Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Coexistence

Over the last few days, I’ve been keeling over microscopic dirt – too busy with 'em to even breathe. God bless me and my Erev Pesach Mission. Surely, needling the woodworks has a purpose. Ask me why we take apart our chandeliers and hose down the fridge. Ask me why. I was raised this way and against all logic, I won’t ever give up the shmata.

Ever!

Misses mommy shepshka mucha nachas. Yeah, In some ways, I turned out just right.

In the midst of the aforementioned hectic zoobiz, I was planning to grab a few alphabets and scrabble some of my thoughts of the season into a post. Seems though, grabbing a few alphabets isn’t that easy either when there are legos everywhere. I didn’t even get around to check my favorite blogs lately. In the end of the day, from all my determination was left a heap of me, under the covers, in love with the magic of slumber. Night after night the day dies before its time.

So for now, my Pesach Cleaning pointers (and my Polish-immigrant auction) will have to wait.

However, at the moment I wanted to air some of my thoughts in regards to a conversation that took place in the comments section of a previous post about the legitimacy of the megillah, some on Exodus - Yetzias Mitzrayim, Bereishis or whatnot; Torah and Science. Or in its unfavorable name Api------sus. Personally, I embrace such information eagerly, but not without regret. In part, it shatters very clear and colored images created by my entire childhood upbringing, a mindset I so wish to preserve for many reasons. On the other hand, it fascinates me, and evokes a curious hunger to dig deeper.

On the blog level, I’m tsimished. While I don't have a desire to intentionally censor myself off of such info, I know that many believers are highly offended by such discussion, and are indirectly hurt. Coming from where I do, I know how sacred and important beliefs are, and what it means to tamper with them. Still, I think we all lose out a lot by walking in herds. Of belonging to a side of a fence. After all, many of us are now living in some hall closet eating salami and bread for dinner despite belief. Many of us are living in the blog closet hiding our identities like a 1st degree sin, despite belief. On the daily level, we all have a lot in common - regardless of godliness. Lots to share, lots to shmooze or vent about.

But in the same time, we also have a lot of uncommon ground...A hellofalot.


I’ve been chewing nonstop on these thoughts, and that doesn’t seem to quench the confusion a bit. I'm torn, totally.

Does a believer have to turn a blind eye to other views? And if so, do those that abandoned it have to be sensitive enough to respect their treasure? Is it ethical to be stomping around on a religion that’s been cherished for thousands of years, without any regard for those that are so hurt when it’s mocked and waived away?

Does a disbeliever have to shut up because his/her beliefs are not that of the popular person? Why? Does the world end where beliefs differ? Can’t a believer just ignore a conversation that he disagrees with, without making a big deal about it? Isn’t blogsphere a place we should avoid judgementalism?

Why do these conversations so often come in the form of bullets ‘n blasts anyway?


As the great ol' quote goes, "yaydem’s kigel is kigel". Alright. I made that up. But I do wonder if we shouldn’t just indulge in what’s served and enjoy it. What you don't like, leave for others.

59 comments:

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

hellofalot. Ha loved the way you spelled that. It is a shame that this is the way of the world. The blogosphere does allow what society does not allow, the right to disagree and yell out, sad.

Shtreimel said...

Well, here’s my view. (You asked for it.)

Show me a blogger that censures his/her comments, and I’ll show you someone who’s beliefs are so shaky that he/she can’t even examine an opposing view.

Of course, you can retort that there is no issur for an apikores to study proselytizing material, whereas it is fundamentally wrong for a frummie to read apikorsus. But, while the fundies might be guided by a belief in a supreme being, skeptics, guide themselves by morals and ethics (evolutionistic traits), and for them, any comment made by Jacob Stein or the likes should be eradicated. Alas, censure as a tool is a) not very ethical, for it gives you the opportunity to bash someone with giving them the mentchlichkiet to answer. And b) the skeptics aren’t afraid of arguments!

Guess why?

Imagine that you’re looking for a shidduch. Someone ‘reds’ you a wonderful boy, but warns you not to talk to persons John, and Doe, because “zei velen dich upreden” . Would you even consider such a shidduch? At least, will you not listen to what they have to say?

Point is: any merchandise that insists on not listening to contrasting analysis is admitting that they are on a lesser footing.

Shpitz, don’t turn your religion into something indefensible!

Shtreimel said...

SW/FM,
Sad? Why?

Also A Chussid said...

Shpitz,

You asked many questions (and made some smart and funny statements, as well) in your post.

Being that I have researched all of these topics myself, I can sympathize with apikorsim and believers alike. I was called an apikores by many and a fanatical archaic believer by others. Shpitz, this is your blog do with it as you desire. Sensor, moderate, post and discuss as you see fit.

I personally have found my comfort level in the believing department. I’m fully content and satisfied with my personal and religious life. I only wish you the same.

Be that as it may, I still enjoy reading and I don’t shy away discussing these topics, so you got my vote of confidence.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

streimel sad that so many of us feel we can't voice our opinions in the public when it is different views than others. Sad how we are made to feel this way from society who does not want to hear of differing oppinions. Isn't that sad?

Chananiah Yom Tov Lipa said...

Back in the haim we didn't have time for azelche narishkeitn. But if you're gonna become an apikoires, why not become a Tzioni r"l? (Unless that's worse?)

For those interested, there's still plenty of time to become an apikoires for next Purim, and get your head shaved at my Tisch...:)

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Leapa - So dancing with the kallah is that interesting, hu? Listen, learn to tango and you won't be busy reading 30 pages...

SW FM - Indeed. Imagine a world where people actually yelled out their true feelings the way they can on blogs. Oy vey, my eardrums.

Shtreimel,

b) the skeptics aren't afraid of arguments!

You've answered this yourself. I quote "whereas it is fundamentally wrong for a frummie to read apikorsus". You often seem to compare religion to apikorsus as if it were apples to apples. Religion is not something that must be proven or debated in order for it to be valid. It mustn't be davka defensible. The same facts that one will read as Hashgacha Pratias, you will see as chance. Divinity is something you can choose to see or feel. You can refute it and the believer will have no physical evidence to disprove you, but that won't lessen the spiritual appreciation.

In andereh verter, while apikorsus is about evidence and logic, belief isn't. Refusing to argue or turning up the blinders isn't a violation against belief.

