Monday, July 23, 2007

Modern Orthodoxy's State of Denial

I wasn't going to post about this article in the Times because I didn't think it would be very conducive to good conversation. But after being surprised by the responses to it by some Orthodox people I respect (Chana, Gil Student) as being generally tolerant and open-minded, I decided I have to.

The event which opens the piece is as follows:

Noah Feldman went to the Modern Orthodox high school Maimonides as a teen. As an adult, he is not Orthodox and has married a non-Jew, who is Korean-American. He brought his wife (then girlfriend) to his high school reunion. At the reunion, a class photo was taken. Later, the photo was sent out as part of an alumni newsletter. Except he and his girlfriend had been removed from the photo.

This story struck me as something out of Orwell, or from the former Soviet Union. Deciding not to publish the photograph, adding a disclaimer, or even attaching a letter from a Rabbi addressing why intermarriage is unacceptable would have been one thing, but falsifying a photo to pretend that a person doesn't even exist is dishonest and shameful.

It's also emblematic of the Modern Orthodox community's state of denial. Philosophically bound to the traditional Jewish rule of law, halakha, while at the same time overtly influenced by modernity, there are a few subjects they prefer to think about only in the abstract. It's easier to rail against the evils of intermarriage when you don't have to look Prof. Feldman in the face and tell him that he sinned by marrying his wife, that his family is somehow lesser than fully Jewish families. It's easier to maintain that the Torah is correct to call homosexual sex an abomination when you pretend that there are no gay people in your community.

I've seen this denial firsthand. I grew up in a very modern Modern Orthodox community. But what I experienced was not a community courageously combining modernity with its sacred beliefs, but one threatened by reality.

For example, I knew one family that refused to allow their future mother-in-law's live-in boyfriend into their home because they didn't want their younger children to think living together before marriage is normal. My Orthodox readers are probably thinking to themselves that that sounds perfectly reasonable. After all, they really don't want those kids growing up to think cohabitation is okay. But look how they're doing it! They're not having the couple over and then explaining afterwards to their children that it's not the halakhic way to act -- they're pretending the man does not exist because his very existence implies that there are alternatives to the halakhic way of life.

And what of all the debates that rage in the J-blogosphere about evolution and the Documentary Hypothesis and whether the Exodus actually happened? Do Modern Orthodox communities courageously address these issues, encouraging students to ask tough questions? Or do they largely pretend the issues don't exist, or are easily parried by answers like those of the Aish HaTorah crowd?

And what of those of us who simply decided we don't believe in Orthodoxy? Does the MO community honestly deal with the issue, saying that some people simply leave for any number of reasons? Or do they avoid talking about us when possible, pretending that leaving is simply not an alternative, and when the subject does come up, do they pretend that we all left because our daddies didn't love us enough or we couldn't resist the allure of drugs and sex?

Erasing people from a picture because they do not represent the ideal you wish to encourage is a cowardly act of denial. Noah Feldman didn't kill anyone, or commit a robbery, or even deliberately hurt anyone's feelings. He's simply a living example of a normal person who has made a choice that's made every day in this country. Rather than accepting the fact that it's possible to grow up Orthodox and go on to marry a non-Jew, this particular editor decided to pretend it didn't happen.

Listen, if you want to be Modern and Orthodox, you're going to have to have a little more courage than pretending those of us who are living reminders that your path isn't for everyone don't exist. You're going to have to honestly address the challenges to traditional Judaism raised by physics, biology, cosmology, textual criticism, and ethics.

You should also consider the morality of what you do. Is it moral to shun a person for deciding that your religion isn't for them? To pretend that they never existed? People like Feldman and me are as worthy of love and respect as anyone else is. That our very existence is a threat to your worldview is no excuse for the way you treat us.

78 comments:

MO Jew said...

I think the article itself had a much more reasoned view of what you speak of; in it he's very aware of MO's boundary maintenance problem. He's covering it, ironically, with more emotional distance than you, clinically diagnosing why they did it: the (Modern) Orthodox Paradox.

For all the flak he's received over his choice of examples, they're really just good choices, chosen to show the unique problems that MO faces and how they inform he boundary maintenance action that instigated his inspection.

sam said...

Hmmm,
I wonder if we would get the same tolerance speach from you about an IDer at an evolution conference.
The fact is, by going there with his girlfriend, he made a conscience decision to take a stand. This takes it beyond a personal 'thing'.

Anonymous said...

> People like Feldman and me are as worthy of love and respect as anyone else is.

Like it or not, we are all born against our will into an environment and culture which may not be to our liking. We do (mostly) have a choice nowadays to stay or leave, but then that inevitably brings condemnation and shunning from those we left. Since it's impossible to bring up people entirely 'neutral', and since its impractical to expect people not to shun 'deserters', I don't know what solution there could possibly be. NF wasn't put in cherem or totally ostracized, and I imagine what Maimonides said about it all pales in comparison to what his own family said.

Bottom line: life sucks, and according to you we're all just mammals anyway, living a freak existence in a meaningless universe. Do cows shun other cows that leave the herd? I think they do. (There was definitely some shunning going on in the movie 'Open Season', but maybe we shouldn't bring proofs from a movie.)

So excuse me if I'm not going to get too upset at NF not making it into his alumni newsletter. He should be happy, if this was Iran he would have been beheaded by now.

Jewish Atheist said...

sam:

I wonder if we would get the same tolerance speach from you about an IDer at an evolution conference.

He didn't take his non-Jewish girlfriend to a siyyum; he took her to a high-school reunion. Can you imagine a secular high-school photoshopping out from reunion pictures a graduate who became an IDer?

sam said...

'Can you imagine a secular high-school photoshopping out from reunion pictures a graduate who became an IDer?'

That's a false analogy. A secular high school ostensibly does not have a mission to promote any particular worldwiew. This was a deliberate slap in the face against a certain view of life, whether you or he agrees with that view. I don't think it would have been an issue if he was in the picture there by himself. (By the way, I would think that would be standard protocol by a reunion, that is, to just include the people who actually were in the class, and not their spouses. I don't go to my wife's reunions, they are irrelvant to me. But that's a side point.)

Jewish Atheist said...

That's a false analogy. A secular high school ostensibly does not have a mission to promote any particular worldwiew.

Good point. The problem with Orthodox schooling is that it promotes a particular world-view even at other people's expense. That it's hard to find an analogy is itself striking.

sam said...

'That it's hard to find an analogy is itself striking.'

You're kidding, right? First of all, every religion obviously promotes its worldview, including atheism (whoah, I'm ducking!).

But really, you can't honestly single out Orthodox Jewry on this.

Jewish Atheist said...

sam:

Obviously other religions do it too, and probably schools in communist countries. But that doesn't excuse Orthodoxy, it just puts it in perspective.

sam said...

What perspective?! Obviously, they believe it's the truth. You believe atheism is true. I don't see any blogs from ex-atheists on your blogroll. Now, why would that be?

Ezzie said...

I still plan on writing my post, but just to counter all your main points in one... :)

This is a private school which is surely going to advertise in its public face that which they agree with. They are saying "this is what we educate our students to be" - why in the world would they throw in a guy married to a non-Jew? I could see an objection to someone becoming (say) Charedi - that may not be exactly what they want, but at least he's making his own choices within the realm of choices they basically support; this is outside the pale. It is clear from the piece that Feldman doesn't get this and his friend does (see the last two paragraphs).

He's not ostracized completely - he has all these religious friends, he clearly has a nice connection with the school otherwise - but from a religious educational standpoint? He slapped them in the face and expects there to be no consequences. That's simply dumb. (That's basically what Gil's point was.)

Stephen (aka Q) said...

He slapped them in the face.

No; he married outside the faith. And then he attended a reunion of his high school class. People of faith shouldn't take everything as a personal affront.

People become all kinds of things after they leave high school. Since JA was looking for an analogy, how about this one: a graduate who ends up convicted of a felony offence. If he shows up to his school and appears in the group photo, does that mean the school condones his felony?

Jewish Atheist said...

ezzie:

This is a private school which is surely going to advertise in its public face that which they agree with.

I'm not saying they had an obligation to put his face on recruiting brochures. I'm not even saying they had to put the class photo into the newsletter. But to put the photo in with him and his girlfriend cropped out is not only dishonest, but extremely offensive. The photo was of the group who attended the reunion, not an advertisement.

And I really wish Orthodox people could understand the point Stephen makes: his intermarriage is not a slap in the face to anybody. While one could argue that bringing her to the reunion is, too many Orthodox people seem to take it as a personal affront whenever one of us leaves the fold or intermarriage, when really we're just following our own paths.

Ezzie said...

...but that's not true. The photo IS an advertisement - the entire alumni event was an advertisement, a fundraiser if you will. They are treating him as a full-fledged alumnus, and they're not going to be rude to him at the event and ask him to not get in the picture; but they're also not going to put him in.

Anonymous said...

You should also consider the morality of what you do. Is it moral to shun a person for deciding that your religion isn't for them? To pretend that they never existed? People like Feldman and me are as worthy of love and respect as anyone else is. That our very existence is a threat to your worldview is no excuse for the way you treat us.

You are intentionally missing the point. This isn’t about people’s “obligation” to show “respect” to views they find to be dangerous and offensive. This is about a RELIGIOUS institution hiding its embarrassment over a tremendous failure on their part. The school feels if they had given Noah a proper education he’d still be frum, and they are rightly embarrassed that they messed up so badly with such a talented student. Imagine the anger Bar Ilan supporters would feel if they published a photo of Yigal Amir in a brochure of theirs. (In fact they accidentally did so, and the one who mistakenly let the photo in was fired.) Organizations can and should admit when they mess up with their core mission. They have no obligation to be proud of and to flaunt such failures.

Jewish Atheist said...

ezzie:

Isn't it fundamentally dishonest to use a picture of the reunion with him cropped out? They're saying, this is what our graduates are like. But they're not all like that.

anonymous:

The school feels if they had given Noah a proper education he’d still be frum

That's exactly what I'm getting at regarding their denial. In fact, it's quite possible to get a proper frum education and still go off the derech and/or intermarry. OJ has yet to acknowledge this fact, preferring to believe that people like him and me were led astray by temptation or whatever, instead of recognizing the facts as they are.

G said...

As I said on a diff blog.

I'm confused. He states:

"Since the birth of modern Orthodox Judaism in 19th-century Germany, a central goal of the movement has been to normalize the observance of traditional Jewish law — to make it possible to follow all 613 biblical commandments assiduously while still participating in the reality of the modern world. You must strive to be, as a poet of the time put it, “a Jew in the home and a man in the street.”

If he knows this to be the reality (for better or worse), then what is the point of the piece?

G said...

I am curious, what could someone do that would warrant them being cut out of such a photo?

sam said...

JA,
Without rehashing old arguments about OJ and what drove you personally to your decision, I truly believe that the overwhelming desire for a person to be free to do whatever he wants without accountability, guided only by ethics that he himself decides, is what drives atheism. Maybe not by you, (according to you), but by the vast majority. The problem is that living a meaningless life geared only for this world can't bring happiness to the soul, which lives for the next world, which is why almost all the atheists I know are constantly angry and bitter about something, although to be honest, at least in this regard, you don't seem to fall into this category. Just my opinion.

Jewish Atheist said...

sam:

I truly believe that the overwhelming desire for a person to be free to do whatever he wants without accountability, guided only by ethics that he himself decides, is what drives atheism.

Just because you believe something doesn't make it so. :-)

sam said...

'Just because you believe something doesn't make it so. :-) '

Correct.
The same way believing in infinite universes and spontaneous generation (which is really what atheism boils down to) also doesn't make it correct. No? :)

Jewish Atheist said...

The same way believing in infinite universes and spontaneous generation (which is really what atheism boils down to) also doesn't make it correct. No? :)

Of course. :-)

Anonymous said...

'It's easier to rail against the evils of intermarriage when you don't have to look Prof. Feldman in the face and tell him that he sinned by marrying his wife, that his family is somehow lesser than fully Jewish families.'You are dead wrong...very few Orthodox Jews have much difficulty looking this Feldman guy in the face and saying what he did was wrong, morally reprehensible, sinning and much more.Mo don't avoid talking about this...just look at the blogs ,they haven't stopped talking for two days.

As for motives, someone who leaves is entitled to say why , but his opinions are not incorrigible. It's not like saying 'I have a toothache' A person who opts out might be mistaken as to motives. And surely the drop out has no right to control the narrative that is produced in the community he chose to leave. They might even be right more often than not. The community has no obligation or interest to confirm the story the dropout tells about himself.

You certainly have not hesitated to challenge the stories Orthodox tell about themselves.

BEAJ said...

You don't bring a shvartza girlfriend to a KKK reunion either.
Feldman should have known better:)

BEAJ said...

Yes, JA, they are in denial. I left a comment on Gil's blog, and he deleted it. Luckily cocomment saved it for me.
Sure, it was offensive, but it was the truth. And these God psychotics can't handle the truth.

Here is the comment:
Only imbeciles are insulted by intermarriage.
Are you trying to play God? A God that doesn't exist btw.

Anonymous said...

I don't comment on blogs often.
And i agree that modern orthodox institutions can be petty. However, I think Mr. Feldman is highly disingenous. Not only did he marry out, but he actively works against orthodox interests. During the dispute over the tenafly eruv, he fought against the eruv despite other things he has written.
So, sure, air-brushing is silly and pointless. But this guy goes out of his way to be anti-orthodox and then comes crying when they don't acknowledge him. PLEASE.
See:
the Wall Street Journal

Holy Hyrax said...

