David Klinghoffer Responds

David Klinghoffer responds to the post immediately below this, What I Believe:

[E]ven your paired down, minimalist God needs defending from forces in
society that are far more powerful than any of the rabbis you write about.
Richard Dawkins, for example, is not the smartest atheist/secularist around
but he gets the most publicity and has the most influence. Even as you’re
railing at a few rabbis who did wrong, and others who didn’t (like Rabbi
Lapin), these secular influences seek to destroy even the faith you think
Jews are called on to preach. It’s like someone, in the midst of the
Holocaust, ignoring what’s going on in Europe and directing all his
righteous wrath at the local country club that excludes Jews. It’s cute to
quote Joan Osborne as a spiritual authority, but where’s your argument
against the culturally dominant secularism that would put you in the very
same category as the "kiruv clowns" and that broadcasts this message with
far more effectiveness than anything anyone is managing in the Jewish world?

BTW, since you place more weight on the pronouncements of entertainers than
rabbis, David Mamet’s new book may interest you. I think it speaks
eloquently to some of the issues you raise.

Here is my brief response:

The Times just gave Dawkins a weak review. The rabbis represent God, like it or not – it’s the way it works. The God Dawkins and others argue against is the minimalist, parochial version spouted by the wise men of Boro Park and Mea Shearim. They and their Muslim and Christian counterparts are what drives Dawkins to distraction. And I don’t see culturally dominant secularism. What I see is a large group of people willing to be moral and to do good, who search for meaning and hope to find it. Many of them are far more religious in nature and practice than our rabbis.


Filed under BTs

7 responses to “David Klinghoffer Responds

  1. avrohom

    continue exposing yourself as someone who abhors religion that includes more than anumal love and other values that are man made but anything that is beyond the smallness and feebleness of the human mind is reprehensible.

    Say clealr y: THERE IS NO G-D OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE. marry a flaash mura and start doing something positive insteadof making yourself “feel good” about your ranting at people who beleive in G-d!

  2. D

    Hey, I’d better check the URL again. This blog is starting to resemble Tzemach Atlas’s place. 😉

  3. Paul Freedman

    No, Dawkins hates the God of Israel too. He hates G-d. He hates the G-d of your forefathers. He hates the God of Christian theology which is an Aristotelean Prime Cause adopted by Thomism to the requirements of both Natural Reason and Trinitarian witness. He hates even the god of any tradition of normatizing faith within a framework of rational science (say the post-Maimonidean schools of Jewish thought) since he is interested not so much in science per se but a pared down mechanistic “scientism”. He probably hates Israel too as this kind of religious atheism tends in the intellectual classes towards anti-Semitism.

    He worships his particular view of “Darwinism” which comes to Dawkinism–he worships the little man in the mirror.

    As do perhaps, we all.


  4. Paul Freedman

    PS: Dawkins is not a political friend of Palestinian terrorism. He is however a *militant* atheist–that is his creed. He believes religion and communal affiliations based on religion to be stupid illusions. Atheist Judaism, the bastard attempt to salvage Jewish ethnic affiliation while espousing Dawkinism is not even building a house on the foundation of shifting sands–more akin to building one’s habitation on foundations of water.

    Bhatzlacha to this emunah.

  5. Paul Freedman

    What is required is a gradient that is “finer grain” than these binary oppositions–a lot of this “strum und dang” is already internalized in the academic methods of non-harediim MO:

    check out, for example:


    And see the reply to the post preceding this.

    S. you have to look for what you can need in a place you can find it–and there are a lot of these places outside the BT and harediim world.

  6. Dawkins is far from mainstream. He has few followers. And Klinghoffer’s points are, I think, wrong. Why? To “stand up for the God of Israel” requires first cleaning our house. You can’t sweep all the dirt under the rug and then bellow about how dirty everyone else is.

    My friend (see the post above this) was hurt by the same thing that hurts many others – not that someone in Williamsburgh or elsewhere in Brooklyn abused children or stole money. It’s that these things happen and then rabbis and community leaders cover them up. They cover for the theives and abusers. They sweep the dirt under the rug.

    Then they bellow about how dirty everyone outside thier world is, and they attack the victims and their advocates, all in the name of preventing “hillul hashem” and their hegemoney.

    Don’t you see that these lies and coverups are corrosive, that they destroy the morality and the mesora are lives are to be based on?

    They are more dangerous to us than anything Dawkins can write or say. Are Jews really so blind that they cannot see this?

  7. Paul Freedman

    We agree on Dawkins then re: evolutionary theories. Personally, I would be surprised if the incidents of abuse, criminal or otherwise, inside herediim communities are greater than outside. Nobody should cover anything up. But I don’t look to these people for leadership.

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