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Learning Something New

When we are skeptical, are we really being intelligent, or is it simply an emotional hesitation?

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Anonymous June 6, 2014

it demands if it was just a fact then why not believe
but this fact demands that i put on tefilin and light shabbos candles
it makes me go out of my way
on the other hand it gives us a sense of purpose so it is not that hard to believe Reply

MV Torino, Italy September 10, 2011

Stupidity vs. Ignorance Apart from the religious discussion, I think the message is when hearing new information keep an open mind (don't be ignorant by "ignoring" information). Question it, talk about it, make discussion, find ways that it could be correct, find ways that it could be wrong etc.
Stupidity, on the other hand, is bad judgment and irrational behavior (eg. taking the elevator to go to the gym).
Information may be true but if you create cognitive biases towards previous beliefs, progress will never be made and epistemic advancement never made.
Thus if you have bias towards something you may not be in a position to react (if, it is true, then...). Thinking for one's self still stands as the best policy for all situations. Reply

L Oroville, Ca August 1, 2010

I agree on the reason to disagree The reason to disagree is not the same as being skeptical , but it's walking on a very fine line with it. If a man would say " I am Moschiac!" What would you be: skeptical, would you have a reason to disagree, or......would you believe him? Reply

Catherine NY, NY February 23, 2010

trust Trust has to be earned. It takes time. But if you trust and have faith in G-d, then in time you will see Him. If you understand that everything around us is a gift, our lives, our brains, etc. if you can see it as kindness, then you can see G-d and transcend the law of the jungle that says, get as much as you can for yourself, because tomorrow you may be starving, the world where kindness does not exist. Search for G-d and you will find Him. Remember, your world is the one you choose to perceive. Its always been subjective, you choose to see and believe in G-d, you will find Him. You choose not to believe in G-d, you will live in that godless world. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin December 20, 2009

Re: the other schiureym are good I believe the point Rabbi Friedman was trying to make was not that one should believe everything that they hear. Rather, that one should not simply use the excuse that "I was not there" as the sole basis for rejecting something they were told. If one has a valid reason to question it fine, but that should not be your only reason.

In other words, do not be a skeptic just for the sake of being a skeptic. Reply

Noam Leviton December 20, 2009

the other schiureym are good Dear Rabbi, I enjoy your other schiureym. This one leaves me with the question of discernment and trust?

1) I should trust Bernie Madoff?
2) Should members of a jury believe a witness without questioning?
3) If Israeli intelligence learns where Gilad Shallit is, should Israel risk sending soldiers to their deaths in attempt to bring Shallit back? Shouldn't we verify whether the source and info is are credible?
4) what is the need of "birur" (discernment),
if I am supposed to believe new information?
5) Am I not responsible to think for myself? Reply

Petit Stockholm, Sweden December 1, 2009

Why to be sceptical Beautiful and friendly speech, no doubt and thanks for the positive and warming approach.
What you say is that if someone comes to you and says that G-d created the world, you deserve to be believed.
This means of course that if you say G-d exists, you deserve to believed as well. You don't have to prove that. Why should I be sceptical?
Well, if I came to you and said that G-d doesn't exist, implying that he could not have created the world, you would belive me as well. I woldn't have to prove anything. Why would you be sceptical? Reply

Anonymous Jerusalem, Israel October 28, 2009

reason for being skeptical i think that beyond the reason you say someone can be skeptical is b/c they were lied to many times - personally, i think that it is also b/c a new idea might mean that i might have to change myself, makes changes - which could be very uncomfortable, incovenient or painful - skeptisism does not require commitment - or to make up your mind - Reply

tuvia nyc, ny October 14, 2009

objections to statements of fact if someone says that the loch ness monster, or the big foot, is real --- it is not a natural response to just accept it.

most stuff we learn is confirmed.

if a guy says i just got picked up by a ufo, it is hard to believe.

if a guy tells me that JC's love will save me -- it is hard to believe.

This Rabbi, I mean no disrespect -- could be talking about any religion's claim. any person's claim.

some are believable because they are provable, others are less believable, some are totally not believable.

i believe what i wrote is pretty accurate. Reply

Anonymous New York October 13, 2009

Re: Not true Rabbi Friedman brought a case of an EXPLORER. Meaning someone did something new that you could not do. (Not a tourist). And even so you would believe the explorer... Reply

JEREMY NEWMAN leeds, UK September 20, 2009

NOT TRUE Hearing about an animal in Australia that keeps its child in its pocket is not the same as hearing about G-d's existence. The kangaroo you can go and see for yourself... where do I go to see G-d? Reply