JA

It seems you are venting at so many things at once that have little to do with each other. I am really sure what you mean by denial? What is being denied here, that there are intermarriages? Noone deny's that. There is no abstract here. It is something that is looked down upon tremendously. It's not something that should be condoned. Now, once that is done however, they should still be shown respect ofcourse. I am not defending cropping him out if that is what happened.

For example, I knew one family that refused to allow their future mother-in-law's live-in boyfriend into their home because they didn't want their younger children to think living together before marriage is normal. My Orthodox readers are probably thinking to themselves that that sounds perfectly reasonable

I knew someone like that too. I thought it was a joke then, and still do, but you are generalizing if you think everyone does that. I have been to quite a few homes where people like these were invited. This is not an issue of a problem with MO but one of over sensitive people.

And what of all the debates that rage in the J-blogosphere about evolution and the Documentary Hypothesis and whether the Exodus actually happened? Do Modern Orthodox communities courageously address these issues, encouraging students to ask tough questions?

What about it? Do you realize there are certain axioms MO hold to be true. So far, only the minimalist have really said there was no Exodus, do you want them to teach them the minimalist perspective? Practically, do you really think DH can be taught? Do you not see it as a suicidal mission, or is that your objective? DH is highly particular as all biblical criticism. How would you even devise a curiculm now to teach highschool students of it? Has DH been prooved to even warrent it to be taught in the highschools?

Holy Hyrax said...

Only imbeciles are insulted by intermarriage.
Are you trying to play God? A God that doesn't exist btw.


Very mature I see. There really is no way to comment to something as insulting as that. I mean, it so stupid equating a society being insulted at something with playing God.

BEAJ said...

The point is that "the society" should look at themselves. They are playing God, but too self obsessed to realize it.
Oh, and the Exodus did not happen. There is absolutely no evidence for it.
Watch the series The Bible Unearthed with an open mind.
Jews who frown upon mixed marriages are no better than the KKK.

Holy Hyrax said...

>The point is that "the society" should look at themselves. They are playing God, but too self obsessed to realize it.

The point is, you have not established how they are playing God.

>Oh, and the Exodus did not happen. There is absolutely no evidence for it.
Watch the series The Bible Unearthed with an open mind.

I did watch the series (not all) and I don't think that Sliberman and Feinstein reject an exodus. What they reject is The Exodus, how it is portrayed in the Bible. From what I remember they say that Jews did escape in the desert but not the number the bible says. I will watch it again. But again, I believe this to be a minimalist position that there was NO exodus.

>Jews who frown upon mixed marriages are no better than the KKK.

KKK- Lynch and kill blacks, think they should be slaves.

MO's-?? you are right, I see the comparisons.

So far you talk in alot of abstracts, but you really dont lay much on the table

BEAJ said...

Todays KKK does no such thing. The odd nut (they are all nuts) sometimes does something illegal.

Playing God: Why shun a Jew who makes a decision to marry a non Jew?
Does God tell you to shun him? Or do the Rabbis?

Also, in the documentary, it leave very little possibility for any Exodus. It also pretty much concludes that Jews were not monotheistic until sometime between 450-610 BC.

The documentary is great. Oh, and not that it matters here, but Jesus most likely didn't exist either. That is another story.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Todays KKK does no such thing. The odd nut (they are all nuts) sometimes does something illegal.

It doesent matter, that is the KKK mantra and if they could get away with it, they would

>Playing God: Why shun a Jew who makes a decision to marry a non Jew?

Thats not playing God, that is keeping a society intact and functioning and realizing its suicidal if intermarriage was something allowed.

>Does God tell you to shun him? Or do the Rabbis?

Well, if you are bringing God up here, then I will answer you according to biblical law, I think it is only geared against the cananite nations. But that is pretty obvious since that is the people they were in contact with. The same logic therefore has to be taken in regards to other nations as well, which is most likely rabbinc. But it still does not matter, for the reason I layed out above.

>Also, in the documentary, it leave very little possibility for any Exodus.

So you went from there being NO exodus to stating that the documuntary leaves a possiblity albeit a small one. "Very little" is quite subjective from scholar to scholar and how they interpret the evidence. Again, from my understanding is that the issue is whether an exodus happened but if it was the magnitude of what the text says. Or, you can take the minimalist version, and say there was absolutly nothing.

>It also pretty much concludes that Jews were not monotheistic until sometime between 450-610 BC.

Well, considering that the books of the prophets lay out to you that idol worshiping was ramant all around, this is no big suprise. The question is, was there also monotheistic practices around the same time? I believe it is very hard to come to ANY absolutes when dealing with ancient history. You ofcourse remember Tel Dan right?

BEAJ said...

If Orthodox Jews could have their way, many would not associate with anyone but Orthodox Jews.

What is suicidal about Jews intermarrying? Why is it your business what other Jews do? You have your beliefs, and if they are so correct, many others will have those beliefs as well. It is insecurity, and it is playing God.
Why is it important to try to coerce someone else's life?

The documentary leaves room for maybe 20 people to leave Egypt around 1270 BC or thereabouts. It eliminates the chances of anything larger than that.

Here is the thing. If the Exodus was such an important part of Jewish history, and the only proof it happened is Oral Tradition, why were Jews not monotheistic from 1270 BC onwards? More importantly, why didn't the Egyptians become monotheistic directly after all those plagues? If I saw God do stuff like that, I would drop my atheism in a second.

The reality is that it didn't happen. The Jews (yes they were an ethnicity long before they were a religion), morphed Zoroastrian beliefs and added a few of their own, and invented a history of specialness too, in order to bring cohesiveness to the people of Israel around 610 to 450 BC.

That ismy story, and I'm sticking to it.

Bottom line, from my vantage point, this who garbage about shunning a fellow Jew, is ridiculous, laughable, and it makes me shake my head.

But then again, I'm not as much of a Jew as many Orthodox KKKers are, so my opinion isn't that important to many.

Holy Hyrax said...

>If Orthodox Jews could have their way, many would not associate with anyone but Orthodox Jews.

You're right, but that is their business.

>What is suicidal about Jews intermarrying?

Ummm.. becasause for a group that heritage is extremely important, to be carried through the future, intermarriage spells the death of that. Part of that heritage is that it maintains its identity, you won't have that once your citizens starts disapearing. Did I really need to tell you this?

>Why is it your business what other Jews do?

Ummm, its not. What does this have anything to do with it? Everyone can do what they want, but as a community, we see intermarriage is a big deal, but in the end of the day, its an individual thing.

>It is insecurity, and it is playing God.

