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A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Kuzari Argument Part 13

Updated 7/14/2017 for several typos for the date of the Sun miracle.

This is a continuation of of my Kuzari Posts begun here.  It might be helpful to skim my prior Kuzari argument posts, but this post is more or less a stand alone, at least for people who have some familiarity with the Kuzari argument. 

This post will flesh out an alleged  miracle and it’s consequences I very briefly cited in June  2014.

Lets examine one version of the Kuzari 'proof' that the Exodus with all the miracles and the Sinai revelation really occurred.

Rabbi Gottlieb (RG) Principle: Let E be a possible event which, had it really occurred, would have left behind enormous, easily available evidence of its occurrence. If the evidence does not exist, people will not believe that E occurred.

This can be briefly restated as: If  people believe an event occurred, then evidence must exist for the event's occurrence. 

[RG means to say a mass of people. RG does not mean if a only a few people.]

Lets try to apply this principle to the ‘Event’ = On October 13,1917 in Fatima, Portugal: 
The Sun miraculously  danced or performed other miracles in the Sky. Other miraculous things occurred:  wet clothes became suddenly and completely dry; wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling became dry.”

The main source I will use is the book The Sun Danced - Myth, Miracles, and Modernity by Jeffrey S. Bennett 2012.  He is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Religious studies.  Some Sociologists study origins of myths, their evolution, use in society etc: Such disciplines have much more relevance to religion and myth formation as opposed to Math or Philosophy or Math Philosophy.

Beginning in the spring of 1917, three  shepherd children living near Fatima reported apparitions of an Angel, and apparitions of the Virgin Mary, who the children described as the Lady of Fátima. They also claimed a miracle would occur.

Page 113 -  The children claimed a miracle would occur in order that all should believe.  70000 to 100000 people gathered near the children. [ I have seen sources that had figures as low as 30000. There was a large mass of people at the event.]

Page 116 - And indeed an alleged supernatural events happen on  10/13/1917 “For the vast majority of those present, there was no doubt that something supernatural had occurred.” [I want to stress some very important points. We have eyewitness testimony of thousands who believe that something miraculous occurred at Fatima, just like Kuzari proponents claim there were eyewitnesses at Mt Sinai. But there is a big difference. We actually know for a fact that there were many thousands at Fatima who claimed something supernatural occurred, while we have no evidence of anybody even being at Mt Sinai.]

If you read the book it describes more mythology develops around the story: For example Page 167 - 168 Hundreds of sick and dying came to the apparition site for miracle cures and alleged success stories circulate - many more come. Claims that soil from the site cure people. Page 178 A bomb placed beside the azinheira failed to explode.  (Page 94 Azinheira - an oak tree - apparitions had occurred there. See my post Tree animism in the Bible ).  Page 120 Vandals cut down the Azinheira or so they think ! They cut the wrong tree down a sign God protects it and his people from anti-clerics.


[I have no doubt many people at the site  did not accept the miracle of the sun.  But is that really relevant ? We don’t know every alleged witness to Mt Sinai accepted it was a revelation from G-d.  Besides the RG Principle does not require every person accept the story. For the Sun Miracle the vast majority of witnesses believed that on October 13, 1917 the supernatural had occurred. Can thousands of eyewitnesses  be wrong ? Moreover the fact that some at Fatima experienced the supernatural event somewhat differently does not disprove the event.  Eyewitness testimony is like that, and perhaps God chose some to see  the miracle one way and others to see it somewhat differently.]

Page 124 The apparition claims spread beyond the local sphere, becoming translocal and national-level realities. 

Page 1 More than twenty million participate in the apparition cult. Every year several million travel from around the world to the apparition site.  The Sun miraculously danced proving the children visions were of divine origin.  

The miracle is sanctioned by the Catholic Church. 

The story eventually is used to fight communism. 

Page 4 - It is a National Miracle

Page 117 Accounts of the miracle are passed down as family history. [Just like the Sinai story was allegedly passed down from alleged witnesses to an alleged  supernatural seminal event to their children. Would my father lie to me about the supernatural events of October 13, 1917 ?  Plus, thousands of children hear other children talk about the supernatural events of October 13, 1917 as those other children heard from their Uncles or Fathers. And so after many generation millions believe the miracles of October 13, 1917. If millions believe a supernatural event can millions be wrong ?]

[What is interesting about the story: The children had  primed people for the anticipation of a miracle. Many of the witnesses  already  believed in the supernatural already. {And as I have written in my prior Kuzari posts priming of the witnesses and prior belief in supernatural by the witnesses were also present at the alleged Mt Sinai event.}  The story is rooted in religious and political subdivisions in 1917 and earlier Portugal. {Could the the Mt Sinai story have similar kinds of roots - religious and political subdivision amongst the ancient Israelites ? Propaganda purposes for one reason or another ?} The intertwining of a popular religious movement with Portugal History and the appropriation of a religious movement for political purposes and the cults relationship to the rise of Authoritarianism Politics. {hmm}. Religions and Mythology don’t develop or operate in a vacuum like  Event--------> Belief in Miracle/Religion/Mythology. It is a much more nuanced as the book explains for this Fatima miracle.] The Miracle of the Sun is UNIQUE as far as I know.
If it is so easy to fool people with a Sun miracle why have
not other religions made use of it ? And arguably is was a Nation 
changing event for  Portugal and was used to fight communism. It 
must be a true miracle. Convinced ?

Continued Kuzari Part 13 continued

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kuzari Argument Part 12

It would be helpful to skim my prior Kuzari posts begun in Part One

Lets examine one version of the Kuzari 'proof' that the Exodus with all the miracles and the Sinai revelation really occurred.

Rabbi Gottlieb (RG) Principle: Let E be a possible event which, had it really occurred, would have left behind enormous, easily available evidence of its occurrence. If the evidence does not exist, people will not believe that E occurred.

This can be briefly restated as: If people believe an event occurred, then evidence must exist for the event's occurrence. 


Lets try to apply this principle to the ‘Event’ =  Thousands of people saw enemy aircraft. (This is eyewitness testimony that gets written up in the press as actually happening.}

Turns all those thousands of people were wrong and so was the press. 

From 
http://www.csicop.org/si/show/mass_delusions_and_hysterias_highlights_from_the_past_millennium/ 

"British South Africa, 1914 In the war scare setting of British South Africa in 1914, local newspapers erroneously reported that hostile monoplanes from adjacent German South West Africa were making reconnaissance flights as a prelude to an imminent attack. The episode coincided with the start of World War I. Despite the technological impossibility of such missions (the maneuvers reported by witnesses were beyond those of airplanes of the period and their capability of staying aloft for long periods), thousands of residents misperceived ambiguous, nocturnal aerial stimuli (stars and planets) as representing enemy monoplanes (Bartholomew 1989)."

The monoplane scare  is yet another example of masses of people misinterpreting the event(s),  here clearly due in part because of  preconceived prejudices. This is yet another example of how even masses of people can misinterpret events and evidence for those events. The RG principle is not a reliable {eta principle to determine if people's beliefs about events are true or not true.} 

Continued Kuzari Argument Part 13