The trustee executive committee of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, where Land serves as president, issued the reprimands today after conducting an investigation on comments made by Land during a March 31 broadcast.In a press release published on the denomination's official media outlet, Baptist Press, the ERLC executive committee stated:"We reprimand Dr. Land for his hurtful, irresponsible, insensitive, and racially charged words on March 31, 2012 regarding the Trayvon Martin tragedy. It was appropriate for Dr. Land to issue the apology he made on May 9, 2012 and we are pleased he did so. We also convey our own deepest sympathies to the family of Trayvon Martin for the loss they have suffered. We, too, express our sorrow, regret, and apologies to them for Dr. Land's remarks."
Land, who also serves as executive editor at The Christian Post, sparked controversy in March when he accused Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and President Obama of exploiting the Trayvon Martin shooting.Martin, a 17-year-old African American, was shot dead on Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, 28. The teen was unarmed. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense.Denouncing the public's "rush to judgment" before all the facts were clear, Land called the two well-known civil rights activists "race hustlers who've made their careers and made their fortunes exploiting racism" and argued that some were using the case "for their own political ends."Land further stated that the civil rights activists were "perpetuating their central myth" that "America is a racist and an evil nation." He later also stated that a black man is "statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man."The statements drew criticism from the public, including fellow Southern Baptist pastors who called on Land to repent.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
In reply, notice two things. First, Hays refers to "what he [Lowder] regards as mistreatment of atheists" and "(alleged) offenses" without actually acknowledging the "mistreatment" is actual, not "alleged." Does he deny that these instances are mistreatment?
Scientific evidence shows that human consciousness and personality are highly dependent upon the brain. In this context, nothing mental happens without something physical happening. That strongly implies that the mind cannot exist independently of physical arrangements of matter. In other words, we do not have a soul.
And there’s the problem that praising a girl for acting like a boy, commonplace as it has become, is not really the same thing as identifying and praising what distinctively belongs to girls.
But Merida is far from being a typical fairy-tale princess. Having flatly rejected the three suitors proposed by her family, she is apparently prepared to go through life quite happily without a husband, and we can imagine her in later years, a weathered and indomitable Amazon queen, sort of a Boudica for the Scots. "Brave" seems at a loss to deal with her as a girl and makes her a sort of honorary boy.
Friday, June 22, 2012
In a material universe, that is a universe without a perfectly good Creator, Who in turn wills our existence and our ultimate good, there would really be no purpose to suffering, and no purpose to an existence with suffering. A Godless universe is basically an indifferent universe, I have heard my humanities professors use the term "Absurd Universe". Two books I read back then - Albert Camus’s The Stranger and Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Night Flight. The Stranger as the professor I had back then explained it to us was about the pointlessness of existence in the indifferent "Absurd Universe". Another professor, with whom I had a good rapport, explained to me that Night Flight was about the human effort to impose oneself against the indifferent universe. The effort, while heroic, didn't seem to be going anywhere as far as I could see because that's a fight no one in the book was winning. It seemed like a constant struggle with a tie rather victory as the best possible outcome. A Godless material universe leaves us in such a state. Suffering is in and of itself pointless. The end result is either stoic soldiering on in spite of having no real hope or falling into despair. Drs Conrad Baars and Viktor Frankl have both made the observation while imprisoned in a concentration camp, that while everyone suffered terribly, those prisoners who died (not those who were killed) were those who had lost hope and who had no purpose. The survivors all had found some purpose within themselves. Purpose, hope are not the properties of materialism. I have read somewhere that the purpose of suffering is to conform us to a Creator who suffered for us. This is possible only if there is a Creator who wills our existence and who wills our ultimate good.
PHILADELPHIA—A former senior Roman Catholic Church official accused of failing to protect children from alleged molestation by priests was convicted of one count of child endangerment and acquitted of two other charges.
Amid the priest sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church over the past decade, Monsignor William Lynn is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to be convicted of criminal charges. He served as secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, a job that included handling allegations of sexual abuse by priests.
The monsignor was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children and with conspiracy with another priest to endanger the welfare of children. Msgr. Lynn wasn't accused of sexual abuse. He now faces a possible 3½ to 7 years in prison....