You still haven't established what this mean. How is this playing God? Are we creating life out dead tissue or something here? How is this playing God. A community, for the Jew, is very important and intermarriage is something that slowly but shirly riduces it.

>Why is it important to try to coerce someone else's life?

Coerce where? Why are you brining in things that have no relevence? Where is coersion playing a part in any of this?

>Here is the thing. If the Exodus was such an important part of Jewish history, and the only proof it happened is Oral Tradition, why were Jews not monotheistic from 1270 BC onwards?

How am I supposed to answer that? You from the get go already presume they were not monothestic? We can't know for sure and archeology, in my opinion can say very little. All of this is up to interpretation. You give way too much credibility to archeology to absolutly tell you there was no monothestic belief in those times. If anything, they tended to believe in YHWH, but at the same time have other gods on the side. Look, was a different time and we can't relate.

>More importantly, why didn't the Egyptians become monotheistic directly after all those plagues? If I saw God do stuff like that, I would drop my atheism in a second.

You are confusing your atheism for their theism. They DID believe in Gods so nothing is necassarily need to change. Ofcourse the regular masses just probably believed the hebrews had their God but that dident contradict them remaining with their own gods as well. YHWH brought the plagues but that diden't mean their own Gods dident exist. But at the same time, dont forget the book of exodus tells you that a multude of other mixed people came out as well, so maybe alot did want to "convert"

>The reality is that it didn't happen. The Jews (yes they were an ethnicity long before they were a religion), morphed Zoroastrian beliefs and added a few of their own, and invented a history of specialness too, in order to bring cohesiveness to the people of Israel around 610 to 450 BC.

The Zoroastrian claim is just conjecture. Regarding the rest, this is not really the place to have a huge scholarly debate, not to mention I am not even qualified for it.

>Bottom line, from my vantage point, this who garbage about shunning a fellow Jew, is ridiculous, laughable, and it makes me shake my head.

Right, as if everything is permissable to you. Face it, everyone has their limits on who to accept into their community and family. If your kid was to bring in a KKK as a potention spouse, I don't think you would be happy.

>But then again, I'm not as much of a Jew as many Orthodox KKKers are, so my opinion isn't that important to many.

There you go again with that KKK crap, after your whole comparison has been proven false and blown out of proportion to suit your agenda.

BEAJ said...

Ok, so you admit that there is a parallel between the KKK and Orthodox Jewry. I guess it is none of our business what the KKK want either.

I still don't see the importance of non intermarriage. We all evolved from the same ape like being anyway.

Again, if the evidence backed up the Jewish God, people like me would be marrying Jews and many would be converting to Judaism. Are you mad because Jews are waking up to science and archeology? Because that tells the non reality denying Jew that the future of any religion isn't very important.

Coercion is what is happening amongst the Orthodox Jews who feel they need to shun someone who leaves or marries a non Jew. Coercion amongst the leaders that puts guilt amongst the sheep.

Again the evidence that has come about regarding the Exodus does not show many people came to Israel. Very few came around that time if any. So the Egyptians didn't convert.

I never confuse atheism with theism, and I know that Egyptians had their God, one Pharaoh tried to amalgamate the Egyptian to worship just one idol. Ezra was able to get the Jews to get together to worship one invisible God, but it was way after the Exodus time. The Zoroastrians were most likely the first monotheistic people, but there is scant evidence at this time.

You didn't prove my comparison false. You admitted that I'm right by saying that if it was up to the Orthodox Jews they would only have to deal with Orthodox Jews, just like you said that if the KKK had their way....they would only deal with Whitey.

I have no agenda. I just like calling a spade a spade.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Ok, so you admit that there is a parallel between the KKK and Orthodox Jewry. I guess it is none of our business what the KKK want either.

huh?

>I still don't see the importance of non intermarriage. We all evolved from the same ape like being anyway.

True, but as we evolved, we started devoloping communities. And those communities see it as a VALUE to thrive into the future as a community.

>Are you mad because Jews are waking up to science and archeology?

Not at all, I love science and love archeology but at the same time, understand its limits.

>Coercion is what is happening amongst the Orthodox Jews who feel they need to shun someone who leaves or marries a non Jew. Coercion amongst the leaders that puts guilt amongst the sheep.

Such nonsence its unbelieavable. If you value your society, and you value your traditions and you value everything that has been survived for 2000 years that it only takes a 10 year to realize that that , here it comes again...intermarriage spells an end to that community. No one is coerced to think that way about intermarriage, its common sence. What guilt can possibly be played here? Leaders have nothing to do with it, its something imbedded in all human beings that which to carry on their identity.

>Again the evidence that has come about regarding the Exodus does not show many people came to Israel. Very few came around that time if any. So the Egyptians didn't convert.

Your question came from a POV of IF the egyptians experienced the plague, why did they not convert, and I answered you.

>Ezra was able to get the Jews to get together to worship one invisible God, but it was way after the Exodus time.

Thank you, you just showed me how little you know of the subject matter. Even coming from a skeptical point of view regardint this matter, it was not Ezra that brought them to monotheism but Josiah and his reforms which happend before the first exile to Babylonia. Do you get that there is no evidence to support any of these outside of the JEWISH bible? Which means, its all up to interpretations from scholar to scholar which is why I can't stand this "absolutness" in your tone.

Regarding the Zoroastrians, this is probably true they were the first, but there is no evidence to their connections to the Israelites.

>You didn't prove my comparison false. You admitted that I'm right by saying that if it was up to the Orthodox Jews they would only have to deal with Orthodox Jews, just like you said that if the KKK had their way....they would only deal with Whitey.

Wrong. The fact that some OJ Jews would prefer to deal with Jews does not equate them to KKK for the reasons I gave above in my other comments as to how KKK members would deal with Blacks if they could. No matter how much OJ jews would get away with it, lynching a gentile would never come into their heads. They just want to be left alone to their own doings.

Also, you should really have a better grasp of history when making comparisons. I mean, come on, from century to century Jews have been oppressed by their gentile neighbors and in this last century, as many German orthodox were becoming more open, 6 million of them are wiped out by their gentile hosts. So can you honostly sit there and blame many Jews for not wanting anything to do with gentiles? This would require some honosty on your part and to lay down your PC attitude for just a bit.

BEAJ said...

I know history. And what I said about Ezra is correct. It was at his time and probably by him that everything came together. Like I said, Jews were trending towards monotheism from 610 to 450 BC, but it wasn't until 450 that it became officially part of the religion most likely.....mandatory, I mean.

And I am talking about Orthodox Jews not wanting to do anything with non Jews or even non Orthodox Jews, which is very hard to do when you are a minority. But it is the thought that counts.

