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No longer take comments. Post's 'labels' are unreliable for linking or searching. Use the INDEX OF POSTS instead. A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview and understanding of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. 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. IF YOU GET A MESSAGE THAT THE POST IS MISSING - LOOK FOR IT IN THE INDEX or search or the date is found in the address.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Corona Virus and The God Virus



Updated thru 3/19/2020 

The God Virus by Darrel W. Ray - The book nor I  intend the words ‘God Virus’ or ‘religion’ or ‘religious’  to apply to every of the various god(s), religions or interpretations of their god(s) and religions of mankind. This post uses the words interchangeably.

The book supports in great detail the analogy of religion (and also some political systems) as a virus and this post is inspired by the chapter The God Virus and Science. It is not a review or summary of the book or chapter,  so please to not disparage the book based on my post. Read the book which I intend to do more carefully over time.  

In the Ancient Near East, disease, plagues, famine etc:  were attributed to supernatural agency and this tradition is continued till this day by religion. ( for example see Human Sacrifice ? in the Bible Part 3 , The Danger of Census Taking and the Tenach ).  Thus no surprise when religious claim Corona was sent by their particular deity or supernatural agent.  Or that their deity can intervene with the abatement if we pray to it or what not. Many Jews, Christians and Muslims are now using the Corona Virus scare to propagate their religions. There are Theologians claiming the Corona was sent by a deity for  sinful ways  or for some other reason. That the Messiah is coming ! I wonder how they know the mind of their deity ? When I have asked some questions about their deity the response is often that their deity is a mystery, but now they know the reason for Corona. 

However, science has explanations for diseases and plagues. Those explanations do not involve supernatural agents. Informed modern people rely on medicine not divine agents to get healthy, just like they rely on science for building power plants etc: etc: Science is a threat to the God Virus. The more science demystifies then the more supernatural agency explanations retreat.  The more science can do to cure disease the less the God Virus is needed. Also, the God Virus never was an explanation for plague or disease or anything. Why lightning ? Zeus, as if that enlightens. 

The more science demonstrates that a holy book’s histories are unreliable the more the God Virus needs to defend itself. For example the holy book needs to be interpreted and reinterpreted.   

At some point one asks  why bother with supernatural agency ? Why bother claiming special divine status for the holy book ?  

The God Virus may defend  itself using various strategies- here are some examples. Attack science and scientists. Or Circumscribe Science's boundary. Or God Virus claims parity with science. Or God Virus claims science is religion too. 

 The God Virus can co-opt the trappings of science (but not real science) which is great way to propagate itself in a culture that respects science. Intelligent Design, which is really Pseudo-Science. Or Science proves God Virus. Or God Virus  finds science in the holy books.  Or holy book is consistent with science.

The book warns of the God Virus co-opting medicine, physics, archaeology, psychology etc: to its own ends. For example the mission statement of the Bible Archaeology Search And Exploration Institute exists to dispel the notion the Bible is collection of fables and legends.  (They claim to use scientific methods. But science does not start with the conclusion and then seek to support it.) 

God Virus claims it can diagnose or cure disease or help  abate disease or protect from disease - examples include: Torah study; prayer; using molten lead; finding and casting out demons; laying hands - faith healing;  defective Tefillin (phylacteries) and fixing them; amulets and segula  (protective or benevolent charm or ritual);  pilgrimages to holy man grave sites or holy sites; stuff paper wads in Wailing Wall with pleas to their deity; holy water and or other 'miracle' locations ( examples:  Lourdes,  Fátima in Portugal) ; “Rebbe" miracles; “Rebbe” prayers; give charity... and on and on. 

Children can die because the parents God Virus is against modern medical treatment. Adults have died because their God Virus is against modern medical treatment. Testimony to how far the God Virus can infect the brain. The God Virus can disable critical thinking.  

Many of those God Virus diagnoses and cures involve cash payments and help propagate the God Virus.

I am not being critical of giving to charity.  I myself have contributed large sums to it and eventually large amounts of my assets will end up in charities.  I do not give charity with any hope of getting  benefits now (say cures or health) or rewards in ‘heaven’.  But ask yourself, what percent of the money you give to ‘charity’ is really going to ‘charity’, and what percent is really going to propagate the God Virus ?  By all means give to worthy charities, but not with the expectation of some divine reward or divine intervention of  Corona Virus.   

I had publicly offered the following challenge on the use of molten lead by any Rabbi:  I will pay an agreed upon sum to an agreed upon charity if under a valid controlled study the use of molten lead can diagnose ailments. On the other hand,  if the test fails, then the Rabbi must cease and desist. So far not a single Rabbi has taken up the challenge. (To clarify - not all Rabbis or Orthodox  Jews give credibility to molten lead diagnosis. I suspect most do not.) 

A person may feel a personal connection to his supernatural agent.  A terribly sick individual with little hope of survival gets better and claims a miracle happened .Or a man gets advice from a ‘Rebbe’ and great things happen. A miracle is claimed, the “Rebbe’ a prophet  - the man now owes allegiance to that “Rebbe’. The book writes “The god of personal experience trumps science and prevents examination, explanation and learning.”  

Science has an approach that religions do not have.  Science involves: gathering data, developing  models, explanatory power for a wide range of phenomena,  making predictions based on models, testing those predictions against observations and ability to falsify model. Science has peer review, replication of results. Some of the cutting edge science models may be difficult or perhaps even impossible to experimentally falsify, but they are rooted in  underlying models that can be falsified.  The cutting edge models may be attempts to unify underlying models. They may be extrapolations of underlying models or from underlying models. 

The book writes “Science has continuous error correction where religion has no method to correct errors.”

To the degree sciences undermine the fear objects of religion (supernatural, punishment for sin, disease, plagues, catastrophes ) and their holy books, it will be seen as a threat.  

I can offer no consolations of hope from a supernatural agent nor a hereafter. You and I are lucky to have experienced our brief time as human beings. To Marvel at the Universe, the Beauty of Nature and to Experience the Joy of Living.

{P.S.  Some Orthodox Rabbis were pontificating that Torah study could protect against Corona Virus. No need to take precautions such as reduced shul attendance or reduced yeshiva class sizes. To the extent their minions abide by such beliefs it did and will  spread the Corona Virus. Some of those same Rabbis (all ?)  have since revised their advice.

We also have the events in South Korea where religion spread the Corona Virus: 
“During the first four weeks, South Korea controlled the potential spread of COVID-19 by using high-tech resources like tracking the use of credit cards and checking CCTV footage of confirmed patients. However, since 18 February, the number of cases increased to more than 1,700 after discovery of the fact that patient No. 31 is a member of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. It was difficult for KCDC to screen the patient because Shincheonji teaches that illness is sin. Many members were uncooperative with KCDC and could not be contacted. About half of confirmed cases were linked to the Shincheonji Church as of 27 February; this was verified by health officials.” Retrieved 3/19/2019  from

Shincheonji is considered a fringe cult yet has hundreds of thousands of members. Shincheonji is an evolution from and mutation from main stream Christianity.  Main stream religions provide a reservoir from which mutations of the religion can occur and sometimes with dangerous consequences.}

FYI - I am sponsored by no organization or individual(s). I receive no compensation (monetary or otherwise) related to my blog.  All posts are written solely by me and with no assistance.



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