The trial opened a window on how one of the nation's largest Catholic dioceses grappled with the scandal as it shook the broader church in the U.S. and elsewhere. The case has underscored both the success and the shortcomings of the church's handling of abuse allegations.
The Philadelphia district attorney's office credited the diocese with referring some of the allegations at issue in the trial to prosecutors, under strengthened reporting policies the diocese adopted in the past decade.
But a grand-jury report last year blasted the diocese for allowing 37 priests to remain in active ministry despite having "credible" abuse allegations lodged against them. The diocese later placed a majority of the priests on leave as it investigated the allegations, and recently deemed some of them unsuitable for ministry. Msgr. Lynn also was placed on leave from his post as a parish pastor after he was charged last year.
Jurors heard nearly 10 weeks of testimony from more than 60 witnesses, including Msgr. Lynn and alleged abuse victims, and saw hundreds of confidential church documents.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Msgr. Lynn, 61 years old, learned in the 1990s of allegations that Father Brennan and another priest had engaged in inappropriate conduct with minors but failed to keep them out of assignments involving contact with children or to inform parishioners of the allegations. The two priests later sexually abused two boys in separate incidents, prosecutors contend.
The other priest, Edward Avery, pleaded guilty before the trial to charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child, and was sentenced to 2½ years to five years in prison. Mr. Avery, who has since been defrocked, was accused of engaging in oral sex with a 10-year-old altar boy at a Philadelphia parish in the late 1990s....
Msgr. Lynn testified last month that he did his best to investigate allegations and recommend restrictions on the duties of accused priests. He acknowledged he never called police but that only his superior, the archbishop of Philadelphia, had the authority to remove or transfer priests. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who was the archbishop during most of Msgr. Lynn's tenure as secretary for clergy, wasn't charged. He died in January.
Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington told jurors that the monsignor was the "point man" for carrying out a plan by the Philadelphia diocese to keep in ministry priests accused of sexually abusing children, and to keep the public in the dark about the allegations.
"He and everyone else that protected those pedophile priests were murdering the souls of children," he said in closing arguments.
Msgr. Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, told jurors in his closing argument that Msgr. Lynn attempted to improve the diocese's handling of sex-abuse allegations, and did more than his predecessors. "This man, who never touched a child but yet who documented the evil other men did, [prosecutors] want you to convict him for their sins," he said.
One vital lesson of that analysis will be that, contrary to the widespread claims of moral asymmetry between theism and atheism, neither theism nor atheism as such permit the logical deduction of any judgments of moral value or of any ethical rules of conduct. Moral codes turn out to be logically extraneous to each of these competing philosophical theories alike. And if such a code is to be integrated with either of them in a wider system, the ethical component must be imported from elsewhere.
In the case of theism, it will emerge that neither the attribution of omnibenevolence to God nor the invocation of divine commandments enables its theology to give a cogent justification for any particular actionable moral code. Theism, no less than atheism, is itself morally sterile: Concrete ethical codes are autonomous with respect to either of them.
…a suitably articulated form of secular humanism can rule out some modes of conduct while enjoining others, no less than a religious code in which concrete ethical injunctions have been externally adjoined to theism (e.g., "do not covet thy neighbor's wife").
Grünbaum then discusses the moral permissiveness of theism with respect to the problem of evil.
It is scandalous that Judaism is sufficiently permissive morally to enable some world-renowned rabbis to offer a Holocaust-theodicy at all with theological impunity: It attests to the moral bankruptcy of the notion of a theological foundation of Jewish ethics.
Cain (and other apologists for Judaism) ought to be deeply embarrassed by this situation…
Clearly, I submit, precisely the statistics on the depth of the cleavage among the moral verdicts of Jewish theologians on so over-arching an occurrence as the Holocaust bespeaks the ethical bankruptcy of their theology.
In other words, if theism requires us to believe that no matter what evils occur in the actual world, God still exists and has some reason for allowing them, this empties all content from a theological foundation of ethics and shows how bankrupt the entire enterprise of theistic ethics really is.
In reply, notice two things. First, Hays refers to "what he [Lowder] regards as mistreatment of atheists" and "(alleged) offenses" without actually acknowledging the "mistreatment" is actual, not "alleged." Does he deny that these instances are mistreatment?
Is he so opposed to atheists that he is unwilling to condemn mistreatment, even when he agrees it is mistreatment? Is there another reason?