Again, it is YOUR OPINION that intermarriage is a bad thing. I don't view it that way. I view that we have one life to live, and we should be able to live it the way we choose to. I think that anyone who is intolerant of that has real problems. And that is how I view those who shunned subject of this post.

And yes, you fail to see that the Orthodox Jews in this article are very similar to the KKK, but I know many lurkers here know what I'm talking about.

The fact that Jews have been persecuted throughout history has no bearing on Jewish intolerance going forward. It is pretty much religious intolerance (of non Jews) which continued to do Jews in throughout history.

Religion, to me is a curse, if you can't respect other peoples beliefs, and that includes Orthodox Jews respecting the views of ex-Orthodox Jews.

At least Orthodox Jews don't look to kill the exes like the Muslims do. But their mindset is very similar.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I know history.

Ezra to certain scholars is credited with putting the Torah together, NOT bringing monothesim to the Jews. The reformation to a worship of ONE god was done before by King Josiah. There was already a concept of the Law and of YHWH by the time they went into exile.

>Again, it is YOUR OPINION that intermarriage is a bad thing. I don't view it that way. I view that we have one life to live, and we should be able to live it the way we choose to.

DUH, ofcourse its my opinion as well as those that share the same values as I do. I'm not forcing YOU to view it the way I do.

>I think that anyone who is intolerant of that has real problems. And that is how I view those who shunned subject of this post.

Well now YOU are laying down opinions based on your values, which is fine ofcourse. Frankly, the Jewish people would have collapsed LONG ago with your way of thinking. Now YOU might not care, but can for a second put down your anti-God, anti-religion agenda and realize that some people DO care?

>And yes, you fail to see that the Orthodox Jews in this article are very similar to the KKK, but I know many lurkers here know what I'm talking about.

Well, I would love to hear from some of the lurkers around. Cause I dont know how anyone can not tell a differnce between a group that HATES other people cause they think being white is the ideal in the country, versus a group that just wants to be left alone and is afraid of the outside culture. (whether this attitude is a healthy one or not is irrelevent for this argument)

>The fact that Jews have been persecuted throughout history has no bearing on Jewish intolerance going forward.

You keep saying "intolerance." This is where you are being dishonost. This has nothing to do with tolerance but one of a need some have to want to be secluded from the outside world. And don't you think centuries of persecution will affect the psyche of a nation? You don't think of constant experience with the gentiles wanting to kill you that you will be a little hesitant to be part of the gentile world? You are just totally dishonost, unrealistic and lack any sensitivies toward the human condition. None whatsoever.

>It is pretty much religious intolerance (of non Jews) which continued to do Jews in throughout history.

Wow! You really need to be ashamed of that comment. If you think THAT is the reason for everything, than this is truly a sad day.

>Religion, to me is a curse, if you can't respect other peoples beliefs, and that includes Orthodox Jews respecting the views of ex-Orthodox Jews.

Stupid, how are you respecting other peoples values here at all? The fact that they want to maintain their peoplehood is evil, KKK like? Give me a break here. You really starting to loose all crediblity.

>At least Orthodox Jews don't look to kill the exes like the Muslims do. But their mindset is very similar.

wow, truly pathetic. I really hope someone beside me, maybe even JA can say something about that. I'm actually curious as to how you know this is true.

BEAJ said...

Again, I said monotheism started around 610. Ezra wasn't alive yet.

All religions should collapse as there is zero evidence God exists and religion causes unnecessary strife and divisions amongst people.
I realize people do care about religion and that is why I have always said that Israel's location as a Jewish majority state makes sense because it kills two birds with one stone.

What is the difference between hating the subject of this blog post for marrying out or shunning him?
KKKers want to be left alone too, but they want more land than Orthodox Jews.
Why are Orthodox "afraid of the outside communities" in North America, in this day and age? I'm certainly not afraid of non Jewish communities.
I think if someone is that paranoid against non Jewish communities they should move to Israel.
And don't for a second think that I'm ignorant to anti-semitism. I have another blog devoted to it:
Judeophobe Watch.

Yes, white supremacists want to keep their culture, and they want to maintain their "whiteness." How is that different than Jews who want to preserve pure Jewishness?

I'd like someone else to chime in too.
I don't think I worded my statement properly "It is pretty much religious intolerance (of non Jews) which continued to do Jews in throughout history." I mean it was the non Jews religious intolerance towards Jews that caused Jews to be persecuted throughout history.

FundaMENTAL Christians, Jews and Muslims are very similar in what is important to them. Here is a recent survey, it doesn't include Jews, but try telling me that the results for Orthodox Jews would be different that Evangelicals or Muslims.

I actually show the intolerance of the Ultra Orthodox Jewish community in Israel very well in this post.

Jews tend to have higher IQs (this is most likely due to social evolution, as our ancestors who survived persecution throughout history had to be smart or lucky to do so, and unfortunately, in general, the less smart were less likely to survive. And that probably why, as science has recently filled in many God in the Gaps theories with non heavenly explanations, Jews have become more and more secular.
I believe that Israel now has a Jewish population that is 20-25% atheist, and another 25-30% agnostic.
Orthodox Jews should get over the fact that there is a great enlightenment occurring in the Jewish community thanks to reason and fact. Shunning fellow Jews is not the way to go.

avrum68 said...

"almost all the atheists I know are constantly angry and bitter..."

Case in point, Mr. Beaj. He comes from out of nowhere to say that belief in God is silly, community cohesiveness is akin to KKK rituals, and your collective story was a lie...according to a documentary (man, that's rich).

As a composer and editor for doc films, I can tell you that every doc filmmaker fashions him/herself as a historian/ethicist/psychologist, etc. I guess we all have delusions. But the honest one's will admit this. I've been privy to some nasty editing, making characters and events into something they are not. And we're not talking events that occured over 2000 years ago, we're talking 2005. And it was very, very hard, once the film was complete, to figure out where the "truth" lies.

Anyhoo, Mr. Beaj confirms what others have already mentioned...atheists, as a lot, are an angry, disgruntled bunch. Religious folks may or may not be delusional, but they seem far happier and more content than the Dawkin's crowd.

avrum68 said...

"And yes, you fail to see that the Orthodox Jews in this article are very similar to the KKK,"

Ok, ok...I get it, Beaj is an Orthodox Jew pretending to be an atheist to discredit atheism. Congrats dude, nice job.

Jewish Atheist said...

Just to chime in, I don't agree with BEAJ's tone or dismissiveness, but at the same time, I think Orthodox Jews don't realize that they aren't entirely dissimilar to Muslims or even the KKK (in a very narrow regard.) OJs think it's okay to talk about intermarriage as an atrocity or for the community to informally shun someone who marries out just because it has some basis in halakha, although of course the Muslims have the Koran and Hadith and the KKK has often explicitly invoked the Bible to justify their behavior as well.

