I am writing in response to Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin’s question in the Aug. 26 AJP, “Who are you voting for on Oct. 3?” (Rabbi’s Corner, “Election overload sparks thoughts of G-d”). I am happy to agree with him that we humans have “the awesome capability of intelligence, plus the power of speech and the freedom of choice.” Therefore, my answer to his question is that I vote every day, not just on Oct. 3, for reason, science and common sense.
As an intelligent person I cannot ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence, accumulated and documented in billions of hours of research and observation, that “the first man and woman were” not “created,” as he says, on the sixth day, but in fact evolved over millions of years. We humans were not “introduced to the world,” but gradually over the millennia have developed and survived by adapting to the world in which we have found ourselves.
Science has also shown that the DNA of humans and the DNA of the most simple organisms, like bacteria, share many common genes. However, only we humans have the capability for both creativity and destruction in our world.
Using reason and observation, we are able to see that by making choices that result in getting along with others, the world can be a better place to live. Common sense can teach us lessons of kindness, justice, beauty and generosity. Observation of the world around us shows that as humans we are responsible for putting these qualities into practice.
The huge responsibility for our choices leads many to find comfort in Rabbi Ceitlin’s way of thinking that we must do the right thing in order to satisfy a supernatural being. And that is OK.
But a growing number of us will embrace the wondrous world of reason, science and beauty, and acknowledge that we have within ourselves the ability to do right things simply because they are right. And that is OK too.
As I listen to Kol Nidre and the sounds of the shofar, I will think about how our people have survived over the centuries — not because of the intervention of a supernatural being, but by facing, with grit and tenacity, the realities of life.
L’Chaim and Shanah Tova!