Spin-off topic: Religion and Moral and/or Law & ordered society

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  • #1491146

    Thinking out loud
    Participant

    Is there a forum for “Torah Hashkafa” or “Torah thoughts”, other than inspiration and mussar? I didn’t find one, so I’m posting here.

    I’m not sure who I’m responding to, but the question of whether morality and law is affected by religion surprised me, on the thread about the late Stephen Hawking, on this forum I got the feeling that some frum Jews don’t know that the Torah itself has an “opinion” about this.

    I feel a need to set the record straight, for the purpose of edufication, and Kavod Shomayim: (I hope)
    The following is a drop in the bucket of the Torah position:
    There is a very basic premise, I just don’t remember the exact wording, nor the source. But anyone here who has learned, has come across it, so they can help me out:

    “Ilmalei Moreh Malchus, Ish Es Rei-aihu Chayim B’lo’o.”
    “If not for fear of The King, Men would completely swallow up their neighbors alive”.

    It’s not religion as a concept that creates ordered society. Observant Jews recognize that the Torah is objectively TRUE. There’s a lot of ways we get to that conclusion, using reason. There are plenty of resources for those who want to know how we know the Torah is True – I’m not discussing that in this post. Be that as it may, Torah Judaism is not a “religion”, if there are many religions. It’s much more than a religion. But if you are going to label it a religion, It’s actually the ONLY true one.

    Assuming we accept that basic concept, it really doesn’t matter if there have been societies that followed false beliefs, and still had law and order. The ONLY true religion is the absolute source for UNIVERSAL, Objective law and order. And that is accomplished on the basest level, because of fear of reprisal – from a powerful ruler. The most powerful Ruler is G-d.

    To explain further:
    It’s not a matter of, your religion says that killing is bad, and his religion says that killing is good. Who says it’s bad to kill? What’s inherently humanely wrong with me believing that I am allowed to do whatever I deem necessary to get more stuff? If somebody interferes with what I do, or what I want, why can’t I kill him to clear my way? Who says I can’t? It’s a subjective opinion! But if there is a powerful ruler, or government who makes that rule, most people would follow it, even though it is a subjective opinion (that of the king), at the very least because of fear of the concequences. This prevents anarchy. But what if the current leader(ship) is weak? There is no fear of “the king”. And the society does deteriorate. What if the leader’s subjective opinion rules that killing is allowed, or even praiseworthy? (Nazi Germany, The inquisition…)

    The Torah view is that we only know that one is not allowed to kill, because Hashem says so in His Torah, and on the most basic level, we listen to what He says, because we fear him. If there is no fear of G-d, there is no need to listen to what He says in His Torah. We can each follow whatever we want, and nobody is more justified in his beliefs, or actions, than anybody else. If there IS no G-d, chas v’sholom, then there certainly isn’t any fear of Him. So atheism, also precludes fear of the most Powerful King. There may be a powerful leader who makes laws and enforces them. But those rules are arbitrary, and subject to his beliefs, or opinions. If the leadership changes, the laws can change as well.

    The bottom line is, in reality, without recognition of an Absolute Authority, you have no right to impose your view of morality on me. If you are currently stronger than me, you will impose your view, which will last until I escape from under your power, or somebody else overpowers you, and institutes his new subjective rules. Including whether it is moral to kill someone, in a given circumstance.

    #1491346

    Joseph
    Participant

    TOL (OP): 100% Beautiful! Yasher Koach.

    #1491459

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Thank you,

    I was trying to say the same thing
    Who’s making the laws? If same gender marriage (or partial birth abortion) is a law due to a non belief in Hashem then it’s a crazy law

    #1491746

    Avi K
    Participant

    Thinking, Rav Kook says that derech eretz kadma laTorah means that there is a natural morality on which the Torah is based and, in the case of Am Yisrael adds (e.g. it is not inherently immoral to eat non-kosher food – thus it is permitted to non-Jews). This, in fact, is the definition of chukkim.

    #1491751

    Avi K
    Participant

    clarification: The mishpatim are natural morality whereas the chukkim are the extras which we were given.

    #1491778

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    “Ilmalei Moreh Malchus, Ish Es Rei-aihu Chayim B’lo’o.”
    “If not for fear of The King, Men would completely swallow up their neighbors alive”.

    I think you mistranslated that. It’s a gemara in Avodah Zarah, which quotes the mishnah in Avos.

    .ע”ז ד
    דבר אחר מה דגים שבים כל הגדול מחבירו בולע את חבירו אף בני אדם אלמלא מוראה של מלכות כל הגדול מחבירו בולע את חבירו והיינו דתנן רבי חנינא סגן הכהנים אומר הוי מתפלל בשלומה של מלכות שאלמלא מוראה של מלכות איש את רעהו חיים בלעו

    It is clearly referring to the (even secular) government, not l’havdil “The King”.

    #1491776

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “The bottom line is, in reality, without recognition of an Absolute Authority, you have no right to impose your view of morality on me. ”

    Except that your nice shtickel leads to the exact opposite conclusion. You correctly identify chazal:

    ““Ilmalei Moreh Malchus, Ish Es Rei-aihu Chayim B’lo’o.”
    “If not for fear of The King, Men would completely swallow up their neighbors alive”.”

    Yes a leadership is necessary to create law and order. Note Chazal do NOT say “if not for religion men would completely swallow their neighbor alive” Because that just isnt true.

    “Observant Jews recognize that the Torah is objectively TRUE.”
    Yes , though that isnt the discussion.

    “The Torah view is that we only know that one is not allowed to kill, because Hashem says so in His Torah”
    No that is YOUR view. The Torah view is the exact opposite. chazal Divide Mitzvos into categories: Eidos, chukim and Mishpatim. Mishpatim are those rules that we would determine on our own were reasonable, the classic example is murder (Yoma 67:. Thus Chazal explicitly tell us that there can (and should be) a measure of morality independent of the Torah ).

    #1493588

    DovidBT
    Participant

    From the Artscroll Chumash’s commentary in last week’s parashah for Vayikra 5:21:

    The verse states that a person sins by being treacherous to G-d, and then it goes on to discuss cases of people cheating in business and the like. The Sages comment homiletically that one who trespasses against G-d will eventually deal falsely with his fellows. The Tosefta quotes R’Reuven who said that the most hateful person is one who denies G-d, for once a person denies the authority of the Lawgiver, he can easily violate all the norms of morality (Tosefta Shevuos 3:5). Atheism is the forerunner of morality’s destruction, because without the norms decreed by G-d, man can easily rationalize every manner of crime. Once man arrogates to himself to decide what is right and what is wrong, he can descend the amoral abyss, as contemporary history demonstrates (R’Yosef Dov Soloveitchik).

    #1493619

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Why does the Torah start with Breishis when there are practically no mitzvos there? (according to the sefer maasei Hashem it could have been included as an answer to the chacham in the haggadah) but it says
    דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה the teaching of proper behavior must come first and
    ראשית חכמה יראת ה, the first wisdom must be the fear of G-d.

    #1493665

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Laskern,

    I thought it was so that the goyim shouldn’t say we stole their land

    #1493671

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The reason that they were flooded by the Mabul for robbery because they said לית דין ולית דיין we can do whatever we want as there is no ruler over us.

    #1493676

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    coffee addict, if we have no derech eretz and yiras shomaim, we don’t deserve the land and Hashem would have never given it to us.

    #1493681

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Derech Eretz and Yiras Shomaim was a prerequisite to be able to accept the Torah. It took twenty six generations before they could accept it. When they stopped following the Torah, they lost the land and it was given to the goyim.

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