Friday, December 25, 2009

The Bind of Orthodoxy: Tolerance and Toevah*

On Tuesday, four gay Orthodox men spoke at Yeshiva University, sharing their stories and answering questions. (Unofficial transcript, with names changed.)

That this event took place is a step in the right direction, of course. Some elements within modern Orthodoxy are pushing hard to spread a message of tolerance and sensitivity. I commend them for that. But they've already stretched the limits of Orthodoxy to the breaking point. They can go no further, and it's not clear that they can sustain the expansion of tolerance that they have achieved.

This is a letter signed by 5-7 (versions vary) roshei yeshiva**:

The Torah requires that we relate with sensitivity to a discreet individual who feels that he/she has a homosexual orientation, but abstains from any and all homosexual activity. Such sensitivity, however, cannot be allowed to erode the Torah’s unequivocal condemnation of homosexual activity. The Torah’s mitzvos and judgments are eternally true and binding. Homosexual activity constitutes an abomination. As such, publicizing or seeking legitimization even for the homosexual orientation one feels runs contrary to Torah. In any forum or on any occasion when appropriate sympathy for such discreet individuals is being discussed, these basic truths regarding homosexual feelings and activity must be emphatically re-affirmed.


And this is a message from the president and principal of RIETS, the rabbinical seminary of YU:

In light of recent events, we want to reiterate the absolute prohibition of homosexual relationships according to Jewish law. Of course, as was indicated in a message issued by our Roshei Yeshiva, those struggling with this issue require due sensitivity, although such sensitivity cannot be allowed to erode the Torah's unequivocal condemnation of such activity. Sadly, as we have discovered, public gatherings addressing these issues, even when well-intentioned, could send the wrong message and obscure the Torah's requirements of halakhic behavior and due modesty. Yeshiva has an obligation to ensure that its activities and events promote the primacy and sacredness of Torah in our lives and communities. We are committed to providing halakhic guidance and sensitivity with respect to all challenges confronted by individuals within our broader community, including homosexual inclinations, in a discreet, dignified and appropriate fashion.


We must be sensitive, but homosexuality is an abomination. We regret that Orthodox Judaism's rules and stigmas against homosexuality cause untold suffering and sometimes suicide, but we must be terribly careful not to send the message (chas v'shalom!) that homosexual behavior is okay. It's *more* important to avoid sending that message than it is to promote understanding and sensitivity.

The Torah says that (male) homosexuality is an abomination, and that those who engage in homosexual behavior deserve to be killed. Orthodox Judaism says that the Torah is true and is the foundation for all that is good. This cannot ultimately be reconciled with what every decent person living in a modern society in the 21st century knows to be true: that love is love.

The Torah is the problem, and as long as Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah is the word of God, Orthodox Judaism is the problem. If you are an Orthodox Jew, *you* are part of the problem.

People wrote the Torah. That this is controversial to anybody at this point is frankly insane. There's no magical sky god that dictated this scroll to a great man named Moses at the top of a mountain for 40 days and 40 nights thousands of years ago. Are you all children? This is a story for children, or perhaps primitive illiterates like the ones who were the original audience for this story.

That was then and this is now, and you need to step up and start being honest with yourselves and each other. You can't be tolerant or sensitive as long as you believe that the Creator of the Universe thinks that homosexuality is an abomination and you willingly worship him.





*Toevah: abomination.
**Roshei yeshiva: heads of religious instruction.

47 comments:

Apikores said...

Great post. I especially liked the last three paragraphs. It's so sad that people have this great struggle between accepting the liberal morality they know is the right thing and the Torah "morality" which is in truth based on ancient nonsense.

feetxxxl said...

the article gave no indication as to how the orthodox, pick and chose which laws to abide by and which to exclude. i am assuming that the torah was a derivative from lev, num, and deut.

obviously the orthodox are no longer taking slaves for life to be passed onto their children as in heritance.

so does that mean that when worldwide homosexuality is deemed legal and given equal protection, that the orthodox will no longer condemn homosexuality a sin.

then, that means that the orthodox relies on the temporal to show them what is of god.

Jewish Atheist said...

feetxxxl:

The Orthodox are much more flexible in adding de facto or explicit prohibitions (slavery, polygamy) than they are about making things once forbidden permitted. (The only real example of that I can think of is charging interest.)


And they've become much less flexible over time, especially over the last century or even half-century. It's not clear to me that it would even be possible for them to allow homosexuality at this point. There is just too much record of opposition that they won't be able to sweep under the rug.

Jewish Atheist said...

To clarify, a few hundred years ago, a couple of prominent rabbis could have declared that Leviticus was just talking about anal sex ("reinterpreting" verses to mean something other than what they say has a long and storied tradition in Judaism) but at this point, I think it's probably too late.

feetxxxl said...

There is just too much record of opposition that they won't be able to sweep under the rug.

it sounds as if cultural referendum(mindset, and belief system) determines what is of god rather than reasoning of the scriptures.

i have been told by other jews that in judism every rabbi is autonomous.

JewishGadfly said...

My other favorite reaction I've been seeing on the blogosphere: "I'm not judging anyone. But they're wrong. And I love them. But if they say they aren't wrong I'll fight them." I'm not even paraphrasing that much, is the sad part.

To paraphrase a gay teacher of mine:

"Gay people are here. They're you're friends and neighbors. That's how the world is. And if your texts don't accept reality as it is...I'm sorry to hear that. But they're still here."

Jewish Atheist said...

There is just too much record of opposition that they won't be able to sweep under the rug.

Pretty much. I guess I shouldn't say never, because one should not underestimate the power of denial especially with regard to religion -- maybe in a couple of generations enough Orthodox Jews will be on board for the rabbis to "reinterpret."

it sounds as if cultural referendum(mindset, and belief system) determines what is of god rather than reasoning of the scriptures.

Oh, they'll dress it up as "reasoning." But have no doubt, the conclusion always predates the "reasoning."

"i have been told by other jews that in judism every rabbi is autonomous."

Not really true -- if they step too far out of line everyone will organize against them and refuse to deal with them. They'll ban their books and officially excommunicate them, etc.


Jewish Gadfly:

"Gay people are here. They're you're friends and neighbors. That's how the world is. And if your texts don't accept reality as it is...I'm sorry to hear that. But they're still here."

When the map disagrees with the land, rational people change the map. Religious fundamentalists (such as Orthodox Jews) insist that the map is correct.

jewish philosopher said...

Until the 1940's homosexuality was unknown in New York City (search the New York Times archives online).

This is not something which must exist. It is not a healthy or happy way of life.

JewishGadfly said...

JA,

I agree. That's exacly what I was getting at.

I actually went on Chana's blog to try to argue with people within their viewpoint (l'shitatam, so to speak), just to try to make them a little more open-minded within it, while very badly wanting to post what you posted here. It was so disheartening for me to read the discussion there, and the group affirmation of, "it's ok for me to be a bigot; it doesn't mean I'm a bigot."

Anonymous said...

"This is not something which must exist."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3RUwAJ_MI

Abandoning Eden said...

Unwritten about is not the same as unknown. Depending on who you ask, before the 1960s or before the 1920s premarital sex was "unknown"...except that in at least one large and not a-typical village in the 1850s, at least a third of the women were pregnant when they got married (Which they figured out by looking at marriage and birth records). But try to find a book or article from that time that mentions it, and you won't.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, gotta love arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Orthodox opposition has less to do with their puritan adherence to the Torah, and more to do with the fact that the gays give them yet another outlet to hate on. If it were simply about the strict interpretation of the law, why not the same venom directed towards people who make fun of others in public (akin to murder), those that steal (one of the Ten Commandments), or the many other "sins" committed by the Orthodox on a very regular basis?
The truth is that hating gays is the counterbalance to their own broken, often sexless marriages, which are anything but sacred.

