Rabbi Berel Wein, a writer for JewishWorldReview has written an article concerning this very subject. His article is presented below. Any emphasis is mine.
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This past century, the bloodiest in all of human history, should have lain to rest two of the most cherished theories about mankind postulated by the Enlightenment and Secular Humanism.
One was the idea that all moral questions, all issues of right and wrong, good and evil, were subject to being correctly decided on the basis of man's reason alone, without the necessity (better put, without the interference) of divine revelation or organized religion. Man, and man alone, would be the final and autonomous arbiter of morality.
This idea brought with it, as a necessary corollary, the firm belief that man left to his own reasoning devices would invariably choose to do what is right, what promotes life and fairness and the common good.
This second idea of man's innate choice of goodness was aided and abetted by an arrogant belief that an educated person was more likely to do good than an illiterate one — that a Ph.D. graduate would be less likely to kill, harm, maim and destroy than a poor, hardscrabble, backwards farmer.
But none of these theories have proven true. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Milosevic and the entire slew of other murderers of the 20th century have all given the lie to these fantasies about human morality and rectitude. One-third of all of the commandants of the Nazi death camps held either a Ph.D. or M.D. degree. Man, left to his own reason, will not choose right. Reason, by itself, is death and destruction, oppressive theories and murderous social engineering. “No faith” and “no belief” have led us to the brink of the social abyss of self-destruction.
Our society hungers for a return to self, to a system of eternal values, to a disciplined life-style and to the true liberty of faith, which will free us from the ills of mindless conformity.
Balak and Bilaam, the two main characters in this week's Torah reading, are powerful, respected, intelligent people. Bilaam even possesses the gift of divine intuition and prophecy. But they are base, evil and immoral people. They are so convinced of their own powers, of their own ability to reason correctly, that they are convinced that they can hoodwink the Divine and destroy the Jewish people, all without consequence to themselves.
They exhibit all of the immoral traits of the dark side of human behavior — greed, corruption, jealousy, foul speech and causeless hatred. But their worst trait is arrogance — they know better, they are better, they deserve better. And the People of Israel, and through it, the G0d of Israel and His divine Torah, apparently stands in their way. So, denying G0d and destroying the People of Israel will somehow improve the world.
We have seen the genocidal plan of Balak and Bilaam take on the flesh of reality in this past century as well. We now know how dangerous such people are.
But many, and especially, inexplicably many Jews, are loath to relinquish the good old theories of the Enlightenment. And that is a truly sad and dangerous error. We need a healthy dose of realism and should forsake many of the utopian, naive and dangerous beliefs and theories that have characterized our journey in the modern world over the past two centuries.
We should never forget that Balak and Bilaam are unfortunately real. But so is our faith and tradition.
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BTW folks, the biblical story of Balak and Balaam are in Numbers, Ch. 22, if interested.
So, here is a Jewish Rabbi; fully aware that intellect, reason, and education aren’t nearly enough to correctly decide moral questions for society. It would seem to be readily apparent that man without God cannot do it! Here are a few statistics to back up what the Rabbi says. BTW, so-called “religious” people can forget about God too! :
Hitler – Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic but placed his own intellect above God’s. Over 11 million people including Jews, Gypsies, gays, political prisoners, people with disabilities and Eastern Europeans were killed in the Holocaust.
Sources: University of South Florida · The History Place
See Also: Encyclopedia · Holocaust Chronicle
Stalin – Joseph Stalin’s bloody record can be read here. Stalin was an atheist.
Mao – Here’s Mao Zedong’s story. Also an atheist.
Pol Pot – Read here if you have the stomach for it.
Milosevic - Slobodan Milošević; forgetting God’s love and using religion for “ethnic cleansing”.
The Killing of Christians – Yes, sometimes Christians kill each other. They forget God and trust to themselves.
And if you really want to read about one of the ultimate deniers of God, read this. Copies should be in your local library.
… Know Jesus, Know Peace; No Jesus, No Peace …