ID community reb Moshe Averick does not see the point of “Rabbis Without God (?!)”, as his punctuation would seem to suggest. (Algemeiner , April 14, 2011) He describes
Rabbi Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, is a “humanist rabbi, ordained by the International Institute for Humanistic Judaism.” He graciously informs the interviewer that “he’s not out to poach souls [for atheism] from the nearby Hillel House, the Catholic Newman Center, or any of the other august religious institutions…on the campus of the country’s most prestigious university.” What he doesn’t tell us is the obvious reason why he’s not out to poach souls; as an atheist he does not believe in the existence of the soul. In the worldview of the humanist/atheist, there is no non-material or “spiritual” component to the human being. The upright walking primate we call homo sapiens, and for that matter all life on earth, emerged from the pre-biotic slime some 3.8 billion years ago, as the result of an undirected naturalistic process. In the words of renowned evolutionary biologist George Gaylord Simpson, “Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have a human in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species in the order of primates…”
Epstein writes in the preface of his book that people can “lead good and moral lives without super-naturalism, without higher powers, without God.” What he really means, of course, is that if people treat each other as if they are created in the image of God,as if they have been endowed with unalienable rights by their infinite Creator, as opposed to treating each other like the highly evolved bacteria and cockroaches that they actually are, then they can lead good and moral lives even while ostensibly dropping God out of the picture. It is also interesting to note that while Epstein is sufficiently bold to assert that people can be good and moral without the “higher power” of God, I doubt that he is quite bold enough to live in the Boston area without the “higher power” of the Boston Police Force.
Some wonder why we often hear atheists say that “We can be good despite not believing in God.” But does one ever hear observant Jews say “We can be good despite believing in God.”?
Just one of those little questions to think about while folding the laundry some time.