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Thought for the Day: You Are In This World to Change, But It's Your Choice

Finding an intelligent atheist is not as hard as it may seem.  On the one hand, you might think it's a contradiction to be both intelligent and an atheist; something akin to finding someone who doesn't believe in air or viruses because he can't see them.  However, the inclination to want a free lunch (that is, to live a life of "if it feels good, do it") is so powerful that even the most rational mind can turn a blind eye to that incongruity.  When you find one, therefore, you have found a treasure trove of
(See, for example, how atheists tailor make a god whose existence they can deny.)  So when you do find one, you have found a treasure trove of absurdities that is easily mined.

How about this one?  "Well, " the atheist will say with all do pomposity, "religion is a crutch, so you have to admire someone (ie, himself) who doesn't need that crutch."  No, I replied in all innocence, I don't feel at all compelled to admire someone with a broken leg who refuses to use a crutch.  "What!?" eyes bulging in indignation, "You are saying all human beings are handicapped and broken?!?"  At that point I stood and said that yes, I am willing to stand and take an oath that none of us are perfect.  "Oh... uhh... well... sure... I guess that's true..."; hackles down, but brooding.  Somehow it is ok to admit to being less than perfect, but not ok to say that they need to improve.  (Another absurdity; see?  I told you, its like shooting fish in a barrel.)

The first human to express this was none other than the first child born of two human parents: Kayin.  The S'porno fills in details of the oh so brief recounting of Kayin's conversations with his Creator.  Kayin brings and offering of his produce to HaShem.  His brother, Hevel, follows suit (not wanting to be out done by his brother who already is one step ahead), but decides to one-up his brother by bringing his best sheep.  HaShem turned toward Hevel and his offering; but not to Kayin nor to his offering.  Before continuing, let's analyze why Kayin might have brought an inferior offering.  Kayin could have quite reasonably decided that since everything is from HaShem and HaShem doesn't need anything, it is eminently logical to bring the lowest quality grain of his harvest.  Hevel, however, reasoned differently; since everything comes from HaShem and HaShem has no needs, and HaShem will always give him whatever he needs, it is eminently logical to give the best of the flock.

That's what Kayin could have thought.  However, the Torah tells us that Kayin became angry and his face fell.  He was angry with jealousy toward his brother and felt HaShem had shamed him by ignoring his offering.  HaShem asked, in all sincerity, "Why are you jealous of your brother?  Do you not agree that his reasoning is sound and it is fair that I accepted his offering?"  To add even more words, if it were truly a simple difference in the logic, then there is no reason to get angry.  The anger of Kayin reveals that his motives in giving the lower quality were not so pure.  As far as the shame, HaShem had an answer to that as well.  "There is no reason to ever feel embarrassment or shame over doing something wrong.  You see there is a better way, so just put your mind to it and fix things in the future.  All you have to do is try.  I have given you the tools by creating you as a Tzelem Elokim.  That well of Perfection has all you need to perfect yourself and your actions."

Each of us was created imperfect, so of course we make mistakes.  We were, however, also created in the image our Creator.  We have everything we need to become as perfect as we choose.


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