Back in November, I posted about some Torah proofs that were in a lecture given by Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi. In my post, I presented the "proofs" offered by Rabbi Mizrachi and why I felt the "proofs" were flawed.
A commentator on the post, going by the moniker "Champ" posted some interesting questions and comments on my original post. I'm going to address one of his questions here, and then probably follow up with some of his other questions/comments later this week.
One of the questions that Champ asked of me is as follows:
I'd like to know why you "believe" in Judaism and not some other religion? Also, what proofs do you go by that convince you that the torah is divine? ...or do you just believe it is???
When it comes to religion and living a religious lifestyle for a purpose - believing is just not good enough...and for me, i need to KNOW...not just believe....
Later on, Champ follows up with another similar statement:
if i didn't get solid proof that Judiasm was true, i'd have an incredibly hard time living such a restrictive lifestyle - i can't live on what ppl think, theories, and maybes... i need solid proof.....you?
So, Champ, here's my response to you:
On the surface, Champ, I suppose it's a good question. Why do I believe? What proofs do I have that Judaism is the "one true religion?" How do I know that the Torah is divine?
As I've stated on this blog often enough, I have no proof -- or, at least nothing that I would consider an iron-clad proof. Heck, I don't even think that the existence of God Himself is scientifically or logically provable*. If it were provable, I don't think you'd have so many atheists today. If there were logical proof that Judaism is the "one true religion," I don't think that over 75% of the world would be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. I certainly could be wrong -- maybe there is a proof out there that God exists and that Judaism is the one true religion -- but so far I've been able to poke a hole in every argument I've heard.
In addition, Champ, I think you're being somewhat naive about the need for absolute proof. After all, what proof do you have that you're not going to get hit by a car the next time you cross the street (God forbid)? None. And yet, I'll venture that you're going to do so at some point in the near future. You'll probably sit under a tree someday even though it might get struck by lightning or fall over and you'll probably swim at some point in your life even though there is a risk of drowning. You're going to get into a car even though thousands of people die every year in car crashes in the United States. If you're a woman, you'll probably give birth someday, an activity which carries a risk of death even today (although thankfully at a much lower rate than in years past). You have no proof that any of these activities are safe and yet you engage in some (and possibly all) of them on a regular basis.
The answer is that, whether or you admit to it or not, you (and I) live life playing the odds. You know that 99.999999% of street crossings end with no one being hurt, so you figure it's safe. You know that the vast majority of swimmers leave the water in safety, so you jump in the pool without a second thought. If you truly lived your life by an "absolute proof" standard, Champ, you'd never get anything done. You'd sit in your house, paralyzed by fear, refusing to go anywhere or do anything.
The answer, Champ, in every activity you perform, whether you realize it or not, you assess the chances of success and then make a decision based on those chances. Can I cross the street even though there is a car coming two blocks away? You quickly make a reckoning and then go or don't go. Are the rapids too strong to swim in? Again, you make a quick "back of the envelope" calculation in your brain (should it be called a "back of the medula" calculation?) and then decide whether or not to go.
In other words, you don't really live your life on an absolute proof basis. Virtually no one outside of a sanitarium does.
The same applies to my belief in Judaism and God. I don't have any absolute proof, and, truth be told, I don't need any. Just by looking at the wonderfulness of nature, from the macroscopic to the microscopic, I am convinced that God exists. When I look at the universe and consider the possibilities that it either sprung into existence by itself or had help, I take "had help." Yes, it's only a gut feeling and yes, it falls far short of proof, but that's all I need to live my life. But I'm also honest about it. I know that it's not proof, and I state the same up front to anyone who asks. I don't require "solid proof" for my beliefs -- and, if you seriously consider what I said, neither do you.