AAC - You're probably the most unconventional believer yet to be seen. You're not afraid to embrace the tides of doubt, but are so inclined to believe after all. Well. Not many believers agree with that and they will voice that in the form of very unfavorable titles. So you identify yourself as a believer but they don't identify you as one. Oish.

(Bleep.)

CYL - (wiping tears away). Best laugh in decades, man! You sure are gevaykt in rebbisheh moyfsim. I think you're idea is gevaldig. I should let my hair grow, and next year at the tish, be the velt's hero.

I'll storm the mechutsa, land in the center of the tish with a thud, hands on hips, and let the head-cleansing ritual begin for all to see. What a kiddish hashem.

Do you know what that guy did after he sobered up? Put on a Marilyn wig? Glued his pony back on? cut the side-frills and joined the army?

Leapa said...

Apropos to the belief balagan piece, look at this: http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%204%20Fried.pdf

You may want to print it - it's about 30 pages. On the other hand, I polished it off during a mitzvah tantz last night with time to spare, and I even heard when I was called to dance!

(One faux pas though, was when I checked my watch while 'dancing' with the kallah - I wanted to get on with the article!)

Ain't I just the social butterfly??

Leapa said...

Shpitz, isn't that a movie?

"The Last Tango in VaYoel Moshe", or something like that??

Yes, that will definitely keep me away from reading at haimishe simchos.

Where do I turn in my passport to Williamsburg?

Skeleton said...

Bloggers teiere, the word you are looking for is censor. Censure = rebuke.
Sensor = noun for sense, "of the senses".

Pardon my sounding anal, but 'lo habayshen melamed' ;-)

CYLT - Excellent suggestion, but tziyonim are avodah zorah deeners, and apikorsim oppose deism :-)

These discussions get so charged because we all take them personally, from the believers to the non-believers and all in between. If der galach Thaddeus fin Poland would come and tell us Judaism is bunk, we'd tell him tzi gein tzi di reeches. When it's our own who say it, it hurts, like unrequited love. Or like when you get a new vehicle or a new house and people turn their noses up at it instead of appreciating it. Not that that's how it's supposed to be, but it's understandable as much as any thinking person should realize that [apikorsus] disbelieving is very understandable too.

P.S. Shpitz, two bucks is overpriced! What's the wholesale price?

hmemichel said...

"Religion is not something that must be proven or debated in order for it to be valid."
I like that!!
I know sometimes it is tempting to censor...but it is true, those who censor have shaky beleifs.
I say throw it out there, but if people get carried away or if you are reading something that your 'gut' suddenly says is wrong... then stop reading or delete the comment...

Shtreimel said...

SW/FM
You’re talking about our society, I assume. That’s why blogging is so therapeutic for those denied a voice.

Shpitz
Of course, you can retort that there is no issur for an apikores to study proselytizing material, whereas it is fundamentally wrong for a frummie to read apikorsus.

But, while the fundies might be guided by a belief in a supreme being, skeptics, guide themselves by morals and ethics (evolutionistic traits), and for them, any comment made by Jacob Stein or the likes should be eradicated.

Alas, censoring as a tool is a) not very ethical, for it gives you the opportunity to bash someone with giving them the mentchlichkiet to answer. And b) the skeptics aren’t afraid of arguments!

To clarify myself:

1. There is no difference between fundies and skeptics when it comes to redundant or wicked comments. When JS approves gay slaughter or Nazi commendation, it repulses me as much as YKVK bashing repulses NAC.

2. However, the right of speech is fundamental to the ethical person, for after all ‘your’ view is not necessarily the truth.

3. Even for those (such as NAC,) whose ideology puts fundamentalism before Western ethics, need to think what this rule of not reading skeptical material spells out.

Would you buy a yogurt in the grocery if the owner tells you not to ask anybody when the expiration date is--only he will tell you? Suppose you think “it’s only a yogurt” and buy it, would you purchase a $600 outfit from a tailor that insists on you not asking information about his craftsmanship? How about acquiring a house that way?

Certainly you’re not that evil to take a boy for your own daughter if the matchmaker implied that talking to certain people will make you change you mind.

Is religion that unimportant to not investigate its validity?

Skeleton,
Tzudku mimeni big time! Censor it is.

Damn spell checker. Without it I might have been able to avoid these shameful annoying blunders. Just like using an Artscrol Shas can cause you not to figure out a blatt gemooreh on your own.

הלומד מחברו פרק אחד או הלכה אחת או פסוק אחד או דבור אחד או אפילו אות אחת, “
צריך לנהוג בו כבוד."

So what’s you definition of respect? May I call you Rabbi Skeleton?

While we are at it:
Deism is “the belief that a god or gods exists, but does not interact with events at the scale of human beings”. I don’t suppose that you take that position favorably.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

Also, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Theism

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

streimel exactly I am not disagreeing about that.That is why I said it is sad that society does not allow this.

Shtreimel said...

social worker/frustrated mom

And now it's time to shorten the name a bit. Something catchy. :)

Skeleton said...

Shtreimel, you may call me a cab :-)

Thanks for the hagaos. So apikorsim reject deism and theism, while believers fall somewhere along the spectrum between the two.

Respect means different things to different people, depending on their tolerance levels. At a minimum, it requires polite language and intelligent phraseology. But some would say it means not to belittle other's beliefs or ideas. Then again, di darfst nisht mir dus dich tzi zugen.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Leapa - Sorry, I'm not sure what happened. Something got @#$#%^& up.

I actually loved that movie. There was separate seating, and the romance was *so* in the air, everyone cried….

Skel - "These discussions get so charged because we all take them personally, from the believers to the non-believers and all in between."

What confuses me is the way so many people actually put their own comfort before their beliefs, but forget that entirely when someone else mentions or admits anything openly that is against halacha.
Belief, as the collective term, is 1. The most flammable topic of discussion due to the many versions of belief (or disbelief) there are. 2. Even when you do believe in something we so often violate those 'deeply felt' rules. Given, shouldn't we be more tolerant with others?

hmemichel - Ah, well said. I like the attitude.

Shtreimel - In the spirit of analogies:

"Certainly you’re not that evil to take a boy for your own daughter if the matchmaker implied that talking to certain people will make you change you mind."

