web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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

Equally, if not more devastating in its impact, were the proclamations of Freud, whose underlying presumptions as they’ve been incorporated into modern thinking were to destroy the concept of the free will of man in relation to himself. Our thoughts are no longer under our conscious control. Our actions derive not from rational, free will, but emerge from the unconscious interplay of forces and influences themselves determined by the circumstances of our life, beyond our control. Hence not only are our actions and thoughts determined entities, denying free will, but we cannot therefore be held responsible for the consequences of those thoughts or actions – “we cannot help ourselves.”

Subjectivism, relativism, psychoanalysis – all declare that there is no intrinsic value to all those efforts, all those achievements, all of those great thoughts we’ve added to the history of human life on earth. Everything’s OK, what’s true for you may not be true for me; nobody can tell me what’s right because, in general, there is no right or wrong, should or shouldn’t. We aren’t responsible, so we can’t be blamed. Great efforts, great dedication, what used to be called noble and virtuous and honorable – these are not pursued in the name of “I feel like it.”

Where there is no challenge to succeed, to pursue righteousness, to transform the world, there will be no success, no righteousness, no significant change. Civilization stops progressing because it no longer believes in the notion of the objective reality of progress.

This is what Judaism (and all other western God-based religions, to the extent that they partake of the same spirit) comes to correct. The existence of God and His historical revelation of His Presence and His Torah to us is the ultimate source of human freedom, of objective value and meaning in thought, speech, and action, and is the constant source of the hope and challenge that it is man’s opportunity to fulfill.

Why is God the answer? Because by definition He is wholly Other, not contained within nor capable of being expressed by human form or human conception. Because he is not only the immanent but also the transcendent God. The God of nature, who rules over the material-physical world, is also the God Who is above and beyond nature.

The whole of the Exodus story comes to teach, among other things, the existence and meaning of this God. Over and over Pharaoh denies knowing Hashem. Only Kel, the God who might be “stronger” than all the other “gods,” a god of nature, defined by, contained within, and obeying the laws of nature – this was conceivable. But the purpose of the Exodus was l’maan teida, in order that you should know YKVK,Hashem.

This declares the absolute freedom of man in this world. Since man was created in the image of God, some of Him is in all of us. This is thus the origin of our free will, and the guarantor that our perceptions in this world can be true in an absolute sense. God stands outside of man, having announced His presence, as an objective source of value and meaning.

Man does not free himself from “shackles from above” by throwing off the yoke of religion. He replaces the mandate of heaven to achieve greatness and fulfill his potential by the shackles of circumstance, of “historical necessity,” of dark, inaccessible, and unperceived emotional drives and passions, which strip all meaning from our actions, all self-respect from our thoughts, and all worth from our souls. Living, walking with God, is living in freedom, is walking in sunlight with hope.

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.

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.

Current Top Story
PA/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addresses Central Committee convention in Ramallah.
PLO Votes for Suicide by Voting to Cut Security Ties with Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Dr. Lawrence Resnick
sunlightthroughthetrees.jpg

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

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: