Thursday, November 09, 2006

Who Causes More Jews to Leave Orthodoxy? Me, or Cross-Currents?

Assuming blogs have any significant impact at all, I wonder sometimes which blogs do the most to cause people to leave Orthodoxy. Is it skeptical blogs like mine or religious ones like Cross-Currents?

They've been on a roll the last couple days.

Shira Schmidt, not content to merely juxtapose homosexuality with bestiality, goes one further:

With deep psychological insight the Midrash points out that God did not regret his Creation even when, in the era of Noah, homosexuality and bestiality took place. He did not bring the Flood upon the world because homosexual couples conducted parades. Rather, the last straw was when they drew up contracts conferring the veneer of normality on aberrant behavior.

The Midrash rabba observes: "The generation of the Flood was not blotted out from the world until they wrote marriage deeds for males and males, and males and beasts, thus fully legalizing such practices."


That's right. With "deep psychological insight," the Midrash "observes" that God destroyed the world because of gay marriage (and, of course, man-beast marriage, which I'm sure was all the rage back then.)

Next, Yitzchok Adlerstein argues that Ted Haggard was less of a sinner than an openly gay person:

As long as we are uncomfortable with our sin even while committing it, we are better off than those who welcome it into their homes as a welcome guest.


Finally, Yaakov Menken implies that God Himself caused the parade to be canceled:

This is the third time that the parade has been canceled due to other demands on police resources, the latter two having been entirely unforeseeable. Mere coincidence? You decide.


Wow. If I were still an Orthodox Jew, I'd tell them to pipe down for fear of scaring off the others.

32 comments:

XGH said...

> Who Causes More Jews to Leave Orthodoxy? Me, or Cross-Currents?

Well, people like you show its (possibly / probably / mostly) not true. However people like CC actually make me want to leave. So I guess the answer to your question is CC.

Prisstopolis said...

As long as the story is being updated to say that gay marriages (contracts) was the reason for the flood, why not include parades as a crucial component.

Liorah-Lleucu said...

Believe it or not, a Jewish atheist led me toJudaism. Isn't that totally weird?

asher said...

This is absurd!

Orthodox Jews actually believe this drivel?

Gays should unite and make sure the next parade does not get cancelled. They should hold it in a more hospitable place like:
Mecca, Medina, The Vatican, Amman, Cairo, Bejing, or Bagdad.

Besides..how can they demonstrate that they are gay without a parade?

By the by, when will we be seeing an Atheist Pride parade? As the most suspect group in America, they need to improve their image.

r10b said...

I wonder sometimes which blogs do the most to cause people to leave Orthodoxy. Is it skeptical blogs like mine or religious ones like Cross-Currents?

You know what I wonder? I wonder if people know what orthodoxy means?

---
Orthodoxy: the quality of being orthodox.

Orthodox: of, pertaining to, or conforming to the approved form of any doctrine, philosophy, ideology, etc.
---

Because according to JA there people who say to themselves, "You know what? I'm fed up with Orthodoxy. They expect me to conform to the "approved doctrine." No way! I need to find myself some form of orthodoxy that has either: a) no doctrines to conform to, or b) doctrines to which conformation is optional. Now that's an Orthodoxy I can live with!"

Oh -- wait -- I get it! JA is being funny again.

Good one. You got me. I really thought you were serious there for a minute.

Jewish Atheist said...

asher: "We're not as bad as the Muslims! We're not as bad as the Muslims!" You guys should get tee-shirts with that.

r10b: I'm talking about (capital-O) Orthodox Judaism, which is a denomination of Judaism like Conservative or Reform, not generic "orthodoxy."

r10b said...

So the capital-O orthodox in Orthodox Judaism means something different than the little-o orthodox in the dictionary? Forgive me, I have one of those Absolutist dictionaries.

Jewish Atheist said...

r10b:

Yep. Orthodox Judaism. And Conservative Judaism isn't very conservative, at least compared to Orthodox. :-)

r10b said...

Thanks for the link. Didn't read it all. Will. Till then...

wiki says...Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmudic texts...

I'm sorry, I think you're being pedantic. Orthodox means orthodox in that "adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws" means "conform[s] to the approved form of [a] doctrine."

wiki...Orthodox Judaism is characterized by:...

followed by 6 Beliefs, 2 Acceptances and 1 Adherence.

Still seems like Orthodox means orthodox. Maybe the the things believed, accepted and adhered to are variable within the broader Orthodox universe but that does not change the meaning of O/orthodox. I'm Presbyterian. Another Presbyterian might have slightly different beliefs. The word still has just one meaning.

Regardless, one expects a member of any case-sensitive orthodox/reformed/whatever doctrine-based organization to adhere or conform to the stated doctrines of that organization, at least locally. The primary goal of any such doctrine-base organization is not to be popular with people regardless of their beliefs, but to, in a sense, set themselves apart from society in general, welcoming others who desire to conform and not welcoming those who don't. Seems like everybody would be happy with that arrangement. It's win/win.

asher said...

JA,

Muslims are bad??? Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, blogs like yours do have quite an effect on the questioning of many, including myself. The arguments offered are very sound, and obviously have a lot to them. It's very easy to say that sites like CC turn people off to Orthodox Judaism, but it's also possible to find a place within OJ that one can handle being in, if they have firm faith. But, if they don't, and reading frustrating propaganda like CC comes along with skeptic blogs offering coherent arguments, the damage, I believe, can go to the skeptic blog as victor. Personally, my unanswered questions cause me much more distress than the apologetics of the writers of CC.

jewish philosopher said...

So JA, what will you say if following the legalization of gay marriage some global catastrophe occurs. Maybe for example a fatal sexually transmitted disease related to homosexuality. Will that convince you that CC is right? Or will nothing convince you, because you just know they're wrong?

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Sam Harris visited the Raving Atheist's message board a couple of nights ago, and he said that generally speaking people will not admit that you have changed their outlook or mind during a conversation. If it happens, it happens upon reflection of the conversation.

I do believe that blogs such as yours....and mine, do make a difference, and at least get people questioning, even if they'll admit it or not.

Personally, I've yet to see a theistic argument that I've reflected upon to the point that I've questioned my Atheism. They all seem ridiculous, and at best, an attempt to grasp for straws.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

JP, there are plenty of sexual diseases in our heterosexual community too.

In fact, sure gay men have the greatest chance of getting and dying from aids. But heterosexual women are number two on the list, followed by heterosexual men (drug use usually).

The least likely person who engages in sex and gets any sort of disease including aids are LESBIANS.

So according to your logic, all women should become Lesbians because God didn't give them a wrathful disease to worry about.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, being lesbian is OK, at least if you aren't Jewish.

Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

What's so terrible about Adlerstein's point?

DNA said...

"So JA, what will you say if following the legalization of gay marriage some global catastrophe occurs. Maybe for example a fatal sexually transmitted disease related to homosexuality. Will that convince you that CC is right? Or will nothing convince you, because you just know they're wrong?'

Sure, absolutely. I concluded that god didn't like Jews after I thought about Tay-Sachs, gauchers, Fabry's, ulcerative colitis, cycstic fibrosis, breast cancer, and all the other wonderful diseases which Jews are more likely to die from. It would be hypocritical for me not to apply the same logic to homosexuals as well. Idiot.

cipher said...

dna,
Jews have greater than average incidences of colitis, cystic fibrosis and breast cancer? Seriously, or are you being figurative?

Jewish Philosopher,
I agree wholeheartedly with dna's assessment of your intelligence. It was because of you and several others like you that I've largely stayed away from the Jewish blogosphere for the past several months. And I just read your comments about gays following the post about Ted Haggard. Your opinions are appalling. To paraphrase the old joke – by philosophers, you’re no philosopher.

DNA said...

"Jews have greater than average incidences of colitis, cystic fibrosis and breast cancer? Seriously, or are you being figurative?"

As I recall...

Jewish Atheist said...

CWY:

As long as we are uncomfortable with our sin even while committing it, we are better off than those who welcome it into their homes as a welcome guest.

In isolation, it's okay. But when applied to Haggard, it's crazy. Haggard discomfort caused him to marry a woman, have five children, and push a rabid anti-gay agenda. If he had been merely openly gay, he would not have caused damage to the innocent bystanders.

Cipher:

Ashkenazi Jews do in fact have a high level of several genetic diseases, including Tay Sachs, Crones, Colites, etc. Maybe this means God's a Sephardi.