See, this is where you go wrong. You don't realize that religion is not a boy you adopt, but a child that is born to you. Surely, you would consider it evil for a parent to scrutinize their own child and see if the kiddo is good enough to be their own. Surely you wouldn't agree with a mother that declares it "ethical" to understand all her child's weaknesses fully. Don't we appreciate a mother's blindness when it comes to her own children?

There is a very obvious pattern in all of this. We stick to our religion mostly because we were born into it. Otherwise, of course we would evaluate all the data – like a shidduch! But it's our religion, we've been fixed with it, and we want to see it the way we want to see it.

Now you go right ahead and say that there's no use of believing in a religion that was not researched. That's a reasonable argument. There is also no logical explanation to regarding one's faith by birth with more trust. I'm not defending any of it. I'm merely pointing out how and why one gets to a place of blind love.

Vatter mitten narrisha shadchen… gey freyg dee gantzah shtoot… Everyone is gonna give you other information. Many of it might not be true, or might be perceived by the informant entirely different than you would. If you'll go do complete research; goooodeh lack. (Watchout for your daughter's gray hair though.)

In dee nimshel iz…

Answer this: Do you think it's wrong to believe in something without researching it?

Shtreimel said...

"Do you think it's wrong to believe in something without researching it?"

As long as you don't shecht Amoleikim and stone Hasidic Rebel for smoking pot you shall be fine.

However, it is quite silly, for unlike your child, you DO have the option of discarding superstition in light of the evidence against it.

TheraChosid said...

I can feel all this togetherness, ok everybody lean in for a group hug (heh watch that elbow).

The article leapa posted was great, for once, I was actually up late looking at something I was allowed to. His point was "know what to answer an apikoros" because it strengthens your belief, your belief becomes more mature.( you mean T-Rex is my uncle?)I mean Love doesn't kick in until you've seen your husband whine like a complete baby, act like a jerk and still forgive him. At some point you say "oh that's the work part that they were talking about, but that is a mature love, one that won't break as easily as the china(excluding my own of course, damn things won't even chip).

Plus even the Rasha is at the seder, because he cares, he's interested enough to argue, to discuss.Epes rirt em un.

He/she's saying I love you enough to say your wrong,come and argue with me (yooooouuuuu, I knew it all along).

Antigonos said...

If a "believer" has to be blind to other views, it says a lot about the degree of the faith of the believer.

Once, a rabbi with 5 children lived in our building which is in a mostly secular part of Jerusalem. His wife nagged him day and night to move to a haredi neighborhood so the "children won't be tempted". He said to her that they would have to interact with secular Jews all their lives, and unless they knew how to defend their viewpoint in the wider world, their faith would shatter at the first contact with others. A wise man.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

streimel shorten the name? My name? Just call me swfm, not sure what you are talking about.

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Shpiztle –
The fact is that as believing Jews we believe in the Torah completely without any reservations whatsoever..
There may be questions, but there are always (even better) answers.
The problem with blogosphere is that “questioners” rule, as pointed out by Nuch epes a Chassid here.
Traditional belief always was that one should not delve into the arguments of detractors without solid enough grounding and education. Hence, the majority of Jews avoided learning philosophical works, even those published by Torah-true giants. However, those unique few who were steeped in Torah learning and fear of Heaven tackled these issues, and others followed them and their teachings.

Baal Habos said...

Shpitz, nice post. I take a short break and I see that basically what I would have wanted to say has been said. YOu just have to know your audience. I try to avoid some aspects of skepticism on my own blog (such as KP). and I wasn't even succesful at that. yet, I don't want't to be the cause of other's losing faith. But I am there to discuss it, and I need the outlet myself. Bottom line is I try to stick to taking "about" skepticism rather than skepticism itself. Like my Rebbi used to say, the Yetser Hora lets you talk *about* learning Toirah as long as you don't actually learn. The men will know what I mean.

Bottom line, go with your heart.

Baal Habos said...

>The problem with blogosphere is that “questioners” rule, as pointed out by Nuch epes a Chassid here.


Firstly, I'm not sure if that's really true. But even if it is, what else would you expect? those who supposedly have the answers, stay off the net. Also, the questioners are forced underground and so end up congregating on the web. The one's with the answers have a much wider pulpit, shuls, torah tapes, Newspapers, street posters, Pahkevils, etc. At least you can Fargihn us the web.

It's All Good Now said...

Beliefs are strongest when they survive exposure to foreign elements.

Anonymous said...

After brechn kop over such an erudite discussion, I am perhaps unworthy to comment, but here it is anyway: As someone who is a believer and who has gone through what the other side (tartey mashma) has to say (and how that happened if another story not for now) I always ask one simple question: who are these jerks that claim to know better? In the yeshiva or chasidish velt, we all know that that rebbe or that godl is fallible, sometimes embarrassingly so, but in the vast majority of cases we try to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they mayn erlich. But we stand in awe of secular academics. I'd go even further, without too much lehavdil either: have you ever seen how most chasidim are all too ready to agree just how the yekkes and litvaks got it right? It's some sort of self-hatred that the more orthodox have to capitulate to the less orthodox. Damn them. I gave up the opportunity of a well-earning proffession to go to yeshiva instead of university. I work less hours than they do so that I'll have time to learn. I pay double what they do for matzos in the hope that no chimra will be spared, etc and those jerks will tell me what happened 5767 years ago? No way! Stuff them. They aren't worth my time thinking about, let alone arguing with.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Skeleton and Shtreimel - "So apikorsim reject deism and theism, while believers fall somewhere along the spectrum between the two."

Interesting the way we view apikorsos as the equivalent of atheism. Technically, that's incorrect. Many people that even have no religion believe in a supreme being. But statistically, it does appear to be right. For some peculiar reason, it seems anyone around blogsphere that abandons yiddishkeit also drops belief in any other deeper meaning to life. Why is it so? It is almost as if there's a slide from orthodoxy to heresy, with no stop in between to examine other beliefs.

Is everyone actually thinking independently and incidentally arriving to the same conclusion or is this another social conformity?

Skel"P.S. Shpitz, two bucks is overpriced! What's the wholesale price?"

C'mon, be a good Jew. Take your fate with pride. Getting ripped of is our elefteh eseres hadibres.

