Friday, July 03, 2009

Holy, Er, God

The South Jerusalem blog takes a break from commentary on Israel and Palestine to give us Rep. John Shimkus' (R-IL), er, unique perspective on global warming:

Back to SJ:
Maimonides would not have made such a ridiculous mistake had he been elected to Congress. He adduced the Talmudic principle that ha-olam ke-minhago noheg—meaning that the universe functions in accordance with the laws of nature. Even when the Messiah comes, he argued, we will see no supernatural events or miracles that violate the natural order. (One reason Maimonides and other theologians have held this position is that if the natural order must be violated for God to carry out his will, then the world is an imperfect creation—implying that God made mistakes that He needs to correct.)

So God’s promise to Noah is not that he’s made it impossible for Noah’s descendants to destroy the world. God’s message to Noah is that it’s entirely up to humankind to maintain the world. It would be apt to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin today: “A world—if you can keep it.”

Leave theology to the pros, Rep. Shimkus.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Better to leave theology out of public policy debates altogether, me thinks.

I think Shimkus's position is fine if you're prepared to grant his assumptions.

1. The Bible is literally true.
2. The Bible describes the end of the world.
3. That description doesn't include a flood.

Since (I assume) the world can only end once then according to Shimkus's religious beliefs he can be secure in the knowledge that sea level rise will not be the end of the world. Now that doesn't mean there won't be bad consequences do to sea level rise but we should expect nothing on the order of Armageddon.

On the other hand, making policy based on the insane visions/coded political polemic of a hermit who lived over a thousand years means that you have no grasp of reality. I tremble when I consider the notion that any congressional vote has hinged on a theological "argument".