Second, Hays seems (?) to assume that if two people (P1 and P2) accept contradictory normative ethical systems, but both systems agree that an action A is wrong (even if for different reasons), it's unreasonable for P1 to ask P2 to condemn A. I find that bizarre. If they both agree that A is wrong, even if for different reasons, then surely they can both condemn A. If P2 claims to believe that A is wrong, then P2 already has a reason to condemn; P2 should condemn A because P2 believes A is wrong.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
The mainstream Papacy taught that by a special charism granting infallible authority in matters of faith and morals, the Pope in the exercise of his teaching office is exempt from this common human condition, and had a true intuition of natural law and a true ability to infallibly formulate its dicta propositionally. This view owed a great deal to the Shiite imamology, which taught that the Imam is sinless, infallible, and thus able to be a perfect heir of prophethood, which for Muslims (both Sunni and Shia) has a politically architectonic office.
 Classic expositions of the idea are to be found in al Farabi’s Tahsil as sa’ada, and ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah. For the Papacy’s reception of the same, see Sten Gagnér, “Boniface VIII and Avicenna,” Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Stephan Kuttner and J. Joseph Ryan , eds., S. Congregatio de seminariis et studiorum universitatibus, Vatican City, 1965.
Regular readers here will recognize many of the themes I’ve written about in the past. But what I’ve put down here for the first time is something I’ve had in mind for a long time, but have not till this point been able to articulate it succinctly enough. Indeed, what follows here is rough, but it is the thing I’ve had in mind from the moment that I decided I could no longer be Roman Catholic. This is where the battle is, and must be joined. This is where the battle for Jason Stellman’s heart and mind and soul is occurring. It is where Joshua Lim goes wrong.
What follows here is what makes the Reformation [warts and all] the most worthwhile thing that could have happened in church history.
You will note that this is necessarily incomplete. What follows has been submitted in an even rougher form as a series of comments in this Called to Communion thread. Lord willing they will let my comments be published, and it will lead to further discussion.
Given the incompleteness of what I write here (I’ll call it an “outline” of my primary argument against Roman Catholic authority), I do need to thank Dr. Michael Kruger and his work Canon Revisited, for closing the circle. For completing the “authority of Scripture” loop. It is my intention to “tear down” the Roman Catholic authority structure, and that’s what I do in this piece. But Dr. Kruger builds and rebuilds. He shows, in detail that I have not yet covered here, the reasons why the New Testament canon stands alone. I think a lot of people will be eternally grateful to Dr. Kruger for his work.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
(Posted on behalf of Steve Hays on behalf of David Gadbois.)
Here are a few of my thoughts on the recent criticisms of the increasing operations of unmanned aircraft conducting surveillance in U.S. airspace. I came across this article. That's a photo of a Predator B UAV in the Department of Homeland Security/Border Patrol's livery at the top of the article. Other conservative and libertarian pundits that I respect, such as Charles Krauthammer, have made similar criticisms as Mr. Cooke. And I notice that a lot of folks outside of my work have expressed their concerns to me personally on this issue in the past few weeks. I don't know where your political sympathies lie on privacy issues, but here is my take.
All of the information I mention here is public knowledge.
- While I do work for an unmanned aircraft manufacturer, at this time sales to domestic law enforcement make up a very small fraction of the UAV market. The U.S. and foreign militaries are still the biggest customers in the market by far. I'm not particularly worried that this issue would affect my livelihood one way or another.
- I think I have fairly good street cred (amongst those who know me) as a small-government guy, residing in a political orbit somewhere between National Review (conservative) and Reason (libertarian) magazine. I'm generally wary of government overreach, especially by the federal government in breach of its constitutional limitations.
- Technical issues
That being said, I'm not sure why people consider unmanned aircraft to be fundamentally more intrusive than manned aircraft that routinely fly and surveil in national airspace. Most current UAV systems are operated by a pilot and sensor operator in a ground station, connected either via line-of-sight or satellite wireless data links. The police-operated helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that have been around for decades likewise require a pilot and camera/spotlight operator for the routine law enforcement operations that most don't object to. Very few UAV systems are autonomous (i.e. don't require pilots in the loop).
