Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Belief Isn't Humble

I feel as though I have been punched in the stomach. I just skimmed through a book written by a leading Jewish rabbi about belief in God. As I read the words I began to feel sicker by the page. He espoused a great hate for the evolutionists saying that they are irrational and foolish because they claim the universe was an accident and the author claims that if only they weren't so foolish they would see the clear truth that God exists.

The book basically focuses on different scientific phenomena, explaining their complex nature and repeatedly exclaiming: "Is it reasonable in the slightest to claim this is an accident! If only the blind academics would open their eyes, but they choose to keep them sealed."(This is not a direct quote). The author cites different evolutionists and mocks their words.

The saddest part for me was that he cited many evolutionists, including Darwin himself, saying that when he comes before the complexities in nature it is truly staggering to believe it was all an accident. Which the author than uses to call them foolish for still believing. What I understood from this, was that they saw the difficulties in their theories while he saw his opinion as rock solid! This, to me, declares the powerful words of Bertrand Russel: "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so sure of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubt."

When I read or hear stuff like this book, I feel ill. Why cast stones, when you yourself do not have sufficient proof (if any) for your belief? What scares me is had I read this book a few years ago I would have accepted it as evidence of my faith. I even saw one of my writings from years ago and while describing why I believe I said: We allow our minds to be sucked away by the "logic" of atheists.

Was I really so arrogant and foolish? I was. Tragic.

I am angry now. However, I in no way am saying that this is the only claim, nor the general ideas of the prominent Jewish rabbis and teachers. Judaism has brilliant thinkers who have written far better books, and are open and accepting of science and atheists.

If one believes he may not be told not to. but he must be humble and realize he does so not out of proof and logic but out of an inner calling. In addition, he must certainly never chastise a non believer.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Estranged from Myself

I feel estranged from my own body.

I watch my body go through the actions I have become so accustomed to doing but my heart is not there. My arm is strapped with tefillin, my head wrapped in a tallit, my lips move, forming the words but my mind stares at me, confused. My mind races with the doubts that fill me so. I have become almost separated from my religious experience. Going through the motions like a machine.

I still challenge and question. I find that many people do not bother themselves with questions of faith. Maybe at one point they did, and maybe they heard an answer of sorts, and then they climbed into their belief curled up and were content happily ever after. Is that my destiny? To be so unextraordinary? To live without passion in my belief? To follow the steps as I have been taught without presence of soul? Have I sealed my own fate?

Or should I leave it all? Should I cast my belief aside until I have reason to believe it is actually true?

But, what of my future children? Should I rob them of a life with meaning? Should I raise them in a world without objective truth?

I know that, like many of the people in my shoes, if I were to leave my faith, I would be remembered as someone who gave up the truth for a life of temptation. Such is the way of some religious thinkers. They believe it is okay to ask questions so long as you are willing to accept their answers. If not, you are a fraud. Tragic really.

Well, they should know: I have an incredible life. I have a wonderfully close knit religious family, I am respected in my community, I am knowledgeable in the vast library of Jewish thought, and up until recently, I saw it as my duty to battle philosophically for God.

And then I asked questions and more questions and found that many of the religious thinkers I have spoken to have admitted that Judaism is not objective truth.

Objective truth as I understand it is a truth that can be proven objectively. Such as 2+2=4. No one can reasonably argue with such a claim, (except philosophers who have an annoying tendency to be skeptical of any conclusion) it is not based on a person's orientation but because two items put together with another two items is four items!

The more I realize that the reason I sit here with a kippah on my head and not a cross around my neck is simply that I was born to my parents, is the more I realize I have no objective belief at all.

How long shall I live a double life?

How long does God intend to let us wallow in our misery?