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Five Best "WTF?" Moments of the Talmud

Here's a short list of some of the craziest, wackiest moments and claims coming out of the Talmud: 1) Rabbi Yochanan says that it would be good if Jewish women fantasize about his beauty while they have sex with their husbands . (Bava Metzia 84a:9) 2) Rav Acha stays overnight in synagogue. A seven-headed demon appears before him. Rav Acha starts praying, and bowing down. Every time he bows, one of the heads of the demon falls off. After seven bows, the demon dies. (Kiddushin 29b) 3) Also, if you actually want to see demons, take a  firstborn black-cat, burn it in fire, grind it up and put the ashes in your eyes, and you will see them . (Berakhot 6a) 4) Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son gain Cyclops's (from X-Men) Optic Blast power by learning Torah for 12 years.  (Shabbat 33b:7) (The next Tanna to gain powers will have Wolverine claws, maybe?) 5) Rabbi Mona claims that, if a man touches his penis, his hand should be cut off, lest he aro
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The So-Called "Rationalist" Jews

I've recently discovered an interesting sub-sect of Judaism. I don't understand exactly where they all come from (Ultra-Orthodoxy, Modern-Orthodoxy, etc.), but I know they all meet on some basic points. These are people who use a term "Rationalist Judaism," based on the approach of the "Rationalist Rishonim" (medieval Torah scholars, such as the Rambam ). The website I found was Natan Slifkin's "Rationalist Judaism" blog ( ), and the critiques here will be on the articles and concepts I've found on that website. There are two basic ways that Jews interpret reality: one is through the belief in revelation, or "divine wisdom" that is revealed by god through prophets, passed down by rabbis. The other way is to use rational methods to explore the natural universe and come to conclusions based on logic. These fundamentals are already a basis of much argument among Jews: how to interpret different Torah ve

Are All Gods Circular?

News flash for people who don't know: Judaism believes in a god. And they think they have this information from righteous people ( tzaddikim ) passed down in a chain of an oral tradition, tracing all the way back to Moses, Abraham, and even Adam (the supposed first-person). And the reason they think there's a god is because these people relayed that miracles have occurred in the past, and that a god did these miracles. I was thinking recently that all the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) all, essentially, make this claim of an oral tradition, or a mesorah , which they believe gives them authority to express an opinion on whether a god exists.  However, let's cut through all the fluff. Forget about miracles, texts, prophecies, etc.  Let's just go back to a person, or even you, who supposedly experienced god.  So this presence, this voice, appears before you, and says, "I AM GOD." As any good skeptic would question,

Is There a "Hell" In Judaism?

The short answer: YES. However, I don't mind giving the long answer, since I've seen far too many atheists concede this point without realizing there's a simple refutation. I've spoken to several people who've said, "Oh, Judaism doesn't have a real hell, such as Christianity does." Oh really? I forgive them, since they are primarily operating off of the Bible, wherein there's not really an explicit mention of "hell" in the Torah. The closest you get is the word "sheol," which is used in a verse talking about the followers of Korach, who were punished with death by God: They went down alive into Sheol, with all that belonged to them; the earth closed over them and they vanished from the midst of the congregation.   Even here, though, it's not clear that they went to a place of fire, torture, etc. which is the place hell is generally described as. At the very least, imagine the Sarlacc from Star Wars - that seems to

Jewish "Psychotherapy" and Free Will

Psychotherapy is basically the attempt to help people who are experiencing psychological stress or suffering by using conversation to help them improve their behaviors, and thus, the quality of their life experiences. In science, it is extremely important, if not integral, to approach something with NO preconceived notion. Any preconception is a form of cognitive bias , which could easily lead someone to come to faulty conclusions. Nowhere is this more evident than when Judaism coincides with psychotherapy. Because, for all its historical problems, psychotherapy, at least, was trying to help people in the best way it could given the understanding of the times. And, as science progresses, we can get better at helping people. Religion and dogma, on the other hand, attempts to throw a monkey wrench into the entire premises of psychotherapy. Moshe Halevi Spero wrote a book Handbook of Psychotherapy and Jewish Ethics (Jewish ethics = a misnomer, in my opinion). In it, he attempts to

Is Judaism An Abusive Relationship?

A relationship is when two people wish to be connected in some way. A healthy relationship is based on freedom: if two people choose to be together, that's fine, and if they choose not to be, that's alright also. And an abusive relationship is when one partner in that dyad uses force of some kind to control the other person in that relationship, either to do certain things, or to stop them from leaving the relationship. How is this relevant to Judaism, you may ask? Let's take a look! The whole premise of Judaism is that Jews have a relationship with god (Hashem). But the relationship is "on the rocks." And apparently, the only way to "repair" it is to follow the demands of god. A bit of a warning: in ANY relationship, if one party is making demands of the other with commands to be followed, that is already not a healthy relationship. Like we said: a truly healthy relationship is based on FREEDOM and EQUALITY. And Judaism has neither. Jews are

"Jewish" Reactions

To give an idea of how warped, twisted, irrational, and fucked-up a religious worldview can be, I've compiled three examples below in blue. In red, you'll see what a possible "Jewish" reaction should be according to Jewish hashkafah  (and note: I've given a very charitable outlook), and in green, my actual reactions based on a rational worldview. 1. I see a video of radical ISIS militants murdering an innocent aid worker. Jewish reaction: Oy, this is terrible! Why did Hashem allow Ishmael  to survive? All this could have been prevented! Maybe we should just make Israel completely Jewish and kick out all the Muslims. Look how crazy they are! They kill people because they believe in a fake religion! The Torah would never say to do anything like that! [ignores the Torah commandment to wipe out the Amalekites, including babies ]. Moshiach must be coming! The war of the end times must be coming! Oh, Hashem, please save us! [ignores that the god who is being pray