Would Your Parents Lie to You?

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“No other religion claims to have experienced public revelation. Therefore, it’s a claim that is so outlandish, that it must have actually occurred because otherwise no one else would have been stupid enough to believe in it, or brazen enough to ‘introduce’ it into the cultural narrative.”

Thus goes the claim that is at the heart of much of the “proof” behind the Torah’s metaphysical validity. It’s a huge part of the Discovery Seminar, and it’s the keystone upon which hundreds of outlandish demands are made upon the Jewish psyche in the name of a higher power.

The funny thing about this proof is it makes way too many assumptions about human gullibility, or lack thereof. Look around you – regardless of your religion, I am sure you can see millions of people doing the stupidest things with the utmost fervor.

Think of all the historical assumptions people have that are downright wrong. We have all sorts of stories and urban legends that millions of people assume are true but are absolutely false.

“Ah,” you say. “But public revelation states that everyone was there at once. How do you just ‘insert’ that into a narrative?”

You don’t.

You let things evolve over hundreds of years. It starts with a legend of a few people being there. And slowly people embellish it until it’s “the entire Jewish people”. Or you start with a legend from a neighboring religion, and you slowly adapt it as your own.

There’s a myriad of ways that really dumb practices, beliefs, and narratives have made their way into a culture (circumcision, both male and female, anyone?) and chances are those ideas didn’t make their way in overnight.

Let’s turn this premise on its head.

How likely is it that there were 2 million Jews in Egypt at the time?

And that’s without the medrash that 80% of them died during the plagues. World population estimates are that there were between 27 and 72 million people in the entire world at the time.

You really think that 2.5 to 7% of the entire world population got up out of one country, crowded around a mountain, and then colonized another country 40 years later?

How did someone actually make that shit up in a way that so many people actually believe it?

Because myths are a powerful thing, my friend.

The kiruv world especially, puts human logic on a pedestal when it’s convenient to do so: “who would believe such dumb shit if it wasn’t actually true?”; and shreds it to pieces when it’s unhelpful: “how can our weak minds even comprehend / come up with a valid answer / trust ourselves without a higher power?”

Let’s not break down human behavior to pure facts when it’s convenient, instead of factoring layers of emotion, cultural norms, and time to explain the epic stupidity of many human beliefs.

So to answer the question posed on this cover – would your parents lie to you? Yes, yes they would. But not on purpose.

Someone else lied to them first.

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