The main driver behind law enforcement's adoption of unmanned systems is cost. It is simply cheaper to have unmanned aircraft as your eyes in the sky per hour vs. a manned aircraft. The only relevant operational advantage of UAVs (that I can think of) is the fact that they tend to be harder to detect audibly or visually (especially when compared to conventional helicopters), but this is not an inherent advantage. For aircraft that share roughly the same gross weight and flight envelope, one can design a manned aircraft to operate as silently as, say, a Predator UAV, and with a similar visual footprint.
There are, however, classes of UAVs that are smaller than classes of aircraft that would be sizeable enough to conceivably carry humans. These are usually referred to as micro-UAVs. Even smaller craft exist (think hummingbird size), and are known as nano-UAVs. However, the performance and utility of optical sensors diminishes as you scale down to sizes that can be flown on these platforms. The level of capability varies wildly given different sizes and classes of aircraft and corresponding payloads, and I'm not sure what specifically most people picture as being an insidious threat to their freedom.
Mr. Cooke is concerned that UAVs can provide footage with similar detail as the CCTV cameras that are prevalent in Britain, but that surely isn't right. A UAV loitering at several thousand feet in altitude simply cannot provide this kind of resolution. I haven't seen any classified or proprietary footage, but all of the video I have seen from Predators is only clear enough to identify the presence and general behavior of men on the ground. You could discern that someone is planting an IED, for instance, but you would never get a facial recognition. One could more plausibly raise a constitutional objection to certain uses of infrared sensors (that can image the thermal signatures of humans and provide a general, silhouetted shape), as those are capable of seeing through the walls and ceilings of homes and other buildings. But again, law enforcement has had that capability on manned platforms for many years, so it is hard to see how the situation with unmanned aircraft is fundamentally different. Who cares if this is being done from a Cessna as opposed to a Predator?
One could rightly point out that some UAV platforms, in the micro or nano class, can and do operate at altitudes of dozens or hundreds of feet rather than thousands, but these become easy to detect at such close ranges, and as mentioned their smaller sizes limit the performance of their optical payloads. There are fundamental limitations in play- the laws of physics as pertains to optics give an upper bound of the performance of any optical device of a given, fixed size.
- Moral and constitutional issues
I think some of my civil libertarian friends are seeing "emanations", "penumbras", and other hallucinagenic artifacts in the Bill of Rights that simply aren't there when they assert that the 4th Amendment provides a general right of privacy. The idea that there are restrictions and requirements on how the government may conduct search and seizure is conceptually much more narrow. Perhaps there is a moral case to be made that there ought to be a legal right to privacy, but that ought to be debated in a democratic society and established either by amendment to the constitution or else via conventional legislation passed in Congress. Any amount of serious reflection on the issue would reveal that it would be very difficult to define the nature of (and limits of) a general right to privacy with sufficient philosophical and legal precision and rigor. Also, as a Christian, I cannot think of a biblical principle that would necessarily underwrite an individual right to privacy in relation to the government, so if this right exists I would have to put it into a subservient category of rights (such as "no taxation without representation"), in other words, it would not be a fundamental moral right, even if important.
Concerning the 4th Amendment, even the most restrictive reading of the text would certainly not prohibit the operation of an unmanned aircraft for the purpose of surveillance per se, it would only require that a warrant be obtained on the basis of probable cause to authorize its use. This seems to be the aim of Rand Paul's bill that requires a warrant prior to the deployment of a UAV, qualified by a handful of exceptions (and, sadly, employing the morally ludicrous exclusionary rule).
I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that mere observation and photographic documentation of a person in a public place does not constitute a "search" of his person or intimate possessions, and as such aerial surveillance does not inherently constitute a search that is subject to the amendment at all. The situation gets a little stickier if the person being observed is on his own (or someone else's) private property, but if the person is in an "open field" (i.e. not in a home structure or, perhaps, the curtilage) then they are subject to search under the Open Fields doctrine. I don't know enough to say how legitimate this principle is constitutionally speaking, but it was codified by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the 4th Amendment in 1924 (Hester v. U.S.).
