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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

G^d is good, and so are people

Cynicism and hurt have caused many to doubt the truth of this headline.

Maybe these two negative visions, an inability to see obvious reality, come from the same mud on the windscreen. It seems that one must be a perfectionist or a nitpicker to be less than completely thrilled with life, G^d, and people. Let’s investigate if this intuitive hunch can hold up.

G^d is Good

People who say that they know G^d are either not talking about G^d or lying. We can’t know G^d. Not in the sense that it’s hard to know oneself or one’s spouse. It’s more like a carrot being unable to understand us.

However, as the saying goes, to the fruits one knows the trunk. His generosity gives us an idea of Who He is.

Now, let’s say that He gave each of us a very special car and a card for free repairs and service and free gas. Someone who wants to be rich gets a Rolls-Royce. Someone with a large family gets a beautiful station wagon. Someone who wants to live down town gets a shopping car. farmers get cars with extras for sowing and harvesting. And, none of them pollute. And they will still work even if we’d put in inferior fuel for 50 years.

Who wouldn’t be thrilled? I’ll tell you who: someone who wants what others have, and doesn’t recognize that they got the perfect gift to do with their lives exactly and elegantly what they want. Or people who are never pleased with anything. Yes, it’s a nice car but it can’t fly.

And so it is with life. We got life for free in abundance. How spoiled must we be to complain? Still, there might be certain complaints to study.

Imperfections. G^d’s deeds are perfect (in the longer run) but He created an imperfect world so that He could invite us to partner with Him to bring it to completion. This way we can dedicate our lives to good causes.

Powerless about injustice. Billions of people live unsafe, substandard lives and we can’t do anything about it. Good you notice. But, that is only true if you see yourself as detached from everyone else. As united humanity, we could accomplish anything over time.

Suffering. Much suffering doesn’t come from G^d but from others and/or we ourselves misbehaving. We were created to bestow reward on us, not just for being but for partnering with G^d. When we do good despite our suffering, we are rewarded at least a thousand times the regular reward.

People are Good

We are naturally connected to everyone else, we care, we all mean well and want the best for the world. Sometimes some of us may get confused between a couple of principles. We lose track of the idea that we have no long-term conflicting interests. What’s truly good for one is good for all. We may have acquired goals that are not truly good. We want to be rich because we assume that money will make us happy. But, wise people teach us that we must be happy first, or we’d end up unhappily rich.

We may be each so obsessed with healing our own suffering that we forget to listen to and help others. The simple solution is to split the time and take turns listening to each other.

The proof that our nature is good and benign goes as follows. When we set an evil goal, we hamper our intelligence. Evil so shows itself as counter-human. We are good because, when we think well, we’d choose good.

People steeped in evil lose their human face. We all understand that people are good.

Calvinism, the predominant worldview in the Netherlands, says that humans are evil and not inclined to any good. Such an outlook is evil.

Judaism teaches that our most inner self is like a spark of G^d, our Soul, and can’t be spoiled by anything. And that we only would sin (commit evil) in a mood of folly: If we’d always think ahead of time of the consequences, we would never sin. In other words: Humans are good, benign.

My grandfather, the scholar Louis Karel Nieweg, may G^d revenge his blood, always said: The fire brigade, ambulance, and regret always come too late: when bad already happened.

Harvey Jackins taught that the bad side of humans is removable, like mud under our soles. You wouldn’t throw out your favorite boots because they had some mud under them.

Conclusion

Therefore, we don’t need to employ evasive, philosophicallish, semantic, or debating tricks that claim that G^d is good but not the (limited vision of) good as we know it, and that people can opt between doing good or bad.

That G^d and humans are Both benign should come as no surprise to us since G^d tells us that He created humans after His image and likeliness.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1500 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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