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Author Topic: A Guide for the Perplexed
Posts: 65
Post A Guide for the Perplexed
on: September 21, 2012, 14:34

A new book by the chief rabbi in the UK. Looks decent. The review is in the Wall Street Journal. Some excerpts:

Rabbi Sacks quotes a 1997 document from an atheist organization arguing that human nature is not "unique and sacred" but different only "in degree, not in kind" from other animals. On this view, hesuggests, the idea of free will must be discarded, because if we are mere animals, we are as bound by genes and instincts and conditioning as any rat or chimp. And since, in his view, "dignity is based on human freedom," any worldview that rejects free will must eventually reject human dignity. He points to the political violence of the French Revolution, Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany and communist China as the four historical attempts "to create a social order on secular lines," with no firm support for the idea of dignity.

None of these arguments is particularly new. Rabbi Sacks doesn't claim they are. But his book is illuminating, and sometimes genuinely moving, because of the erudition and the warm personality with which he unscrolls his credo. "The Great Partnership" is perhaps not a book for the ages, but it makes a persuasive case that the bloody rhetorical war between "science" and "religion" is not just unnecessary; it is foolish. The book's last line is an invitation to believers and unbelievers alike: "Let us join hands and build a more hopeful future."

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