incredibly smart people, he has a lack of midos.

    Or Spinoza, Aquinas, Descartes and Locke?

    Not to compare C”V, but that doesn’t begin to make an argument. And if you actually say that, it will just make it worse.

    #778387
    yid.period
    Member

    SJSinNYC

    Cognitive Dissidence is human nature, and so is being lazy. We all know certain things are aveirot yet we do them anyway. Our thoughts and actions are also influenced by our bodies’ needs. It’s not farfetched to say that someone will either choose not to believe in Hashem because of a off the wall possibility that every piece of evidence you throw at them is mistaken, or still ignore that reality and carry on as they please.

    I have my emunah and bitachon B”H but I don’t pretend there is rock solid “proof” for it (There is obviously- at least to me- much evidence). Otherwise it wouldn’t be emunah and bitachon… and there wouldn’t be so many followers of other religions and athiesm. It wouldn’t be a test and we wouldn’t get schar.

    Chalilavchas is right; there are many brilliant non religious Jews and non-jews. But we have bechirah chofshi and Hashem gave the opportunity for both to exist.

    Mussar sfarim always discuss how one must strive to make one’s emunah in Hashem and his presence LIKE a yediah, like you KNOW that you see your friend in front of you. This wouldn’t be such an axiomatic endeavor if it was really so simple to achieve.

    This may be a scary reality but I firmly believe this is true.

    #778388

    SJSinNYC:

    Its interesting to see how people view those young teens with honest questions.

    ….. Do you think Judaism encourages mindlessness

    Who said anything about honost questions? Please, take it to the cheap-shot thread.

    This is not directed at you, just in general. Why do we always need to take other peoples difficult situations and pain to show how “smart” and “advanced” and “good” we are?

    #778389
    RSRH
    Member

    To all those pointing to Discover, R’ Mechanic, R’ Kellerman, and other such figures and/or organizations: These “proofs” may satisfy some, but really bright critical thinkers can easily take apart these supposed “proofs” as to God’s existence and the divinity and truth of the Torah very easily.

    For such bright thinkers there usually is no proof. There is belief and a decision that a Torah observant lifestyle makes the most sense and is the most productive and fulfilling form of life. Good intellectual taamei hamitzvos sefarim may help with that. Try R. Hirsch’s Horeb. Also try some of R. Solevetchick’s works, like Halachic Man. A bright person can argue with these as well, but with bright people, the only option is to get them thinking. The choice in the end is theirs – as it should be.

    #778390
    the.nurse
    Member

    I must say I completely disagree with TBT and the others that agreed with TBT. Why, because someone is asking a really legitimate question, must it be that they are suffering from pain and hurt? I know people, including myself, that wanted more information and proof to Judiasm’s base, and who were NOT suffering from any sort of pain or hurt. They simply have an inquiring brain and don’t believe things just because they are told them. According to R Noach Weinberg of Aish, we SHOULD ask & know, and the answers are there! But you don’t need to go through life saying I’m Jewish because… I dont know, cuz my daddy was? People should know themselves why they do what they do.

    #778391
    MindOverChatter
    Participant

    In my experience, people don’t make drastic changes in their lives unless they’re either super special, or a little messed up. You’re entitled to think that “those who choose to leave Orthodox Judaism, or dont actively practice it” are super special, but IMHO they’re a bit messed up.

    I read an autobiography of a woman who suffered from schizophrenia. But she had good middos. And she came to the conclusion that if everyone thinks that the voices in her head are illusionary, they’re probably right. She is currently a psychiatrist who treats Schizophrenics by telling them her story.

    This guy seemingly has a problem with Emuna. He can either believe that all of Klal Yisroel since Moshe Rabbeinu are ignorant fools and he’s wiser than all of us, or he can realize that so many super brilliant people are probably, or at least possibly, right. It all depends on his middos such as Emes and Anovoh.

    ??? ????, if he wants to go OTD and he’s looking for an excuse, he’ll probably do that in spite of your arguments and reasoning. If however, he wants to do what’s right, but he’s confused, and he has the humility to realize that he’s not smarter than all of klal yisroel, he’ll inevitably come to the conclusion that he’s the one who has the problem and he’ll search for the solution.

    Hatzlacha Rabba.

    #778392
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Or Spinoza, Aquinas, Descartes and Locke?

    Completely off-topic, but this reminded me of one of my favorite movie exchanges:

    Vizzini: I can’t compete with you physically, and you’re no match for my brains.