Shtreimel Hey, hey. Stoning Hasidic Rebel doesn’t trace back exclusively to us. I know, from megalah chulem, that it was NOT the 111th congress made up of 538 Skvereh Yidden that banned pot.
We are not very friendly with addictive substances or lose of self control. Too@W#%^bad.

"it is quite silly, for unlike your child, you DO have the option of discarding superstition in light of the evidence against it." Do you have any sentimental feelings at all? Any historic appreciation? You just dump it into the ocean without looking back, heh?

Thereachossid - An interfaith, unisex group hug! Watchout, history in the makin'!

It's all true. Survival of the fights is the best evidence that a relationship is strong, be it of a marriage or with a religion. But what happens if the fight gets out of hand and destroys more than constructs? Now that's why challenging your faith is not allowed in Orthodoxy. That's why Rasha is at the seder. He asks the questions. You just repeat what he asks and don't say another word...

(You can let go of the hug now. I said... let go...)

Antigonos - Welcome. I haven't seen you 'round before.

You once again state that a strong faith is one that has been tested, as Thereachossid pointed out. But testing a faith means putting it in a vulnerable situation. Where I come from, THAT is not allowed.

They believe that we should rather have not-such-strong beliefs than no beliefs at all. Sigh.

IFT What you say makes sense, but what you ironically don't take into consideration is a person's independent ability to think. Even without exposing yourself to philosophy, a person can challenge what he is taught. And because we stay away from learning these questions (and answers) our innermost faith may be shaky. As many have mentioned, believing simply without reservations is not a very strong belief.

BHB - I can absolutely understand your position. There is a certain guilt at exposing others, but the 'others' are not very sensitive to your feelings in return. It's a tightrope between nursing your own doubts and considering the faith of those that don't want to hear it.

I guess that's where an assur from the rebbes help :)

"At least you can Fargihn us the web." Many, many people that are online are also finding outlets to a great deal of things forbidden by our lifestyle. They want you to fargihn them the web, not to openly talk about off-limits-stuff. Farshteyst?

IA GN - Ey, ey, ey! Vat did zey tich you, eh? Don't you know that the strongest faith is the one exposed to the least?

Anon - The less-restricted society are feasting off our inferior complexes. We feel so farderfished and yunchy against those that wear more striking cloths and have the good English, that we almost invite mockery. We seem to have no backbone.

The bad news is, that those that are telling you that whatever-historical-event didn't happen, are also paying as much as you do for matzohs. They're amongst the frummest of us.

Skeleton said...

anonymous-

You're a real intelligent chap, aren't ya? If matzos get outsourced and the price cut in half, may they tell you what happened 2800 years ago?

Agree with secular academics and Modern Orthodox Jews or not, but unless you're living in a hut and driving a horse and buggy, at least try to make a logical argument.

Shpitz -

Interesting the way we view apikorsos as the equivalent of atheism. Technically, that's incorrect. Many people that even have no religion believe in a supreme being. But statistically, it does appear to be right. For some peculiar reason, it seems anyone around blogsphere that abandons yiddishkeit also drops belief in any other deeper meaning to life. Why is it so? It is almost as if there's a slide from orthodoxy to heresy, with no stop in between to examine other beliefs.

Is everyone actually thinking independently and incidentally arriving to the same conclusion or is this another social conformity?


Apikorsos, or rather kefirah, generally is on par with atheism. There are precious few ex-Orthodox Jews who convert to other religions, and for good reason. Comparative Religion 101 would leave you shaking your head. Sure, the Oriental religions have appeal (and plenty of Israelis and "lost" Americans dabbling in them), but if you think Judaism takes a leap of faith, multiply that by about one billion for an Oriental religion. There just aren't all that many plausible options between Here and There. It's ironic how frum people wish to be free of some of the restrictions of Orthodoxy, yet when they try to associate with less religious groups like Reform or Reconstructionst they find it an empty, unfulfilling experience, even less so than their ultra-Orthodox ones. As Chassidim, we have a strong appreciation for 'varemkeit', when it is lacking in our rote, everyday lives due to disbelief religion becomes easier to discard. But this warmth usually isn't found in other groups, and we see them for the farces they are, poor imitations of the Genuine Article.

P.S. Good odds that Shtreimel would still gleefully dig into a steaming hot piece of Overnight Kugel. A relative of mine likes to say that "de letzte zach vus vert fargoyisht iz der mugen".

Anonymous said...

Skeleton - if you've been wasting away in a cupboard for the past few gilgulim, I'm sorry for you. I've had quite a lot of contact with 'academics' from serious faculties. Beer-swilling idiots, the lot. Even those that start out serious, soon learn to manipulate the grant system and churn out inferior trash just to keep their names in the public domain. And we have to believe or even debate what they say? Ahl tell ya boychik: That's the difference between a self taught Will-Billy and someone who's had a solid secular education. The latter sees straight through their k**p and just ignores it.

Leapa said...

To Skel and Shrimpie:
1. I'm not sure that Shtrimp cocktail was referring to a methodical analysis of everything from Adventism to Zoroastrianism, because even shtreimel would agree that no one ever resolved anything that way (unless you're seeking tenure at Yale).
2. Kudos, Skel, on your response to anon.
3. Shtrimp, it's true - there comes a certain juncture where the heart takes over. But that should be enhanced by 1 thru 8th grade varmkeit and not by prohibitions of knowledge and thought. One interesting point in the article I referenced was that a (litvishe) mechanech said 'yes, evolution should be taught. By the menahel, not the english teacher.
Revolutionary, but in all likelihood valid, if the menahel is rational.
4. Shtrimp, I'm really nispoal at how humor has led to depth on your blog. Incidentally, 'curious hunger' is healthy in your case.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Note with a krechts:

I'm having problems with my comments AGAIN... If you don't see your comment then I probably didn't get it. (Rumor has it there are some apikorsim with ski masks that are stealing our comments! gasp!! [j/k] pun intended)

Shtreimel said...

Shpitz,
Pot is not addictive.

“For some peculiar reason, it seems anyone around blogsphere that abandons yiddishkeit also drops belief in any other deeper meaning to life. Why is it so?”

