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I’m Back. Here’s Where I’ve Been

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Posted: January 9, 2018 at 9:00 am   /   by
Originally published on this site

I won’t make any assumptions about how many readers noticed I took a three-month break from column writing.

Nevertheless, I want to explain why.

I needed the time to finish the first volume of the biggest project of my life as a writer, a commentary on the first five books of the Bible, or what are called the Torah in Hebrew.

The commentary is addressed to people of every faith and, especially, to people of no faith.

I have believed all my life that the primary crisis in America and the West is the abandonment of Judeo-Christian values, or, one might say, the dismissal of the Bible. Virtually everyone on the left thinks America would be better off as a secular nation. And virtually all conservative intellectuals don’t think it matters. How many intellectuals study the Bible and teach it to their children?

And yet, from the time long before the United States became a country until well into the 1950s, the Bible was not only the most widely read book in America; it was the primary vehicle by which each generation passed on morality and wisdom to the next generation.

Since that time, we have gone from a Bible-based society to a Bible-ignorant one; from the Bible being the Greatest Book to the Bible being an irrelevant book. Ask your college-age child, niece, nephew or grandchild to identify Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel or the ten plagues. Get ready for some blank stares. I recently asked some college graduates (none of whom were Jewish) to name the four Gospels. None could.

But what we have today is worse than ignorance of the Bible. It is contempt for it. Just about anyone who quotes the Bible, let alone says it is the source of his or her values, is essentially regarded as a simpleton who is anti-science, anti-intellectual and sexist.

Our society, one of whose mottos is “In God We Trust,” is becoming as godless as Western Europe — and, consequently, as morally confused and unwise as Europe. Just as most professors regard most Bible believers as foolish, I have more or less the same view of most college professors in the liberal arts. When I hear that someone has a Ph.D. in sociology, anthropology, political science or English, let alone women’s studies or gender studies, I assume that he or she is morally confused and bereft of wisdom. Some are not, of course. But they constitute a small minority.

Whenever teenagers call my radio show or I meet one in person, I can usually identify — almost immediately — the ones who are receiving a religion-based education. They are far more likely to act mature and have more wisdom than their Bible-free peers.

One of our two greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, rarely attended church, but he read the Bible daily. As he said while president, “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man.”

Were he able to observe America today, Lincoln would be shocked by many things. But none would shock him as much as the widespread ignorance of and contempt for the Bible.

I have taught the Torah, from the Hebrew original, for 40 years. Of the many things I have been blessed to be able to do — from hosting a national radio show to conducting orchestras — teaching Torah is my favorite.

When asked how it has affected my life, I often note that in my early 20s, when I was working through issues I had with my parents, there was nevertheless not a week during which I did not call them. And there was one reason for this: I believe that God commanded us to “Honor your father and your mother.”

In my commentary, I point out that while the Torah commands us to love our neighbor, love God and love strangers, it never commands us to love our parents. It was sophisticated enough to recognize that love of parents may be impossible but showing honor to a parent is a behavioral choice.

In America, there is an epidemic of children who no longer talk one or both of their parents. In a few cases, this is warranted. But in most cases, adult children are inflicting terrible, unfair pain upon their parent. This is one of a myriad of examples where believing in a God-based text is transformative. Secular callers tell me that they hardly need the Ten Commandments to desist from murdering anyone. That may well be true. But apparently, a lot of people could use the Ten Commandments to avoid inflicting terrible pain on (admittedly, flawed) parents.

The title of my work is “The Rational Bible” because my vehicle to God and the Bible is reason. If you have ever wondered why all of America’s founders revered the Bible, let alone why anyone today might do so, this book should provide an explanation. My ultimate aim is to help make the Bible America’s book once again.


Dennis Prager’s latest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code,” was published by Regnery. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.com.

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Last Updated: Monday, Jan 08, 2018 18:34:54 -0800

Dennis Prager

"An amazingly gifted man and moralist whose mission in life has been crystallized -- 'to get people obsessed with what is right and wrong.'" -- Los Angeles Times

"As profound a thinker as our nation has at the dawn of the 21st century -- Jack Kemp

"One of the three most interesting minds in Jewish life." -- New York's Jewish Week

"One of the ten most powerful people in Los Angeles ... a moral compass." -- Buzz Magazine

Dennis Prager is one of America's most respected radio talk show hosts. He has been broadcasting on radio in Los Angeles since 1982. His popular show became nationally syndicated in 1999 and airs live, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to noon (Pacific Time).

In 1994-95, he also had his own daily national television show, and he is often seen on such television shows as Larry King Live, Politically Incorrect, The Late Late Show on CBS, Rivera Live, The Early Show on CBS, Fox Family Network, The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes. Mr. Prager has been the main subject on CSPAN several times over the past years.

His most recent book, "Happiness Is A Serious Problem," was published in February 1998 by HarperCollins. This long-awaited book, about which Mr. Prager has lectured worldwide for 10 years, appeared on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list the week of publication and appeared 15 consecutive weeks, rising to No. 1.

His 1996 book, "Think A Second Time," 44 essays on 44 subjects (HarperCollins), was described by Bill Bennett as "one of those rare books that can change an intelligent mind." USA Today columnist and professor of law Susan Estrich called it "Brilliant, a tour de force."

He has also coauthored two major works about Judaism: "The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism," now in six languages, and "Why The Jews? The Reason For Antisemitism," regarded by many as the most persuasive explanation of anti-Semitism written.

Mr. Prager has engaged in interfaith dialogue with Catholics at the Vatican, Muslims in the Persian Gulf, Hindus in India, and Protestants at Christian seminaries throughout America. For 10 years, he conducted a weekly interfaith dialogue on radio, with representatives of virtually every religion in the world.

New York's Jewish Week described Dennis Prager as "one of the three most interesting minds in American Jewish Life." Since 1992, he has been teaching the Bible verse-by-verse at the University of Judaism. All the lectures are available on audio and video tape.

From 1985 to 1995, Dennis Prager wrote and published the quarterly journal Ultimate Issue. From 1995 to 2000, he wrote The Prager Perspective. Harold Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," said, "It is the only journal I read cover to cover the moment it arrives."

His writings have also appeared in major national and international publications including, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. His newsletter essay on homosexuality and civilization was awarded the $10,000 Amy Foundation First Prize.

Mr. Prager was a Fellow at Columbia University's School of International Affairs, where he did graduate work at the Middle East and Russian Institutes. He has taught Russian and Jewish history at Brooklyn College, and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Delegation to the Vienna Review Conference on the Helsinki Accords.

He holds an honorary doctorate of laws from Pepperdine University and has lectured on seven continents, in 45 U.S. states and in nine of Canada's 10 provinces. He has lectured in Russian in Russia, and in Hebrew in Israel.

He has made and starred in "For Goodness Sake," a video directed by David Zucker ("Naked Gun"), shown on Public Television and purchased by hundreds of major companies. His two latest films are on character and race.

Mr. Prager periodically conducts orchestras, and has introduced hundreds of thousands of people to classical music.

Originally posted at http://get.creators.com/content/release/220120.

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I'm Back. Here's Where I've Been