Friday, July 15, 2005

Why Do I Argue Against Orthodoxy?

Some may wonder why, since I don't believe in God, I don't just live my life and leave the others to live theirs. The answer is that I believe Orthodoxy causes pain and suffering which could be avoided or alleviated if some of the Orthodox became a little less dogmatic. Mirty has an incredibly moving post about how her Orthodox parents disowned her after she married a non-Jew. However you feel about intermarriage, it's infuriatingly mean and short-sighted to disown your daughter for marrying out. What kind of just or moral God would be in favor of such stupidity? What kind of people would obey such an evil and spiteful God?

I believe that religious people of all stripes would do well to ask themselves the following questions before making big decisions: What is the loving choice? Which choice will lead to more overall happiness and which to more pain? Which serves to be inclusive and which to exclude? Which deprives people of love and which increases it?

When God told Abraham to murder his son, Abraham should have said, "No." Although he didn't, God showed through His actions that He wouldn't ask a man to murder his son. The God of Abraham wouldn't ask a couple to disown their daughter, either.

17 comments:

Godol Hador said...

> The God of Abraham wouldn't ask a couple to disown their daughter, either.

Reminds me of something I posted a while back. Its always the Atheists who seem most convinced of how G-d would act, were She/He to exist.

ClooJew said...

I agree.

As a self described atheist, you sure do have strong opinions, lulei demistafina, on what G-d does and does not want.

It's pretty simple to me. I'm invited to a cousin's intermarriage and I won't be going. I love him, but what he is doing is wrong and I can't condone it with my presence. Does he want me to respect his life choices? I'm sure he does.

So why won't he (or you) respect mine?

Jewish Atheist said...

ClooJew, I don't want to get into the grayer areas -- this post is about parents disowning their children for intermarrying. I have no more respect for that than I would for parents disowning their children for marrying someone black or someone who's not a doctor.

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster: I would only caution you that taking such a rigid ideological position might well lead to irreparable damage to your relationship with your cousin. In taking this position, you are putting ideology above the feelings of a human being you claim to love. Of course you can disagree with what your cousin is doing. And if he were planning to murder someone, for example, signaling your disapproval would not only be appropriate, but imperative. However, unless you consider his marriage to a non-Jew morally equivalent to murder (which I would certainly hope isn't the case), you might want to rethink how you deal with this issue. The fact is, your presence at his wedding does not have to mean you approve of it, or condone it. You can "agree to disagree" and still be there at what I imagine will be a very important event in his life, to show him that you do indeed love him, even if you disagree with his decision.

Stacey said...

I felt the same way as you did when I read Mirty's post. Tragic. Did you read her post several months ago about her brother running away? Very sad.

I wonder if there are any stats on what % of children raised this way leave the fold.

David Kelsey said...

You obviously didn't take the lessons of Fiddler on the Roof seriously.

"There is no other hand!"

Matt said...

My atheism is rooted more in the fact that agnosticism is just too safe, too neutral. It's the Sweden of beliefs. I grew up an evengelical Christian and atheism has been a sort of refuge- a reaction, sure, but a necessary one.

Avi said...

Why be an atheist? Why not be an agnostic and leave yourself a little wiggle room. Granted that it's impossible to prove that God exists, but it's also impossible to prove that he does not exist. You dont have to be an Orthodox Jew to believe in a creator. Remember somebody had to light the fuse that started the big bang some 13 billion years ago.

Orthoprax said...

Why take a position just for the sake of "wiggle room"? Seems rather intellectually dishonest. It's not about winning arguments it should be about being true to yourself.

Me, Uncensored said...

"Abraham should have said, "No.""

Abraham knew that God was either gonna stop him or would bring his son back from the dead. That's why, when they left the servants behind so he and Isaac could continue up the mountain alone, he told them "we'll be back." Not just "I'll be back."

"Although he didn't, God showed through His actions that He wouldn't ask a man to murder his son."

He was also showing what He Himself was willing to do for us.

Avi said...

Orthoprax. I am not being dishonest. I really dont know. Maybe yes, Maybe no. So this way I just say that I will wait abd see.

Orthoprax said...

Avi,

I wasn't saying that you were being dishonest but that the suggestion to be agnostic just because the position is more unassailable is really the wrong way a person should be going about this issue.

hayim said...

> It's the Sweden of beliefs.
Did you mean "Switzerland" or what
?

Maria said...

God did ask Abraham to sacrifice his son, as a similitude of the sacrifice that He Himself would make with the sacrifice of His own son.
God is neither evil, nor spiteful. To marry outside one's faith is to invite contention into one's home. Of course, disowning your own child brings the same consequences.
The loving choice would be to welcome the outsider as a child of God, give and expect respect, and hope that your child is happy.

Matt said...

"Did you mean Switzerland?"

I originally meant Sweden...it too has a history of neutrality, but Switzerland has an even large reputation for it, so I think your'e right. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If a child chooses to marry out of Judaism and the jewish people-it is the child who is disowning the parents if the parents are so religious. If a child really loves his/her parents, then no way would they do something so hurtful as to stomp on the very soul of their parents' being.

That child is very self-focused on his or her own "happiness" over EVERYTHING else--come on that person couldnt find happiness with a Jewish mate? Just as I would love to try a treif porterhouse steak, I know that I shouldnt. Yeah, Im comparing finding a spouse to that. Even when I have found a girl to have a really attractive personality and great looks-if she wasnt Jewish I wouldnt pursue it. There is something greater than my self and that is Judaism and jewish survival and my family. Those "in love" feelings do eventually wane-but not my continued link in the jewish chain of history or any Jew's link for that matter. When she has a baby of her own, only she and her husband will feel the joy if the child is not a part of the jewish community-but if she married a Jew, the whole community would rejoice with her at the birth of a child. If each person is an island with no expected loyalty to anything or anyone beyond themselves, then I guess one would have a problem understanding why the parents would disown her for marrying out. SHE DISOWNED HER PARENTS FIRST AND RIPPED THEIR SOULS TO SHREDS>

Anonymous said...

So children are just an extension of their parents. They haveno autonomy, no free will, no right to question the absolute authority of said parents?