web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

What Happens When We Remove God From The Picture

When one denies the objective source of value, the very meaning of those values becomes problematic.
sunlightthroughthetrees.jpg

“All eras in a state of decline and dissolution are subjective; on the other hand, all progressive eras have an objective tendency.” — Goethe

The Greeks, at the origin of man’s unaided independent quest for truth, thought of “thoughts” as literally being placed in man by gods, and/or by “reality,” whose source was outside oneself. This objectified mindset allowed the Greeks to deal with the world directly, to hold up their tentative efforts to an objective standard – reality itself. This allowed for progress in all areas of intellectual endeavor – mathematics, physics, biology, astronomy, and philosophy.

With the Greek Sophists came what many regard as even greater progress, but what was really the beginning of the downfall of ancient Greek civilization – truth as subjective and therefore relative. “Man is the measure of all things,” the Greek philosopher Protagoras declared. This led to an increasing awareness of the involvement of man himself in the origin of his thoughts, his decisions, indeed, even his perceptions.

But man as the “source” of reality inevitably led to a deprecation of truth and morality as objective – or even objectifiable – entities. The disastrous social as well as philosophical consequences of this development were perceived by Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, who attempted to once again place truth and the good, virtue as well as happiness, on an objective basis.

The western world over the past 300-400 years has replayed, so to speak, the experience of the Greeks. Modern man has achieved remarkable advances in knowledge and has literally transformed nature itself. This achievement was predicated on a mindset defined by the objectiveness of reality in the world around us and by our ability to freely decide our own thoughts and speech and actions in it.

And yet, during this same period of time, modern man has undermined his progress by increasingly battling its very basis: religion. For when one denies the objective source of value, the very meaning of those values becomes problematic. The natural consequence of man left to himself as the ultimate source and arbiter of reality is the very denial of objective truth, value, and virtue – all those concepts in whose name our achievements were undertaken.

Secularization, the intellectual stripping away of the religious, God-based origin of value and of reality itself, has manifested itself in various ways, most recently and most radically as logical positivism and subjectivism. These “philosophies” have as their effect, if not indeed as their underlying motivation, the provision of an excuse for the lack of personal authority over and responsibility for the world, both outside ourselves, as well as our own thoughts and actions. What I want – my passions, drives, desires, whims – becomes the standard of reality, an internalized reality. Therefore, “ethics,” “nobility,” and “honor,” especially “virtue,” become meaningless (indeed “meaning” becomes meaningless).

What I “should” do or think about something becomes synonymous with whatever I want to do. Even the notion, hedonistic as it is, of what’s “good for me,” cannot be defined in any terms but “what I feel like.” What the Bible called bishrirus libi elech – “in the dictates of my own heart I will walk,” reminds one not only of Pharaoh, who was worshipped as a god and who, according to the commentators, claimed “I made myself,” but of modern man, who is taught that all men should worship themselves as gods.

Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are responsible for having added a scientific “imprimatur” to this secularization. Briefly, what Marx did for man’s relation to the world Freud did for man’s relation to himself. In each case, man without God must of necessity be the passive recipient of influences beyond his control. For Marx, therefore, man’s history is determined by the economic structure of society, by the means of production. Freedom is a hoax, religion is an opiate.

About the Author: Dr. Lawrence Resnick was a professor of medicine at Cornell University Medical Center and one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s personal physicians. He passed away 10 years ago this week – on the 15th of Iyar – at age 55. This essay is derived from one of several notebooks of writings he left behind.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

One Response to “What Happens When We Remove God From The Picture”

  1. When we remove G-d we remove His love which is warmth
    Kindness,and the greatest closness to something u really can’t put into words. I know without G-d I feel lost. Like He’s your best friend. Like He makes you smile when you think about Him!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists often misfire their rockets that explode in Gaza civilians areas.
‘Hamas Fired from UN School Area and Prevented Evacuation’ Says IDF
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF soldier injured in Gaza is evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital.

The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel. For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for […]

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay is calling for an investigation of Israel's military actions in Gaza. (archive photo)

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

More Articles from Dr. Lawrence Resnick
sunlightthroughthetrees.jpg

When one denies the objective source of value, the very meaning of those values becomes problematic.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-happens-when-we-remove-god-from-the-picture/2014/05/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: