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April 27, 2024


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"It is a curious thing...how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve."

-- James Joyce in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Brian, I appreciate your namesake’s clear recognition that God, taken literally, is a fiction, and the fact that he doesn’t believe in it. But, and pardon me for my plainspeak, the rest of what you’ve quoted him saying there, I’m afraid I found that to be utter, complete horseshit. While fully appreciating such sentiments of people like this other Brian that deserve appreciation, I mean the part where he says he doesn’t believe in God—and let me emphasize that I do fully appreciate the reasonable portions of what this guy’s said there—but there’s no reason really why we shouldn’t clearly call out the nonsensical portions of what they spout, or their hypocrisy in so doing, is there?

I’d like to discuss at some length the portions that I find so off-putting about what you’ve quoted here from his book, if I may. And, needless to say, my criticism—which in any case is limited and qualified as above—is aimed not at you, Brian, but at your namesake Rabbi whose words you’ve quoted here.


“Science seeks truth -- something impossible to define.
Beauty, one of the goals of art, is also unspecifiable, incalculable, immeasurable, unquantifiable.
Why should God -- religion's infinite and purported destination require clear definition?”

Complete, utter horsesh!t, from beginning to end.

Sure, Truth, with a capital T, that is to say truth taken as a whole, is impossible to define. But individual portions of the truth, that we examine and evaluate and either accept or reject, those most certainly admit of clear definition. That Truth and Reality, taken holistically, are larger than what we can comprehend or discuss, is neither here nor there, as far as any discussion on God. That initial premise itself is completely, utterly wrong.

Sure, beauty is subjective; but that’s yet another non sequitur, that does not bear, at all, on the conclusion he’s trying to build up there in the fallaciously constructed syllogism.

That conclusion of his, as I’ve just now shown, most emphatically does not follow from what he’s said there. And as far as the conclusion itself, taken in and by itself: God as a concept does need to be clearly defined, for exactly the same reason anything and everything needs to be as clearly defined as is reasonable and possible: to make for clarity and coherence in our thinking and in our discourse.

Sure, God if taken in some completely metaphorical sense might kind-of-sort-of make some kind of sense. But unless what one is talking is clearly spelled out, then those who do believe literally in God will end up conflating this metaphorical discussion with their own literal beliefs—this is something we see happening all the time. And in any case, the particular metaphorical sense we’re defining God as, that’s usually different in nuance from person to person, so that unless we do spell out clearly what we mean, then people will not really know what is being talked about. And finally, this metaphorical sense of God is both so very specific to the individual putting up the metaphors, and also so very different than the literal sense in which so very many people still look on God, that rather than redefining God in this (metaphorical) sense, it might make sense to speak directly of that idea, …I mean, if you’re going to talk about a horse, then rather than taking the mythical unicorn to metaphorically allude to a horse, and then speaking of unicorns when one actually means horses; why not just leave out the unicorns altogether, and cut out these painfully belabored and completely unnecessary metaphors, and directly speak of horses instead?


“The universe is asking us to partner, to wake up to life.”

More horsesh!t. The universe is asking nothing of us. It is up to us to do what we will with our time, with our energy, with our life. We do what we do for our own reasons. “The universe” does not give flying toss either way, because it cannot.


“Predicate Theology -- God is nothing supernatural, but instead a verb. God is made present when we act with love, truth, compassion, etc. Not God as a person, but as godliness in action.

Apophatic Theology -- God is not definable -- as soon as you have come up with a definition, you are lost. Apophatic means through negation -- so you can only say with certainty what God is not, not what God is.

Hartshorne's Dipolar Theism -- God is the self-surpassing surpassed of self.

Deep stuff. Not for kids.”

Sorry, that’s utter nonsense, all of that. Deeply self-deluded and/or obscurantist stuff—not for sane, clear-headed folks.


“Once upon a time stories aren't true stories. But they might be truth stories. True is if it happened. Truth is the moral that we learn from it. Something can have truth in it even if it isn't true.

I see the Bible this way. It ain't necessarily true. But that doesn't mean we can't learn something from it. (It has truth.) The Bible doesn't have to be God's inerrant word for it to have meaning.

...The Bible is the most important book ever written -- take that in for a moment -- and it is filled with words about God.

Which means that even if the God it talks about isn't real, it's still an important book about God.”

Blechh! That’s exactly the kind of uber-convoluted meaningless twaddle that the likes of Jordan Peterson peddle. That’s either the meanderings of a hopeless confused if well-meaning idiot; or else it is the deliberate obscurantism employed by a charlatan. (Not saying Rabbi Brian’s a charlatan, probably not; but certainly Jordan Peterson is.)

First: What on earth does he mean, the Bible isn’t NECESSARILY true?! “Necessarily” my backside. Do you see that, how he uses those weasel words to try to somehow fit in his nonsensical Bible, which after all is what his rabbinical profession is to a large extent about, while pretending to be oh-so-reasonable about it?! “Necessarily”, indeed! Those are the words of a hypocrite, right there. The fact is that the Bible is factually completely utterly fallacious, a work of fiction beginning to end, with some incidental bits of truth maybe slipped in (as with any and every piece of fiction ever written). …That “necessarily”, it outs our friend the Rabbi as a hypocritical apologist, completely utterly totally.

And no, the Bible isn’t the most important book ever written. It is certainly important in an anthropological sense, in as much as people think it is important. But that indirect, anthropological sense isn’t what this Rabbi is out peddling, is he? He’s clearly trying to imbue his favorite book of fairy tales with a direct gravitas here, and importance, not merely an indirect and anthropological “importance”.

And what the eff does he mean the Bible’s an important book about God? Sure, it is an important book about God in the sense that Tolkien’s works are important books about Middle Earth. Beyond that that sentence of his is completely utterly meaningless, because God is literally defined in diverse ways by diverse peoples and faiths, and God is metaphorically defined de facto by different individuals each in their own way; and the Bible speaks to God only in as much as any individual derives his personal meaning of God from the Bible (whether literally or metaphorically)—in other words, and like I’d said, the Bible can be said to speak to God only in an anthropological sense, and even that not universally but only in those cases when it actually does so.

(I’ve no objections to his saying “I take the Bible seriously”, as you’ve quoted him saying towards the end of your article. That’s fair enough. He can take seriously whatever he wants, be it The Song of Ice and Fire, or some specific sci fi, or the Bible, or even an old telephone directory. That’s subjective, and completely up to him. But he goes far beyond that, and in the portions you’ve quoted claims that the Bible is important in some direct sense, and what’s more a sense that is not merely anthropological. That’s the portion I’m objecting to here.)


And let me end this comment by clearly demolishing this Rabbi Brian’s as-usually-expressed-in-weaselly-terms defense of Bible as a source of morality: No, the Bible most emphatically fails as a source of morality, for these two reasons:

First, the Bible objectively contains a whole bunch of stuff that is completely immoral, that by any decent present-day standards are downright psychotic, downright evil. Particularly the Old Testament, which after all is what is the entirety of the Judaic Bible. (Arguably the New Testament is far more gentle, far more “good”—but the Judaic Rabbi cannot and will not consider or preach that as the Bible at all, at least not professionally, any more than he would the Quran or the Zend Avesta or the Bhagavat Gita or the Mandukya Upanishad or the Dhammapada. The Judaic Bible is the Old Testament, and that is as evil a bunch of “morals” as any you’ll find anywhere. They may or may not have been apposite in some olden time and age; but in this day and age only a complete psychopath would derive any “morality” from it.)

And secondly, this: There’s lots of contradictions within the Bible. And also lots of contradictions between what the Bible teaches and what we consider good and decent. So that those who claim to read the Bible metaphorically effectively leave out the horrible portions of it, and latch on to the “good” portions of it. …The point here is this: In so cherry-picking the Bible, and in so selectively interpreting the Bible, what one effectively does is this, one brings to bear one’s own innate sense of morality to pick and choose and twist what’s in the Bible to give it a shape that might end up looking decent and acceptable. In as much as one brings to bear that innate of sense of morality—whether arrived at instinctually, or philosophically—why not just cut out the middleman altogether, why not leave out the Bible altogether, why not leave out this labored forcefitting of our morality on to the words of Bible altogether, and why not directly go with out morality?


Nah, sorry. The reasonable portions of Rabbi Brian’s words are well appreciated; but his pathetic attempts to present his absurd Judaic beliefs (whether metaphorical or whatever) and his absurd evil Bible. and his attempts to indirectly justify his ridiculous hypocritical and essentially dishonest profession as preacher/rabbi as something reasonable, they are a complete epic fail. Let’s not pretend they make sense, just because a small portion of what he’s said does make sense. Let’s not conflate the small portions where he makes sense, with the whole bunch of things he says that don’t.

Into the garbage with this counterfeit hypocritical Brian. Give me the real authentic Brian, our Brian, any time, every time.

"It is a curious thing...how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve."


That’s a conundrum easily enough explained. The only thing that is curious is why this explanation hasn’t directly been obvious in this case, while posting this here, and in this context.

First: when one has oneself been mired in this BS for a long time, as Brian has been, as I myself have been, as many/most have been who haven’t been brought up atheist; and when one has had to think one’s way out of that nonsensical worldview: then it is completely understandable that one may continue to be interested in those old dysfunctional thought processes that one has left behind. One may well have moved beyond that, but one may still retain both memory of and interest in those dysfunctional beliefs that one has left behind. Nothing surprising there, nothing “curious” there.

And secondly: The fact is that the world around us is supersaturated with these fantastical beliefs. Therefore, it is not in the least surprising or “curious” that one should be conscious of, and concerned about, and therefore engage with, these beliefs system that continue to plague a diminishing but nevertheless still very large portion of the populace.

Here’s a for-instance, as far as that second point: Let’s take a hypothetical Christian, firm in their own beliefs, who has zero belief in the Quran or in Islam. Let’s place this hypothetical Christian bang in the middle of some Islamic hellhole, like Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Pakistan. That is, let’s assume our hypothetical Christian is actually a resident of some Islamic country, actually living there. …While that hypothetical Christian of ours has zero belief in Islam or the Quran, but it wouldn’t be in the least surprising or “curious” if they spent time and energy studying and understanding and engaging with the beliefs that they find themselves surrounded by and to an extent indirectly influenced by. Likewise the atheist that engages with absurd theistic belief systems.


I thank you for your detailed responses.

Rabbi Brian, maybe I should have dialed it down a bit. If you found any of what I said to be hurtful, then my apologies.

While I regret the somewhat over-the-top tone of my comment, but I stand by every bit of the content of it. As far as the latter, maybe you could share your views and comments, in terms of either conceding the specific points of criticism offered, or else presenting your own defense and/or rebuttal of those specific points?

That would be cool, given my criticism wasn't borne of malice or ill will or any kind of underhand motive, but meant perfectly sincerely. Any reasonable defense or rebuttal from you of these specific points I'll be happy to acknowledge, and update my own view about this with.


That's assuming you're indeed the author of this book. If it's someone else who's simply using that pseudonym for the lulz, well then, I guess you got me, I did fall for it, albeit not without qualification.

You wrote:
"Rabbi Brian, maybe I should have dialed it down a bit. If you found any of what I said to be hurtful, then my apologies."

Not certain how the following hurtful words you wrote are forgivable by your apology:

"his pathetic attempts to present his absurd Judaic beliefs (whether metaphorical or whatever) and his absurd evil Bible. and his attempts to indirectly justify his ridiculous hypocritical and essentially dishonest profession as preacher/rabbi as something reasonable, they are a complete epic fail."


My absurd Judaic beliefs?
My absurd evil Bible?
My ridiculous hypocritical and essentially dishonest profession?


You wrote:

"my criticism wasn't borne of malice or ill will "


Shoot first, ask questions later. It's just how we roll in these here parts.

Dear Rabbi Brian,

We seem to have got off on the wrong foot. My fault, entirely. Like I’ve readily acknowledged, my tone was certainly over the top. That’s one of the perils of Internet conversations --- the impersonal nature of these text messages means people forget there’s a human being at the other end of it, and not just ideas and claims and propositions that one is engaging with, and it is this that often results in what can rightly be described as asshattery. I try to avoid that myself, but clearly don’t always succeed.

In my defense --- admittedly a somewhat tepid defense! --- you hadn’t been around when this conversation started, and I hadn’t really expected that you’d turn up. When letters from correspondents are examined and discussed here, I am far more restrained than this. As far as the tone, I mean to say: the content and the substance is always fair game in these parts. …That said, and now that you are here, I readily reiterate my regret for my tone, and for the hurt that I’ve clearly caused you. I’m hoping we can now shake hands and move beyond this. I should like it very much if we could do that.

I’m going to write two comments here, this one, and one more; and I request you to read both. I’m dividing what I have to say into two separate comments in order to clearly set apart the substantial portion of my critique, and to make sure that the rest of what I say does not detract from that.


First of all, and most importantly: Rabbi Brian, please do not go away with the impression that there’s anything remotely anti-Judaic or antisemetic about anything I’ve said here. None of that hateful nonsense here, not even remotely. In this thread, I can no more than simply state that; but if you would check out a wider sampling of this blog, and of my comments, then you’ll find this objectively borne out. You’ll find outspoken criticism of all kinds of woo here, be it Catholic, or some other brand of Christianity, or Islamic, or Hindu, or Buddhistic, or Daoic, or RSSB, or of any other stripe, including completely secular and religion-free woo as well, such as astrology for instance; and not just your particular brand of it.

Now if you’re going to take offense all over again at my now calling what you say “woo”, then *that* is something that cannot be helped. Woo is woo. Calling out woo clearly is kind of what we do here. And my original comment here was fully wholly substantial, with substantial critique of what you’ve said in your book. That criticism you’re more than welcome to contest with substantial argument; and I’ll very gladly take onboard and acknowledge whatever critique you might now put up of what I’ve said, provided it is reasonable and provided it stands up to scrutiny.

It is standard SOP for woo peddlers and apologists to focus on the tone of their critics in order to deflect from the substance of criticism, that they have no answer to. Not saying that’s what happens always, and nor am I saying that’s what you’ve done, not so far. But it’s a thing, and we’re well aware that it’s a thing. Let’s not go down that route, it will be evident beyond doubt if we persist in doing that here even after these repeated expressions of regret.

Like I said, in my subsequent comment I’ll paraphrase in very brief the actual content of my original comment, the substance of it, to make for your ease of reference and response (should you care to engage with that critique, and I don’t see why you wouldn’t). For now I’d like to respond to the specifics you’ve highlighted in your own comment to me.


“Not certain how the following hurtful words you wrote are forgivable by your apology:
‘his pathetic attempts to present his absurd Judaic beliefs (whether metaphorical or whatever) and his absurd evil Bible. and his attempts to indirectly justify his ridiculous hypocritical and essentially dishonest profession as preacher/rabbi as something reasonable, they are a complete epic fail.’

Also: “My ridiculous hypocritical and essentially dishonest profession?”

I’ve apologized for the tone of my comment twice already, and don’t see any point in doing that any more. You’ll either accept it, or not. But translated into less offensive terms, and reworded more gently as far as just the tone of it, the substantial content of the above might translate as follows:

He (which is to say, you) tries/try to present his/your Judaic ideas and beliefs about God and the Bible and about the morality contained therein, beliefs that are objectively nonsensical, in terms that are metaphorical and might thereby pass off as reasonable. But those attempts, as I’ve shown here clearly, are an epic fail. …Also: The Bible, if it must be seen and evaluated in moral terms, turns out to actually be immoral. His/your efforts to present it as otherwise by invoking metaphor fails completely. …And also: To the extent that the rabbinical profession necessarily involves using the Bible, and particularly the OT Bible, as a source of wisdom and morality, not merely as literature and myth, to that extent that profession itself is counterfeit, and indeed this is partly borne out by how he (which is to say, you) tries/try to soft-peddle some of his/your fantastical stock-in-trade in this book of his/yours --- as I’ve clearly shown in my original comment (and as I’ll further paraphrase and summarize in my subsequent comment).


“My absurd Judaic beliefs?”

Oh yes. Your belief that the Bible is important, in other than a merely anthropological sense. Your belief that the Bible is a good guide for morality and ethics. Your belief about the universe having some kind of plan for us. Your ideas about God (not the literal and frankly oafish Yhwh-God of the Bible itself, that you’ve said you don’t believe in, and more power to you for saying that; but your ideas about God that you’ve expressed here in the portions Brian has quoted from your book, and that I’ve clearly and substantially critiqued in my original comment).


“My absurd evil Bible?”

Oh yes, absolutely! …That is, the Bible is a lovely work of fiction and literature. It is a fascinating collection of myths. And it is a very important text from an anthropological POV. …However, if you insist on seeing the Bible as something other than outright and unqualified myth and fiction, then absolutely it must be clearly pointed out that it is completely absurd. And if one tries to see the Bible as somehow wise, and as somehow a guide for morality, then too I’m afraid it fails completely, as I’ve clearly shown; so that, seen as a guide for morality, it is actually evil.

It’s like this. Have your read Song of Ice and Fire? Or at least seen Game of Thrones? It is a piece of literature, fiction, is all. In general no one would call it “evil”, no one in their right mind would ever even evaluate it in those terms at all. …But now if some nut job goes around claiming that that work (either the book version, or the TV version) is very important in terms of ethics and a great guide for morality? Well then, seen and evaluated in those terms, seen and evaluated as something people should be drawing their ethics from, these books and this TV series very much admit of the descriptor “evil”. Likewise the Bible.

(And nor can you weasel out by playing the metaphor card here, when it comes to the morality argument. I’ve dealt with that already in my original comment.)


“You wrote:
'my criticism wasn't borne of malice or ill will '

It wasn’t. It most assuredly wasn’t.

I hope after this detailed comment of mine, where I’ve taken pains to clearly explain exactly where I’m coming from, you’ll be more inclined now to see that it wasn’t.

Here’s paraphrasing and summarizing the substance of my critique, in my original comment, in the order in which I’ve presented these points in that comment. I’m going to keep it very brief here, and put down just the outline and summary of my specific arguments. Please refer back to the original comment for a fuller discussion of each specific point.

1. You’ve tried to argue, through a fallaciously constructed syllogism, that God should not be required to be defined clearly. I’ve shown how that fails in terms of logic, I’ve shown how that syllogism doesn’t hold together, and does not lead to your conclusion. And further, I’ve also shown how that conclusion fails completely, even when taken as a stand-alone proposition.

2. Your fantastical ideas about the universe demanding things from us, I have called out as fantastical. And if you meant even that in metaphorical terms, then see what I’d had to say about horses and unicorns.

3. Predicate Theology, and Apophatic Theology, and Hartshone’s Dipolar Theism. These hifalutin sounding terms, and what Brian’s quoted from your definition/description of these terms. I’ve called all of that obscurantist nonsense. And I stand by that descriptor. It’s an apposite descriptor, and not an insult. Nonsense is exactly what it is, obscrurantist is exactly what all of that is. Just read the descriptions. (God is made present when we act with love, truth, compassion? God is not definable? God is the self-surpassing surpassed of self?)

With that level of contortion, anything and everything can be made to mean anything and everything else. With that level of contortion, the holy books of any religion, be it Islam, be it RSSB, for that matter be it Tolkien’s whole ouvre taken as a whole, can be presented as a definitive and matchless guide to all that is good and wise and true.

Happy to take you up on this, if you’re going to try to argue that any of that nonsensical theological gobbledygook makes any kind of sense in real terms.

4. You’ve tried to weasel out of calling out the fantastical nonsense in the Bible as made-up fiction, by calling it not “necessarily” true (as opposed to clearly and unqualifiedly spelling out that it is myth and fiction, period). Also: You’ve stated that Bible is the most important book in the world, and imply that that importance is more than merely anthropological. And also: You’ve then further tried to show that the Bible is somehow a uniquely important reference point about God. And I’ve shown there how none of that is true, other than in a merely self-referential and anthropological sense (which isn’t how you present this).

5. The two arguments I’ve presented against using the Bible as a guide for morality. The first argument shows that the Bible is useless as an ethical guide, if taken literally. The second argument shows that it is completely unnecessary as a moral reference point, if taken metaphorically.


Here’s hoping you can now see my critique in the spirit in which it was offered.

Oh, and one last qualification: I’ve only critiqued those few words from your book that I’ve seen quoted here in Brian’s blog post, without reading all of your book itself. I realize doing that runs the risk of taking things out of context. If you think I’ve done that here, and if you will clearly explain the larger context as it may apply to each individual specific, as you may have discussed in the rest of the book, well then I’ll be more than happy to take that onboard, and to acknowledge it fully.

Beloved AP,

You've decided my beliefs in the Bible and then chosen to hang me from them.
That's not fair.
I don't believe what you wrote I believe about the Bible.

Reminds me of Monty Python's views of how to determine someone is a witch.
First you dress them like one and then you say that they are.

I understand why authors don't often defend themselves (or read comments).

I'm thankful for your time and attention.

I do have a recommendation for you... when the book is available in print, buy a copy and read it.

I think you'll find that I'm not saying much you don't agree with.


Hm. First it was the “Oh he’s so very rude and hurtful and hateful” victim card. Now it is this superciliously condescending thing. ...To be clear, I’m not complaining about the superciliously condescending tone per se, but my point is: the net result of all that is, once again, deflection from the substantial critique offered.

Sorry, man. I call BS. That’s plain dishonest, what you’re doing here --- dishonest not in a vulgar, fiduciary sense, but strictly in the limited sense of lacking in intellectual integrity.

Here, I’ll spell it out for you:


“You've decided my beliefs in the Bible and then chosen to hang me from them.
That’s not fair.
I don't believe what you wrote I believe about the Bible.”

I’ve based my belief about your beliefs basis your own words, that Brian’s quoted here, and that I’ve quoted back to you. That’s objectively true. How and why would that not be fair?

You’re basically claiming I’m attacking strawmen. But my critique is fully entirely substantial, and based on your own words. Since you’re saying now that your own words do not represent your beliefs, then surely the onus is on you to clearly explain how and why that is so?


“Reminds me of Monty Python's views of how to determine someone is a witch.
First you dress them like one and then you say that they are.”

Ha ha. Very funny. No, really, that was actually a witty riposte. And I’m a Monty Python fan, so that does strike a chord.

But ready-witted riposte and rhetorical flourishes, while they are fine when they supplement substantial discussion, but they can never actually substitute substantial discussion, when such has already been offered on one side. I call BS. You’re trying to slide away with playing rhetorical tricks. And it isn’t working.


“I understand why authors don't often defend themselves (or read comments).
I'm thankful for your time and attention.”

There, the superciliously condescending thing one more time, and played just right. Again, I’m not objecting to the tone per se, but to the fact that you use it --- like I said, first the victim card, and now this thing here --- to deflect from the substantial criticism.

Sure, the Internet is full of cranks and weirdos. Sure, it’s often a good idea not to engage with them, and with comments online. But this time, it is objective fact that your ideas, your own words, have been substantially challenged. With emphasis on the “substantially”. And you beg off of meeting that challenge, first by playing the victim card, and now with this brand of gaslighting. Not a good look, man.

Forget me, this has nothing to do with me, but with the substantial challenge presented to your ideas, as expressed in your own words. If you possessed intellectual honesty, you’d either defend those ideas, and walk away with your ideas reinforced; or else you’d find yourself unable to do that, and therefore revise your ideas and your beliefs on that basis. And you’d do that on your own account, not mine. That you choose not to do that, but instead attempt to sidle off with these rhetorical tricks and this attempted gaslighting, is …not a good look, at all.

The only reasonable explanation you might have for saying what you did about not engaging with online comments, is if you don’t want to invest the time and effort and attention yourself to engage, that you’ve thanked me for putting in. Which is fair enough! But if that is the case, then say that plainly and honestly, instead of trying to wink-wink imply that my substantial criticism is somehow off base, without actually being able to spell out how and why that is so.

Over and above presenting the detailed critique in my original comment, I even summarized it for you in my subsequent comment. Those five, enumerated, sets of points of critique. I cannot wrap my head around someone not wanting to properly examine their own ideas, which clearly go a good way towards informing their own larger worldview, and around which is based their life’s work, given this ready and easily-availed chance. In your place I’d have warmly welcomed such critique, and tested my ideas against them with all sincerity --- which would have nothing to do with my critic, and everything to do with my wanting to test and examine my own worldview to make sure it does hold in the face of valid criticism.

That’s …simply dishonest, this sidling off and away, in the sense of lacking intellectual integrity. And, frankly, of a piece with my assessment of your approach to the Bible and its teachings. Big boo.


Dear Rabbi Brian,

I thank you for accepting my hand extended to you. I value your kind words subsequently offered, and our newly found rapport. And I hate to perhaps kill that rapport, at least at your end, with this present comment of mine. …But we’re kind of big on the intellectual integrity thing over here. At least I am. And it would have been intellectually dishonest of me not to clearly point out what impression your persistent rhetorical flourishes and tricks have made on me, with which you persistently keep running away from substantial engagement.

Nevertheless, I do wish you well, at a personal level. I don’t know how you see friendship, or whatever super-diluted version of friendship might be possible or appropriate off of exchanging some four or five impersonal comments online. Still, I hope that you can continue to see where I’m coming from, and that we can walk away now not with bitterness but with that kind-of-sort-of super-diluted friendship thing still going.

Cheers, dear Rabbi, and God bless.

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