Brian said...

"...as long as Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah is the word of God, Orthodox Judaism is the problem."

You don't think that OJ can be separated from this belief, do you?

Orthoprax said...

JA,

Truth is that there is plenty to criticize about Orthodox Judaism, but it's ironic when your criticism regarding religious bigotry serves as a forum for the bigotry against Orthodox Jews to rear it's head as well.

Quote by Anon:

"The truth is that hating gays is the counterbalance to their own broken, often sexless marriages, which are anything but sacred."

Adam said...

You say that love is love

Why aren't you defending the rights of men to marry their sisters?

Why aren't you celebrating the men who sleep with sheep?

Why don't you join forces with NAMBLA?

Why don't you defend teachers who have consensual sexual relationships with their students?

(Don't give me that age of consent BS, laws can be changed if you really think that "love is love")

There are many examples where you don't seem to say that "love is love"

The High Priests of your secular humanist religion have ruled that homosexuality is okay; so you blindly follow and recite your devotions.

G-d gave the Torah on Mount Sinai. That this is controversial to anybody at this point is frankly insane.

There are too many highly improbable "coincidences" that would have needed to happen to create and sustain our physical existence. The Big Bang has scientifically proven the first two words of the Torah. With advances in Quantum Physics, we may not be far away from scientific proof of the third word. ;o)

Jewish Atheist said...

AE:

Unwritten about is not the same as unknown.

Great point! People like to pretend that there was this mythical past where everybody was straight but the truth is people were just closeted.


Anonymous:

Orthodox opposition has less to do with their puritan adherence to the Torah, and more to do with the fact that the gays give them yet another outlet to hate on.

That is true of some, but that's not who I'm talking about in this post. I'm talking about those who feel compassion for gays and know in their hearts that there's nothing immoral about homosexuality -- and it is their "puritan adherence" to the Torah that makes them de facto bigots.


Brian:

"...as long as Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah is the word of God, Orthodox Judaism is the problem."

You don't think that OJ can be separated from this belief, do you?


I don't know. I think it's perhaps possible, but not for a long time. Probably there will be some sort of schism and there will be a new denomination.


OP:

Truth is that there is plenty to criticize about Orthodox Judaism, but it's ironic when your criticism regarding religious bigotry serves as a forum for the bigotry against Orthodox Jews to rear it's head as well.

Yes, that is ironic. Way to point out other people's flaws instead of dealing with your own. ;-)


Adam:

Love is love doesn't imply that it's okay to victimize people, so NAMBLA is way out. Incest is dangerous for offspring, although I don't think it's (otherwise) immoral as long as they are consenting adults. Power imbalances (such as teachers and students) are fraught with potential for coercion, so that's an issue. As for men and sheep, I don't think that's immoral either, just gross.

All of my positions are thought out. I'm not obeying or following any priests of humanism or anything else.

There are too many highly improbable "coincidences" that would have needed to happen to create and sustain our physical existence.

Non-sequitor. We're talking about biblical authorship.

Anonymous said...

JA:

Yes, that is ironic. Way to point out other people's flaws instead of dealing with your own. ;-)

I suppose you have no flaws, I guess?

DrJ said...

I think that the acceptance of homosexuality in western society is as much as an earthquake to Judaism (and Christianity) as were the emancipation of women and discovery of evolution.

These things are greater than just a clash of values. Their very acceptance undercuts the truth and legitimacy of revealed truths/texts of religion. For if homosexuality is actually found to be natural, involuntary and not harmful (and common), how could a divine being prohibit it? It would be like God saying that blue eyes are an abomination. It is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. When confronted by a large body of knowledge that contradicts the Torah, the believer denies, rationalizes or becomes aggressive.

If you think about it, any society that legitimizes homosexuality is basically repudiating Judeo-Christian biblical morality, or at best, dismissing it as irrelevant.

