Would the World Be Better Without Religion?

  • To say Religion is man-made needs further clarification.
  • Faith is separate from religion but people need both.
  • To command people to believe in God is foolish, faith comes as a gift.

The world lived without religion until the establishment of Judaism the first monotheistic religion. Even for four hundred years in Israel before the temple was built in Jerusalem in the period called Judges there was no organized religion about which it says Judges:21:25, “And in those days there was no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  There was opposition in Israel against the establishment of the kingship but in the end religion was established on earth beginning with Judaism. For better or for worse, like it or not, religion is today a reality.

God created the world.  He wanted to reveal in this world his divine name which is peace and unity. First he had to reveal himself as supreme king of the universe. He did this through religion.  Each religion declares their supremacy over the creation, the religion of the one God. After the revelation of God on Mount Sinai step by step starting from Judaism became revealed the supremacy of God through Judaism Christianity and Islam.  To have three religions in conflict over supremacy of God was not the goal of the creator. Finally came Baha”i faith and Progressive Jewish Spirituality to unite all the three religions in their source which is resurrection to reveal the name of the one God on earth which is peace. You need religion but religion begins with faith.  You also need the opposition to religion from both sides secular and universal faith.  Altogether can be revealed in the world a moment of peace without racism. The complete revelation of God took six thousand years. The Torah says in six days God created the heavens and the earth and in the seventh day he rested. Each day is equivalent to one thousand years. We are now are in the Jewish year 5779 very close to the year six thousand. In the year seven thousand comes the great Sabbath the reward at the time of the resurrection of the dead.

The above video is a debate between Reza Aslan a Muslim author believing in God and religion and Lawrence Krauss an atheist.  The topic is: Would we be better off without religion. Listen to this video which gives feedback on both sides.  Reza Aslan is in favor of religion but admits that religion is a man-made institution. He makes a distinction between religion and faith. Laurence Krauss an atheist is realistic that religion is already engraved in the minds of man and it cannot be removed from the world. However he has grown up into the world which has religion Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc. but he doesn’t believe in God so he doesn’t believe in religion.

Lawrence Krauss (born May 27, 1954) is an American-Canadian theoretical physicist and cosmologist who previously taught at Arizona State University, Yale University, and Case Western Reserve University. He founded ASU’s Origins Project to investigate fundamental questions about the universe and served as the project’s director. Upon investigating allegations about sexual misconduct by Krauss, ASU determined that he had violated university policy and removed him from the Origins Project directorship in July 2018. He continued as a Professor at ASU until retiring in May 2019. He currently serves as President of The Origins Project Foundation and as host of The Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss.

The first point made by Reza Aslan who is a Muslim is the admittance that religion is a man-made institution. Orthodox Judaism does not admit that the Jewish religion is man-made. Almost the whole Torah refutes that Judaism is a man-made religion. There is admittance in Judaism that Moses the prophet received the divine law at Mount Sinai and handed it down to Joshua his student. The Torah is called the Law of Moses. The Torah is lifted up in synagogues before the Torah reading and is recited the words, “This is the Torah that Moses placed before the children of Israel.”  The prophet the founder of Judaism is Moses. Moses was a prophet of truth and Jews trust in God and Moses that the Torah his instructions to the Jewish people come from God. The connection between Moses and God was different than the connection of other holy men with God. The Torah says that the prophecy of Moses was on a higher level than other prophets.  Judaism will not replace the prophecy of Moses which was given to the Jewish nation with a religion of another prophet. Calling the Torah man-made is not giving respect for the holiness and righteousness of Moses.

Reza Aslan the Muslim in this video defends religion but calls it man-made, he sees also the Koran as man-made. When he says man-made he is only admitting that Muhammad, Moses, and Jesus were human beings and not God. God gave the Torah to Moses.  Moses had a direct high connection to God.  He knew God with a closer relationship than any other man before him including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  However Moses like Adam the first man was not perfect and the Torah received from him was received through a man. Therefore some can say that the Torah is man-made like Reza Aslan the Muslim in the video. Also the Koran Muslims believe that it is the word of God given to them by Muhammad. Muhammad they call the last prophet. Jesus is accepted in the Koran as a prophet. Christianity upgraded him to the level of God but he was still a man born from a maternal mother. The terminology man-made does not discredit that religions are God given to a holy prophet.

In the video the physicist author of books on atheism Lawrence Krauss does not reject that religions are institutions.  Religions have a purpose.  He does not accept the revelation of God on Mount Sinai.  He also rejects the history of religion from Abraham.  For sure he doesn’t accept Adam the first man since he obviously believes in evolution of the species. Religions he does not deny as an institution man-made. Faith he denies. He admits that religions have power in the world to influence people.  He makes a statement in the video that atheists are the most moral people in the world. Connecting Atheism with morality is a joke.

One of the major purposes of religion is to teach morality. Religion teaches right and wrong to distinguish between good and evil. The Ten Commandments clearly prohibits thievery, murder, adultery.  To believe in God is the first commandment. To command a person to believe in God is a big question. Either you believe or not. This is the major problem with religion. Religion demands blind faith.  Laurence Krauss who from his name is Jewish does not accept the commandment to believe in God. He doesn’t believe.  Therefore he doesn’t believe that the Torah and religion is from God but is man-made.  He also doesn’t believe in prophecy. Believing in God comes as a gift. Atheists have not yet received this gift, or it may have been taken from them through suffering. The Book of Job which is part of the Bible tells a story about a man whose faith in God was tested.  God took from him all his possession, his family and health. His suffering was enormous. In the end he passed the test and his faith and wealth was restored to him.

Reza Aslan (born May 3, 1972) is an Iranian-American scholar of religious studies, writer, and television host. He has written three books on religion: No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization, and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the International Qur’anic Studies Association. He is also a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside. He is also currently a board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).