Good point Shpitz, although I suspect the reason to be a little different than Skeleton or Leapa allowed. Nowadays the ‘need’ for a god or gods in our daily life has been greatly reduced. No longer is rain the product of angles crying, or earthquakes the outcome of a god stumping his foot or spitting on earth. The sun isn’t a light bulb, and the stars aren’t little plugs in the sky. We now boast an improved understanding of our surroundings, and we don’t require gods for this and gods for that, or one supreme god of gods to pacify.

Perhaps unlike other religions, our god is pretty well defined. At a point where that particular deity is discarded, when one no longer believes that god cares if you go to the kosel or not (coming from either perspective), it is only natural to discard the whole creator idea.

If one believes that a god did NOT create the world in six days, 5767 years ago, as the evidence suggests, then he/she needs to redefine god. When one characterizes such a deity, expect examination if it is needed, if it adds something to his life, and if it is at all attainable.

See, some people notice that the question is way to great for anyone to have an answer. Since he is no longer around to prove his existence, and the evidence suggests that he never was, so why bother?

Skeleton,
Good odds that Shtreimel would still gleefully dig into a steaming hot piece of Overnight Kugel. A relative of mine likes to say that "de letzte zach vus vert fargoyisht iz der mugen".

Me likes!

There’s much more than the mugen though. This life, the good and the bad, has been embedded in my veins. I can’t run from myself.

Two Cents said...

In general, We are believers because of "al totosh toras imechu", and we are mostly educated that way.

So if someone who has studied all the religions, or whichever other way he came to it, has questions , or found loopholes,, and needs answers,, of course one who has not researched, but rather went along with the al totosh,, of course they cannot answer your questons, and therefore for a person like that, it is not allowed to conversate or have debates on these issues.
If you have doubts or questions, there are seforim to read that dealt with people as smart as you are, so go ahead and read the Moreh, sefer hu'ikrim sefer habris, derech hashem and more, and THEN lets see your questions.

btw there is an expert in Monsey Rabbi Tauber, who has never yet lost a battle with an apikores, I have personaly sent to him more then one.. and no , noit cause he manipulates or hypnotizes you,,, just cause he KNOWS all these from sefurim and our chacumoim.."

Skeleton said...

Anon-

No, I haven't been decomposing in a cupboard. Instead, I have been astounded at scientific advances like cloning, advances in fetal/neonatal medicine, mapping of the human genome, the ever-shrinking silicon microchips, and a multitude of others. All of these pioneered or engineered by, in your own words "beer-swilling idiots".

You sound like the kind of person who would've yelled at Newton, "Isaac, wtf are you looking at those apples for?!"

TheraChosid said...

Spitz
Torah says you are supposeed to "know hashem" your G-d, i.e. search for the answers about G-d, you said that you are putting Torah in a vulnerable state, not true. You put yourself in the vulnerable state by being confident that there are answers, that you might not know and need to seek out, but the Torah was never in question.

The reality is by censoring or forbidding people to study and question your not accomplishing anything, people have these questions already (any 6 year old asks what was before G-d ),only now, they're not allowed to find the answers.

The language to the Rasha is emotional, blunt his teeth means in deal with his anger. the whole conversation is about being excluded, because the Rasha felt excluded by the community, his friends or whatever growing up. His being a rasha was an emotional response (even with a host of intellectual reasons). So we answer him that his response is only going to exclude him further.

People who go off the derech, usually drop everything because the're not on an intellectual search for meaning in life, life has sold them short and Judaism just did'nt give what is was suppossed to.They drop it for something else that feels good(except of course for skel, he's got somethin else funky goin on).I am fully willing to admit that people who are BT probably went through the same thing to become frum , as the studies from the Psych lit suggests that kids of divorce and unhappy homes become "religous" at an increased rate.People are emotinal first, for the sechel to come first requires meditation or alot of coffee.

Anonymous
Sounds like you resent your financial situation, which of course has nothing to do non-believers.They're are plenty of people who learn alot and still do well, I know suffering for Torah sounds fun,but you still get to choose..

How you figure any group of frum yidden is "more orthodox" is beyond me. Here in the underworld, where resentment and repression abound (i'm no exception) it all looks the same to me.

Anonymous said...

Skel: You're confusing researchers with theorists. Researchers try to establish facts. We need have no concerns about them. Theorists are modern-day galuchim or perhaps politicians, working with an agenda, usually to destroy any sort of religion (many admit openly to this). These are the people who hide and distort facts and because of their big mouths weedle their way into positions of authority. They then prevent the researchers uncovering more facts (since it's erev pesach, take the example of the egyptologists as a case in point: they refuse to allow researchers access to crucial areas/subjects of study that everyone realises could overturn everything they believe about egyptian history).
Therachosid: zugst git, but although I wouldn't turn down a six figure grant any day, my point was that in ANY discipline, Toire or lehavdil secular, the amount of true success is proportional to the effort invested. Beer-swilling slobs will never succeed no matter how gifted, and someone who gives up time money effort etc, will, even though he may not have the highest IQ or be the best polemicist.

Semgirl said...

Shpitz...Im totally impressed with all your retorts here. Its a shame, you only went to Satmar meidl skul. Kenst di forsthelin, if you went to a serious Seminary, you would outshine the proverbial "best bochur in Lakewood".

But then again, you probably would have a hard time finding a Shidduch,lol. So I suppose thats not good either.

Chananiah Yom Tov Lipa said...

If anyone who had doubts in emineh would look at the heilige klaster punim fin man heilige zaydeh, der Yismach Moishe fin Sátoraljaújhely, s'hot gegosen treyren in er hut tshiveh geteen.
S'iz Yom Kippur Kuttan Rabboisai!
That's all for now.

David_on_the_Lake said...

lol...
Love love the way u write..

These conversations and debates really are pointless..and its not worth engaging in because the debaters are on different planets...because as soon as u open the door to the possibility of God then suddenly ur not bound to any rational arguments which are by definition bound to finite reason...

Shpitzle said...

Skel - Re Anonfella’s initial comment. The investment factor is not an argument, but a reason. Many people want to remain in the comfort of status quo simply because too much has already gone into establishing it. It might sound lame for a belief system, but it is most frequently the underlying cause for our refusal to openly discuss apikorsis.