I've even seen today's intermarriage rate compared to the Holocaust on more than one occasion -- a comparison I find far more offensive than the comparison of OJs and the KKK. For example, just last week, Jonathan Rosenblum of Cross-currents wrote the following for Yated Ne'eman:

The central metaphor of the documentary – one that is pounded home relentlessly in various ways – is that there is a spiritual Holocaust facing the Jewish people today no less devastating in its implications for the Am Hashem than the physical extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust. Those six million constituted approximately one-third of the Jewish nation. At least two-thirds of Jews today have little connection to the Jewish people, certainly not enough to prevent them from intermarrying.

For Reb Noach, the “spiritual Holocaust” is no metaphor; it is the driving force in his life. And he seeks to make it the driving force in the life of every Jew with whom he comes into contact...

But does anyone, besides Reb Noach and few refined souls, weep in the same way upon reading the most recent statistics on intermarriage or learning of the latest depravations of one or another of the so-called “streams’ of Judaism, as they do upon visiting the death camps? And if the metaphor does not work for us at that emotional level, despite being solidly grounded in Chazal, why is that?

avrum68 said...

"I think Orthodox Jews don't realize that they aren't entirely dissimilar to Muslims or even the KKK "

You know, married folks have sex, and in a sense, it's sorta like rape. I mean, it's not entirely dissimilar.

I'll give atheists this...once you remove God and accountability from the equation, all bets are off visavis how arrogant and vile they can become. Why? Anger and guilt. I also suspect that, because very bright folks remain religious, there's some cognitive dissonance as well.

Though as an ex-UJA employee, I'm so very tired with the whole "the sky is falling" due to inter-marriage. Biology over theology folks. It'll happen. What's left will be a community that is dedicated to Torah, Jewish values, etc. And if things fade into black, then perhaps there wasn't anything too important to hold to anyway.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sorry, I'll be more precise.

I think Orthodox Jews don't realize that they aren't entirely dissimilar to Muslims or even the KKK in that...

All think of people marrying "out" as tragic.

All think their own people was in some fashion chosen by God.

All have different rules for how we treat "us" and how we treat "them."

They are dissimilar in that the majority of Orthodox Jews don't advocate violence to get what they want.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Why are Orthodox "afraid of the outside communities" in North America, in this day and age? I'm certainly not afraid of non Jewish communities.

For. God. Sakes man, I have answered this question. How is it that you are not comprehending. It is a combination of centuries of persecution that has already infiltrarted the Jewish (or more specifically, the Ashkenazi Jews) pshyce that has lead to one of not trusting the outside world. Top that, with the devestation THAT THEY FEEL happened as result of the enlightment (Don't argue your opinion on the matter, cause we are talking about what THEY FEEL), you end up with this feeling not wanting to be part of the outside world. You need to start thinking about this. This is basic history. Stop comparing it all to YOUR experiences and start thinking of the collective whole of the Jewish people in the last few centuries.

I think its disgusting how you guys are comparing the OJ Jews to KKK. Only for the fact that they are against intermarriage? This is ridiculous. You guys are truly whitewashing the horrors of what the KKK did, if you think there is any simalarities. It's just like fanatic liberals compare Bush to Hitler. You do a tremendous disservice to the memory of those horrors and what KKK and a Nazi truly mean.

>I actually show the intolerance of the Ultra Orthodox Jewish community in Israel very well in this post.

DUH, DUH, DUH, but do realize not all orthodox are ULTRA orthodox.

>And don't for a second think that I'm ignorant to anti-semitism

You may be very informed regarding anti-semitism, but you make yourself out a jackass for not adding things up and historically looking at how the sad Jewish experiences has lead to the sad reality of today.

>All think of people marrying "out" as tragic.
>All think their own people was in some fashion chosen by God.
>All have different rules for how we treat "us" and how we treat "them."

Yes, but KKK, makes them not. Nothing here comes from a sence of hate and bigotry. I consider marrying out tragic as well, but do I think that person is a monkey or something, noooooo. Regarding choseness, well, what can I tell you, in todays PC world that does not fly, but that too does not come from bigotry but one of a BELIEF in a seperate mission to the rest of the world.

Regarding differnet treatments, even though I know what you mean, I would like for you to give specific examples as to what EXACTLY makes Jews look like KKK.

Jewish Atheist said...

Nothing here comes from a sence of hate and bigotry.

Probably not at Maimonides, but there are large segments of Orthodox Judaism that are quite bigoted about non-Jews. I would go further to argue that Rabbinic Judaism itself is bigoted, although today's modern adherents are clearly uncomfortable with that reality.

Regarding choseness, well, what can I tell you, in todays PC world that does not fly, but that too does not come from bigotry but one of a BELIEF in a seperate mission to the rest of the world.

That's the PC interpretation, but not the traditional one, as far as I can tell. The Torah has our ancestors being the good guys while the forefathers of every other nation were evil.

Regarding differnet treatments, even though I know what you mean, I would like for you to give specific examples as to what EXACTLY makes Jews look like KKK.

Obviously the Jews aren't like the KKK w/r/t violence. However, I think the fact that organ donation is seen as problematic because your organs might end up in non-Jews rather than in Jews is a pretty damning one.

BEAJ said...

Avrum, I'm not angry at all. I'm not disgruntled either. I think Fundies of any religion are a brainwashed bunch and worthy of mocking at best.

Oh, and I feel anger and guilt just like someone who believes in God because that is how we have evolved.

If we didn't evolve a sense of guilt, we would be extinct today.

You don't need a belief in God to prevent you from raping, murdering, and feeling guilt. You just are brainwashed to think you do.

BEAJ said...

I'll add that this dissing someone who marries out is child like behavior, and it is a huge black mark against the Orthodox mentality.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Probably not at Maimonides, but there are large segments of Orthodox Judaism that are quite bigoted about non-Jews.

You're right. Cause guess what, Jews are human too.

>I would go further to argue that Rabbinic Judaism itself is bigoted, although today's modern adherents are clearly uncomfortable with that reality.

Maybe you are right, but none of hear lived with them in those days and had to deal with the gentile nations around you conquering you or spreding hellenstic influences that were shattering your society.

>That's the PC interpretation, but not the traditional one, as far as I can tell.

So what is the traditional one then, that we are out ot conquer the world?

>The Torah has our ancestors being the good guys while the forefathers of every other nation were evil.

First of all that is an oversimplification. Are you talking about only the avot or everyone else? Sure the avot were good and alot of others were bad, but not all, they had good experiences with their neighbors. Regarding everyone else, well come on, just read Nevi'im to get a sence of how the Jewish leaders are portrayed.

>However, I think the fact that organ donation is seen as problematic because your organs might end up in non-Jews rather than in Jews is a pretty damning one.