DNA said...

"
Ashkenazi Jews do in fact have a high level of several genetic diseases, including Tay Sachs, Crones, Colites, etc. Maybe this means God's a Sephardi."

Here's another one for JP to think about: why the big genetic differences between sephardim and ashkenazim? We should all have the same genes, no? Not intermarriage, of course! Not evolution, of course! After you're done explaining how you divine which diseases are for which sins, you can explain the biology for us.

reluctant rebel said...

Never mind the whole gay debate, back to the main quetsion of this post "Who causes more Jews to leave orthodoxy? Me or cross-current?" - Well I sure hope it's neigther, I hope people who leave (or come to) religion have more of a sound reason than a couple of blogs they've come accross on the net.

DNA said...

RR,

There's more info on "a couple blogs on the net" than most people who enter or leave orthodox judaism ever consider.

cipher said...

Ashkenazi Jews do in fact have a high level of several genetic diseases, including Tay Sachs, Crones, Colites, etc.

I knew about Tay Sachs, of course, and I seem to recall reading about a higher incidence of Gaucher's (Fabry's I hadn't heard of). About Ashkenazim having higher rates of contraction of Crone's, colitis, cystic fibrosis and breast cancer - I had no idea.

Resh Lakish said...

My understanding is that much of this is due to the extreme maternal "bottleneck" suffered by Ashkenazi communities in the Middle Ages that caused Ashkenazi communities to lack genetic diversity (here's an abstract of a study of the Mitochondrial DNA evidence):
http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v12/n5/abs/5201156a.html

Ashkenazim went from constituting about 3% of the world Jewish population in the Middle Ages to over 90% by the time of the Shoah. That's a lot of descendants from not many ancestors.

Flippy said...

jewish philosopher Actually, being lesbian is OK, at least if you aren't Jewish.

Actually, you wanted me dead a couple of months ago. Why the change of heart?

Also, there's pretty much nothing I can do about my Jewishness. I'm a lesbian, should I denounce my mother - would that allow me to no longer be Jewish?

Chaim G. said...

I find the title and tone of your post puzzling. Assuming the answer is that you, in fact, cause more Ortho Jews to leave is this something to be ashamed of or proud of? I detect a subliminal supressed sense of guilt on your part for having been succesful.

Jewish Atheist said...

Assuming the answer is that you, in fact, cause more Ortho Jews to leave is this something to be ashamed of or proud of?

Neither one, really.

I detect a subliminal supressed sense of guilt on your part for having been succesful.

Sometimes I do feel bad, not that I believe I've ever been solely responsible for anyone's leaving. It's a difficult and sometimes traumatic process.

Chaim G. said...

But isn't the trauma worth it? Or would you have them waste the rest of their lives living a lie? After all, you hold that Olam Habah is a fairy tale. With only one life to live ir would be a real shame to waste it.

Jewish Atheist said...

chaim:

It depends on the circumstances, probably. I left orthodoxy while single. People who are married with children, for example, face a much more difficult time. Maybe for them ignorance (from my standpoint) is bliss.

If someone doesn't like their Orthodox life and is only doing it for Olam Haba, I'd be happy to change their mind.

Probably more than anything, I just want Orthodox people to understand people like me. They don't have to agree, just understand. In real life, one doesn't get to speak honestly to Orthodox people if he or she doesn't agree with some fundamental assumptions.

Chaim G. said...

Methinks you've got it backwards. When you believe in Olam Habo you "like" your Orthodox life, much as one loves the construction process of their dream house despite any and all agggravation the contractors may be giving them. It's called mans quest for meaning and purpose.

Much (if not all)of the unhapiness and ambivalence that Ortho-Jews experience derives from higher levels of agnosticism than they are consiously aware of (AKA sfaikos in emunah). I.e. what if my dream house is really just a mirage?

It is precisely the incremental "changes-of-mind", the kinds of seeds-of-doubt that YOU sow so well, that robs them of much of their joy.

Jewish Atheist said...

Chaim:

It is precisely the incremental "changes-of-mind", the kinds of seeds-of-doubt that YOU sow so well, that robs them of much of their joy.

If they're even on the internet, much less reading a blog called "Jewish Atheist," it's probably too late for emunah peshuta.