    Man in Black: You’re that smart?

    Vizzini: Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?

    Man in Black: Yes.

    Vizzini: Morons.

    The Wolf

    #778393
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    What I find a little more disturbing is the attitude of if they don’t want to believe, they’ll find ways to refute your proof. If you can’t give them a good solid proof (even if its not absolutely fool proof), why would they believe? Do you think Judaism encourages mindlessness?

    It is too bad that Yiddishkeit doesn’t have a form of Rumspringa, or the “Yisro” method. It would probably allow more of these “going off” to see and understand why one should be an active Yid.

    I have my emunah and bitachon B”H but I don’t pretend there is rock solid “proof” for it (There is obviously- at least to me- much evidence). Otherwise it wouldn’t be emunah and bitachon… and there wouldn’t be so many followers of other religions and athiesm. It wouldn’t be a test and we wouldn’t get schar.

    Preponderance of the evidence, anyone 🙂

    #778394
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I must say I completely disagree with TBT and the others that agreed with TBT.

    That’s amazing, because chalilavchas, who knows this young adult, agrees!

    #778395

    the.nurse:

    When you had questions what did you do? Did you throw off observance and not look for answers, or you asked your questions? If the response is asking questions, great. If the response is joining some frie groups, then there’s a deeper problem to be cognizant about as well.

    #778396

    RSRH

    To all those pointing to Discover, R’ Mechanic, R’ Kellerman, and other such figures and/or organizations: These “proofs” may satisfy some, but really bright critical thinkers can easily take apart these supposed “proofs” as to God’s existence and the divinity and truth of the Torah very easily.

    For such bright thinkers there usually is no proof.

    I guess the Rambam, Rabbi Shamsho Rafeal Hirsch and all other Jews forevor were just not “bright and critical thinkers”. WOW

    #778397
    the.nurse
    Member

    Daas Yochid,

    What I disagreed with was the idea that if one is asking questions, then it must mean they are suffering or in pain. If that’s not what the poster meant, then my apologies. What I am saying is that it IS ok to ask questions about your faith instead of following blindly, just like you question anything else in your life.

    TBT: I asked questions & got answers. But I think it’s the way other people look at and respond to that person asking the questions that is the problem sometimes, which may end up aiding that person in to turning to the wrong things.

    #778398
    chalilavchas
    Member

    If we resort to put downs of those who ask questions and/or their family, it reflects poorly on us. Big mistake!

    #778399
    observanteen
    Member

    TBT: Well said.

    Chalila: Of course we have to answer those who have questions. I had questions too (I still have questions, only now I don’t need any answers). But there’s a difference between asking because you want to understand what you believe and to ask to “prove” that it’s nonsense.

    #778400
    chalilavchas
    Member

    observanteen, But there’s a difference between asking because you want to understand what you believe and to ask to “prove” that it’s nonsense.

    Arent there people who ask to “prove” that it’s nonsense” and somewhere along the way, they start believing and observing?

    Why be judgemental? Most of us are not prophets.

    #778401
    observanteen
    Member

    “Arent there people who ask to “prove” that it’s nonsense” and somewhere along the way, they start believing and observing”

    Yes. But there’s still a difference.

    “Why be judgemental? Most of us are not prophets.”

    Huh? I’m not exactly sure how this is related to what I said.

    #778402
    RSRH
    Member

    truth be told: I don’t believe you understood what I was saying. All I said was the critical thinking Jews are not usually satisfied with the “pop” answers and “proofs” given by the typical kiruv professionals. Many of these answers have serious factual and logical flaws, especially to anyone familiar with modern critical philosophy and science.

    My point was simply this: For a really bright individual, its not a matter of proof; no proof can really prove God’s existence or the Torah’s truth. Many of the proofs indicate these conclusions, but they do not unimpeachably prove them. At the end, it is a matter of choice to believe in God, or to act in accordance with the Torah. Its not something that an be compelled by proofs. I would imagine that for all the greats, there was no proof; there was a choice. And thats what makes them great!

    #778403

    RSRH:

    #778404

    observanteen: Thank you.

    the.nurse:

    But I think it’s the way other people look at and respond to that person asking the questions that is the problem sometimes, which may end up aiding that person in to turning to the wrong things.

    I’m not sure, could be. I don’t see how what I said was anything but (an attempt to be) helpful.

    chalilavchas: Its your thread, which has been taken for a ride. I think your idea is great. Have you been able to reach any of the people mentioned?

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