Happy birthday to all of the Pinchas's out there (most popular name for boys born during this Torah portion!)
The purpose of this email is to provide something different for dinner table conversation. Please print and share.
So this week's story starts off ordinarily enough.
I'm getting more and more emails about my app.
In case you missed it, it's the Amazing Jewish Fact-a-Day Calendar (links below).
Someone found an error.
The fact of the day a week ago or so was about the Jewish cadet at West Point who was told that the "History of War" course doesn't cover Jewish wars, ancient or modern, because according to military science, the Jewish should have lost those wars.
Now if you have the app and read that fact, you may have noticed that it promises to take you to more info if you click the link below. Problem is none of the links take you to more info.
It turns out that I had fixed a broken link but failed update the text.
In searching for a better link for this gentle reader, I came across an online forum.
Maybe you've seen these online forums.
Perhaps you've even joined one.
I'm not a big forum guy. I don't like the name-calling, the rants.
But this one was particularly civil. It appeared well-moderated.
And there I found myself joining a spirited discussion around the topic of religious "truth".
Some of the writers were bothered by the whole idea of "truth".
Truth, they stated, is a subject of science. The function of religion is belief.
Question #1 for your table: Do you agree?
Therefore, they said, what's the point of debating religion?
Someone else, however, made the point that many religions make exclusive claims about the truth.
For instance, "Believe XYZ if you want to go to Heaven, otherwise you go to Hell."
But the problem is, there are about as many variations of belief out there as there are people.
So we boiled the question down to a very simple one: Christianity, Islam and Judaism all claim that their book has some exclusive "truth" to it. It seems to me that these claims should be as subject to scrutiny as any scientific claim.
For example, the chemist claims that matter is made of atoms. All matter. S/he doesn't claim that "matter is made of atoms for me, but not necessarily for you." It is an exclusive claim. We therefore require a certain amount of evidence in order to accept it as "true" or even probable.
In my humble opinion, the big claims of religions, such as the exclusive truth of their respecdtive books, should be held to the same standard of evidence.
For your table: What's your opinion?
The iPhone app: http://tinyurl.com/amazingcalendarlink
Android version: http://tinyurl.com/amazingandroidcalendar
Bar and Bat Mitzvah gift suggestions at bestjewishkidsbooks.com (a service of JSL).