Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quote of the Day: Do Skeptics Take Religion More Seriously?

And now we reach the group whom I perhaps love best, the skeptics, atheists and those who went off-the-derech. I know this group intimately well, for the simple fact that I understand the thought behind such a process.

There are different types of skeptics, atheists and irreligious Jews, of course, and far be it from me to force them all into one category. However, I believe I understand the two main derivations.

Those of you who left our religion due to the cruelty you had practiced upon you, the stifling nature of its constituency, the negative experiences you had and the fact that you were taught as a rule that you could not fulfill your dreams within its bounds, I have been you, and still am you at times.

And those of you who left after intellectual inquiry, having been persuaded by the science of our times, or the history, or whatever else it was you found which did not seem to stand before the Torah, I respect you. Because to me what this means is that your religion mattered enough for you to struggle, to invest the time and the energy into working through it and trying to prove it right, or more importantly, trying to follow wherever your search took you. And I believe that when you go up to God, you can honestly say that you tried your hardest to discover Him, and that your search was not an apathetic one, but a passionate one, fraught with meaning, and yet you did not. And so perhaps to the skeptic or atheist most of all, religion has meaning, for it was the fact that it had meaning which led him to question it and finally to leave it.

The Curious Jew, How to Love Every Jew.


I've always thought that us skeptics take religion more seriously than most religious people. If God exists, would He want us to search for the truth or to hold onto the religion we were born into for dear life, avoiding tough questions and settling on whatever apologetics we can?

9 comments:

Freethinking Upstart said...

It used to be jealous of those that just up and left religion, without feeling the need to figure out whether OJ's claims were legit or not. But for me, I wouldn't have been able to have a clean conscious if I didn't actually work through and uncover every stone. Eventually you figure out that religious claims just don't add up and you have to move on.

It's nice to hear someone being honest about skeptics.

jewish philosopher said...

"to hold onto the religion we were born into for dear life, avoiding tough questions and settling on whatever apologetics we can?"

Not me. I dumped the religion I was born into in a second.

Holy Hyrax said...

I love you :)

Comrade Kevin said...

I went through a period of time where I did cast aside the religion of my belief, but I have gone full circle.

Often the problem with people who feel disenfranchised from religious beliefs is that they jettison themselves completely from all the good things that spirituality has to offer. It seems like a kind of suspended adolescent rebellion and as I've gotten older, my desire to bash religion has totally gone away.

Ezzie said...

If God exists, would He want us to search for the truth or to hold onto the religion we were born into for dear life, avoiding tough questions and settling on whatever apologetics we can?

Honest Q: Do you think the answer to that is definite, let alone obvious?

I don't.

Jewish Atheist said...

Honest Q: Do you think the answer to that is definite, let alone obvious?

It is if you're Jewish. :-) How could a God love Talmud but not genuine truth-seeking? I suppose it's *possible*, but it's not too charitable view of God.

Ezzie said...

?! One has nothing to do with the other. He could encourage seeking as much as possible while still staying within the fold.

Very disingenuous, sir. :)

My point is simple: It is at the least an arguable point, and to simply accept the skeptic view of "of course we should be questioning things" is as dishonest as they consider the reverse.

The truth is that skeptics don't take religion more seriously than religious people, they take questioning it more seriously. Religious people take the religious part more seriously. And some (gasp) try to do both. :)

lost and not yet found said...

I love the irony of the title of this post.

Heidi said...

I totally agree. If you truly care about something, you go to great pains to understand it...one could equate it to a new love affair. An atheist wants to know why you have a blue toothbrush. The religious person justs wants to talk about how great the sex was.