Exodus – Based in Some Fact? A Rabbi Responds…

Dear Jason,

First of all, please accept my apologies for the delayed response.

You inquired regarding the historical basis of the Exodus.

I am not aware of any hard evidence that contradicts the Exodus narrative. Much of what passes for archaeological knowledge is interpretation and hypothetical reconstruction of events based upon scant physical evidence. And there are certainly models of the data put forth by scholars in the field that would militate against the Biblical version of what occurred. However, there are competing interpretations and perspectives that support the traditional view, and I believe that a truly objective investigator would be foolish to reject them in favor of more iconoclastic alternatives. 

In my opinion, rejecting the historical tradition of a nation is only warranted when there is no recourse, i.e., when evidence clearly refutes the claims of that tradition. Otherwise, a tradition unanimously held by an entire people for centuries should enjoy the benefit of the doubt, even if this means favoring interpretations of the data that are consistent with, rather than contradictory to, its claims.

So, in a nutshell – yes, the Exodus happened as written, and the proof is that an entire nation maintained this historical memory and based its religious beliefs and practices upon it for centuries, coupled with the fact that the Exodus narrative – while, strictly speaking, not provable – can be reconciled with plausible interpretations of the archaeological record.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Best Regards,

Rabbi Joshua Maroof

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18 thoughts on “Exodus – Based in Some Fact? A Rabbi Responds…

  1. Unbelievably – this rabbi and I share this in common – I tend to think the Exodus was based in some fact – somewhere down the line. This was a question I asked about a month and half ago when we were debating the idea of Exodus being based on a factual event – or at least in some fact. Although unproveable – this rabbi responded that it has to be based on the continuation of the traditions from Exodus.

    I wasn’t that far off really.

  2. I don’t think it happened as written as you appear to contend as well. Not in the exact numbers, but it did happen. I point to Origen, a Christian theologian in Alexandria in the late 2nd- early 3rd century wrote in his “First Principles”:

    “I do not think anyone will doubt that there are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events… The careful reader will detect thousands of other passags like this in the scriptures which will convince him that events which did not take place at all are woven into the records of what literally did happen.”

    For example, a griffin is forbidden to be eaten (Lev. 11:13 and Deut. 14:12). Exod. 16:29 states that “Ye shall sit each one in your dwellings; let none of you go out from his place on the sabbath day.” This is impossible as are the numbers of those exodus’n from Egypt.

    the important part is that this is part of the identity of the Jewish people.. they are a covenantial people not only from Adam and Abraham but also from Moses and David. this is their identity and traditions are a great way of keeping a groups identity in focus.

    RAWK OUT!

  3. Nothing to do with this post…but…

    I’ve named you on my Certified Honest Blogger post today. Don’t…I repeat, do NOT…feel obliged to go through with the process yourself. Just wanted you to know I’ve given you some respect after getting some myself.

  4. Thanks Deacon Blue – this means I have to come and read some of your stuff – which I am more than happy to do.

  5. Rabbi Joshua Maroof: … a tradition unanimously held by an entire people for centuries should enjoy the benefit of the doubt,…

    Of course, there is no proof of that, either! We would have to answer these three very sticky questions:

    1) When did Exodus occur?
    2) When did the tradition start?
    3) When was it written?

    Secondly, why give it the “benefit of the doubt”? Do we give Joseph Smiths’ tale the “benefit of the doubt”? The Aztec claims? The Norse mythologies? The tales of Mohammed?

    Why is it that only those who actually believe it desire “the benefit of the doubt” while so rarely granting the same “benefit” to other beliefs?

    Rabbi Joshua Maroof: … even if this means favoring interpretations of the data that are consistent with, rather than contradictory to, its claims.

    We deliberately embrace bias to conform to what we want? Am I reading this right? I notice the Rabbi does not give a single example of this “interpretations of data” which supports Exodus.