Imagine a modern day Jew actually arguing for the morality of selling their minor daughters off as servants or child wives. Or allowing for involuntary war brides. Or disqualifying people with handicaps from religious service. This is what their arguments against homosexuality sound like. Primitive, fearful and ignorant.

Jewish Atheist said...

Great comment, DrJ.

Stephen said...

If anyone's interested in the thriving (if quite different than would be found today) gay community in pre-1940 New York, there's a fabulous book on the topic by historian George Chauncey, Gay New York Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. The link is to the review of the book in the NY Times archives.

DrJ said...

Thanks.

I would venture a prediction. I think 2 more areas remain, which, when progress is made, will complete the process of undermining the intellectual (but not emotional) basis of religion. These are:

1. The physical basis of the mind. When the neurophysiological and chemical basis of consciousness is more fully understood, it will make the idea of "soul" look silly.

2. Life forms on other planets. This is of course an extension of evolution and would make creationists and ID people look like idiots.

But, as expected from cognitive dissonance theory, the fundamentalists will still rationalize, deny and become aggressive. We'll hear, "Life on other planets was put there by god to test us", or, "if the mind is just a bag of chemicals, what is morality?", and other such nonsense.

Orthoprax said...

Drj,

"For if homosexuality is actually found to be natural, involuntary and not harmful (and common), how could a divine being prohibit it? It would be like God saying that blue eyes are an abomination."

It actually has little to do with that. The Torah is full of chukim that have no apparent rational purpose (eating shellfish is also an abomination) as well as rules that seem unfair - like how if a kohen's wife is raped he must divorce her.

The Torah doesn't give a reason for the prohibition and the most simple approach for any Orthodox Jew is not to reject the new data, but to acknowledge that God must have good reasons for the rule even if they aren't clear to us.

DrJ said...

"The Torah doesn't give a reason for the prohibition and the most simple approach for any Orthodox Jew is not to reject the new data, but to acknowledge that God must have good reasons for the rule even if they aren't clear to us."

That is exactly cognitive dissonance-- rationalization. Because the data is contradictory. You have a law that appears to be immoral and yet you claim that God and the Torah are the most moral of systems (while only touting the most obviously moral ones from a humanistic point of view, like tzedaka)

DrJ said...

The orthodox like to brag about their moral and well organized communities. But imagine for a moment that we implemented Torah law regarding adultery, homosexuality, slavery, and collecting wood on the Sabbath.

We would make the Taliban look like enlightened liberal humanists.

Yet we know that Halacha developed as a mechanism to adapt-- discarding or disregarding Torah laws as required. This is what must be done with the prohibition of homosexuality. Perhaps we can come up with a loophole like selling chometz or pruzbool. The homosexual can sell his genitals to a gentile or something like that :)

Anonymous said...

DrJ, the acceptance of homosexuality isn't an "earthquake" to Judaism because real Judaism couldn't care less about what Western culture accepts. Premarital sex, eating pork, and masturbation is also largely accepted - so what?

And your logic of "if it's natural, it must be that G-d doesn't expect you to fight it" is flawed; just because something is there by nature doesn't mean that it's not still a nisayon. Yes, I know nobody will agree with me, and you'll probably resort to screaming "cognitive dissonance," which seems to be your rallying cry. But logically, if there is is G-d, the presence of a natural inclination does not contradict the prohibition to act on it. What about a serial-killer sociopath? His natural inclination is to be a sociopathic serial killer. Does that mean that, if there is a G-d, that G-d would be OK with him killing people?

Orthoprax said...

DrJ,

"That is exactly cognitive dissonance-- rationalization."

It's not a rationalization. Orthodox Jews do not follow Halacha because they believe it the most moral from a humanistic standpoint. They follow it because they believe God told 'em to and that's not challenged by the difficulties that homosexuals undergo.

DrJ said...

"DrJ, the acceptance of homosexuality isn't an "earthquake" to Judaism because real Judaism couldn't care less about what Western culture accepts."