I don't know. I don't know the halacha. I am sure if needed your organs can go to anyone as anyone can donate to a Jew.

BEAJ said...

Oh, and anyone who thinks I'm not as happy as any theist out there can check out my videos on Youtube.

I can't see how someone can be happy when they have to worry about Jews intermarrying. That is so anal.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I'll add that this dissing someone who marries out is child like behavior, and it is a huge black mark against the Orthodox mentality.

Do you realize this has nothing to do with orthodoxy? Intermarriage has always been looked down upon, cause if it was excepted, there. would. not. be. Jewish. people.

I realize YOU don't care and that is fine with me, those are your decisions are your opinions which are fine, but you need to realize there are some on this planet that would like to see the Jewish people continue to the next generation, and with a mentality like yours, that is not possible.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I can't see how someone can be happy when they have to worry about Jews intermarrying. That is so anal.

I guess you are just a worry free guy. I did not know your kind existed on this planet.

Holy Hyrax said...

BTW- the most secular of secular Jews are against intermarriage. Not sure about it American Jews, but amongst Israelis, no way.

BEAJ said...

According to the survey, the majority of American Jews are more accepting of intermarriage today:

* More than half of American Jews disagree with the statement, "It would pain me if my child married a gentile."
* 50 percent agree that "it is racist to oppose Jewish gentile marriages."
* 78 percent said they favor rabbinic officiation at Jewish gentile marriages "in some form and under some circumstances."

The survey did find that Orthodox Jews in America maintain strong opposition to intermarriage. 84 percent of the Orthodox Jews surveyed said they would be pained if their child intermarried, compared to 57 percent of Conservative Jews, 27 percent of Reform Jews and 19 percent of unaffiliated Jews.
Source

BEAJ said...

60 percent of Israelis oppose intermarriage. Seventeen percent said that they are not against such marriages in general but would object to one of their children marrying out.
Source

One more thing for Avrum. I don't base the fact the Exodus didn't happen on one documentary. I base it on the evidence for the Exodus....which there is none, and there should be plenty.

And HH (terrible initials btw): I didn't say I was care free or worry free. I just don't worry about stupid stuff.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I just don't worry about stupid stuff.

Well that reallly is just a subjective claim based on your values. Other people have other values.

And regarding your survey, I guess I was pretty much on the mark. The vast majority of Israelis are secular, yet still find that it is wrong.

>I base it on the evidence for the Exodus....which there is none, and there should be plenty.

If there was evidence against an Exodus, then i would see your point. But there is none either way, so I have yet to be convinced there was no exodus at all.

avrum68 said...

Beaj...ALL my friends grew up in secular homes, and all their parent's would kill them if they intermarried. I'm not sure what or how those studies were conducted, but any Jew understands the joke (not so funny by the way) about a parent sitting shiva for their child who intermarries. You've got to quite ignorant of Jewish culture to only see this as an Orthodox problem.

avrum68 said...

"You don't need a belief in God to prevent you from raping, murdering, and feeling guilt. You just are brainwashed to think you do."

Beaj...I checked your blog and noticed you list your occupation as "Sports or Recreation". I can't help but wonder what other background, professional, personal or academic, you have that would lead you to think that religious folks are brainwashed. Here's why:

My wife's a doctor, and religious. Her father, a brilliant math professor, is religious. Many of our friends, due to her medical training, are doctors/science types and religious. So you've got all these "science" oriented folks who seem to be quite comfortable in both worlds.

So I ask you, are they brainwashed? Perhaps they are. But most of our friends enjoy Dawkins (though they found the God Delusion to be freshman theology), subscribe to all sorts of scientific journals yet pray, follow ancient rituals, etc. So odd. I know, I know, they were raised that way (some were, some weren't).

My wife finds it mildly amusing, and a tad embarrassing, that I spend time debating/discussing these issues. She claims that the folks who'd have anything interesting to say about science and religion are too busy DOING science. So it would seem that it's the riff raff, folks like you and me, that have too much time on our hands.

avrum68 said...

"If there was evidence against an Exodus, then i would see your point. But there is none either way, so I have yet to be convinced there was no exodus at all."

If can have a dollar for every seminar I attended that "proved" the origins of the Bible, I'd quit my job...tomorrow.

Holy Hyrax said...

>If can have a dollar for every seminar I attended that "proved" the origins of the Bible, I'd quit my job...tomorrow.

same here. Tthough my comment was not made to say it was proven, just that there simply isent evidence for it, it does not mean there was none.

BEAJ said...

I can't disprove God either. But there is no evidence for him/her either.

There is absolutely no evidence for the Exodus, so why believe it?

Oh, and I've seen the apologetics and the spins that show why there is no evidence. And Oral history is a joke.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Oh, and I've seen the apologetics and the spins that show why there is no evidence

Like what?

BEAJ said...

Like the Egyptians didn't write down when they were humiliated, and that Oral history has to be accurate.
That is pretty much all they have.
Did you watch the video yet? Nothing found jives with the Exodus. Zero.
And it just doesn't make any sense. The story of the tooth fairy is more believable to me.

BEAJ said...

More on the non event called the Exodus.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Like the Egyptians didn't write down when they were humiliate

I dont think this is a spin. Regardless of the exodus, researchers find different information about ancient nations by reading the records of other nations cause a looser would not want to record something in their records. This is just how the ancient world operated I believe.

>Did you watch the video yet? Nothing found jives with the Exodus. Zero.

I saw the whole thing on PBS. If I have time I will watch it again, since I am at work. But from what I remember, the did not say there was no exodus, but that the numbers the bible uses is unconvincing.

>And it just doesn't make any sense.

Ok, how about this then: Is it believable that a large group of heberws escaped Egypt, created a nation, and wrote a history about it with adding miracles and God to make their story more fantastic?

avrum68 said...

"The story of the tooth fairy is more believable to me."

Speaking of quitting my job...

If I can have another dollar (A man can dream, right?) for every hack atheist telling religious folks that the Bible is nothing but "fairy tales"....

Of course, something must be eating away at these folks because they parrot the same lines over and over. Why spend so much time discussing something so silly?

BEAJ said...

Avrum, my guess is you got punched a lot in the arm in school.
Yes, atheists know the bibles are a bunch of fairy tales and nothing more.
I'd like to have a dollar for every theist who said just about everything you've said when it comes to generalizing atheists. I'd have all the money in the world.

It isn't believable that very many people came from Egypt at one time. There is no evidence for it whatsoever.
Sure, everyone had to come from somewhere.
All mankind came from Africa most likely 65,000 years ago or so.
And yes, the plagues and the Exodus would make it in history, because that would be a time that many Egyptian higher ups all converted back to monotheism.

Get over. It never happened. Or delude yourself like a heroin junkie because you think your life would be meaningless sans God.

avrum68 said...