    While I am more than willing to believe there may be “something” that happened, some slaves escaping Egypt and knocking down a wooden fence in Canaan—to embrace the tale of the Tanakh by:

    1) first claiming it was held as tradition for centuries with no proof
    2) Then claiming we must give it the benefit of the doubt, based on that lack of proof
    3) Then claim we must interpret all data as if it happened based on that benefit, and deliberately…what…ignore the other data?

    Rabbi Joshua Maroof: … and I believe that a truly objective investigator would be foolish to reject them…

    Bwahahahaha. A “truly objective investigator” who must “give it the benefit of the doubt” and “favor interpretations of the data that are consistent with” and NOT “favor interpretations contradictory.”

    Does he even understand what a “truly objective investigator” is?

    Rabbi Joshua Maroof: …the Exodus narrative – while, strictly speaking, not provable – can be reconciled with plausible interpretations of the archaeological record.

    No, it can’t. I would (again and again and again) ask the Rabbi to give us the date of Exodus. Then give us the “plausible interpretation” of the record for the Ten Plagues, the “plausible interpretation” for the Exodus, and the “plausible interpretation” of Joshua’s invasion.

    Can’t be done.

    SocietyVs, you know I have asked this time and again. Can anyone answer all three situations with a plausible explanation that fits the archeological record we have? Nope–otherwise we wouldn’t have people hoping to find evidence of the occurrence. We would, arguably, already have it.

  6. DagoodS

    There isn’t going to be a clear cut answer here, and please don’t assume that lack of corroboration means proof Exodus didn’t happen. It might argue in that direction, but it still isn’t proof.

    If I remember rightly, plenty of people argued that Sodom and Gammorah were total myths. I don’t recall details, but I’m pretty sure there was an archeological finding sevreal years back that not only located both cities and also showed evidence they were destroyed by some cataclysm.

    Historical records going back as far as Exodus are sketchy at best, assuming they exist at all in some cases. It may be that Exodus is a myth. It may be that the situation and plagues were smaller events that got played up as the centuries rolled on. It may be entirely true.

  7. Secondly, why give it the “benefit of the doubt”? Do we give Joseph Smiths’ tale the “benefit of the doubt”? The Aztec claims? The Norse mythologies? The tales of Mohammed?

    Why is it that only those who actually believe it desire “the benefit of the doubt” while so rarely granting the same “benefit” to other beliefs?

    You are attributing Christian teachings to Judaism. What other people believe is their business. Most of us aren’t bothered that our stories could be just that, stories, nor do we condemn others for finding meaning in their own stories so long as they don’t try to evangelize us.

    If you don’t believe the Exodus took place, so what? You wrote quite an eloquent post about your treatment by Christians after you left the faith. But, then you turn around and belittle another faith which has done you no harm? What’s with that? By and large my experience leaving Christianity was not much different from your own, yet you would add to my list treatment by atheists?

  8. Deacon Blue,

    Good question regarding Sodom & Gomorrah. In order to answer it, we would need to know two things:

    1) What it is the skeptic said; and
    2) What archeologists found.

    What I suspect is happening is the following…

    The skeptic said one of two things. Something like:

    S1: There never, ever, ever were two cities named Sodom & Gomorrah in the entire history of the human race; or
    S2: While there may have been two cities, with names of Sodom & Gomorrah, they were not destroyed by fire and brimstone raining down from the sky while a woman turned into a pillar of salt outside the gates after a night of attempted homosexual gang-rape of supernatural beings.

    And the archeologists found one of two things. Something like:

    A1: Two Canaanite-area cities from roughly 2000 BCE simultaneously utterly destroyed by raining fire while a pillar of salt mysteriously appeared in the location; or
    A2: A number of cities from the approximate time period, any two of which could have been named Sodom or Gomorrah.

    I suspect the skeptic actually said S2, and the archeologists found A2; whereas Sunday Schools across North America would like to give the impression the skeptic said S1, and the archeologists found A1.