Wrong. Monogomy, abolition of slavery and marriage of minors, equality of women--have made a big impact on Judaism- positive in that it internalized some values, and negative in that it caused mass exodus from the religion-- a massive failure from its inability to sustain its old values in the face of modern pressures. Many "traditional" values simply became irrelevant to a majority of Jews.

"Premarital sex, eating pork, and masturbation is also largely accepted - so what?"

The prohibition of these things does not CONTRADICT and OFFEND modern civilization, as opposed to deligitimizing homosexuals. By looking down on premarital sex I am not causing offense to modern sensitivities, as opposed to discriminating against women or gays.

"And your logic of "if it's natural, it must be that G-d doesn't expect you to fight it" is flawed; just because something is there by nature doesn't mean that it's not still a nisayon. "

You're quoting me out of context by not quoting the whole sentence. I said, "natural, involuntary and not harmful (and common)". And this is the case. Contrary to what fundamentalists think, homosexuality is not an illness, is not voluntary or "curable", and constitutes around 5% of males.

"What about a serial-killer sociopath? His natural inclination is to be a sociopathic serial killer."

You don't need a revealed God to tell you the answer, and I am surprised that as a religious Talmud studying Jew you could not make such a distinction, between things which do harm another human being and things that don't. Western humanistic tradition for the past several hundred years, using human reason, have placed more emphasis on equality, fairness, and avoidance of harm to people, rather than offending a god, real or imagined.

And just as Judaism has incorporated, however hesitantly, these values of equality, regarding women's rights, economic issues (such as interest on money or yovel)necessitated by a modern world, so it will take on homosexuality as well (eventually but not maybe in my lifetime). And BTW I am not gay, I'm happily married with 4 children

Jewish Atheist said...

Ortho:

I don't want to gang up on you, but I think this is important.

It's not a rationalization. Orthodox Jews do not follow Halacha because they believe it the most moral from a humanistic standpoint.

This is disingenuous. OJs follow halacha because they believe God told 'em too, BUT THEY ALSO BELIEVE THAT GOD IS MORAL.

It's EXACTLY cognitive dissonance, because at the same time, modern Orthodox Jews believe that homosexuality is not immoral AND that the Torah (or God-who-wrote-the-Torah) is moral. These are two contradictory beliefs that the believer must find a way to reconcile -- i.e. to RATIONALIZE.

DrJ is right that the modern acceptance of homosexuality is an "earthquake" to Orthodox Judaism in a way that few other issues are. Something has to give. It's not an issue where the Torah looks merely somewhat dated or obscure (like shatnez or not eating shellfish.) This is an issue completely at odds with the modern world.

DrJ said...

Exactly. Do you think an orthodox person could practice his religion if he believed it to be immoral???

Anonymous said...

DrJ:

You're right; I chose a bad example when I took the serial-killer route. But you responded to my example without addressing the main argument - namely, that there is no contradiction between "it's a natural, involuntary, seemingly-unharmful-to-others desire" and "it is prohibited to act on that desire."

I never said anything about an illness, or a cure, or anything like that. I'm not sure why you even went off on the tangent.
Even if something isn't harmful to others, the logic itself of "it's a normal desire but it is still prohibited to act on that desire" does not suffer.

JA:

Hate to break it to you, but MO Jews (like myself) don't believe that homosexuality (meaning, the ACT of homosexuality) is not immoral and that the Torah is also moral. Because of the Torah, we understand that the homosexual act is immoral.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"This is disingenuous. OJs follow halacha because they believe God told 'em too, BUT THEY ALSO BELIEVE THAT GOD IS MORAL."

Of course, but not necessarily from a humanist's standpoint.

"It's EXACTLY cognitive dissonance, because at the same time, modern Orthodox Jews believe that homosexuality is not immoral AND that the Torah (or God-who-wrote-the-Torah) is moral. These are two contradictory beliefs that the believer must find a way to reconcile -- i.e. to RATIONALIZE."

