My book Why Evolution is True has been translated into 18 languages, and one of them was Hebrew. I was pleased about that because many Orthodox Jews are Biblical creationists and I wanted them to at least have a shot at learning about the evidence for evolution.
In fact, I know of at least two American Orthodox Jews who accepted evolution (but then left the faith and were expelled by their families!) after reading the English version of the book. They both told me they had no regrets. (I met them both at Randi’s The Amazing Meeting some years ago.)
Now that a Hebrew version is out, one of my Israeli readers managed to get two copies of it (not easy to procure!) and sent me this tale this morning:
I showed your (Hebrew edition) book to an intelligent young Jewish man living opposite me – he looked about 17 – 18 years old.
He is a student and shortly going to college.
He claimed he was happy with the ‘truth’ that the earth is less than 6,000 years old, and why would he want to consider anything that would detract from his ‘happiness’?
I suggested the possibility that his truth might not be the truth, but he rejected that possibility out of hand. His truth was most definitely the true truth..!
I offered to lend him the book for a few days but he politely refused, saying he had much preparation for college.
There are a lot of orthodox Jews in my area, and I’m considering delivering an A4 leaflet, English on one side, Hebrew on the other, with a basic explanation of Big Bang, stars formation, nucleosynthesis, planet formation, life, us.
But now wonder if such an action will result in unhappiness……?
It seems such a shame that otherwise intelligent humans are so far removed from aspects of critical thinking in their lives…p.s. the young student even went as far as saying you are not a ‘real’ Jew for even publishing such a book…!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, friends and comrades, is why I am sad every time I see a child being brought up as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. Am I a “real” Jew? I’ll let others decide on their own. I’m certainly not a “religious” Jew, but you know the old joke:
Q; What do you call a Jew who doesn’t believe in God?
A: A Jew.
And as for the truth making them unhappy, well, they can always reject it.
(Remind me to tell you the story about the edition in Arabic.)