    What do you think?

  9. yaelbatsarah

    I had a twinge of guilt posting against a Rabbi on yesterday of all days. Alas, being me, it was only a twinge and I did anyway. Obviously.

    Anyone who is intelligent and reasonable would see that Exodus did not happen.

    O.K., I don’t actually hold to that last sentence. But what did you think when you read it? While I didn’t specifically say “You have to be dumb as a box of rocks to think Exodus happened”—it certainly gives that impression doesn’t it?

    The obvious implication is: If Intelligent people say Exodus did not happen, and you say it did then….. If Reasonable people say Exodus did not happen, and you say it did then….

    While someone authoring the sentence may not mean it to come across that way—can you see why a reader who disagrees would interpret in that light? What did you think the first millisecond after reading it?

    Now look at what the Rabbi said, “…a truly objective observer”…does what? Believes Exodus happens as he does. The fact I do not makes me…what? Not “truly objective.”

    In other words, the impression I received from this statement was that my position on Exodus (which is a bit studied, might I add), because I disagree with the Rabbi ; that my position should be rejected because of my bias. Not a demonstrated bias, mind you, but a bias because of our disagreement.

    Well, this happens all the time in Internet discussions. If I got my underwear in a knot every time someone implied I was unintelligent, or unreasonable, or not objective because only “intelligent, reasonable or objective” persons held to an opposing position, I would have asphyxiated long ago.

    But then the Rabbi does a remarkable, curious thing. He goes on to state, in order to support his position, it must first be given “the benefit of the doubt” AND any interpretations of the data in support of his position must be “favored” AND any interpretations of the data against his position must be dismissed as “not favorable.”

    It is here where I snorted. He wants a complete bias; an admittedly complete bias towards his position in order to sustain it, and if I do not share in that bias I am not being “objective.” Does that make any sense to you? In fact, in order to agree, I would have, under his own stated conditions, to NOT be objective, otherwise I wouldn’t agree with his position because I didn’t give it enough bias.

    yaelbatsarah, I would like to know what happened. Did some slaves escape and this story grew? Did it really happen as stated in the Tanakh? Is it entirely made up? When did the story start to circulate? When was it written?

    I know the answers to these questions may never be answered, but I enjoy the search. If someone tells me, “There are facts supporting Exodus”—I would like to know what those facts are. If someone tells me, “This story was passed down for centuries”—I would like to know what those centuries are.

    If someone says, “I hold there was some element to Exodus that is true, but some of it is myth”—I would like to know how they develop a method of what is true and what is myth.

    I talk to people who range from 99% true to 0% true. If they want to believe it, I cannot stop ‘em. They must come to their own conclusions as to how they believe, and why.

    If some literalist Christians want to hold to its historicity, or some liberal Christian does not, or some Jews do, and some Jews do not—what is that to me? But if I am told I am not being objective simply because I disagree, and I am told in the next breath the only way to sustain the other person’s position is to show bias—I will point out the inconsistency. I will point out why I reject that type of thinking.

    Take it as you will.

    Understand we all come with biases. I was pointing out rejecting an opposing view as “not being objective” while only able to sustain one’s own view by completely immersing in bias seemed…well… funny, really. I wasn’t attempting to belittle Judaism. More the Rabbi.

    Did not mean to offend.

  10. Dagoods,
    Are you perhaps running for political office? You neatly avoided addressing my point and instead went on at length about something which I never even mentioned! Let me know please, since, after looking at the other candidates, I’d still vote for you in spite of your sidestepping attempt.

    I never said I agreed with the Rabbi’s take on the Exodus; I never even mentioned it.

    What I took issue with was your assumption that when the Rabbi said the traditional view of Exodus should be given the benefit of the doubt he also said that no other religious people’s stories should be given the benefit of the doubt. He did not. He made no mention of any other religion at all!

