The whole letter is very interesting. He vehemently disagrees with the philosopher he is writing to.
quote:In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.
One wonders how so many millions could have been persuaded to believe given that your opinion is certainly the most common.
Ah, so it's up to a vote in your opinion. The religion with the most believers wins.
Well then obviously Hinduism wins! Many more millions believers for thousands more years than Christianity's paltry numbers. And that's not even considering Buddhism with so many millions of followers throughout Southern and Eastern Asia for longer than Christianity has even existed.
It's kind of like the old joke that we should all eat manure "because 100 million flies cannot be wrong." Obviously the validity or truth of an idea is not determined by the number of adherents, so that is an invalid argument. But, like too many other Christian apologists, that is the false argument that you are making.
You have made your cow plop so you must lie in it.
That letter is so good, im going to post it in full:
quote:Princeton, 3. 1. 1954
Dear Mr Gutkind,
Inspired by Brouwer's repeated suggestion, I read a great deal in your book, and thank you very much for lending it to me. What struck me was this: with regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common. Your personal ideal with its striving for freedom from ego-oriented desires, for making life beautiful and noble, with an emphasis on the purely human element. This unites us as having an "unAmerican attitude."
Still, without Brouwer's suggestion I would never have gotten myself to engage intensively with your book because it is written in a language inaccessible to me. The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and whose thinking I have a deep affinity for, have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything "chosen" about them.
In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.
Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual "props" and "rationalization" in Freud's language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.
With friendly thanks and best wishes,
What jumps out at me is this phrase: As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted,...
Can anyone shed any light on what that means?
Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. ~RC Sproul "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain " ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo
Subjectivism may very well undermine Christianity. In the same way that "allowing people to choose what they want to be when they grow up" undermines communism.~Stile
There were even some true Christians in the Catholic Church despite its aggressive pagan superstitiousness, but outside that institution there were in fact millions of true Christians, many of them hiding away in the mountains where nevertheless the RCC would pursue them and slaughter them from time to time. God always keeps a remnant of the true believers alive from generation to generation. Those outside the RCC sent out missionaries to teach the truth and they did eventually change the views of the people, who were ready for the Reformation when it came.
But the Reformation came from inside the Catholic Church: Calvin, Knox, Luther, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Zwingli, etc. were all Catholic priests, weren't they?
Gosh, you don't say! What a surprise! The Hiding Dissidents recognized the work the Reformers were doing and the Reformers recognized the Dissidents as precursors of their work. The newly invented printing press helped get the word out to all segments of society. What does inside or out matter? All those who followed the Reformation had been inside the RCC too before they all came out. Golly Gosh, revelation upon revelation.
I didn't claim the Reformation came from outside the Church. They were all Catholic priests who became Protestants through their study of the Bible. But that is also how the dissidents originally became dissidents: by reading the Bible. The Waldensians lived high in the Alps, I don't think the Albigensians had a hiding place but I'm not sure, or the Bogomils or some other groups I'm probably forgetting. Oh the Lollards. And their doctrine wasn't perfect either but it was biblical and they all knew that the RCC was the Antichrist system. The Reformation cleaned up the doctrine and also recognized the papacy as the Antichrist system.