Perhaps, but OJs also believe that God is purposeful while simultaneously acknowledging commandments without any apparent rational purpose. So OJs say, there doesn't seem to be a purpose but there must be otherwise God wouldn't have commanded it.

Similarly, it's a simple thing to say that while homosexuality doesn't seem wrong, there must be a problem with it otherwise God wouldn't have forbidden it.

"DrJ is right that the modern acceptance of homosexuality is an "earthquake" to Orthodox Judaism in a way that few other issues are."

I don't see how. Is modern society's tolerance for premarital sex and adultery also an earthquake?

Jewish Atheist said...

Anon:

Hate to break it to you, but MO Jews (like myself) don't believe that homosexuality (meaning, the ACT of homosexuality) is not immoral and that the Torah is also moral. Because of the Torah, we understand that the homosexual act is immoral.

I'm sure some of you feel that way. For you, there is no cognitive dissonance in that area. But I believe a lot of Modern Orthodox Jews think that homosexual sex is NOT immmoral.


Ortho:

Similarly, it's a simple thing to say that while homosexuality doesn't seem wrong, there must be a problem with it otherwise God wouldn't have forbidden it.

It's a simple thing to say, but does it convince you? Really? Deep down?

I don't see how. Is modern society's tolerance for premarital sex and adultery also an earthquake?

I don't think modern society has a tolerance for adultery. I think modern society's tolerance for premarital sex is something of an earthquake, albeit a smaller one. Again, it's more in the making-Orthodoxy-look-dated category than in the making-Orthodoxy-look-evil category.

DrJ said...

"Even if something isn't harmful to others, the logic itself of "it's a normal desire but it is still prohibited to act on that desire" does not suffer."

Its not just a question of self-restraint. Most enlightened western people believe that taboos on homosexuality stem from misconceptions, homophobia, and other historic reasons (in the case of the torah homosexuality was probably associated with idol worship rites). We therefore believe that it is WRONG and IMMORAL to prevent homosexual people from living happy and fulfulling lives because of ancient taboos, if nobody is being harmed. Since western morality is based solely on HUMAN considerations, there is no room for causing profound human suffering in the name of God. This would be immoral.

Most Jews, like other westerners, have adopted this attitude. This is the earthquake I refer to. It is an utter rejection of Torah morality.

It is similar to the revolution that has occured regarding women's rights.

Anonymous said...

DrJ:

I'm not arguing with your point that Western culture's approval of homosexuality clashes with Judaism's disapproval (of the act itself). My point is merely that - taking as your starting point that you believe in G-d - it is not illogical to think that G-d made someone's inclination's unactable. I was responding to your line

For if homosexuality is actually found to be natural, involuntary and not harmful (and common), how could a divine being prohibit it? It would be like God saying that blue eyes are an abomination. It is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. When confronted by a large body of knowledge that contradicts the Torah, the believer denies, rationalizes or becomes aggressive.

from above.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"It's a simple thing to say, but does it convince you? Really? Deep down?"

If I believed the OJ assumptions already stated then this application would not be unconvincing. There are many instances in Halacha that act or are based on principles contrary to modern, western morality. The rule against sodomy is not unique.


Does it not seem cruel to force a kohen to not be able to stand by his wife if she was raped, but to divorce her? Doesn't Halacha "stand in the way of love" between others, like an infertile couple after 10 years, Jews and non-Jews, kohanim and divorcees or converts, mamzerim, etc etc?

Jewish Atheist said...

You didn't answer the question. Obviously it's not the only issue that the question applies to.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"You didn't answer the question."

Was the question directed towards me? I was only sharing some insight into OJ thought. I didn't say I shared that thought.

DrJ said...

Perhaps what orthoprax is implying is that loyal orthodox Jews sweep such questions under the carpet. Jews could avoid these questions in the past because we were a relatively powerless and small minority and had to submit to laws and sovereignty of our host countries. We could say, "well, the goyim make us do this, we have no choice, etc"

When a modern Jewish State was created, many of these moral dilemmas could no longer be swept under the carpet. How do Jews relate to non-Jews? Do we violate Shabbat to save their lives? Do we sacrifice lives for land? What about banks lending money with interest? Do we actually allow entire farms to sit fallow every 7 years? Do we prevent bastard children from ever marrying other Jews?

