Thursday, 19 July 2012

There is No Room For the Individual

It's important to remember that religion works for some people. When it comes to these things I tend to be a huge relativist. Although I've found a path that works for me that does not mean that it works for everyone and anyone who says that secularism or atheism is a better way of life is simply dogmatic IMHO.

For some people religion is the best thing. It makes their lives better and sometimes they need it to go on. Some people have such shitty lives that they need a religion to keep them going in the morning and some people have perfect lives but still yearn for the assurances of religion.

The crime of religion is its inability to realize that different paths work for different people. Most religions claim that their path works for everyone which is such a load of crap. No system or philosophy can work for everyone. People are all too different from each other for one system to cover them all and make all their lives better. Religious parents can't understand why their children refuse to be shoved into a template that works for them even if that template doesn't work for their children. They speak in absolutes and do not leave any room for individuality.

And yes Jewish Philosophy is as variegated as people in the world but Jewish Law is not. Jewish law is the same for everyone no matter their temperament or preferences.  This is the nature of Law in general. Whereas philosophy can accommodate different views Law cannot.

The saddest thing is watching people who are dedicated to Jewish Law struggling to keep a system that is not compatible with them. They cry because they are not good enough for the system. They wish they could keep the 613 mitzvot but they are not able. And they pray to God to make them better people. But the system will not budge for them and their personalities will not budge for the system. A person can only modify their own nature so much before they lose it.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Future of Israel

IMHO it looks bleak.

Facts: Chareidim in general (there are of course exceptions) do not believe that democracy and liberalism have much value. They do not believe that every Jew should be allowed to do what he or she wishes. They say this. They write this. They are not hiding it from everybody. Their ideal form of government is one run by "gedolim". Political parties like Shas, which are driven by the outspoken "Gadol" Ovadya Yosef, are a foreshadowing of what Chareidim expect from politics i.e. a country run by Da'as Torah - which means run by the authoritative decisions of Gedolim.

Problem: Chareidim in general do not use contraception and therefore are growing at almost 5 to 10 times the rate of the secular population. Their demographic domination of the Israeli Jewish population seems inevitable.

The Future: A Theocratic state similar to Iran, where a council of "gedolim" can veto laws OR "gedolim" or askanim are the main political movers and shakers. Israel is not known for its clear cut separation of church and state and AS IT IS a large part of the countries laws are completely religion is nature (Marriage and divorce for just one example) this existing trend will be taken further to include state mandated laws of Kashrut, Shabbat etc. TV and internet will be heavily censored.

Hope: The Chareidim of tomorrow will not be the Chareidim of today. As they begin to become a larger percentage of the population they will be forced to start to working and be less insulated.

Despair: They will still be very religious and have very little respect for democracy or personal freedom. Working and leaving the ghetto does not automatically make you more tolerant.

Am I missing some mitigating factors here?