More interesting is the school of thought that contends that searches are permissible without a warrant as long as they are "reasonable". No less a light than Judge Scalia has advocated this view, thus placing more emphasis on the first clause of the Amendment. Others put more weight on the second clause (the Warrant Clause), insisting that warrants are always required barring only a few exceptions. Interestingly, I consulted the Heritage Guide to the Constitution, and it mentions both views without explicitly endorsing either:
Until recently the Supreme Court said that warrants were required for all searches and seizures, save those that fell within some exception to that requirement....Today, the Court uses different language, emphasizing not the second half of the Fourth Amendment's text, but the first (the ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures"). See Indianapolis v. Edmond (2000)
Even Richard Epstein remarks:
The amendment speaks with a forked tongue. On the one hand, it is clear that the right of all people to be "secure in their persons" looks as though it is "violated" by either pat-downs or body scanners. On the other hand, the use of the law’s most indispensable weasel word, "unreasonable," suggests that only some searches are "unreasonable," leaving it to the fine art of constitutional interpretation to decide which ones those are....That pesky word "unreasonable" has worked its way into our constitutional heritage through the text of the Fourth Amendment. We are thus duty-bound to make sense of it by asking what kinds of searches the government can properly undertake.
In my view, the grammar and syntax of the Amendment establish a prima facie reading of the text that understands the first clause as having independent meaning from the second clause. In other words, I would side with Scalia's view that there is such a thing as a "reasonable search" that would not require a warrant (as opposed to the view that the first clause is merely a preamble that justifies second clause [the Warrant Clause]). It might be that the language of the 4th Amendment underdetermines the issue, and ought to be amended and clarified one way or the other.
- In saying these things I do not deny that unmanned aircraft can be potential tools to facilitate government overreach, abuse, Big Brotherism, anti-constitutional encroachments, or outright tyranny. And yes, if there is a drone hovering ten feet outside of your house, peering into your bathroom window with its camera, I would consider it morally to be intrusive, reprehensible, as well as an abridgement of the 4th Amendment's protections. You can make a slippery slope argument if you wish, but this is simply not the situation we are in at present by merely allowing UAVs to aid in domestic law enforcement operations. The existence of a tool, that can admittedly be used for good or evil, does not automatically plunge us in to Orwell's 1984. And if the tool is not intrinsically evil, on what basis can we impose a blanket prohibition?
Ewen must have an odd idea about what "reason requires." In my view, reason requires that you at least consider the arguments for the other side before issuing such pronouncements.
Crossan, J.D. (1998), The Birth of Christianity. San Francisco: Harper.
_____. (1995). Who Killed Jesus? San Francisco: Harper.
Huxley, T.H.. (1893), "The Value of Witness to the Miraculous," in Selected Works of T. H. Huxley: Science and the Christian Tradition. New York: D. Appleton.
Lüdemann, G. (1995), What Really Happened to Jesus? Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
Mack, B.L. (1993), The Lost Gospel. San Francisco: Harper.
_____. (1995), Who Wrote the New Testament? San Francisco: Harper.
Martin, M. (1991), The Case Against Christianity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Paine, T. (1974), The Age of Reason. P. S. Foner, ed. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.
Ranke-Heinemann, U. (1988), Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality, and the Catholic Church. New York: Doubleday.
Spong, J.S. (1994), Resurrection: Myth or Reality? San Francisco: Harper.
Wells, G.A. (1996), The Jesus Legend. Chicago: Open Court.
_____. (1989), Who Was Jesus? La Salle, IL: Open Court.
Let’s try a thought experiment: What would a contemporary account of Jesus have looked like had it been written by a historian with the resources, aims, and methods of a modern critical historian?… Now, of course we do not know what our imaginary historian would have concluded, but it should be abundantly clear that his product would be very different from the Gospel records.
The reason for this, I believe, is that Rome certainly did not have its act together at the time of the Reformation. An image that comes to mind is one of Keystone Cops running around trying to decide what to do about Luther [given that they did not have an easy way to kill him].
Here, from the Reformation historian Patrick Collinson, is an example of how Rome dealt with “uncomfortable” information in that era:
In 1543 a little book was published in Venice with the title Trattato utilissimo del beneficio di Giesu Christo crocifisso i cristiani (A Most Useful Treatise on the Merits of Jesus Christ Crucified for Christians), written by an elusive Benedictine monk called Benedetto da Mantova (dates of birth and death unknown, but his surname seems to have been fontanino) with some help from the humanist and poet Marcantonio Flaminio (1498-1550), a popular work of piety that was translated into several languages including Croat. At first sight this may appear to be a piece of native Italian Christocentrism, part of a Pauline and Augustinian renaissance known to have been nourished by a Spanish humanist and biblicist, Juan de Valdes (1500-1541), whose pious circle in Naples had included Flaminio. But the Beneficio can be read in more than one way. It proves to have been made up from a number of transalpine Protestant texts, and especially the 1539 edition of Calvin's Institutes. Whether or not Benedetto had come across Calvin in his monastery on the slopes of Mount Etna, which seems unlikely, the Institutes was known to Flaminio.I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that “official Rome” was embarrassed by many of the things its own apologists were saying, and it certainly had the ability to deal with embarrassing information.