I think that this is one of the reasons so many heredim at the time opposed Zionism, among other reasons.

Orthoprax, as you have noted there are so many areas of moral conflict between modern western thought and "true" Torah Judaism, change is inevitable. Modern orthodoxy, as well as the non-orthodox movements, have attempted to bridge this gulf. Of course there will always be a small hard core group of faithful like Neturei Karta and the likes of JP that won't bend, and who will remain a small and irrelevant group in the scheme of things.

ilona@israel said...

i dont mean to be rude or try to convince you... but did you read Torah? its very brave to call this perfect example of literature (belive me its language, its passages-its very high level of literature) story for childeren is kinds unjusty. even if you dont belive in G-d and its your right, as least respect this as statment of culture...

Anonymous said...

The raging hormones of the internet does not allow for a truthfull discussion.

But let's be honest here. Gay relationships are not allowed because it does not create a relationship where two people join in a symbolic act of recreating the world.

And although the western world could care less about creating families or the raising of a soul similar to your own as the main purpose for a human's life, Judaism and most of it's adherents still feel that way.

In Judaism, if you can't have children you are meant to get a divorce. If you don't want children, you shouldn't get married.

Gay activism is just a reminder of how much we have lost regarding this issue since the 1960s, and it's the last straw in how we allow our society to be defined. Selfish individualism is hard force to fight against, but Jews have been fighting against it since Abraham. We were only lucky that for 2,000 years the rest of the world agreed with us on that point.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ortho:

I was only sharing some insight into OJ thought. I didn't say I shared that thought.

That's a little disingenuous, isn't it? I think we all understand OJ thought to some extent. You appear to be *defending* it or rationalizing it.

Anonymous said...

"That's a little disingenuous, isn't it? I think we all understand OJ thought to some extent. "

I have never seen you write anything that would suggest you actually understand OJ thought at all.

Orthoprax said...

JA,

"That's a little disingenuous, isn't it? I think we all understand OJ thought to some extent. You appear to be *defending* it or rationalizing it."

Heh, and on other forums I "defend" the atheist's perspective on things. Just because I don't share an opinion doesn't mean I can't recognize poor arguments against it.

Mark said...

It's very easy to say that God forbids homosexuality for reasons that are not readily apparent but are valid nevertheless, if you're not a homosexual. If you are gay, however, and your life is being made miserable by prohibitions against homosexuality, well, it's pretty difficult to rationalize that misery through an appeal to faith.

My question to all the Orthodox Jews out there is: what if you're wrong? What if God doesn't think that homosexuality is immoral, and your promotion of the belief that he does is causing people to suffer? Do you ever consider this possibility?

Anonymous said...

I add a whole other aspect to this discussion. The conflict between the orthodox argument and the experience of the homosexual jew is simply beyond explanation. People either revert to denial, to rationalization, to atheism or whatever. I don't have an answer. What I do know is that since I became observant, I have been guided by Hashem not to act on inclinations. The guiding is very personal, but is not a pie in the sky "feeling". I cannot go into the details here, but there have been many remarkable and remarkably timed occurrences that were clear signs not to act in the direction I was leaning. This is not to say I have made peace with it. It is a constant and painful struggle which I really do not understand. But I also know deep in my heart that this is what Hashem wants from me.

jake said...

in the 1200s bce, there was a stele(the merneptah stele) discovered with an inscription, the first ever to have the name Isarel, and it says Israel is destroyed. 3200years ago

another was found, the mesha stele was found, its moabite, and the next mention of israel we have found is on this stele. Again, it says, Israel is detroyed, I beleive this was from the 9th century bce. 2800 years ago. we were wiped out from Israe about 2000 years ago. a crapload of a longtime. But were back again. its a coincidence.