Sunday, July 13, 2014
Occam's Razor and the Talmud.
This is a re-worked post from 2011. At the time I was exploring the most basic belief attendant to all religions; faith. There is not one religion which does not ask you to take it’s tenets on faith alone. Without faith there can be no devotion. Without devotion there could be no God. I believe very strongly in God. I have reservations about organized religions; but that’s just me. I accept your beliefs as being just that. In return I only ask that others respect mine.
This is Michelangelo's beautiful work from the Sistine Chapel showing God Creating Adam. Whether or not you believe in Creationism, or even God, the works of Michelangelo are certainly evidence of the beauty we are capable of carrying within us.
Man has been arguing religion for so long now, thousands of years, with no progress having been made concerning the respect for different beliefs. At times it seems more like a war than a theological discussion. And, sometimes it has been.
I really enjoy stories from the Talmud and the Mishna. They are the codifications of the events, and their meanings, in the Old Testament. The Talmud and Mishna are almost as old as the Bible itself, and though they are chiefly concerned with the teachings of the Old Testament, many lessons can be learned from these wonderful tales.
There are many Talmudic "type" of stories, which usually illustrate some principle which has already been expressed in either the Talmud or the Mishna. My favorite is the one about "Two Men Coming Down the Same Chimney", a link to which is provided below. And, there are so many more. Here is another of my favorites, illustrating a basic concept;
Once, a man was visiting a small town for the weekend. He attended the local services at the synagogue. When it was time to honor some of the congregants with Torah blessings, he noticed that the Rabbi was calling random people to be blessed, without regard to name, age or community status. After the service he went to the Rabbi to complain about what he perceived to be an unfair practice. The Rabbi said, "You have been in this synagogue only one day, and yet you feel that there is no order here? I have a list, and I make sure that everything is in order. Remember, we are only on this earth for a short time, and that God has a list, too. Rest assured; everything is in order."
The point here is that; at least where religion is concerned; we never get to see the whole, larger picture. So how can we judge what is fair, or not? So, how is it possible to answer the question of God being fair? Just a thought for the day...
Here’s a link to the “Two men Come Down the Same Chimney” piece;
And if you like that, there’s also this piece, exploring the relation between the “Chimney” school of thought and the theory of Occam’s Razor;