By change in belief I was not implying joining church. Neither is it about a lifestyle change which, obviously, is for many not even an option. We are all very tied to chassidis because it’s ours and no ho-ho-ho ‘n candy aint eva gonna get sweeta’ ‘an thAt. I was talking about believing in a God, in a higher power, in a bit of meaning to life. Or taking it down to any other level within Judaism. I’m sure you yourself disagree with today’s chassidis quite a bit, but have resigned to only go down one rung and rested your beliefs within orthodox. You don’t see that around here. Anyone that wants to climb downward seems to slide down altogether.

I’m sure the social environment here is at least in part responsible for that.

Leapa, Leapa, Leapa - LOL! Drinks on me boy! Bring ‘em cocktails out. Lechaim!

3. Blink. Teaching evolution would be an incredibly long shot. Here it won’t ever happen – forgetitt. But it makes sense. If we wouldn’t be so unequipped and ignorant we probably wouldn’t fall for the opposing arguments so easily. I vote Evelutsia as the newest in the Yiddish curriculum. Let Mrs. Halberstam prepare her notes, right after she shoots herself in the shpitzle.
4. I know! I wonder where I strayed. Fun dried up and an absentminded drifter staggered out in its place…

Shtreimel - Thank me. I replied on the drug issue because I wanted to give you the chance to chant “pot is not addictive”. Although, I thought you’ll say it with more tempo, like include the whole alchohol-is-worster piece. Ugh, shame.

”Perhaps unlike other religions, our god is pretty well defined. At a point where that particular deity is discarded, when one no longer believes that god cares if you go to the kosel or not (coming from either perspective), it is only natural to discard the whole creator idea.”

When you conclude that the God Judaism refers to does not exist, that is little reason to disprove all other possibilities of divinity – especially if you’re after the self-righteous one-and-only Truth [Cha.ruth] (!! Pound the gavel. Let all applaud!). After all it does seem there still is high regard for a creator, even with all the fascinating scientific advancements and the liberal drift in morals.

Despite all the better understandings we have of the world at this point, God is still very, very popular. I find it ironic that we buy our bread with dollars that proclaim a God and declare our Justice under His name. I’m sure w’all are not doing so because it comes with free overnight kugel. Neither are the courts ruling under the oath of God for the sentiment of it. There must be something more to it if the world is so reluctant to give up God but a bit less hesitant to advance in other areas.

Maybe it’s all because we’re a Christian nation. But I still have to wonder why with all the exposure allowed to science by the secular world, the majority of people still believe in some God or other. This leads me to wonder why around Chassidism exposure immediately means no beliefs at all.

See, some people notice that the question is way to great for anyone to have an answer. Since he is no longer around to prove his existence, and the evidence suggests that he never was, so why bother?

Again, we mustn’t forget. It’s all about the TRUTH, right? I’d rather bother than resign to not believing at all.

$.02 - Does your rebbeh have a couch?? I’m wary of this. We Chassidim don’t take therapy or counseling. It means that you’re crazy.

I do however wish there would be more informative people around that you deem qualified to defend the Torah – such that will make us all gevaykteh baali teshuvas. Why don’t you bring Rabbi Tauber up to the podium, have him answer some of our questions? We could all benefit from that, eh?

Thereachossid I hear ya, I hear ya’all. There are answers. Let me hear them answers already. I thought we’re not allowed to question, I thought we’re not allowed to want to know. But if we are, then bring the answers on.

How you figure any group of frum yidden is "more orthodox" is beyond me. Here in the underworld, where resentment and repression abound (i'm no exception) it all looks the same to me.

Coming from deh cream from deh crop, the frummest of the frum, I know that more orthodox is pretty possible. Please move to the Satmar headquarters for 10 years, and then we’ll see how you restricted feel about your current state of frumkeit. (My dear, there will be no history channel, no literature, no privacy. There will be the Yenta Society though to save your sanity).

Semgal - You said it. That won’t be too good either. Thank God they chapped me and married me off.

CYL - Segist zich mir tachen trearen… We can always rely on you for your wisdom in the time of kup-brechen… (lol. Gotta love this rebby!)

David - Yes, the ultimate argument. To see or not to see divinity. As you said, it’s beyond rationalism therefore It’s talking passed each other without ever getting anywhere. THAT argument is not worth getting into.

Leapa said...

Shtreim:
I'm surprised you don't fall back on Pascal's wager!

(The eminent mathematician Blaise Pascal justified his religious practice as follows:
He suggests that we are playing a game with two strategies, believe and not believe, with payoffs as follows:

If there is no G-d the probability is: p
If there is the probability is (1-p)
Belief if no G-d =-u, disbelief = V
Disbelief if no G-d = 0, belief = -x.

-u represents the cost to you of passing up some worldly pleasures as a consequence of believing that G-d exists. If you do not believe, and God is a vengeful G-d, you will lose x. If G-d does exist, and you believe that G-d exists, then the payoff is V. Now to determine the strategy that is best, compare the two expected values

-pu+(1-p)V and p0+(1-p)(-x)

and choose the larger of the two. In general, the choice will depend on the value of p. But Pascal assumed that the value of v is infinite, and so the strategy of believing is best no matter what probability you assign for the existence of G-d.)

In other words, if there is no G-d, Shtreim, and you observed, you've enjoyed kigel and chulent unnecessarily. If you didn't worship G-d, and you were wrong, you blew eternity.

Sooo - if intelligent design has some logic - even if the likelihood is only 1% - chap arein noch a shtikel galla, en sie nisht kein batlan.

But then, non-PETA head, you will surely ask 'why Judaism'?

Shtrimp says 'why not?' based on a merciful G-d determining ultimate results on a 'best effort' basis.
G-d determined you (as in Uncle Sam wants you) were born a Jew.
He also, in his wisdom and mercy, made sure all others were born in the category 'other'. (Adventism thru Zoroastriasm included). Basically *not your problem* why, although it may be an interesting intellectual exercise. (Yes, a permitted one.)
Yes, 'others' are still people and you have to treat them nice and good.

Note: Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the writer.

Shtreimel said...

Anon,
I know it’s erev pesach, but can you take the time to name those who “refuse to allow researchers access to crucial areas/subjects of study”? Are they perhaps the same ones who killed Rabin, JFK, and Princess Di?

Are they associated with the film crew that captured the moon landing in the Nevada desert?

