Sunday, 23 May 2010

Is Honesty That Important For Judaism

XGH has been discussing recently about the problems in MO(whats new)

The only type of Modern Orthodoxy that can be lechatchilah is one which is HONEST. Anything less can only ever be bdieved. And frankly, a religion based on lies (or based on myths characterized as absolute literal truth), is not even bdieved. It's simply a lie.

Is there any point in fighting MO stupidities or for that matter UO stupidities like XGH? Is it really that important to demand honesty? Maybe unhonest religion is not as bad as everyone makes out.

People often say that it is unfair to make people live a lie and that living your life based a lie is a waste bla bla bla bla

All I know is I was a lot happier before I was skeptical. I thinks most Jewish skeptics agree. Ignorance is truly bliss. Is it right to take that bliss away?

In fact chareidim probably have the most comforting world view of any Jew. They've got a loving God taking care of their every need and promise of an afterlife. They also have these super-Gedolim who can tap into God's will and tell them exactly what to do and how to do it. Everything is structured, you really don't need to think or wonder, every question you've ever had can be answered by the Torah/Gemara. So maybe once in a while you feel guilty because you ripped the toilet paper on shabbat but nu you have teshuva to fix all your sins. Even a RWMO Jew is pretty well off nu so he has to come up with some ingenious explanation for Bereishit and the Mabul but at the end of the day everything is fine because God has everything worked out.

Is it moral to allow people to live lies? Why the hell not? If you're a real skeptic then there is no accountability and morality is most probably subjective anyway. Adopt a sort of utilitarian approach if it makes you feel better the best system is the one that makes the most people happy.

Of course the next question is are deeply religious people really happier? I always assume they are. Maybe I'm wrong but having a big brother in the sky is admittedly a pretty comforting idea (unless you did some really terrible things I guess)

Ah so what about all the evil that religion causes. Hitchens could go on forever about how religion destroys the world and it's imperative for us to get rid of it.
I just don't know if you can apply that to Judaism.
Maybe other religions do some really bad things but in general Judaism has not gotten up to a lot of terrorism or religious persecution. A few garbage can get burnt once in a while but we don't have inquisitions and jihad so we aren't getting up to anything too egregious.Can one really say that OJ is really evil?

Yes of course there is the problem of us deviants and people like R Slifkin who get repressed by dogmatic establishments but are these the majority? Do most Orthodox Jews really feel repressed or is it just the few who have realized the holes in the system. IF Orthodox Judaism and even Chareidism really make most of its members happy who are we skeptics to try to take them out of their reverie?

There are a lot of questions here that need to be answered. But it is by no means simple that people are better off living according to the "truth" than following an attractive lie. Maybe we should all just shut up bite the bullet and let the rest of the world be happy. Its kind of selfish to demand the frum world to change to fit our taste.

But hey if morality is subjective then maybe I'll just be selfish ;)


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

A few points:
1) XGH, like most formerly frum skeptics, has an agenda. In short, they need to paint a dysfunctional form of Chareidi Judaism as the only legitimate form of Judaism. Then they "reveal" it to be dysfunctional and thus justify their skepticism/flight to reality. MO is a problem for them because it does honestly address most of the issues skeptics have with fundamentalist Chareidism and it provides acceptable answers. If they don't delegitimize it l'hatchilah then they would have to answer the hard question: if you were honestly looking for answers, why didn't you check MO out? They'd rather have their treif but they don't want to admit it's all about ta'avah.

As for living a lie, see the 1974 episode of Space 1999: The Wonder Bringers in which aliens seeking to take over Moonbase Alpha make the inhabitants believe they've returned home to Earth. Through these illusions the alients make them think they've lived an entire life back home while they go about taking over the base. Only the commander is unaffected and just before destroying the aliens he is asked by their leader why he couldn't have accepted a complete illusory life of happiness instead of sentencing his entire crew to return to hard reality. His answer was: It's better to live a moment in the real world than an eternity in a dream.

Yes, living a lie might be fine for some people. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, it's a strong coping mechanism but there's a catch. Judaism isn't just about you, it's about transmitting the tradition to your children. What if they don't also want to live the same lie? What if someone bursts their bubble? Then you've lost them and that's something any frum parent wants to avoid. The lie can't be perpetuated and is inherently unstable which is what makes living it so dangerous.

Shilton HaSechel said...

I'm also a "frum skeptic" and I have seriously done it all UO(LW) and MO and I was most of the time not satisfied with what I found (but i always keep my eyes open!) so in that respect I have to agree with XGH (and its not about taavah! Trust me I'd love to be devout and so would XGH)

>It's better to live a moment in the real world than an eternity in a dream.

Nope I'd rather live in a dream where everything is perfect.

Once we're discussing sci-fi: My problem always with the Matrix was that they were living this crap life instead of just hooking themselves back up to the matrix and being happy again I never got why they cared so much that their life was an illusion.

>Yes, living a lie might be fine for some people.

As long as you don't find out its a lie you're living the "truth" so its all good

>What if someone bursts their bubble?
Yeah but most people don't get their bubbles burst so might be worth taking the risk and making as many people naively happy as possible.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Well one would assume that the crowd living in Zion in the Matrix movie was self-selected. Anyone who had a problem with living in the real world would just be replugged into the Matrix and forgotten about. It was only those who felt they would rather live in a miserable truth than a happy lie that would insist on joining the resistance.

So it does boil down to a point of view and I think both are legitimate but again I would emphasize the consequences of a person living a lie learning about the truth. You would lose them to Yiddishkeit. There is also the aspect of consent. You might know you're living a lie for your own personal happiness but if you never tell their kids, they didn't get to make that choice. One could argue that it's not ethical to do that to someone.

Shilton HaSechel said...

But who do those Zionites (or maybe Zionists) think they are destroying the matrix and ruining everybody elses illusions because they insist on "reality". Seem like a bunch of stuck up idealists to me.

You can't know your living a lie and be happy. Or at least you usually can't I guess if you really like wearing a black hat and having no money then you could just pretend to be a chareidi. (Hey that goy in Lakewood did it)

Also at the end of the day your kids don't really get a choice they basically make life decisions based on whatever influenced them. (Hey but im no psychologist so what do i know)

Coin Laundry said...

> Is it moral to allow people to live lies?
Adults can live whatever lies they choose as long as it's a choice . . (i.e. the Nrth Koreans don't really benefit from the lies they're living, but it's not a choice). The question should really be: Is it moral to educate our children to live lies?

anon said...

OJ is a false dangerous cult and should therefore be exposed as such. This will help prevent childhood brain washing, barbaric circumcision practice, tribal psycology, waste of resources, using tax payer money for religion, .....
I hope other religions have enough skeptics as well to do the same, to expose the nonsense that is in all beleif systems that have supernatural elements.

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