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.


GarnelIronheart1 said...

> Jewish law is the same for everyone no matter their temperament or preferences

First of all, any religion that claims to have the truth, including ours, demands a simple logical conclusion from us: if Judaism is true then it doesn't matter if it "works for you" or not.  If keeping kosher is right and eating pork is wrong, you can't eat pork.  And further, if Judaism is right then Chrisianity, Islam and everyone else are wrong.  Religions aren't products in a supermarket.  There's one right one out there and it's a faith-based decision on which it is.

Secondly, Jewish law is not the same for everyone.  Sephardim and Ashkenazim have lots of different laws, lots of stuff which is permitted for one group is forbidden for the other.  There's lots of variations, leniencies and strictures between different groups.  Someone who isn't happy with a Chasidic lifestyle could quite easily try MO unless they've been brainwashed into thinking it's not really Orthodox

JG said...

Religion may work for individuals and even communities, but I think the high stakes question weighs that against potential costs for a modern society or globalized world as a whole. 

zenscientist said...

Almost all areas of Jewish law have minority opinions and varying degrees of implementation and interpretation although the Haredi world and ironically those who have had bad experiences with being raised in a strict religious environment would like to not acknowledge that fact that there is such diversity to suit their own philosophical and intellectual biases. Albeit D'oraita laws are almost always non-negotiable especially Kashrut, Shabbat and the Chagim. 

I disagree with the characterization as Christianity and Islam as "wrong" however. Yes, I don't agree with them theologically but there is wisdom in these traditions a lot of which comes from Judaism. HKBH is above all religion and although I do believe Judaism is what is appropriate for Jews that is not to say that HKBH did not reveal himself to non-Jews.  Melchizedek, Avraham Avinu's contemporary is described in Bereshit as "Priest of the Most high G-d" So all humans have access to G-d. But we each take on different modes of responsibility and practice as to how we live in G-d's presence. As Jews we have a particular way of doing that which is fundamentally based on Halacha, but Halacha itself is not dogma like dogma is in Christianity and Islam. This makes Judaism a much more difficult and esoteric tradition to understand and follow practically and philosophically but in the end nothing worth doing is easy. It is only through the struggle and fight for spiritual growth does one learn to appreciate how special Jewish tradition is and how to not ever take any moment of your life for granted. 

zenscientist said...

I agree with you people should not be molded to fit into a "template" (this is where kiruv orgs like Aish and Ohr Samaych get it very wrong). 

However, there are ways of educating young people so that they discover Judaism for themselves so that adhering to Halacha speaks to them on a level of soul and intellect as they grow.   But most parents and educators were taught Jewish tradition in ways that were not healthy typically you get people who just leave religion altogether or become fundamentalist or Haredi because both of those diametrically opposite paths and worlds offer simple answers and clear beliefs in a very grey, real world that is fraught with uncertainty and ambiguity.  

Shilton you say  "The crime of religion is its inability to realize that different paths work for different people." I disagree. The crime is that you have concluded that all religion has an inability to realize this. Religion is a knife. It depends on how you use it and how you learned how to use it that makes all the difference. Religion is therefore a source of power. And power can be used to mobilize people to do what is "good" or to do what is "bad" and everything in between. I agree that there are areas of Jewish Law that do not leave much open for diversity but there are areas of Jewish Law that do! But you have been taught that Jewish Law must be streamlined for everyone! Reality is..there is much more diversity there than maybe even you are ready to admit. And I'm not talking about the Halacha according to Conservative, Reconstructionist or Reform Judaism. Far from it.  I respect my non-Orthodox brethen but I think we can all agree that the data is in regarding these approaches to keeping Jewish Tradition alive and growing....Finally, religion should not be there to comfort the troubled. It should be there to trouble the comfortable. 

zenscientist said...

Shilton - There IS room for the individual in religion but that religion has to speak to you on a passionate level of soul. If it doesn't, then that religion is not for you.

Chatzkaleh Kofer said...

We missed you, Shilton!

Anonymous said...

If some one wishes to be updated with most up-to-date technologies afterward he must be go to
see this site and be up to date all the time.

my web page; Nokia 808 Specification

Anonymous said...

These are really enormous ideas in regarding blogging. You have touched some good points here.
Any way keep up wrinting.

Also visit my homepage :: aaliyah plane crash

Anonymous said...

I'm no longer sure where you're getting уour information, hoωever gоοd tорic.
I must ѕpenԁ ѕome timе finding out much morе or underѕtanding moгe.
Thank you for wonderful info I used to be looking for
this information for my missiоn.

Αlsο ѵisit my ωеb site Crear Facebook

Anonymous said...

Hello there, I ԁo think your site might be hаving web bгowser compatibіlity
problems. When I taκe a loоk at youг sitе іn Sаfаrі, it looκs fine however, іf opеning in
Ιnternet Eхplorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic website!

Feel free to visit my web page :: facebook cuenta gratis

Anonymous said...

Thankѕ for evеry other informative ѕitе.

The plасe еlse may јust I get that type of info ωrіtten in
suсh an iԁeal means? I've a mission that I'm just nоw ωorking οn, and I have been οn the lοoκ out for suсh infогmation.

my wеb-sіtе;

Post a Comment