Religions were given to peoples Jewish, Islamics, or Christians. They were given to unite people as a group with God through the law of their prophet. Judaism was the first religious nation, Biblical Israel. A nation needs laws.  A nations needs law and order. It also needs a land. National authority does not ask people to follow their laws, they command their nation to abide by their constitution. Therefore Jewish law based on the Ten Commandments which was the foundation of the law of the nation of the biblical nation of Israel commands every citizen of Israel to believe in God. This is the first commandment.  Even in those Biblical times there may have been atheists living in Israel but they did not have freedom of speech like Laurence Krauss in this video. A theocracy commands its citizens to believe in God. It is hard for atheists living in a theocracy.  If you don’t believe in God for many reasons, it is a problem living in a world where there is religion. It means you are an opponent to religion. Today the world is split between secular and religious. When the religious were a majority they could force people to listen to them, but not today.

Calling religions man made does not deny their importance in life. When a religion is the law of the land, it also may give permission to punish atheists who desecrate the law. Judaism and Islam have a divine law which gives the authorities of their nation the permission to punish transgressors even to the extent of capital punishment.  In Jewish law there were four types of capital punishment, stoning, strangling, burning and decapitation.  In Islam Hudud refers to punishment under Sharia Islamic law mandated and fixed by God. The first commandment is to believe in God. You cannot force an atheist to believe in God but you can force him to observe the laws of the country in a theocracy. Laurence Krauss can speak out on the internet and reveal himself as an atheist in a free country.  Religions were man-made, made by prophets to build theocracies. The law of the nation had the authority to demand punishments for transgressors. The word of the prophet is considered to be the word of God.  There is no permission to say man-made when the king has divine power.

Judaism is still the religion of the Jewish people even after the nation of Israel dissolved in the time of the destruction of the holy temple. Judaism continues with the Law of Moses as if the Biblical Israel is still a nation. Without capital punishment it can no longer command Laurence Krauss or any other Jew to believe in God. The religion still has a purpose to unite Jews together as a nation. The nation of Israel has survived the diaspora of almost 2000 years through the strength of their religious leaders who receive the Torah with blind faith. Those that believe in God amongst the Jewish people take heed of the words of their religious leaders. Religion benefits Jews especially in family life.  Jews still believe in God even after the holocaust. Commanding to believe in God doesn’t help today. Jews that have lost their faith and belief in God may want to continue observing the statutes of their religion to feel a part of the Jewish people. There are different levels of faith, strong believers, weaker believers, agnostics and those that don’t believe at all; they lost it completely. The strong believers reinforce the law in each generation. It is true with every religion in a free world. Christianity has been challenged by its opponents. Many Christians find it difficult to believe in their scriptures which are reinforced by their clergy.

Judaism follows the law of God before came into the world other religions like Christianity, and Islam. Their religious leaders must demand that Jews reject any other faith because it was not written in the God given law of the Biblical nation. Orthodox Jewry loses many of its followers because it distances the Jewish people from the rest of the world and places them on a higher plateau. If a Jew will call the Torah man-made he can escape from Jewish racism. Progressive Jewish Spirituality PJS accepts the Law of Moses as the Law of God but after the destruction of the temple and the nation was dispersed in the world, it is no longer practical. There are many changes that need to be made to adapt it to modern life. The Rabbis can demand authority but there is no obligation today to listen to all their instructions. Much of the Torah still applies but the Jewish people need a new Torah for today’s times. Isaiah and Jerimiah even in their times said the Jewish people need a new Torah. The Old Torah was built on the first commandment to believe in God. Without the authority of judging the nation life and death you cannot demand anyone to believe if they have lost their faith. The Old law demanded it; the new law does not demand it but waits patiently for everyone in the world to find their faith in God. World faith is today as important as or more important than religion.

The syngogue of the Baal Shem Tov the founder of Chassidism located in Mezbitz Ukraine. Chassidism combined religion with faith adding to Judaism joy, singing and dancing.

Laurence Krauss does not believe in God. Reza Aslan believes in God and religion but believes that religion is man-made and can be changed according to the times. The first commandment Believe in God is worthless in the free world and is only applicable in a theocracy.

Those that learn the esoteric teachings of Judaism, reveal secrets which Moses placed in the Torah showing that it is man-made.  Moses is called the humblest of all men. Jews say when the Torah is lifted up in the synagogue Moses is truth and his Torah is truth. The story of the Golden Calf and the breaking of the first tablets with the Ten Commandments, reveals that there are two Laws of God.  The Tablets which were broken were without racism, universal. Each person had the knowledge of God like a prophet. It gave each person freedom. The second tablets were strictly Jewish the way of Judaism today with the desire to be a separate nation with sovereignty over the land of Israel. To be separate has its advantages and disadvantages. Every religion wants to be separate and its leaders want to have dominion over its constituents. Each religion has broken off into sects because of the difficulty of maintaining one interpretation of their law.

To live without religion is also difficult. People need to join together.  Unity has power. Religion is only the beginning of faith. Faith is an individual pursuit, religion is a group venture.  To be an atheist you also need to belong to a group.  American youth join the boy scouts. College students join fraternities. Gays join LGBT. There are as many secular groups as religious sects, even more. If you are agnostic, you can still be part of a religion but the priest, Rabbi or Imam have the strongest faith in their religion.

Picture above: Baha”i center in Haifa.  Baha”i is a religion preaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people.

Place of the holy temple in Jerusalem:. Jews and the world are waiting to be revealed the third temple which according to esoteric teachings will come down from heaven to be a universal symbol to all of mankind of faith in God. The prophet Zecharia says in the name of God, My house will be a house for all the people of the world.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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