It is hard to distinguish between the theology of the Beneficio and Protestantism. "Man can never do good works unless he first know himself to be justified by faith." Other scholars insist, however, that the Beneficio is an expression of Evangelism, a movement that was not generated by Protestantism and should be distingueshed from it. What is certain is that the Beneficio was placed on the Index and so successfuly repressed by the Roman Inquisition that of the many thousands of copies of the Italian edition that were once in existence only one is known to survive, discovered in the library of a Cambridge college in the nineteenth century. That sort of successful repression was the Counter-Reformation. (The Reformation, a History, Patrick Collinson, (c)2003, pgs 105-106.)
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
In short, the Calvinist account of God’s sovereignty given earlier in this chapter inevitably makes God the author of sin, evil, and innocent suffering (such as the children of the Holocaust) and thereby impugns the integrity of God’s character as good and loving. The God of this Calvinism (as opposed to, say, revisionist Reformed theology) is at best morally ambiguous and at worst a moral monster hardly distinguishable from the devil. R. Olson, Against Calvinism (Zondervan 2011), 84.
Worse, some recent apologias for the Holocaust from some Jewish religious quarters have been nothing less than obscene. In a 1987 article (The London Times, May 9, 1987), Lord Immanuel Jakobovitz, the Chief Orthodox Rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth, asserted that the Nazi Holocaust was divine punishment for the apostasy of the German Jews who founded assimilationist Reform Judaism. "This idol of individual assimilation," he wrote almost gleefully, "exploded in the very country in which it was invented, to be eventually melted down and incinerated in the crematoria of Auschwitz."
Rabbi Jakobovitz is hardly alone in the view that the Holocaust was divinely sanctioned. As reported by the noted Israeli scholar Amos Funkenstein, the ultra-orthodox Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum--who lives in Jerusalem but regards the Jewish secular state and government in Israel as sinful--sees the Holocaust as God's punishment for the Zionist founding of a Jewish state in advance of the promised arrival of the purported new Messiah. As Avishai Margalit just pointed out ("The Uses of the Holocaust," The New York Review of Books, vol. XLI, no. 4, February 17, 1994, p. 7):
The ultra-Orthodox did not experience any crisis of faith or of theology when confronted with the absolute evil of the Holocaust. Their ... response to the Holocaust ... was directed, then, not at God for having allowed the Jews to be murdered but at the Zionists.
Not to be outdone by Rabbis Jakobovitz and Teitelbaum, the ultra-orthodox Brooklyn Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who was even hailed as the new Messiah by his disciples, gave his own twist to the vindication of the Holocaust. In his 1980 book Faith and Science (Emunah v' Madah), this revered sage of orthodoxy opined that, in permitting the Holocaust, God cut off the gangrenous arm of the Jewish people. On this basis, this man of God concludes, the Holocaust was a good thing, because without it, the entire Jewish people would have perished.
Sidney Hook explained why he rejects theism, including Judaism, the religion of his ancestors, in favor of atheism. In a response, the orthodox Chicago Rabbi Yaakov Homnick (Free Inquiry, Fall 1987) indicted Hook's rejection of his heritage as "a far greater tragedy than all of the physically maimed children in the world." Indeed, Rabbi Homnick goes Buber, as well as Rabbis Jakobovitz, Teitelbaum, and Scheinfeld one better in his discernment of the hand of God, which he deems patent in the Holocaust: "Yes, without a doubt, the guidance of history by G-d is perceptible even to our limited gaze. The sense of justice ... is palpable ... Especially is the Holocaust a proof of G-d's justice, coming as a climax of a century in which the vast majority of Jews, after thousands of years of loyalty in exile, decided to cast off the yoke of the Torah."