You can stop global warming! November 17, 2010Posted by Ezra Resnick in Religion, Superstition.
Israel’s chief rabbis are calling on the public to pray for rain, and declared this Thursday a special day of fasting and prayer to atone for the sins that are likely preventing the direly missing rainfall.
“The summer is gone as is most of the winter, and we are yet to be redeemed by the downfall of rains of blessing, and the state of the waters in the Land of Israel is under duress and great distress, especially since this is not the first year of drought, and the land is dry due to our many sins, and this is a troubling matter,” Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar wrote in a letter sent out last Thursday. . . .
The rabbis set out the protocol for the upcoming day of fasting, for those who can take it upon themselves, including the order of prayers, and encouraged people to fast as much as they could.
Perhaps we should sacrifice a goat as well, just to be on the safe side.
Of course, the beauty of this scheme is that it’s unfalsifiable. If it eventually rains, that shows the praying and fasting worked; and if not, that’s because our sins are too great, or because God is testing us, or because he works in mysterious ways and who are we to question God anyway. No evidence would ever cause the rabbis to consider the possibility that drought has nothing to do with sin and that prayer and fasting have absolutely no effect on the weather.
I’m constantly amazed by the arrogance and self-importance of those who believe that everything that happens in the universe is about us. And do the rabbis not realize the obscene consequences of ascribing natural phenomena to divine punishment? Which sins exactly cause millions of little children to be tortured by cancer and drowned in tsunamis and buried alive in earthquakes every year? And what kind of God would do such things?
Instead of wasting our time and energy on superstition, perhaps we should dedicate our resources to more scientific study of the climate, and find out whether we can change our behavior in ways that might actually make a difference. In any case, there’s no need to feel guilty about things that are not our fault and are beyond our control. But then guilt is such an important part of religion, isn’t it.
It’s a disgrace that Israeli taxpayers are funding the salaries of witch doctors.