    YOU, Dagoods, assumed that he would claim ONLY our stories are to be given the benefit of the doubt perhaps because this is the usual view within the Christianity of which you were once part? Yet by doing so you perpetuate the view held by these people that they alone speak for God and religion. No, they don’t. The traditional view within Judaism is that our stories are just that, our stories, and, unlike this rabbi, most of us give them little historical credence, nor are we in the least bit bothered that other people have their own stories which give meaning to their lives even if these stories also seem quite far fetched. What’s it to us? They’re all far fetched! We value ours because they are part of our tradition; we let others have their own traditions as well, so long as they don’t evangelize.

    I’m not going to get into an argument about what this Rabbi said, he’s not my rabbi so when it comes right down to it, while I respect him as a Rabbi, his answers wouldn’t fly in my shul. He sounds Orthodox; we’re not. I have said numerous times, I don’t care if the Exodus was historical or not. What does historical mean anyway? Is history ever all that accurate? I see Torah as stories which reflect my people’s understanding of their encounters with God. That’s it.

    That you find no meaning in God and religion is fine by me. However, why not take out your grievances with Christianity on Christianity and leave us to the atheist Jews, since they are not likely to attribute the failings of Christianity to us but will instead give us hell for our own failings?

    (Interesting to me, BTW, that our atheists are not necessarily outside the community at all. Why would we care what they believe? Besides, they add much to the conversation. I can’t imagine anything more boring than ‘studying’ with a group of people who all hold to the same beliefs. I don’t suppose fundie Christians would be surprised to learn Jewish atheists can feel quite at home in a synagogue since they consider all of us to be atheists, too funny.)

  11. yaelbatsarah,

    It seems I have inadvertently given an impression I did not mean to. I wasn’t trying to avoid your point—I thought your concern was elsewhere. My mistake. Let me try this again.

    My first comment was as to the Rabbi’s position. Not Judaism. I never meant (and never said) ALL of Judaism determined a certain level of historicity regarding Exodus. I…er…in fact said the exact opposite.

    I have had the privilege of talking to people from a variety of theistic standpoints. And, over those conversations, have learned there is no “one set beliefs” in any particular belief. We can’t say, “ALL Christians hold…” or “ALL Jews say…” on just about anything. Using Christianity as an example, we find differences between Protestant and Catholic. Charismatic and Conservative. Liberal and Fundamentalists. Calvinists and Arminian. Literalists and non-literalist. Inerrancy and non-inerrancy.

    And even as we narrow down those categories, we find individuals with their own idiosyncrasies, making their own individual determinations. I have all but come to the point in individual discussions to inquiring as to individual positions, due to the variety.

    I am aware (broadly) of the differences between Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed Judaism. Yet even within the various differences here, there are more differences between temples, and, again, between individuals.

    In my response I was talking ONLY about the Rabbi’s position on Exodus. Not all of Judaism. Not yours. Not some other Jewish position. ONLY the Rabbit’s.

    yaelbatsarah: YOU, Dagoods, assumed that he would claim ONLY our stories are to be given the benefit of the doubt …

    Yep, I did. (Although I put it in the form of a question. If he wants to come here and explain I misunderstood his position, I would be happy to retract that assumption.)

    But again, I am only assuming this about the Rabbi: not all of Judaism. You go on to explain:

    yaelbatsarah: The traditional view within Judaism is that our stories are just that, our stories, and, unlike this rabbi, most of us give them little historical credence… (emphasis added)

    Fine. Great. I wasn’t addressing my comments to the “traditional view within Judaism.” I was addressing them to this Rabbi’s position ONLY. If his position is contrary to what is traditionally held in Judaism, then my comments were not meant to be directed toward traditional Judaism.

    yaelbatsarah: What I took issue with was your assumption that when the Rabbi said the traditional view of Exodus should be given the benefit of the doubt he also said that no other religious people’s stories should be given the benefit of the doubt. He did not. He made no mention of any other religion at all!

