10 April 2018

Are We Losing the War for Hearts and Minds?

25 Nisan 5778
Ten Days of the Omer

I picked up this book at Steimatsky's in Jerusalem. It is written by a professor at Hebrew University who received his PhD in History from Oxford University. It purports to "explore the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century - from overcoming death to creating artificial life."

It's like a handbook for understanding the enemy, how he thinks and what he is plotting.
Excerpt from the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, Chapter 7 - "The Humanist Revolution":
The modern deal offers us power, on condition that we renounce our belief in a great cosmic plan that gives meaning to life. Yet when you examine the deal closely, you find a cunning escape clause. If humans somehow manage to find meaning without predicating it upon some great cosmic plan, this is not considered a breach of contract.
This escape clause has been the salvation of modern society, for it is impossible to sustain order without meaning. The great political, artistic and religious project of modernity has been to find meaning to life that is not rooted in some great cosmic plan. We are not actors in a divine drama, and nobody cares about us and our deeds, so nobody sets limits to our power - but we are still convinced our lives have meaning.
As of 2016, humankind has indeed managed to have it both ways. Not only do we possess far more power than ever before, but, against all expectations, God's death did not lead to social collapse. Throughout history prophets and philosophers have argued that if humans stopped believing in a great cosmic plan, all law and order would vanish. Yet today, those who pose the greatest threat to global law and order are precisely those people who continue to believe in God and His all-encompassing plans....
...The antidote to a meaningless and lawless existence was provided by humanism, a revolutionary new creed that conquered the world during the last few centuries. The humanist religion worships humanity, and expects humanity to play the part that God played in Christianity and Islam, and that the laws of nature played in Buddhism and Daoism. Whereas traditionally the great cosmic plan gave meaning to the life of humans, humanism reverses the roles and expects the experiences of humans to give meaning to the cosmos. According to humanism, humans must draw from within their inner experiences not only the meaning of their own lives, but also the meaning of the entire universe. This is the primary commandment humanism has given us: create meaning for a meaningless world.
...For centuries humanism has been convincing us that we are the ultimate source of meaning, and that our free will is therefore the highest authority of all. Instead of waiting for some external entity to tell us what's what, we can rely on our own feelings and desires.
This IS the "New World Religion" and it has made phenomenal inroads into every other belief system on the planet, including unfortunately, Judaism. So many "religious, Orthodox" Jews have been caught up in it, either wittingly or unwittingly, aware or unaware, that it has become the greatest existential threat of our time. It is very noticeable in Facebook groups where so-called religious Jews discuss current events. Instead of taking a stand and basing it on this source or that - the Torah, the Mishneh or the Halachah - they refer to what they think, what they feel, what they have experienced or what appeals to their own sensitivities. 

How many times have I heard so-called "religious Orthodox" Jews decry the return of korbanot to a rebuilt Beit HaMikdash because it is "primitive" and offends their modern sensibilities.That's just one example. Begin to listen to the conversations around you and start noticing how many sentences begin with the words I feel or I think. Ask someone what he bases his opinion on and notice how hard pressed he is to name a single Torah source.

Humanism has really taken root and flowered in the Jewish world with, I daresay, most Jews being completely clueless about it or the implications of it. It's high time we began to remedy this situation and turn the tide toward truth and hope. Because right now, it looks like we are losing this struggle. In the War for Hearts and Minds, we must endeavor to harness both and bring them into submission to our Master and King - HKB"H - and to His immutable Laws. 

[I suggest a review of The Coming World Religion - Part 2.]
NOTE: Homo Deus is Latin for god-man. The Satan is still peddling the same old lie and very gullible humans are only too eager to believe it. "...For God knows that on the day that you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil."