David Wolpe

Singing Hymns At Heaven’s Gate

In some ways arguing for God’s existence is a fruitless exercise. Though I have engaged in many such public debates with well-known atheists, I’m not sure anyone has been convinced one way or another. I am convinced, however, that inability to appreciate the peaks of religious experience is a true lack. Listen to the wise words of philosopher Isaiah Berlin:

“I am moved by religious services. … I think that those who do not understand what it is to be religious, do not understand what human beings live by. That is why dry atheists seem to me blind and deaf to some forms of profound human experiences, perhaps the inner life: it is like being aesthetically blind.”

The fervency of true prayer, the music of the service, the reaching toward something beyond the self — all of these are part of the experience of aiming your spirit upwards. To feel oneself an entirely earthbound creature is to miss a vast, poignant dimension of being human. Atheist or believer, have you poetry in your soul? Pray.

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.