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Thought for the Day: HaShem Has No "Has To"s, We Have Only "And Therefore"s

I happen to be a Calvin & Hobbes fan.  The strip uses the vehicle of a six year old (my guestimate) and his imaginary (or is he?) tiger to explore all sorts of philosophical issues.  (At this point I know with certainty that many, if not most, of my friends and acquaintances are wondering why I can't just enjoy the comics like a normal person; 'cause I can't.)  Free will, in particular, is addressed from many different angles.  The sport known as Calvin Ball (only rule: can't do anything you've done before), in particular, is a thrilling romp exploring free will at its most unfettered.

However, there is something even beyond free will, and that is will itself.  One of the seminal points in my journey to Orthodox Judaism (aka Reality) was a full appreciation of Pascal's wager.  (In case you need a refresher, my summary is here, Making a Rational Choice to Embrace Orthodox Judaism; feel free to google if you think you need more, but I really believe that covers the essentials.)  I find Pascal's Wager so compelling that I don't really understand how one can come to any other rational conclusion.  Of course one can ignore the whole question of "why do I exist?", but that, of course, is irrational.  I appreciate that many, many live their lives that way, but their (irrational) lack of interest in that most fundamental of all questions does not make the question go away nor does it offer an alternative with which I feel logically compelled to reckon.

I once looked to find serious and reasoned challenges to Pascal's Wager; and I found some!  They all came to the conclusion that the christian view of god/creator is not a rational alternative to atheism.  One commentator noted, "If one were to use Pascal's Wager to come to be religious, one would have to give up certain fundamental facts [sic] about the {christian, my emendation} god; one of which being that he is just and good."

Excellent!  I could not agree more!  Becoming Christian, Mormon, or Muslim is certainly not a rational conclusion from Pascal's Wager.  Of course, neither is atheism.  There are oodles and oodles of falsehoods; there is only one Truth.  HaShem is not "forced" to be good nor just.  The statement doesn't even make sense.  HaShem created both justice and goodness, they therefore can't possibly be traits that describe the Ein Sof -- that real essence of the Creator that is absolutely beyond our ability to grasp at all.  HaShem has not "has to"s, no "must respond"s; He is simply and utterly able to do (or not do) whatever He Wills.

That means that I also have no "have to"s; except one: therefore.  Every moment is perforce a new creation; fundamentally unrelated to anything that came before or that will come after.  That being the case: what's a person to do?  There is only one rational choice: look in the instruction manual and learn what the appropriate response is to each stimulus.  I didn't create this world, but I am living in this world.  I don't know the grand scheme, I only know what is happening to me.  Anything but using the manual makes no logical sense.  I may do the wrong thing, but at least I have a frame of reference to know right from wrong.

Now it's easy.  There is exactly one group who even claims to have instructions straight from the Creator and Author of Reality.  There are many who argue that we made a mistake or that (their version of) god changes his mind.  None, however, offer a G-d given replacement.  They offer their own version of what they think good and evil is all about, but none offer a statement from god.  (The New Testament, for example, has zero quotes from the father.  The Book of Mormon claims to be copied from gold plates brought by an angel; not god.)

There is only one Toras Chaim; Instructions for Life.


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