We need details!

Shpitz,
I can prove it to you. I just rolled myself a joint. (I emptied a cigarette, and filled it with the sweet smelling fresh grass. That way it enters my lungs with some sort of filter) You are more than welcome to join(t).

“liberal drift in morals”
You gotta be kidding me. After everything the liberal movement has done in the areas of child labor, emancipation, suffrage, religious persecution and much much more? How do we Jews have freedom if not for the liberal mindset of this country?

You can listen to Limbaugh and co. but don’t close your mind. Think!

Popularity of an idea doesn’t put a truth value to it As I’m sure you know that—I don’t suppose that you’re sporting a cross on your heart.

Shtreimel said...

Leapa,
Pascal’s wager? Surly, you’re saying it in jest.

Pascal took the obvious step and become a passionate Christian. He was the one who lit the stack of Talmuds after the pope decreed it to be heresy of the highest order.

What happened to him after he died? Did his wager pay off?

(He probably never burnt sforim, I just used it as an example. As for you and me, we could be doing the same bad bet by not accepting Jesus in our hearts.)

http://hiddenhassid.blogspot.com/2004/10/pascals-wager.html

Independent Frum Thinker said...

Shpitzle –
Regarding my earlier comment and your response; one must realize that we were all born with great temptations and are therefore naturally inclined to question the validity of the Torah and its laws (Chas V’Shalom).
That is why it is so risky for one to analyze the issues without sufficient background and guidance.
It is very different from analyzing an abstract subject; there one is not biased in favor of any side, while here one is.
Rav Chaim Soloveitchik z”l once asked a former student why he went off the Derech. The student replied that he had three Kashyas and proceeded to enumerate them. Rav Chaim z”l listened and then replied, “These are not three Kashyas, rather three Tirutzim for you to live the lifestyle you so desired.”
Very powerful and relevant words.

Anonymous said...

Shpitz: Re Anonfella’s initial comment. The investment factor is not an argument, but a reason. Many people want to remain in the comfort of status quo simply because too much has already gone into establishing it. It might sound lame for a belief system, but it is most frequently the underlying cause for our refusal to openly discuss apikorsis.
Host a git kepl, ober ch'ob dus nisht gimeynt. My earlier post explained it. But it may be true in soooo many cases, most even. But it's a way to keep klal yisruel ticking over. Somewhere along the line, someone decent is going to come out of the mess (Before someone scream apikories, that's a Maharal, incidentally).

Hoezentragerin said...

"Despite all the better understandings we have of the world at this point, God is still very, very popular. I’m sure w’all are not doing so because it comes with free overnight kugel. There must be something more to it if the world is so reluctant to give up God but a bit less hesitant to advance in other areas.
Maybe it’s all because we’re a Christian nation. But I still have to wonder why with all the exposure allowed to science by the secular world, the majority of people still believe in some God or other".


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/04/
magazine/04evolution.t.html?_r=3&ref=magazine&pagewanted=print

Leapa said...

Your comment doesn't impact the math or logic, which I really expected.

I also preempted the 'Jesus' comment.

However, I am no longer surprised that you didn't cover it, and credit you for that.

Shtreimel said...

Leapa,
preempting doesn't negate.

I found the rest of your comment unintelligible. the fault might very well lay with me though.

Shtreimel said...

Leapa,
Alright. Maybe the fault indeed was with me.

See, according to Pascal’s mathematics the chances of gaining by belief, even if negligible (given the amount of religions around), is still greater than non-belief.

However, I’ll take issue with that, and use an everyday example. Cars.

We can take the same math used by Pascal and apply it to using cars vs. staying Amish. We all agree that driving a car increases the odds of injuring oneself in an accident. Math would keep us within walking distance. But reality calculates the odds. The gains of using the car daily counteract the likelihood of being hurt.

Picking Orthodox Judaism based on Pascal’s wager is analogous to trekking the highway.

Skeleton said...

Shpitz-

I’m sure you yourself disagree with today’s chassidis quite a bit, but have resigned to only go down one rung and rested your beliefs within orthodox.

I object to your comment of "going down one rung". Our judgements of what is "up" and what is "down" are completely subjective and dependent on how sufficiently brainwashed we are into our mode of life. There are few ups and downs within halachic Orthodoxy, rather a system of parallels, although unfortunately it seems part of our mesorah is to always be looking down at someone else.

Shtreimel-

The fallacy in your car analogy was that it doesn't take into account lifestyle factors other than the walking vs. driving. If you were indeed Amish, you work locally, don't take out insurance or a license, and the risks of injury increase dramatically when what you're driving is country roads.

So if you can take the extraneous factors into consideration, that people who are religious can be happier, better adjusted, less likely to be criminal or junkies, and possibly have better moral standards, your analogy falls flat.

sharona said...

In my opinion, if a person's belief system is really strong, then it's okay for them to look at other information and views as long as they keep their belief strong.

However, if their belief is not strong, then they should make it strong before looking at other views so they can stay a believer while looking at other views

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Hoezentragerin's Link

Fascinating! Talks about the subject on many levels. Although the peice works from an Evolutionary point of view only, the fact that we're so inclined to think deeper does say something about the believer too. All the evolutionary logic notwithstanding.

Skel - You're right. I apologize profusely. Shoulda used the term 'farther' instead of 'down'. No belittlement intended when saying that though, it's just said in mamma lashon, my first language.

TBH, I actually look up to you for your direction, whatever label the compass may have for it...

Skeleton said...

NP, Shpitz dear, I knew you didn't mean it in that sense but thought it noteworthy to point out how our "Linnaean" system of classifying and pigeonholing may be a large part of what pushes some of our children away. Because if you're going "down" anyway, why not go all the way and have some fun in the process?

BTW, a vort you might enjoy: A student scribbled this on a wall "God is dead"-Nietzsche, to which another student scrawled underneath "Nietzsche is dead"-God. He who laughs last, laughs best...

TheraChosid said...

Shpitz, was going to call you on the "down a rung" comment but skel beat me to it(we're on the same page for once).you up and let the air out of the baloon. killjoy.
but not so fast.

you referred to being more restricted as "more orthodox", i'm not sure even you believe that.You don't get Olam haba for wearing a streimel in the summer.you only get it for not talking about how so and so cheated on his wife, or his taxes, or the worst of all, his wife's taxes.Theres a reason after 120 the first question they ask you is about your business affairs b/c no one else sees that. That's called being frum.

