Tuesday, May 1, 2012

God Wants Some Babies To Be Disabled -- A Rabbi's Musings

Blessed by God?

I was on the Huffington Post's Religion section, and came across this piece: Why Does G-d Allow Children to Be Born With Disabilities? Seeing that I have a minor (at one time not so minor) disability -- hypotonia -- as well as having 17 years of working with people who have disabilities, I clicked and read.

There are many types of faith-based insanity, my friends. There are the left leaning liberal types who really, really try to turn God into card carrying member of the ACLU, while the conservatives typically want us all to believe that God loves his steaks rare, and He eats them with with a M-16 (don't ask me how the Almighty eats steak by using the official assault rifle of the American military, He works in wondrous ways). The writer of Huffington Post piece, Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, is somewhat towards the latter part of the spectrum. While assuming his God is real, the rabbi understands that God can sometimes be a dick (my words, not his), and we are meant to have a conversation with the divine on what it means to be moral.

When Abraham is informed by God that he will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin, refusing to accept any virtue in the suffering of even the sinful, Abraham protests to G-d, "Will the Judge of the entire earth not Himself practice justice."  
 What does the good rabbi say about God allowing children to be born with disabilities?
I have no idea why G-d would allow any child to come into this world with severe mental or physical disability. What I do know, however, is that He shouldn't. Children deserve to be born with all their faculties and with all their abilities. All children deserve to be healthy. Those who come into the world with mental handicaps are, of course, beautiful children, the equal of every healthy child, deserving of infinite love, equality and rights. Indeed, given their special needs they require more of our love, more of our attention. What they do not deserve, however, and what they certainly have never earned, is our contemptuous effort to justify their suffering and their challenges by ascribing them to some unknown and lofty divine purpose.
When I hear a theist like this I think they're coming very close to singing my song, so to speak. Recognizing that their deity is a jerk is halfway to realizing that their deity is solely a construct of primitive, midbrain inspired thinking.

Here is my comment.
“"Why does God allow the innocent to suffer? I have no idea. He shouldn't. But our job is to fill in the empty spaces G-d seemingly vacates in His universe and to act in G-d's stead, being as human and loving as we can." - I'm an atheist, but let's say G-d exists. Why worship such a deity? If G-d has power to prevent such events (like infants becoming disabled), He chooses not to. If G-d doesn't have the power to do so, then he certainly isn't all-powerful as He states. I'd say the smart money is on the former option simply by reading about G-d's decision to place 3,000 Jews to the sword after the Golden Calf incident, and hardening Pharoh's heart and thereby killing innocent Egyptian children.

Does one worship Him simply because one does not want punishment from such a being as G-d?”  
No answer as of yet. As with most of my various letters/comments to the faithful (like my email to the Lutheran Church telling them to disown that proto-Nazi Martin Luther) I don't get a response.

But this post isn't really about Rabbi Schuley Boteach. It's about the pamplet he read that inspired the Huffington piece. The pamphlet was made by Chabad.org and the piece Why Does G-d Create Severely Handicapped Babies? by Rabbi Aron Moss is, well, a slice of Bronze Age morality. Moss' article begins with a question and he offers an answer.


A friend gave birth to a baby with a rare condition that has rendered her severely handicapped. She is not expected to live much past her tenth birthday. I just can't understand why G-d does that. If life has a purpose, what is the purpose of such a short and sad life?


Every birth is a gamble. A soul enters the world innocent and pure. But it may not stay that way. This world is a maze of diverging pathways, both good and evil, and the choice is ours which way we go. Once a soul enters a body, it is free and therefore vulnerable to corruption. While acts of good elevate the soul, every act of evil makes a blemish on the soul. 
Some souls are so lofty, it simply isn't worth the gamble. These souls are too precious to risk being compromised by life in a body. They are too high to come down to this world. But the other option, not to be sent down at all, to never reach this world, would mean that we would miss out on meeting these holy and lofty souls and hearing their message. 
So these souls do come down. But in order to be protected from the potential evils of an earthly existence, they are sent down into a body that will not compromise their holiness. They enter this world in a form that is above sin, above evil. From a purely physical perspective we call them "disabled" or "handicapped"; from the perspective of the soul they are protected. They will never sin. Their sojourn in this world is often brief, and in terms of this world may seem sad. But they have retained their purity. And they have fulfilled their mission.

There is more, but you all get the idea. To tell you all the truth, I had to stop, because my blood pressure started to skyrocket over the idea that some babies are born to a life of  misery all because the need to retain their "purity" and "fulfill their mission".

I don't like the idea that some people only know pain in their short lives. It keeps me up at night. I work to ameliorate the pain of existence by trying to make people laugh.

What I'm not doing is selling people a pile of sh*t and calling it divine.

This is Purgatory.

I'm sorry, I just read some of the comments from  Moss' piece and I feel I really need to share them.
Just a pleasure to hear a voice of truth and clarity not apologetic or beating around the bush, also inspiring, keep the enlightenment on such a wide array of topics coming. Justin L., New York, NY
This explanation is beyond beautiful! So proud to call myself a Jew! Thanks,           aaron shemper, memphis, tn
Rabbi Moss has a clear understanding of why we are given these special children. Everything that happens on this planet is part of God's master plan and is intended for our learning. Rabbi Moss needs to get this message out to the rest of the world.            JIM KELLY, ORLANDO, FL.

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  1. Ahuh. God loves me soooo much, He thought he'd make me "special", an "inspiration", blah blah fucking blah.

    Fuck. That.

    It's really insulting.

    Then there's the flip side, "disabled children are God's punishment." I can't EVEN.

  2. Their Ghod must be a real piece of shit, then...............

  3. How can that bastard even say that their god loves a soul's purity so much, they send them to be mentally or physically disabled? That's an insult to people with handicaps. That's an outrageous statement to make and it angers me to my very core.

    I have experience working with disabled people because my boyfriend's little sister was born with a rare form of autism. It's a struggle for both her and their family everyday, and whenever I go to see him I always offer to help his parents with her.

  4. There are just so many things wrong with this, I don't even know where to begin. I have a sister who is disabled, and I have helped, befriended, and worked with many disabled people in my life. To say these things about them, or anyone, is just unimaginable. And that so many other people believe them? Insanity. It's just despicable. And also, I do not believe in "sin," but to say that people who are disabled do not sin, is ridiculous, also. My sister has lied, and done "bad" things in her life. Nobody is "pure" or perfect. That is something humans created, along with gods. The whole god lie is really pissing me off. I wish that people would just stop this nonsense and open up their eyes... </3


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