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An Invitation to Reason Book (English) Farsi Book

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During my lifetime I have been guided by various pieces of wisdom, said by thinkers who lived many years before me. Two of the more memorable ones, have stayed with me to this day:
One, from the Book of Proverbs (4; 7) says –
“Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting,
Get understanding.”
The other, comes from Socrates’ Apology:
“The unexamined life
Is not worth living.”
These two statements, I feel, represent my outlook on the world we live in and our life today.
For this I know: the books written by our forefathers, the historical traditions, and cultural heritage, these are the foundation of our lives. They provide us with our basic values, they nurture us with ideals and hopes, they keep us united, and centered. Yet, in addition to it all, we are also called for to carry-on probing, exploring and researching our world. We are required to examine, test and question our reality in each generation, so that we can expand, increase and deepen our understanding of the phenomena around us, and improve our performance in coping with the difficult circumstances of our existence.

While I have seen the immense benefit that tradition and the ancient religious writings have contributed to our society, by instilling in it solace and inner peace, I have also been witness to the pain and divisiveness that the exclusive adherence to religion, could cause to the individual, to the family, and community.

It is when religion is practiced in a manner which blinds and blocks the abilities of its followers to see the reality around them - instead of providing them with the added knowledge to see more – it is then that religion becomes, in the words of one Russian ruler, like “opium for the masses.”

Throughout my life, I have never been dissuaded from believing in the God I was born into, nor have I lost my faith in it.

I have, however, learned, that a good way for a person to spend the second and third acts of his “life-drama”, is to write, read, study, and learn new lessons, because when we stop learning, we practically end our living. And learning, means acquiring fresh information, absorbing updated facts, listening to current theories, and opening up to new discoveries.

It is with this in mind, coupled with my unshakable faith and belief in my religion, as well as others, that I have set out to voice my views and draw attention to the dangers contained in the extremism, which has been practiced by religion in the past, and is still being practiced in the present.

Though my views might seem controversial to some, I hope they will grant me the honor of reading my Open Letter with an open mind, so as to open the door for an inspiring dialog between us, on the subject. I also take this opportunity of assuring each of you, of my sincere intention not to disparage anybody’s personal views, but rather to say a few things in praise of knowledge and open-mindedness. And in closing, may I quote one of the forefathers of this nation, Abraham Lincoln:
“Lighting one candle in the dark
Is better than cursing it a thousand times.”

My last message is addressed to those among my readers, who are more facile with the computer:
Please share this site with parents, relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and other people you meet in your daily life, who have less access to this form of communication.

With utmost appreciation,
N.G.

An Invitation to Reason (PDF)

"An Invitation to Reason" is Norman Gabay's passionate argument in favor of religion, in general, and Judaism, in particular, existing in harmony with modern customs and scientific knowledge as a way to unite communities and mankind. He sees the current extremists as divisive and dangerous to our youth and future generations. In a series of thoughts, anecdotes, observations, and commentaries drawn from a variety of learned sources and enhanced by quotations from famous men as well as philosophers and poets, Gabay makes his case for a call to action against regressive backwards thinking and invites us to adopt a more rational approach in our exercise of religion to build stronger communities and a more ethical world for us and our children and grandchildren.

Click Here to get the First Article (RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN THE SCIENTIFIC AGE An open letter to educators and persons-of-the-cloth Of all faiths)

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