Aaron Zimmer
Cohost of "Physics to God" podcast

The Good Part of Modernity: Knowledge and Science

Last time, I briefly outlined the good and bad elements of modernity and orthodoxy. I want to discuss those four categories more deeply before attempting to pull it all together, beginning with the good aspects of modernity.

What is good about modernity? Why should an orthodox Jew want to live in the modern world and not simply live a secluded life (insofar as that’s possible) away from all the dangers modernity presents?

To me, the greatest good modernity has to offer a Jew is the knowledge of all the branches of science. This is a great good to any religious person for two reasons. First, modern science can provide a compelling rational argument for the existence of God. This is something that numerous earlier Jewish scholars sought within the science of their times, and the argument from modern science can replace the older arguments that no longer work given our new knowledge.

The second reason is that the amazing wonders in God’s creation that modern science reveals bring a person closer to the love and awe of God that can only come from studying the works of God. Even for a person whose primary method of relating to the world is through an emotional/spiritual framework, a basic knowledge of the marvels of modern science can open up an untapped relationship to the divine that is inaccessible otherwise.

True, there are negative aspects of modernity and I’ll discuss some of those next time. Nevertheless, the great wisdom of science compels a modern Jew to remain with at least one foot in the modern world, irrespective of the tremendous difficulty of balancing modernity and orthodoxy.

About the Author
After earning a physics degree and receiving rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Yisroel Chait, Aaron Zimmer utilized his personal resources to trade commodity futures. His approach was deeply rooted in the conceptual frameworks of physics and the Brisker Method for Talmudic analysis. After an eleven-year career marked by success in commodity trading, Aaron now cohosts a podcast, "Physics to God", with Rabbi Dr. Elie Feder. He resides in Lawrence, New York, along with his wife and their five children.
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