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The Somewhat Litvshe Yid

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Religious World View

I know, our revered teacher, The Godol, has stopped blogging, sort of. Though not really, since he seems to be posting fairly regularly and is getting thousands of hits a day. Which is cool.
Anyway...he is, I understand, a serious Rambam kinda guy when it comes to Hashkofo. Which I can relate to. So...with that in mind, I'll mention something that I heard this week.
My Rav gives a small shiur in Rambam on Motzei Shabbos. Not Halachos, rather Hakdamos. We finished the Hakdamo L'Pirush HaMishnayos a month an a half ago, so moved on to the Shmoneh Prakim (hopefully we'll do Perek Chelek afterwards...). We went off on a bit of a tangent this week talking about the parts in the Moreh Nevuchim where the Rambam takes the Mutazila to task(1:71 for starters). The Mutazila was a sect of Islam that took a religious outlook and tried to explain science based on that outlook, coming to all sorts of absurdities. The Rambam even mentions how this became the M.O. became the accepted stance amongst certain groups of our Coreligionists.
Needless to see, he holds no truck with it. To quote his summation of his stance on the issue:
"I shall say to you that the matter is as Themistius puts it: 'That which exists does not conform to the various opinions, but rather the various opinions conform to that which exists.'"(The Guide to the Perplexed, translated by Shlomo Pines, University of Chicago Press, pg. 179)
That is to say, the Rambam held, given a small set of immutable basic tenants (13 principles) one needs to perceive the world as best he can and then build a coherent philosophical stance based on that. He holds that ignoring/trying to discount/discredit modern science is absurd and even worse, intellectually dishonest. One will never reach truth if one predicates what the truth is before he goes looking for it.


  • Many religions like Catholicism are afraid of science since scientific explanation may discount that g-d exists at all... BH we see Hashems hand in everything through science as well.

    By Blogger FrumGirl, at Wednesday, December 14, 2005 6:18:00 PM  

  • I'm not sure how science can discount Hashem's existence. As far as I recall most hard scientists (physics/chem/bio) are more likely to believe in G-d. I mean, how can you not look seriously at the universe and think it was all just happenstance. Which is why the Rambam, in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah explains the way to Ahavas HaShem is by studying science.

    By Blogger Litvshe, at Wednesday, December 14, 2005 10:48:00 PM  

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