A close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn was plunged into a new round of mourning Monday by the death of a baby who was delivered by cesarean section after his parents were killed in a grisly hit-and-run crash a day earlier.

Police hunted for the suspected driver, identified as Julio Acevedo, saying he was barreling down a residential street in a BMW at 60 mph, or twice the speed limit, on Sunday morning when he collided with a car hired to take the couple to the hospital.

The death of the newborn on Monday piled tragedy upon tragedy and compounded the community's grief. The infant was expected to be buried near the fresh graves of his parents, Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21. About a thousand community members turned out for the young couple's funeral a day earlier.

"The mood in the neighborhood is very heavy," said Oscar Sabel, a retired printer who lives near the scene of the accident. "We all hoped the baby would survive."

Brooklyn is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. The couple married last year and were living in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

They were members of the Satmar Hasidic sect, whose men dress in dark coats and hats, wear long beards like their Eastern European ancestors and have limited dealings with the outside world. Raizy Glauber grew up in a prominent rabbinical family. Her husband was studying at a rabbinical college; his family founded a line of clothing for Orthodox Jews. (source)

Question for the religious people here: If it was God's will that these parents and their unborn baby die in a hit and run, how can we hold the driver responsible based on his free will?

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Thanks John.  I'm sure I'll take you up on that.  I'm actually synthesizing a streamlined new religion by starting from a rational basis and then "as if by magic" the rest falls into place in a way identical with the moral and spiritual core of the existing religions.  Because the basis is rational and clear, the rest can be de-mystified too.  I'm looking for a couple of heavy-duty philosophers to help me crank through all the consequences and ask the right questions.  Also, a crew of contributors who just have something to say.  After that, if we've done it right, it should take off.  I want to include the issues of women's rights, sexual repression and misusing religion for the purpose of subjugation, because these are important moral concerns.  And after all, these are things we all rightly complain about in the existing religions. 

Part of peoples' reluctance to participate is that you insist on calling your new system a "religion" when it isn't.  (It irritates us profoundly when theists insist atheism is just another religion, and here you go agreeing with them.)  IYour system is meant to compete with them but is not itself one.

I 'want to think', that atheism is 'more valid' than theism, but it is unclear if our confidence in 'logic', 'evidence', and 'process', can be validated. I think that both systems can suffer from Gogel's Incompletness, and a possible tendency to suggest that some questions are considered 'settled'.

I expect that the list of 'settled' questions in atheism is significantly smaller than in theism, but it is possible that some answers will remain 'outside' each system of thought. What questions atheists might ask, may be controled by group expectations or the language we use. I expect that theists suffer from a similar condition. Sadly, I can at this moment, only write in generalities....

I'm sorry, I just wonder why you feel this is needed. Is it that you'd like to have a way to forced morality on people who deny there's any sort of basis for it?

It also shows up the limits of what religion might achieve. 

What is the biblical reference supporting your view? or is this a later accretion by theologians without any biblical support?

I read that and can only wonder why someone would adhere to a religion that's of little use in terms of achieving salvation and in which we are all nothing but God's puppets.

I remember a little question I wrote on an 'intended for student use' white board in HS: "So if I go to heaven as one of God's elect, sit at the right hand of the father with all the rest, and sit all spell bound by God's greatness, what are we going to talk about? Seems like the other place might be more interesting." 

Vicarious redemption is such a perverse and immoral concept .

If I were a religious person I wouldn't touch this question with a 10 foot holy staff.

As I understand the doctrine of Christianity, everything has been predestined. We can not change anything that is going to happen. Whatever that is to happen, will happen by the will of God. In that case, human free will would be an illusion. Hope that makes sense.


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