No cable in satmar land? surely you jest. what?couldn't fit the antena in the closet

"exposure immediately means no beliefs at all" it's not exposure that causes it. People don't go wayward because they expose themselves to secular knowledge, but because they're unhappy in a fundamental way.The "give me meaning in life" thoughts only come after some basic happiness.The're looking for something else.Although those "whats my life amounted to" questions can be be a real bi..ngo

Shtreimel said...

Skeleton,

I’m gay Jew who likes to wipe his ass with soft tissue on Shabbos, and with a mild form fucking coprolaliac shit ass to boot.

Explain to me again how that is no different than the car without insurance.

Now a HUGE צדקה ממני is in order!

Anonymous said...

Spitzle, Fascinating? Shame on you, and after my complimenting your intellectual abilities! That's what yuppies talk about when they to be yoitze a little philosophy and sound profound. What absolute drivvel. Pity you're a gal or I'd fix up a shiur in kabulle with you. Then you'd find out what brain and thinking is all about.

yingerman said...

Wow, following this conversation really give me a hielige urge to peel potatos for a geshmake overnight kigul.
After all have had their say, I still maintain that apikorsis is just lazyness.
"There are no atheists in foxholes."
Wait until kol tzura shlo tuvi, I don't care how much superb evidence, of the lack thereof, regarding the existence of G-d you have, I will be ROTFL, when you grab that tehilim.

Baal Devarim said...

Shpitzle:
"Answer this: Do you think it's wrong to believe in something without researching it?

If I may interject: That would depend on what exactly those beliefs entail, wouldn't it?

I presume all rational people would agree the sincere belief that Allah wants us to fly planes into occupied office towers is wrong. How about the sincere belief that Allah wants us to cane any woman not wearing an Abaya? That Allah wants us to jail any man not praying 5 times a day? How about three times a day? That Allah wants us to stone an adulteress? That Allah wants us to cut off the hand of a thief? That Allah wants us to kill any teenaged boy caught talking to a girl -- especially in the holy land of Saudi Arabia? That Hashem wants us to beat up and maim any teenaged boy caught talking to a girl -- especially in the holy city of Williamsburg? That Allah wants us to kill all infidels -- especially those that mock Him in public? That Hashem wants us to kill all Apikorsim -- especially those that mock Him in public? That Allah demands we shun anyone whose beliefs are different from ours? That Allah gets very angry when disbelieving Muslims leave comments on blogs? That Allah smites many Jews because their women are promiscuous? That Hashem smites ehrliche yiden because the women are not dressed tz'niusdig? That Allah wants you to brainwash your child that if he doesn't prostrate himself before God 5 times a day he will forever burn in Hell? That Hashem wants you to brainwash your child that if he doesn't tie leather straps around his arm every day he will forever burn in Hell? That if you don't believe Muhammad flew to Jerusalem on a winged horse and make that belief public everyone should be encouraged to disassociate from you? That if you don't believe Moshe (or Aharon) turned water into blood and make that belief public everyone should be encouraged to disassociate from you?

Do you find any of these beliefs offensive? Do you think it's wrong to believe in them without researching it first?

Tie'ere Yingerman:
"After all have had their say, I still maintain that apikorsis is just lazyness."

Do you often stick your hand in your ears, close your eyes and shout "la la la I can't hear you?"

Did the apikorsim sweat and plow their way through the dense Moreh Nevochim and Chovos Halvovos and the brilliant Kuzari, or did the believers? Talk about laziness! Can you even cogently explain the argument of First Cause as it appears in CH"H? How about the Kuzari principle? Did you ever read the source of the Rambam's thirteen principles? Who bothers gathering the information, and who says "well, I hear Rabbi Tauber in Monsey has all the answers -- that's good enough for me"?

Did you ever wonder why (generally) the more one knows, the less they believe (and vice versa)?

"There are no atheists in foxholes."

Right. And there are no people about to be burned to death in their office who don't believe they have a chance of surviving a thousand-foot leap. Obviously, man really can fly, you only need to believe.

TheraChosid said...

BD
I'm sure you don't agree with all the atrocities commited by secular minded individuals, stalin (he's a doozee), sadam (I know short list, it's late)etc. They're policies were wrong, as are people who beat up and shun,

"forever burn in hell" is steep, last I heard you make bail after 11 months.and what does prostate have to do with anything?

Really, Those aren't beliefs those are people with mean streaks getting off on religion (take a second for the visual)just as the atheist/secularist have done with their power. I hate both sides of this argument because the list on both sides is quite long (who can destroy the world more times, .."all we are saying"..sway the arms)and religous fanatics tick me off just as much(BTW don't you just hate the word fanatics, it implies that there too religous or too frum, when their actions are not frum but cruel).

Although to be fair, I'm not sure what "research" would entail? How would you research a religion? emotionaly?intellectualy? noone's thoughts, even yours are only one or the other. Midos shbesechel my friend. we are driven to argue what we most forcefully feel
( learned that one from celestial seasonings, I think it's lemon zinger?)

That Hashem wants us to kill all Apikorsim, where did you hear that one? garlic works better, I kid but that's not true, and you can't be an apikores if your pissed off? you already have the excuse of being slighted by the system, noo no, too late, you already have the excuse, can't take it back. BTW, what did drive you over the edge?

"Hashem wants you to brainwash your child", and what about being nice to people or any other moralist agenda, that's still education (brainwashing is when you feed people fertilizer for a week and then tell them they're a tree), Kant, Decarte, emily dickenson for all I care, it's still rock n roll to me..I mean..education.(Robinhood stole from the rich and the poor)

"Moshe (or Aharon) turned water into blood" it wasn't into wine?

"a chance of surviving a thousand-foot leap" the images in my mind are still chilling and bring me close to tears, please take it easy on the shock drama.

Skeleton said...

Shtreimel-

Sorry, but we rule by majority. You are in the minority, as you well know. That doesn't mean your experiences can be dismissed; rather, that they can't form a basis for other's lifestyles. You being the uninsured car doesn't mean others shouldn't insure their cars if they find that it suits them better.