Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Results of Poll on: Avodah Zara or Atheism

In our last poll, we inquired:

Poll: Avodah Zara or Atheism?

What is more antithetical to Judaism and Monotheism:
Avodah Zara or Atheism?

1. Avodah Zara is worse because it substitutes true Monotheism with an ersatz form of spirituality that is highly seductive and substitutes another being for the Truth. Atheism does not offer this enticement

2. Atheism is worse. It teaches the masses to narcissistically worship themselves instead of having deference to a Higher Power. Nothing will foster more evil than the worship of Humans as a Supreme Being and nothing is more enticing.

3. Both are equally antithetical to Judaism and Monotheism in that they worship either humans or deities made in the IMAGE of Humans. For example - Marxism and such similar movements - ultimately projects its own value structure as a deity. And even their founders - such as Marx, Lenin and Mao are equated to Saints.

Which do you choose?

Your Responses (total 11)
Choice 1 - 46% (5)
Choice 2 - 18% (2)
Choice 3 - 36% (4)


Rabbi Hecht
It seems that, from our small survey, the overwhelming view is that avodah zara is worse, or at best equal to, atheism. Simply stated, belief in something incorrect is worse than no belief at all. There are views within the Torah literature, though, that would seem to support any of the three alternatives. Rav Avraham Price questions whether a non-Jew who is an atheist violates the Noachide Code for, while he does not believe in God he also is not worshipping avodah zara. The implication is that avodah zara is clearly worse than atheism. Rav Kuk, on the other hand, when questioned about what good there can possibly be in avodah zara stated that we can still, at least, learn from them the passion and devotion that should be in our avodat Hashem. The implication is that there is a value, albeit obscure and of minimal significance, that still exists in avodah zara. The Rav maintained, however, that there is no such thing as atheism. A human being needs a cause, an ideal, and those who are atheists just substitute a belief in a divinity with a belief in a value or movement such as Communism. In a certain way, the Rav is really seeing them as of an equal nature. There are arguments for all three positions.

Rabbi Wolpoe
While all three arguments have validity, it seems to me that Atheism is no doubt worse because it denies a spiritual dimension to human beings completely.
While Avodah Zarah [AZ] does at least acknowledge a "higher power" and simply perverts it either intentionally, or more likely neglectfully. I think as bad as AZ is, the path back from it [T'shuvah] is easier.
Spiritual people tend to share a common mindset that the Rav called "homo religioso"
Atheists and Communists are too cynical to appreciate that.

My 2 cents

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