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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 28, 2005 / 21 Sivan, 5765

The case for Judeo-Christian values: Without man, the environment is insignificant

By Dennis Prager


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One major conflict between the Judeo-Christian value system and the various secular ones competing with it revolves around the answers to these questions: Is nature created for man or is man merely a part of nature? Or, to put it in other words, does the natural environment have any significance without man to appreciate it and to use it for his good?

The Judeo-Christian responses are clear: Nature has been created for man's use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning. Dolphins are adorable because human beings find them adorable. Without people to appreciate them or the role they play in the earth's ecosystem to enable human life, they are no more adorable or meaningful than a rock on Pluto.

That is the point of the Creation story — everything was made in order to prepare the way for the creation of man (and woman, for those whose college education leads them to confuse the generic "man" with "male"). G-d declared each day's creation "good," but declared the sixth day's creation of man as "very good."

Critics find three biblical notions about nature unacceptable: that man shall lord over it; that it was created solely for man and therefore has no intrinsic value; and that it is not sacred.

I discussed the last notion — that G-d is outside, not within, nature — in last week's article.

As regards man "subduing and conquering nature," this was one of the revolutionary ideas of the Hebrew Bible that made Western medical and other scientific progress possible. For all ancient civilizations, nature (or the equally capricious and amoral gods of nature) ruled man. The Book of Genesis came along to teach the opposite — man is to rule nature.

Only by ruling and conquering nature will man develop cures for nature's diseases. We will conquer cancer; cancer will not conquer us. And only rational beings, not irrational gods of nature, can do so. Judeo-Christian values are the primary reason science and modern medicine developed in the West. A rational G-d designed nature, and rational human beings can therefore perceive it and, yes, conquer it.

The notion that it is secularism, not Judeo-Christian values, that enabled scientific inquiry, constitutes perhaps the greatest propaganda victory in history. Virtually every great scientist from Sir Isaac Newton to the beginning of 20th century saw scientific inquiry as the study of divine design.

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As for the modern secular objection to the Judeo-Christian notion of man as the pinnacle and purpose of nature, one can only say woe unto mankind if that objection prevails. When man is reduced to being part of the natural world, his status is reduced to that of a dolphin. It is one of the great ironies of the contemporary world that humanists render human life largely worthless while G-d-centered Jews and Christians render human life infinitely sacred. Man's worth is entirely dependent on a G-d-based view of the world. Without G-d, man is another part of the ecosystem, and often a lousy one at that.

So let's say what cannot be said in sophisticated company: Nature was created as the vehicle by which G-d created the human being, and in order to give emotional, aesthetic and biological sustenance to mankind. Nature in and of itself has no purpose without the existence of human beings to appreciate it. In the words of the Talmud, every person should look at the world and say, "The world was created for me."

Does this mean that the biblical view of nature gives man the right to pollute the earth or to abuse animals? Absolutely not. Abusing animals is forbidden in the Torah:

The ban on eating the limb of a living animal, the ban on placing two animals of different sizes on the same yoke and the ban on working animals seven days a week are just a few examples. To cause gratuitous suffering to an animal is a grave sin. As for polluting the earth, this, too, is religiously prohibited. If the purpose of nature is to ennoble human life and to bear witness to G-d's magnificence, by what understanding of this concept can a religious person defend polluting nature?

We are indeed to be responsible stewards of nature, but for our sake, not its.

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JWR contributor Dennis Prager hosts a national daily radio show based in Los Angeles. He the author of, most recently, "Happiness is a Serious Problem". Click here to comment on this column.


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