    I agree, he did not make mention of other religions. But what is it; what exactly we are talking about giving “the benefit of the doubt.” I took it, from the way the letter was written, we are giving the Historicity of Exodus “happened as written” as what we are giving the “benefit of the doubt.”

    Did I read this incorrectly? Was it something else the Rabbi was saying should be given “the benefit of the doubt”? And while I did make an assumption, I would think it a reasonable one, that the Rabbi (NOT all of Judaism) would not give the “benefit of the doubt” to the historicity of other religious claims, simply by virtue of their being a “tradition unanimously held by an entire people for centuries.”

    Frankly, does anyone think this Rabbi would give the story of Mohammed receiving the Qu’ran as historical “as written” simply because it was a tradition held for centuries? Does the Rabbi believe YHWH actually appeared in the form of Allah? Does anyone think the Rabbi would believe the story of Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith because of the tradition? Or even the Christian version of God appearing in the form of Jesus?

    If the Rabbi believes all those stories are equally historical as he believes Exodus is—I would love to hear an explanation as to how he coordinates that! *grin*

    Again, yaelbatsarah (I am trying to clear this up)—I am referring to the Rabbi ONLY. I am NOT saying Judaism as a whole holds all of these stories of equal historicity.

    yaelbatsarah: However, why not take out your grievances with Christianity on Christianity and leave us to the atheist Jews, since they are not likely to attribute the failings of Christianity to us but will instead give us hell for our own failings?

    Oh, I am an equal-opportunity atheist. I find all God-beliefs to be incorrect. Although in this particular microcosm of the theistic debate, I was really referring only to this particular Rabbi’s position on Exodus, and SocietyVs’ desire for confirmation of his own position on Exodus.

    I hope this clears it up. If not, I can try again. Sorry for any confusion caused. (Stupid internet; not letting us talk face-to-face…)

  12. And while I did make an assumption, I would think it a reasonable one, that the Rabbi (NOT all of Judaism) would not give the “benefit of the doubt” to the historicity of other religious claims, simply by virtue of their being a “tradition unanimously held by an entire people for centuries.”

    Frankly, does anyone think this Rabbi would give the story of Mohammed receiving the Qu’ran as historical “as written” simply because it was a tradition held for centuries? Does the Rabbi believe YHWH actually appeared in the form of Allah? Does anyone think the Rabbi would believe the story of Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith because of the tradition? Or even the Christian version of God appearing in the form of Jesus?

    If the Rabbi believes all those stories are equally historical as he believes Exodus is—I would love to hear an explanation as to how he coordinates that! *grin*

    OK. Let me try for the third time to say this. I have little doubt this Rabbi would indeed say that other the stories of other religions can be given the benefit of the doubt as well. How much more clearly can I say this. He doesn’t need to explain how this could be because we don’t get into such discussions. Why would we care? Torah clearly states that other gods, other forms of worship have been given to the nations but NOT to us, so we leave them to their worship so long as they don’t evangelize us. Only when they come at us do we even bother talking about their beliefs at all.

    Why would you think otherwise? Again, you are equating the mentality of Christianity with that of Judaism and assuming that this Rabbi would go along with Christianity rather than traditional Judaism.

    You may be an equal opportunity religion basher but I have to say, you detract from your own message by stepping outside your area of expertise. Jews don’t evangelize. Why? Because we don’t see anything wrong with other people having their own paths to God nor other people choosing not to believe in God at all. WE do give their stories the benefit of the doubt, why would this one rabbi be any different than the rest of us? I would not make that assumption, but I guess you are free to make your own assumptions as you wish.

  13. So, yaelbatsarah, do you “give the benefit of the doubt” and “favor interpretations of data consistent with” and disfavor interpretations of data inconsistent with those in Judaism who state the Exodus happened as written?

    Can you stay consistent with this claim? I am curious how you can, on one hand claim you hold the stories to have “little historical credence” and are “far fetched” yet at the same time grant the benefit of the doubt and only provide bias interpretation of the data of those who do not.

    How does that work?

    Secondly, if this Rabbi would give other stories “the benefit of the doubt”—what did he mean by “truly objective investigator”? Is there a disconnect between being “truly objective” as compared to “benefit of the doubt” and “favoring data.”

  14. Dagoods,
    I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I really don’t give a damn if the Exodus happened or not, nor do I care if this particular rabbi believes it happened or not. If you want to know what he means by something, go ask him yourself! Good grief already.

    My beef is with your equating the exclusiveness of Christianity to Judaism. I’m not going to get in an argument about the Exodus or whatever evidence you claim speaks against it because I don’t give a damn one way or the other. Is that clear enough for you?

    You claimed in your comment on another thread that the reason you write against Christianity is because of how it treated you. But, now you’re acting just as they do in thinking their view of God and religion is the only view. Some Christians seem to like their one way view of all, but we Jews live with contradictions and tensions. That’s what I enjoy the most. Life is filled with contradictions. To try and fit everything in a neat little package is ridiculous.

    I talk about the Exodus as if it really happened because that is the way all storytellers talk. Do I believe it? You know, my rabbi never talks about what he really believes so I don’t either. Who cares? We are free to believe what we want. If people choose to believe the story happened as written, what’s it to me? If people choose to believe Joseph Smith found gold plates, what’s it to me? People can believe what they want. It doesn’t matter.

    I’m through talking with you, OK? You keep insisting that Judaism has to view our texts and our stories the same as Christians view them. Whatever. I’m not spending any more time on this foolish conversation. I have a real life with real concerns. The Exodus isn’t one of them. Christians and former Christians insisting that all religious people must be just like Christians is something I will speak against. But, I have done so four times now? Enough already.

  15. And so I am left puzzling and puzzling as how to align those opposed to the Rabbi’s position are not “truly objective investigators” yet in order to support his position he demands the “benefit of the doubt” and favorable treatment of the evidence.

    yaelbatsarah: …nor do I care if this particular rabbi believes it happened or not. If you want to know what he means by something, go ask him yourself! Good grief already.

    Er…um…uh…Huh?! I did! Did I wake up in “backwards-world” today? Did you read over my comments? My first comment was directed at the Rabbi. My second comment was directed at the Rabbi. Over and over I stated I was asking the Rabbi! Here is a sampling:

    Me: Does he even understand what a “truly objective investigator” is?

    I had a twinge of guilt posting against a Rabbi on yesterday of all days.

    But if I am told I am not being objective simply because I disagree, and I am told in the next breath the only way to sustain the other person’s position is to show bias—I will point out the inconsistency. I will point out why I reject that type of thinking.

    My first comment was as to the Rabbi’s position. Not Judaism.

    In my response I was talking ONLY about the Rabbi’s position on Exodus. Not all of Judaism. Not yours. Not some other Jewish position.

    But again, I am only assuming this about the Rabbi: not all of Judaism.

    It was you, yaelbatsarah, who continued to insist I was posting some position against all of Judaism. Despite my repeated attempts to clarify this. Finally, after YOU kept insisting YOU knew what this Rabbi meant, and I did not; I figured if you were so certain of his meaning, I could ask you the question.

    And you ran away.

    Let us be real clear what the Rabbi is implying. “Benefit of the doubt” and “favoritism of evidence” is a methodology–it is not simply granting people disagree, or allowing others to have differing opinions. It is a means by which we are demanded to treat the evidence. I am desperately curious as to how one does that with competing claims. Despite coughing out this sentiment, no one can tell us how to do it.

    yaelbatsarah: My beef is with your equating the exclusiveness of Christianity to Judaism.

    No, No, No, No, No. A thousand times—NO! Life is full of claims. Some of those “exclude” other claims. A claim “Exodus happened exactly as written in the Torah” excludes the claim Exodus did not. And vice versa. I am trying to figure out how Judaism (as you seem to claim) is able to give both exclusive contradictory claims “the benefit of the doubt” and “favoritism of interpretation of data.”

    To illustrate my puzzlement at this dilemma, let me step out of the religious realm, and talk about another historical event—the holocaust. As we know, there are holocaust deniers. People who say the holocaust did not happen. The claim “the holocaust did not happen” excludes the claim “The holocaust did happen.” And vice versa.

    We now have two competing, exclusive claims. How am I to be a “truly objective investigator” in such a situation? On the one hand, according to this methodology, I must give the benefit of the doubt to the holocaust denier, favor interpretation of data supporting it did not happen, and be biased against evidence it did happen. On the other hand, according to this methodology, I must give the benefit of the doubt to the person claiming the holocaust did happen, favor interpretation of data it did happen, and be biased against evidence it did not happen.

    In other words, I must give the benefit of the doubt the holocaust did/did not happen. I must give favor to the interpretation of the data supporting it did/did not happen. I must be biased against data supporting it did/did not happen?

    How does one do that? How can one look at the same data, and at the same time give it favorable/non-favorable interpretation?

    yaelbatsarah—you can believe what you want about Exodus. (I said that earlier.) What I am far more interested in is how to apply this methodology. It seems completely unworkable to me. How do we give the benefit of the doubt and favor/not favor the competing exclusive claims Exodus did/did not happen as written? (And even worse, the additional claim it happened partly like it was written. And it happened in various different centuries. The claim it happened in 2200’s BCE excludes the claim it happened in 1300’s BCE. How do I look at the evidence both in a favorable light and a non-favorable light for the 2200 date, while looking at the evidence in both a favorable light and non-favorable light for the 1300 date? All while looking at the evidence in a favorable light and non-favorable light that it occurred as written, while looking at the evidence in a favorable light and non-favorable light that it did not occur as written?)

    And now I’ll never know…

    yaelbatsarah: I’m through talking with you, OK?

    *shrug* Join millions. It has been my experience, with a few welcome exceptions like SocietyVs, that I am more than invited to the party when discussing other people’s theism. The liberals love my taking on the conservatives. But once my sights are trained on an individual’s theism, I am no longer the “life-of-the-party” I once was.

    yaelbatsarah: You keep insisting that Judaism has to view our texts and our stories the same as Christians view them.

    Balderdash. Codswallop. Not only that—plain wrong. (By the way, many Christians view them as literal, many believe them as partly myth, and many believe them to be totally myth.)

    I am asking, asking, asking how this “method” works for Judaism to view its stories. How to determine “the benefit of the doubt.” And now I will never learn, because you won’t talk to me.

    You can hardly blame a person for being wrong when they ask repeatedly, and you refuse to answer.

    yaelbatsarah: You claimed in your comment on another thread that the reason you write against Christianity is because of how it treated you.

    You have me confused with someone else. I write against Christianity because it is wrong. I was writing here because I saw an inconsistency in the Rabbi’s approach. In the comments, I modified what I was writing to try and determine how this “benefit of the doubt” would work in the face of competing, exclusive claims.

  16. Dagoods and Yael

    Damn after reading your comments I was about to offer you both a free Massage at our clinic, then I realized I needed one first…..;)

  17. DagoodS…apologies for not responding sooner; I haven’t come back to this thread until now.

    From what I’ve read on skepticism about Sodom and Gamorah, it is my take that while there were probably skeptics of both types you mention, it seems like A LOT of them really seemed to be claiming that the whole thing was made up.

    Whereas the archeologists, from what I know, seem to be saying, yup, these are the cities, and they were destroyed, but likely from some natural (not God-made) cataclysm.

    My personal feeling is that there is at least some religious truth to the destruction by God of those cities, though not for homosexual reasons alone but prolonged violent sexual immorality in general against both genders.

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