September 28, 2013


Genesis: The Tree of Knowledge or Blind Faith? (Eylon Aslan-Levy, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013, Times of Irsrael)

The difference between religion in and of itself and knowledge, the Hebrew seems to suggest, is that the former is blind: it is what remains when a system of reasoning and thought is stripped of anything that could validate its conclusions. Knowledge exists when the rich heritage and teachings of religion are fused with real-world experience, and when people are willing to judge what they have been told in light of what they see, and evaluate what they have been taught in light of what they can learn. Religion and knowledge are not mutually exclusive, as some more haughty atheists might sneer: knowledge is religion built beyond its bare bones.

So why does God punish man for acquiring moral knowledge? The answer is that the expulsion from the Garden of Eden is not a punishment: it is a liberation. In Eden, amid conditions of plenty, where every want is sated, there are few opportunities for wrongdoing. It is sufficient for Adam and Eve's moral code to include only two laws: be fruitful and multiply, and don't eat the fruit from that tree. In short, it is enough for religion (God's commandment) to provide the foundation for human living.

Once man has acquired this awesome power to divine right from wrong for himself, however, Eden is an infantilising habitat: for without the trials and tribulations of a difficult world replete with moral dilemmas, there are few opportunities for man to exercise this power of his. The power of moral reasoning is superfluous when it rarely needs to be exercised. God banishes Adam and Eve in order to allow them to make tough moral decisions for themselves, and thereby redeem this extraordinary potential of moral agency within them. slay Abel.

Posted by at September 28, 2013 7:26 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus
« ...AND FASTER...: | Main | TRUST, BUT VERIFY: »