"Get over. It never happened. Or delude yourself like a heroin junkie because you think your life would be meaningless sans God."

Again, you sell sports stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but it surely doesn't give you much authority in either theology or science. The folks I hang with are mostly doctor/science types, all religious. How is it possible for such rational people to "delude 'themselves' like heroin junkie's' because 'they' think 'their' life would be meaningless sans God".

Holy Hyrax said...

>It isn't believable that very many people came from Egypt at one time. There is no evidence for it whatsoever.

Wait, so is it unbelievable cause its just, well, unbelivable? Or because there is no evidence? (ie, if there was evidence, you would find it believable all of a sudden?)


>And yes, the plagues and the Exodus would make it in history, because that would be a time that many Egyptian higher ups all converted back to monotheism.

You are speculating. Why would they change to monotheism?

BEAJ said...

HH, we aren't talking about a normal defeat. We are talking about a defeat that included plagues, and other supernatural wrath. It would make it to the history books, and the remaining Egyptians would have become monotheistic.

Avrum, my education is in finance and psychology. I don't sell sports stuff, I'm a consultant for a gaming firm, just to clear that up.

Belief in God is parallel to a drug addicts need for a fix. They are both ways to escape reality.

You kid yourselves thinking there is a God. If you weren't told there was a God, you wouldn't even think about it today. Science has filled in most of the blanks and in time will fill in all of them.

2000 years ago, I doubt they could explain lightning without saying it had something to do with God.

There is no reason to believe in God because there is no evidence such a beast ever existed.

avrum68 said...

"finance and psychology. "

Exactly. So you're another hack atheist without a background in theology or science. We're a dime a dozen I tell ya...all of us bloggers.

"You kid yourselves thinking there is a God. If you weren't told there was a God, you wouldn't even think about it today"

Not anymore than you kid yourself about loving your parent's or agreeing what "good" art is. As well, all social mores were taught to us when we were children. What's your point? We should leave children in sandboxes and retrieve them in their teens once their ideas, via experiential learning, are complete?

avrum68 said...

"Belief in God is parallel to a drug addicts need for a fix. They are both ways to escape reality."

Can you back this statement up? Having spent 5 years of my professional life as an addiction worker I can tell you there's a myriad of reasons folks engage in drug and alcohol use...getting rid of pain being one of them.

I grew up in a secular family in which God was never mentioned. I went though a baal tshuvah experiene b/w the ages of 24-26. It was a combination of my rejecting the "it's all an accident" hypothesis which didn't make sense to me and a powerful experience during a hike in the Rocky Mountains which laid the foundation for my slow transition towards being an observant Jew.

Moreover, living your life as an observant Jew, something you clearly know nothing about, has very little to do with escape. If nothing else, it forces you to grapple with every ounce of reality, from eating to sex to speech.

Your confusing other 'ism's with Judaism.

Holy Hyrax said...

>We are talking about a defeat that included plagues, and other supernatural wrath. It would make it to the history books, and the remaining Egyptians would have become monotheistic.

You are just speculating about all of this. And consider this was no normal defeat, but a really horrible one, it leads to more reason for them to hide it. We just don't know, everything is speculation. And for you to say that the remaing egyptians would become monotheists is lame. On basis are you saying this. They have their own Gods, why would they change gods? For all they know, the God of the hebrews out did their Gods in this occasion. Or maybe the king ruled that they were to forget the whole thing and erase it from the the national conscience. Who knows.

BEAJ said...

Avrum, I am not a scientist, never said I was. I do trust scientists because I appreciate the scientific method. And I'm fascinated by science now.

You are equating God with emotion. Emotions can be measured to some degree, they do exist. In the future, I expect emotions to be completely measured, as work on how the brain works continues.

Your journey definitely appears to me as one very parallel to one of a drug addicts escape from reality.

You didn't want to cope with the fact that we are here by a bunch of flukes, so you fell in love with God.

Not eating pork is a way of escape in my view.

HH, why not buy Scientologies spiel, since we'll never know? Let me put it this way, if the Exodus story wasn't written about most likely way way way "after the fact," there would be no one suggesting that it was a possibility based on any archaeological find.

Holy Hyrax said...

>HH, why not buy Scientologies spiel

Why are you saying irrelvent things? You brought up that the Egyptians FOR SURE would have converted. You base this on nothing, so I responded.

>Let me put it this way, if the Exodus story wasn't written about most likely way way way "after the fact," there would be no one suggesting that it was a possibility based on any archaeological find.

You are going to have to rephrase that. Sorry.

BEAJ said...

If the Exodus story wasn't written about at all. There would be no evidence that came about to suggest something like that ever happened.

For example, nothing was written about evolution for quite some time, finches twigged Darwin and then a story is speculated on and theorized.

When it comes to fables like the Exodus and Noah's Ark, nothing exists to get someone to even speculate either event occurred....except we have the word of power hungry sand dwellers over 2000 years ago.

avrum68 said...

"You didn't want to cope with the fact that we are here by a bunch of flukes, so you fell in love with God."

Now how'd you figure me out so quickly?

"I expect emotions to be completely measured, as work on how the brain works continues."

I work in the field my friend...my advice, don't hold your breath.

"except we have the word of power hungry sand dwellers over 2000 years ago."

Power hungry? Have you read the Bible? If the authors were power hungry, they were also quite masochistic, seeing that they included all sorts of nasty things they did to each other and against God.

jewish philosopher said...

Modern Orthodoxy is a confusing mishmash.

I always say: The middle of the road is the most likely place to get run over.

dgordon said...

There's a really basic conflict involved in the Feldman/Maimonides-School encounter. The Maimonides School, and by extension OJ in general, promotes a CORPORATE identity: a cardinal obligation of sb. who is born Jewish is to perpetuate the Jewish people by marrying sb. Jewish and raising Jewish children (esp., OJ argues, in the wake of such environing threats as anti-semitism and assimilation). Feldman, on the other hand, believes in INDIVIDUAL identity: the point of having any sort of religion at all is to explore and extend one's relationship w/ God or whoever/whatever may be out there (this as an aspect of self-fulfillment within a context of respect for others' choices). These two models comprise what sociologist Max Weber called a "clash of the value spheres"; they really can't be reconciled to each other.

As a former Orthodox Jew, I have to say that OJ is incredibly beautiful at its best, very close-minded at its worst. It presents itself in a you're-either-w/-us-or-against-us kind of way, so it simply cannot accept sb. like Feldman who wants to have one foot in (by continuing to observe many Orthodox customs) and one foot out (by intermarrying). My advice to Feldman would be to draw on the best that Orthodoxy has to offer--its emphases on conscience and intellectual hard work--while staying away from the actual OJ community, which, unfortunately, will never accept his life-choice even if he lives for a million years.