Testimony of History
When scientists test a drug they do so with the understanding that things might not work out as they expect. Before allowing a given remedy to be widely distributed the researchers will subject this new treatment to a set of experiments. One of the experiments that these researchers will use is the distribution of this drug to a broad range of people. The scientists will take a large group of men and women, young and old, healthy and weak and administer the drug to them. At the same time they will take another, similar group of people and withhold the drug from them. Perhaps the researchers will give this second group of people a placebo during the trial period. At the end of the designated time, the scientists will evaluate the two groups of people, those that took the drug and those that didn’t.
It is obvious that they will not compare the strongest and the healthiest of one group against the weakest and most sickly of the other. The scientists will judge the two groups as a whole, the strongest of one group against the strongest of the other and the weakest of one group against the weakest of the other.
We have an experiment that has been running for about 2000 years. One group of people has been given to believe that all men are intrinsically evil. This same group of people was taught that man’s actions are really insignificant and they were taught to revere a god who never did anything for those who wouldn’t acquiesce to his desire to be worshiped. This group of people was also focused on a book that spends more words slandering the author’s theological opponents then it does preaching about kindness and justice.
On the other hand, a different group of people were taught to believe that all men were created in the image of God and that the inner soul of man is holy and pure. This second group of people was given to believe that every deed of man is immensely significant and they worshiped a God who constantly sustains every living creature even while they are in the middle of rebelling against Him. And the focus of this group of people was on a book that magnified their own faults.
So we have these two groups of people and we have a 2000 year case study. Each of these groups produced villains and saints. But what type of societies did these two groups produce?
The one group produced a society that had little respect for human life. It was a society built on class distinctions, considered cruelty to be entertainment and glorified war. Its attitude toward people who didn’t respect their god was disgraceful, this society often persecuted those who did not share their views and this society elevated hate to the level of religious virtue.
The other group produced a society that loved life, hated war, respected education, practiced kindness and learned to thrive under any condition. When this second society was persecuted and murdered, they spent more time reestablishing their own lives than they did hating their persecutors.
So what is the argument? How could anyone try to justify the perpetuation of these teachings which stand at the heart of 2000 years of evil? And in case you think that the deemphasizing the concept of man being created in God’s image is not related to murder, you will note that long before this experiment was conducted, the Bible had tied the two together (Genesis 9:6). And in case you thought that slandering people and standing by while they die are two unrelated actions, you will note that the Jewish Scripture tied these two concepts together as well (Leviticus 19:16). So how could anyone from Matthew’s school dispute the findings of this comprehensive experiment?
Ah! But there were some saints in this evil society. And the argument has it that all the other people in the society (those that were not saints) were evil before they were taught these teachings. It is only the saints who should be considered when we judge the effects of the teachings on the society. They were the “real” students of the teachings in question.
Is that how we conduct experiments? Would you want the FDA to apply this twisted logic when they test the medications for your children?
Isn’t it time to go back to the Torah’s teachings of respect for all humanity? Isn’t it time to stop denigrating the deeds of men? Isn’t it time to turn away from a man whose circle of supposed beneficiaries only extends as far as his popularity and submit our hearts to the One who holds the soul of every living being in His loving hand?
Is a 2000 year experiment not good enough for you?
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal